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The enneagram is broken into groups of three. The most popular group is the Center of Intelligence (most commonly referred to as Triads) There are many of these groupings and all are worth understanding. One such grouping is referred to as the Harmonic Groups.
Enneagram Harmonic Groups (not to be confused with musical harmonic groups) helps show how each type copes with conflict and difficulties. Harmonic groups also show how we defend against disappointment.
Each grouping handles conflict, obstacles, and disappointment in one of three ways (although each type in that group has their own variation.)
The three Enneagram Harmonic Groups are broken down in to the Positive Outlook Group, the Competency Group, and the Reactive Group.
Knowing which group you are in can help you determine your enneagram type if you are still torn between a few types.
Harmonic Groups can also help you understand how you react to disappointment and conflict which is important knowledge if you want to grow.
“The Harmonic Groups tell us how we cope with conflict and difficulty: how we respond when we do not get what we want. … They reveal the fundamental way that our personality defends against loss and disappointment.” – The Wisdom of the Enneagram by Riso & Hudson
Enneagram Harmonic Groups
Positive Outlook Group
The Positive Outlook Group consists of enneagram types 7, 9, and 2.
Each of these types have a positive outlook when faced with disappointment and/or conflict but each type has their own variation of positive outlooks.
Types 7, 9, and 2 all put emphasis on different ways of being positive, each of these types all avoid pain in different areas, and all have different ways of reacting the their needs and the needs of others… but it is all in a positive outlook way.
Type 7’s in the Positive Outlook Group
7’s put emphasis on the positive experiences and environment. They avoid their pain and their role in creating suffering so as not to lose that positivity. 7’s also over emphasize their own needs and are easily burdened by others’ needs.
Type 9’s in the Positive Outlook Group
9’s put emphasis on the positive qualities of others and their environment. They avoid problems with their loved ones, their environment, and their own lack of development. 9’s also have problems with their needs and the needs of others.
Type 2’s in the Positive Outlook Group
2’s put emphasis on their own positive self image. They avoid their own needs and disappointment. 2’s also over emphasize others’ needs and neglect their own.
Advice for the Positive Outlook Group
Be aware that as positive outlook types, you tend to overlook the problem, sometimes even deny it exists. Realize that sometimes it’s needed and beneficial to face a problem (without putting a positive spin on it) and work through the pain. Drawing on the strengths of the competency and reactive groups can help you with the best outcome.
The Competency Group consists of enneagram types 1, 3, and 5.
Each of these types have competency in mind when faced with disappointment and/or conflict but has their own variations on competency.
Types 1, 3, and 5 all put emphasis on different ways of being competent, they all manage feelings in different ways, and all have different ways of relating to systems and rules… but it is all in a competency minded way.
Type 1’s in the Competency Group
1’s put emphasis on being competent by being correct and sensible. They manage feelings by repressing and denying them instead channeling their feelings into activity. 1’s want to follow the system and can get upset with those who do not.
Type 3’s in the Competency Group
3’s put emphasis on being competent by being efficient and outstanding. They manage feelings by repressing and focusing on tasks. They also look to others for feeling cues. 3’s want to work within the system but also want to work on their own outside of the system. They have little patience for rules.
Type 5’s in the Competency Group
5’s put emphasis on being competent by being an expert and having information. They manage feelings by detaching and staying cerebral. 5’s reject the system and wants to work on their own. They have little patience for rules.
Advice for the Competency Group
Be aware that as competency types, you tend to deny emotions. Realize that sometimes it’s needed to deal with feelings to fully process disappointment and it helps you have better connection with others. Drawing on the strengths of the reactive and positive outlook groups can help you with the best outcome.
The Reactive Group consists of enneagram types 4, 6, and 8.
The Reactive Group is also sometimes called the Emotional Realness group or Intensity group. Each of these types have strong reactions (and needs reactions from others) when faced with disappointment and/or conflict but it is shown in their own reactive ways.
Type 4’s in the Reactive Group
4’s react by withdrawing and seek a rescuer (someone to understand them). They fear abandonment and that they won’t have enough support to find themselves. 4’s deals with others by keeping them interested by limiting access (playing hard to get).
Type 6’s in the Reactive Group
6’s react by assessing people/situations and seek independence and support (someone to rely on but they also want to be the strong one). They fear abandonment, being without support, and becoming too dependent. 6’s deal with others by being committed and reliable; staying engaged by being defensive.
Type 8’s in the Reactive Group
8’s react by openly expressing anger and seek independence and self-reliance. They fear being controlled and dominated and fear being vulnerable. 8’s deal with others by keeping their guard up and toughening themselves against pain.
Advice for the Reactive Group
Be aware that as reactive types, you tend to over emphasize your emotions. Realize that how much you display your emotions & frustrations can deeply impact others. Drawing on the strengths of the competency and positive outlook groups can help you with the best outcome.