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The enneagram provides many paths for us to explore for developing growth. The enneagram vices and virtues is one such path that can help you understand what you struggle with and where you will want to aim for your growth.
The Enneagram Vices are sometimes referred to as Passions but that term carries a more positive connotation and that is not what these are. The Vices are areas we do not want to encourage.
The Enneagram Vices are also sometimes referred to as the Deadly Sins as they are indeed based on the original seven deadly sins. I personally have no issue with this term but sin has a Christian connotation that some people do not appreciate and so we choose to use Vices.
These Vices show us our type’s unique way that we can become distorted in feeling, thinking, and doing. How we “miss the mark” (that would be an original definition for “sin” as used in archery – history lesson over).
Vices are a reaction for our Wounding Message and while it is a more emotional state it is not a fleeting one; it is a current that flows underneath everything that controls us.
The Enneagram Virtues
The Enneagram Virtues on the other hand are essentially the opposite of the Vices and are what we can strive for (through enneagram growth work) and reach when we release the grip of our Vice and our personality (remember your type is actually a coping system that you have created/learned…. it’s not actually you!)
It should be noted that moving from Vice to Virtue is a process that takes a lifetime; you will not achieve this quickly or by reading a few books.
You need to do the hard work of observing your patterns, become aware of how they are harming you and others, and continually practice your growth work.
Enneagram Vices and Virtues
Vice and Virtue for Type 1: Anger to Serenity
Many, if not most, 1s will have a hard time accepting the term “anger”. 1s see anger as a bad thing and thus feel like they do not have anger issues…. however, swap the term anger for resentment and things begin to clear up.
Anger is not necessarily the issue (as it’s not necessarily a bad thing) but with 1s their anger is repressed which causes the 1 to be continually frustrated or dissatisfied with themselves, those around them, and the world for not being perfect/good.
Through growth work, a Type 1 can loosen the grip that anger has on them and move towards serenity.
Serenity will cause the 1 to be more calm and relaxed allowing things to be what there are instead of being frustrated that they aren’t “perfect”. It’s finding freedom from the black and white and believing that things are exactly what they need to be in that moment.
Vice and Virtue for Type 2: Pride to Humility
Many 2s have a hard time understanding how pride could be their Vice… not when they are such self-sacrificing people! Here’s the trick though… there’s a pride in your giving or in thinking that only YOU could help someone.
Riso and Hudson referred to it as vainglory – the pride in one’s own virtue. Focusing on others needs and helping is a wonderfully good thing but you must beware of the trap of helping in hopes that others will see and be grateful for your service.
Through growth work, a Type 2 can loosen the grip that pride has on them and move towards humility.
Humility will cause the 2 to be more accepting of the fact that they are wanted without all their service, and it will allow them to release the incorrect belief that others need the to survive. It also allows them to own and share their own needs realizing that having needs allows others to fully love them.
Vice and Virtue for Type 3: Deceit to Veracity
This is not so much deceit in the sense that 3s are trying to trick others into things. This deceit of the type 3 has more to do with deceiving themselves (self-deceit) into believing that they are only the image that they show others.
Believing this deceit leads 3s into putting effort into developing their image instead of truly being themselves.
Through growth work, a Type 3 can loosen the grip that deceit has on them and move towards veracity.
Veracity (aka habitual truthfulness/authenticity) will cause the 3 to realize that they are admired and valued for who they are and not what they do. They can then slow down and acknowledge their true feelings and live authentically.
Vice and Virtue for Type 4: Envy to Equanimity
This envy is based on feeling like something is missing… 4s, I think you can understand this one! 4s often feel like they are flawed in some way or that others seem to have what you must be lacking.
I think it’s also important for everyone to realize that this envy is NOT that 4s are jealous of your new car… it’s a jealousy/envy that other people have (seem to have) qualities that the 4 thinks they need.
This envy can cause the 4s to fail to notice the many blessings in their own lives and their own personal positive qualities.
Through growth work, a Type 4 can loosen the grip that envy has on them and move towards equanimity.
Equanimity (emotional stability and mental calmness) will cause the 4 to be more balanced in how they view themselves and others (all types have things that we lack and things that we have unique strengths in.)
It also allows them to be at peace with their emotions knowing that the emotions can and should exist but they do not need to be in control of their lives and wellbeing.
Vice and Virtue for Type 5: Avarice to Non-Attachment
Odds are you are not familiar with the term avarice as it’s not really a term we use these days. Many like to translate avarice for greed but that’s not quite the correct image of things… at least not when it comes to how a type 5 may have avarice.
Avarice is not greed in the sense that the 5 wants more of something. 5s are often quite minimalist!
This type of avarice is greediness of their current inner resources. They fear that too much interaction with others will be catastrophic for them. Thus in order to avoid this fear, the 5 will withhold themselves, hold onto their resources, and minimize their needs to prevent the catastrophe.
Through growth work, a Type 5 can loosen the grip that avarice has on them and move towards non-attachment.
Non-Attachment will cause the 5 to be more comfortable with detaching from the need to withhold all their resources, energy, and time. They are more generous with their knowledge and emotions once they loosen the grip of Avarice.
Vice and Virtue for Type 6: Fear to Courage
Fear (or more accurately described as anxiety) is likely not a novel idea for a 6… especially with all the type 6 stereotyping. This fear isn’t being afraid of current problems but rather the anxiety that comes from continuously scanning the horizon of things that only MAY happen.
The 6 can fall into the deadly sin of fear by being constantly anxious and worried about possible future events. As these things are not currently happening (and may never happen at all), these fears and anxieties are draining the type 6 (and potentially those around them) for no reason.
Through growth work, a Type 6 can loosen the grip that fear has on them and move towards courage.
Courage will cause the 6 to be able to do things with more vulnerability (less over-preparing) as well as not giving power to trusted authorities or loved ones (at least now solely) but realizing that they can depend on their own authority and leadership.
Vice and Virtue for Type 7: Gluttony to Sobriety
This gluttony is not necessarily the act of eating way too much food. That could be a part of a type 7’s gluttony but it’s really not what this term is all about.
This gluttony refers a desire to “fill yourself up” with experiences and stimulation. 7s experience and desire this gluttony in attempts to overcome their feelings of inner emptiness but of course, that void can never be fully filled with experiences and things (as those are always temporary).
Through growth work, a Type 7 can loosen the grip that gluttony has on them and move towards sobriety.
Sobriety (again this is not an alcohol thing although that could be part of it) will cause the 7 to be more at peace with the current moment and emotions allowing them to not always strive for more and more. They will become less distracted and more able to be present as they are no longer chasing after all those things to “fill themselves”.
Vice and Virtue for Type 8: Lust to Innocence
Before you go thinking that 8’s vice is sexual… let me clear things up and say that it is not (although some may use their vice of lust in that way.) The enneagram vice of lust can also be called “excess”.
For an 8, this is the constant desire for intensity, control, and power. This lust/excess causes 8s to push themselves willfully on life and people in order to get what they desire.
Through growth work, a Type 8 can loosen the grip that lust has on them and move towards innocence.
Innocence will cause the 8 to be more trusting of others allowing the 8 to be vulnerable. They will have less of a gut instinct of judgement or expectation and instead be able to listen and respond to others (or situations) with an openness.S
Vice and Virtue for Type 9: Sloth to Right Action
Type 9s, I imagine you’ve come across this term in your enneagram journey already. At very least, you have come across the stereotypes that come from this term.
Often sloth only gets translated as laziness but 9s are not necessarily lazy. Many in fact, are quite active and accomplished.
This term of sloth refers more so to the desire to be unaffected by life. An unwillingness to show up and fully engage with life (or even within themselves to fully sort through inner personal workings). 9s feel that by being unaffected by life and desires, they will keep the peace.
Through growth work, a Type 9 can loosen the grip that sloth has on them and move towards right action.
Right Action (or Engagement) will cause the 9 to be more aware of their own opinions and beliefs and more committed to engaging (whether doing or sharing) what is needed based on not just others needs but their own needs as well. This right action is FULLY right action (not just right for others in the 9’s life).