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Understanding the "passion" of Type 1 on the Enneagram

Updated on March 13, 2013

Passion of Enneagram Type 1

The Enneagram is a personality typology system. It can tell you a lot about your personality but because it is a very vast body of knowledge, attempting to understand it in its entirety can literally take years. This HUB focuses only on what is called the “passion” of Type 1 – “The Perfectionist” – on the Enneagram system. I am also writing HUBs about the passion for each of the nine Enneagram personality types. If you do online research, you won’t find much written about the “passion” of Enneagram Types. Sandra Maitri’s book about the Virtues and Passions is overly technical, not an easy to understand book, and I found it unhelpful.

A “passion” on the Enneagram is a term used to describe an internal process, difficulty, and linchpin of the personality type. The passion of Type 1 is called “anger.” This doesn’t mean that Type Ones have a passion, in the normal sense of the word, for anger. Rather it means that “anger” is a feature of their personality type. Anger leaks out of them. Often times however the way the passion manifests is in other ways that might be called something like anger. For example, the way that Type Ones often speak is with an internal degree of criticality. There is a sort of criticalness in the way they think, express, and speak. That criticality is often hard to see, until one starts to pay attention to the different ways it manifests inside. Often times it is easier for another person to observe “anger” or criticality in the expressions of a One. Internally, the One does not think that they are angry people. They might however see their own resentment instead of criticality or anger. Thus there are different ways of portraying the “passion” aspect of the Enneagram. The reason it is called anger is because it either is truly anger that is motivating them at a particular moment, or something analogous to anger. The problem is that the passion has to have a name, and calling it anger is sort of a compromise we make when we think in language. That’s why seeing it as criticality or resentment can make it easier to understand, observe, and navigate.

Ones operate within a framework of right and wrong, correct and incorrect, and that can be seen as what generates their criticality, anger or resentments. If you saw the world in terms of right ways and wrong ways, it might appear natural that you develop an inner critic and have a passion of anger. When people express their own normal points or ideas about right and wrong, there is often a drive of anger or criticality behind their expressions. If you saw the world in terms of correct and incorrect, you also would be operating in a critical framework. The “passion” is a feeling that manifests frequently in every Enneagram Type. If you observe it in yourself, you can start to make more freeing choices about how you regard yourself and your decisions regarding being too critical or angry. If you observe it in others and can determine that they are in fact Type One, then you may find yourself not overreacting, or responding back emotionally to a One who is being critical. Thus, being able to identify who is a Type One can be helpful in interacting with their “passion”.

The mysterious part, and perhaps the amusing one, about the passion of the One is that many of them are striving internally NOT to be critical, angry, or resentful BECAUSE that is the WRONG thing to do in society. Many One’s I know come across as very sweet people. Their passion drives them sometimes as if a blindspot or automatic type behavior. Their super ego is telling them to not do the wrong thing and be overly critical. Thus they can come across as not critical even though that is only because they are critically assessing themselves as right for not being critical and wrong for thinking in critical or resentful ways.

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