Dominant Emotion Groups

The Enneagram test segregates the nine basic personality types found in humans into three triads. This three triads are dominant emotion groups. At its core, the Enneagram is basically a 9-pointed system, and each of the nine types have their own essential emotional qualities. Personality type is not a pure personality. But is a mix of the basic personality type as well as the wing personality type. This is important to understand because our brains are not isolated and do not have separate cabinets inside. Our personality types are formed and developed by our daily experiences in life.

Fear, Shame and Anger - Dominant Emotion Groups

The nine personality types are subdivided and grouped into three triads. Which microscopically focuses on three negative emotions - Fear, Shame and Anger. These triads are not pure triads as well, but they share a few components with the other triads as well. To illustrate, the Anger triad is the instinct triad, the fear triad is the thinking triad and the shame triad is also feeling triad. To put this into context of the Enneagram, Types 8-9-1 comprise the Anger Triad, Types 2-3-4 comprise the Shame Triad and finally Types 5-6-7 come under the Fear Triad. Look at the picture below.

Dominant Emotion Groups

But what this actually imply for one’s personality type?

These triads imply the emotional direction we are most likely to gravitate towards when faced with tough and trying situations. To put this into context. When stuff does not go as planned. When you face strong headwinds and when you have frustration with life, in our deepest emotional warehouse, we tend to try and explain the situation we are in with respect to our emotions at that time. And that lets us know that we are facing Fear, Anger or Shame - (Dominant Emotion Groups).

The basic principle behind the Enneagram is that all of the nine types are present inside every human being, and that we all are capable of these three emotional feelings - however, we tend to have one favourite emotion that we always go to, and that is how we get our basic personality type.

Emotion groups

When we go in-depth in understanding this, we get the concept of the dominant emotion groups.

In the triad, the first number explains the emotion upon which it is based on. Looking at 8-2-5, you see that 8 is “externalised anger”, 2 is “externalised shame” and 5 is “externalised fear. The second number in the triad tries to hide the emotion that it is focusing on. And so in the triad 9-3-6, 9 is “suppressed anger”, 3 is “suppressed shame, and 6 is “suppressed fear”. The third number in the triad tries to absorb the emotion. In the triad, 1-4-7, 1 is “absorbed anger”, 4 is “absorbed shame” and 7 is “absorbed fear”.

A little explanation is in order - those who absorb their emotions turn it onto themselves, and those who externalise it turn it over on to others. Those who suppress their emotional side, pretend that emotions don’t exist at all.

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