Enneagram 1 and Relationship: The Shame Triad

Yesterday we covered the anger triad, now let’s jump into how 1s relate to the shame triad, 2s, 3s, and 4s.

1s and 2s

This can be dutiful and independent or manipulative and impersonal

Both types are outward focused, concerned more with the needs of others over their own needs. This pairing will be very principled and dutiful, not unlike the 1–1 relationship. Unlike that, however, the 2 will bring a certain warmth to the relationship. Both will be focused on championing the needs of others, 1s in order to perfect the world, and 2s in order to deal with their own shame. As a result, both types may take on long, unforgiving, and selfless positions or tasks. This can lead them to spend long periods of time apart, which both numbers in maturity are happy to offer to the other. 2s, who sometimes sacrifice their own morality in order to meet a perceived need in someone else will admire the 1s strength and principled nature. 1s will admire 2s self-sacrificing desire to meet needs, seeing it as a noble pursuit toward a better world.

However, as we’ve seen, immature types have communication breakdowns. Both types may struggle to bring their own desires and needs to the table. 1s because they feel that life is serious, and responsibility must be placed before their small needs and desires, 2s because they believe they must meet the needs of everyone else before they can meet their own needs. This can cause dysfunction in the relationship as the types to move toward their stress points. 1s moving toward 4 will begin to listen to the inner critic condemning them for their selfishness and demanding that they “get their act together”. They may begin to see their emotional responses as a weakness to be kept in check causing them to become stoic and impersonal. 2s will try to manipulate the 1 to get their needs, which could result in the 1 not trusting the 2, categorizing them as a liar. 2s will become passive aggressive and cruel toward a withholding 1 who is failing to give them the relational connection they need as they move toward 8.

1s and 3s.

This can be idealistic and competent or bored and judgmental

Like the 1–1 pairing, these two will be extremely goal oriented. They are responsible and get things done. Both types bring a work ethic and a need to improve. 1s because they long to perfect the world and themselves, 3s because they want to be seen as impressive. 3s, putting more emphasis on the product, will bring more creativity and freshness to the relationship, while 1s, putting the focus on the system, will bring a sense of rightness and justice to the process. 3s will make sure that the end goal is impressive, and 1s will make sure that the way they got there was above reproach. 1s will admire and gain from the creativity and vibrancy of the 3, while the 3 will appreciate that hard work and tenacity of the 1.

3s have a tendency to chameleon into their environment, subtly or overtly shifting their personalities, skill sets, and backgrounds to suit the needs of the environment. This may cause the 1 begin to doubt the morality of the 3, seeing them as dishonest. They may, if the relationship lasts long enough, start to sense the 3s inner shame. A shame which the 3 is asleep to. This will add fuel to the fire pushing the 1 to lose respect for the 3. 1s may also be dissatisfied with the 3s workaholism. 3s will work at work, at home, on vacation, at the kids' soccer game, in many places that 1 finds inappropriate and selfish, which will continue to harden the 1 toward the 3.

On the other hand, the 3 may begin to find the 1s moral code and stoic simplicity boring. 3s will want to celebrate their achievements lavishly while a 1 would rather the achievements speak for themselves. Moving toward their stress reactions 1s will try to purge their imperfections, becoming more impersonal as they move toward 4, and 3s will leave them to it, shutting down and “falling asleep” as they move toward 9.

1s and 4s

This can be cooperative and inspiring, or self-aggrandizing and misunderstood

Both types are driven to improve the world around them. 1s because of their sense of perfection and justice and 4s because of their longing to create beauty and meaning. Both are able to see what is missing and fix it. This pairing counterbalances each other well. 1s can bring structure and plan to 4s creativity and passion. This can help the 4 not get lost in their interior, overwhelmed by the number of emotions and ideas to the point of paralysis, by helping them focus on what’s important and needed in the present. 4s can help ones to step out of the black and white and into some grey area, which will help them to be more creative in how they go about solving the world’s problems. 4s will also create a safe space for 1s to express themselves emotionally. Having a person who doesn’t judge their emotions negatively will help to silence the inner critic and allow them to sit comfortably in that space.

Similar to a 1–1 relationship, this pairing can become elitist if immature. The 1 will bring a sense of superiority because of their moral perfection, and the 4 will bring a sense of superiority for their refinement and creative prowess. The two may start to look down on others for not being as upright, productive, creative, classy as they are. This condescension will lead to more and more internal focus until it’s entirely about themselves.

Types that counterbalance each other so well run the risk of missing out on each other in the first place. 1s need for objectivity and 4s need for subjectivity may cause them to dismiss each other outright, but should a relationship grow, that frustration could come up. 1s may view the 4 as flighty, over-emotional, unrealistic, and too weak to make a hard boundary. 4s may find 1s insufferably dull. In their search for complexity, the 4 may quickly become disinterested in the 1s black and white world. Likewise, the 1 in their search for perfection may become disinterested in the 4s insistence on clinging to their own imperfections.

Tomorrow we will cover the fear triad, 5, 6, and 7!