Enneagram – Subtype STACKING (#1)


PREVIOUS: Enneagram

EMPATH Survival Guide & Ennea-Types”

SITE: re. INTEGRATING the 3 Drives



“STACKING” =  Sequencing the Instinctual Variants / Drives :
Self-Preservation, Sexual 1-to-1, and Social – into 6 possible combinations. (SEE charts in Part 2)

Instinctual Drives arise from the body, experienced physically through sensation. When put through the filter of Personality Type, they get structured in order of priority.
These drives motivate us to meet specific biological & emotional needs, so the stack determines where we put our energy, & which needs are given more priority or psychological weight.
Each Instinct has distinct qualities of attention, boundaries, & excitation – which encourage tracking & meeting its specific needs.

Developing the Dominant Instinct actually indicates a personality imbalance, which is at the core of egoic identity (self-image) & narcissism. Although everyone has a Dom preference, we do have access to the other 2 options, but at different levels of intensity or priority of use.

BASICS : Stacking is listing the 3 instinctual subtypes in oder of personal preference, independent of a person’s Enneagram Core type.

Stacking designations are indicated by writing the Dominant instinct first, followed by the 2nd, with a slash between them. Tertiary is not included, as its characteristics tend to be ‘invisible’.

▪️SubTypes & Stackings are combined :
Listing a Dom & 2nd together (“sp/sx”….) only looks at the preferential order of a person’s instincts, but including it with their Core Type provides a rounded picture.
EXP : An Ennea #9 with Social as their dominant subtype (SO), & Self-preservation as Secondary /neutral (SP), will have Sexual / Intimate (SX) as the blind spot. Their designation is : E9-so/sx  (Others)
🔹 two people can be contrasted by variant stacking apart from their Enneagram number, so a E2 – so/sp will have a different approach to relationships than an E2 – sp/sx

🔹two people can have the same stacking order, such as sx/so, but be 2 different core Ennea-types =  E3-sx/so and E5-sx/so, so their approach to work with be different (sociable vs private)

Generally, our stacking stays the same throughout life, but there can be some shifts between instincts, depending on circumstances.
EXP : Your Neutral variant (Secondary) might kick in during a particularly stressful time, temporarily over-riding the Dominant. (Neutral sp/so —-> briefly replaces so/sp, as in “freeze” mode)

NOTE : The developmental-growth goal is to bring all 3 instincts into balance. A personal effort to be fully present includes acknowledging & then integrating our (ignored) Tertiary instinct. We can express & develop it for its own worth, on the inside, not just artificially copying how others use their Dom version of our blind spot.

Incorporating those Tertiary qualities we habitually forget to pay attention to – will reveal how enlivening, powerful & satisfying our ‘weak’ instinct can be. Breath, physical & sensation-based practices are useful ways of deepening connection to the signals, energies & feedback within the body.

the characteristics we’re most focused on, an over-awareness or preoccupation with & desire to achieve what’s important to the Dom instinct. It’s the one where our buttons get pushed & we start decompensating, causing sleepless nights, maybe taking us on an elevator trip to a lower level of mental health.

A lot of Dom behavior is unconscious. It can seem so obvious that its needs & wishes are the most important ‘stuff’ to us, so it’s hard to imagine not going for it.
And some people may think their Dom is their blind spot (Tertiary) because it produces such automatic reactions / actions that it can feel like they’re separate from who see ourselves as.

EXP : 🔔An SP-first will have a strong focus on satisfying self-concerns, overriding the desires of the other 2 instincts
❣️ For a SX-first – when activated – their ‘object of interest’ (lover, BFF….) becomes the main focus in life
📣 With SO-first, participating in & fulfilling the expectations of their social environment – is the pull.

The DOM tendency is used most often throughout life. Self-growth shows when we can stay awake / aware at those times we act from the instincts, & can modify behavior when needed. The Dom accounts for 40-90% of our activity.

NEXT : SECONDARY instinctual variant

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