Enneagram Type 1 wing 9


What is an Enneagram Type 1 wing 9? How does the Nine wing affect the One’s behavior? How is a 1w9 different from a 1w2? Let’s take a look!

Enneagram Type One

To start off on a firm foundation of understanding, let’s have a short overview of the Type One personality. (If you’re well-versed in the basics of type, you might want to skip this and go right to the section that begins “Enneagram 1 wing 9.”)Riso & Hudson call this personality type The Reformer. They are idealists who are constantly frustrated by how un-ideal things and people are. Ones are highly principled and hard-working. Their tendency to notice what’s wrong, along with their assumption that it’s their job to point it out (reform), can grate on personal and professional relationships.

Ones are located in the anger triad of 8-9-1, also called the Body Center of Intelligence. Anger is the prevailing emotion here. What are Ones angry about? They are angry at themselves, at others and at the world for being imperfect. In fact, the Basic Fear of the One is of being irreparably tainted, leading to their Basic Desire to be the opposite.

The anger of One is cold and resentful, not likely to erupt outwardly like the Eight’s anger. Resentment builds up because Ones are working hard all the time to do and be their best, yet life remains imperfect, and people don’t recognize how hard they’re trying. At their best, though, Ones can lead others in a glorious vision that really does change the world. See the list of famous 1 wing 9s below for an idea of the impact Ones can have.

Enneagram Type Nine

Let’s also take a quick look at Type Nine so its influence on Type One becomes a bit clearer. Nine is also in the 8-9-1 anger group/Body Center. The Nine’s focus is on keeping the peace, so they avoid conflict as much as possible and lay aside their own desires and preferences in case they might cause discord with those of others. Nines are usually asleep to their own anger, but once in a while, they get tired of being ignored and blow their tops – then go right back to their peaceful, no-conflict selves. Riso & Hudson write that the social role of the Nine is “nobody special,” and a common Nine phrase is “It doesn’t matter.”

What’s an Enneagram Wing?

A wing may seem like a mysterious designation; how can a human have a wing? But think of it as your “wingman” or “wing gal” – the buddy who’s always right by your side, waiting to help out. Each Enneagram type has a number on either side, and either one of those types can serve as the wing. So, for the One, the two options are Nine and Two.

Enneagram 1 wing 9: The Idealist

The book Personality Types has the definitive information on Enneagram wings, so that’s where most of the information in this post comes from. (As a Riso-Hudson Certified Enneagram Teacher, I’m sticking to my roots!) This type’s base name is The Reformer, and the 9 wing adds the title of The Idealist. A reforming idealist – that’s the flavor of this subtype. Idealism is heightened in the 1w9. Ones and Nines are both removed from what’s right in front of them, with the One focusing on ideals and the Nine focusing on idealization of people rather than actual people. This creates a disconnection from others, making them more remote and impersonal than the 1w2.

In addition, the One and the Nine are a bit at odds because the One wants to reform while the Nine wants to avoid conflict. However, both types are idealistic and don’t want to be influenced by others. That’s due to their membership in the Body Center, who have the nickname of the “autonomy group.” So, this type is removed, observing others from a cerebral distance. Because they seem detached, logical and observant, they are sometimes mistyped as Fives.

This is a good opportunity to note, as I often do, that it’s not a good idea to type others. In addition to the fact that it’s not your job, it’s also true that you can’t really know what’s going on inside someone’s head. Some types seem alike on the surface, so let other people sort out their type on their own. You might be able to make general suggestions to help them get on track initially, but no more.

Type 1 wing 9 and the Levels of Development

At the Healthy Level of Development, the Enneagram 1 wing 9 is highly objective and want to remain dispassionately involved with others, so their interactions are very erudite and moderate. They have a professorial aspect, but they also have a strong mystical, spiritual bent. They are attracted more to art, animals and nature than to people. They restrain their emotional expression, but they can also be loyal and generous friends. Because they are Ones at their core, they want to exemplify and embody their principles – they teach what they believe by living it out. Yet that 9 wing gives them a gentler and more retiring approach than the 1w2. They may be gifted speakers and/or writers who use these gifts to point areas of life that need transformation.

At the Average level, 1w9s heartily campaign for what they believe in, though there is sometimes pessimism about whether anyone will listen. More idealistic that the 1w2, and more withdrawn, this subtype is less likely to really put in the blood and sweat necessary to see their ideals come to fruition. Their sense of public duty is high, but because of that tendency to withdraw, some see them as elitist. Because 1w9s are impersonal and disconnected, they lecture others from abstract concepts they hold dear. Their emotions are low-key, and they tend to not be concerned about or not clued in to human nature and motivations. Their anger is harder to spot than that of the 1w2; they get rigid, impatient and possibly sarcastic. They end up wanting to be alone a lot so they can avoid the messy reality of human interactions.

Unhealthy 1w9s take dissociation from their emotions and internal contradictions to the extreme. That desire to not be influenced or controlled cranks up, so they refuse to see anything that doesn’t conform to their worldview. The Nine stubbornness exerts itself at this level, and the One wing Nine will not be moved from their opinions. They become emotionally and intellectually inaccessible. The Nine tendency to withdraw may result in a hermit-like existence. The judgemental aspect of One goes unchecked by any kind of compassion, so the 1wing 9 becomes a bitter people-hater who can’t relate to being in the same boat as other human beings. Others merely become problems to be solved or eradicated (yikes). They can be obsessive/compulsive about those they think are doing evil and how to make it right. At this point, sadly and ironically, 1w9s can’t even see the evil they themselves are perpetrating and thus utterly failing to embody their lofty ideals.

Famous 1w9s

Personality Types provide the following exemplars of 1w9 behavior: Sandra Day O’Connor, Carl Sagan, Dr. Joyce Brothers, Katherine Hepburn, George Harrison, C.S. Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, William F. Buckley, Cotton Mather and Saint Ignatius of Loyola.

The Idealist

Well, that’s an overview of what it’s like to be an Enneagram Type 1 wing 9. Don’t leave this post only remembering the unhealthy aspects! Remember the wonderful idealism and example of this subtype. They can be very spiritual exemplars, role models and good friends. If you’d like to learn more about both Enneagram type 1 wings, along with all the other wing combinations, check out this post.



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