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Can you be more than one Enneagram personality type?

While we have elements of all nine types in us, only one of the nine types is our basic personality type. You can think of it as your “home base,” the frame of mind, the pattern of reactions and defences, that you habitually return to. It is true, of course, that we have qualities from all of the nine types, and that, from the point of view of simple behaviour, we can sometimes act like any of the types. For example, we can be aggressive, and funny, and angry, and fearful, and hard-working. But if we look more carefully, we will see that each of these qualities (and many hundreds more) can be distinguished between the nine types. In other words, the humour of Ones is different from the humour of Twos and Threes and Fours, and so forth. The attitudes of all of the types toward work are quite different, although in one way or another, everyone works. Thus, our internal attitudes, our affects, and our motivations must all be taken into account—and when this happens, we see clearly that our habitual orientation to life forms an overall pattern, the pattern of our basic personality type. We also see that there is only one “home base” that we return to because it has worked for us in the past, beginning in our childhood.

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