Enneagram Basics: Stress Points
The Enneagram is dynamic in nature, and the lines connecting the points are not random. When we respond to "normal" stress in our lives, we tend to do so according to both our Enneatype and our Level of Development. However under increasingly difficult stress and pressure - and when we have exhausted the normal coping methods of our type - we follow the lines in the diagram in a particular direction to our type's Stress Point and begin to exhibit qualities in the less-than-healthy range for that point. Our Stress Point is also sometimes known as our Disintegration Point because we literally begin to dis-integrate (lose integration).
Let's take a look at the movement to our Stress Point...
Direction of Stress: 1→4→2→8→5→7→1 and 9→6→3→9
When moving in our Direction of Stress...
Ones can become moody and irrational at Four.
Twos can become aggressive and dominating at Eight.
Threes can become disengaged and apathetic at Nine.
Fours can become over-involved and clinging at Two.
Fives can become hyperactive and scattered at Seven.
Sixes can become competitive and arrogant at Three.
Sevens can become perfectionistic and critical at One.
Eights can become secretive and fearful at Five.
Nines can become anxious and worried at Six.
Know well what leads you forward and what holds you back, and choose the path that leads to wisdom.
Next Steps on Your Journey:
1. Thinking about the Enneatype that you are currently exploring as your type, what is your Stress (Disintegration) Point?
2. What does "disintegration" look like for you? What traits of your Stress Point do you take on?
3. How do those qualities and behaviors show up? Can you give some examples?
4. What types of situations, feelings or thoughts set you up "disintegration"?
5. The "high side" of your Stress Point may also have some qualities that would prove helpful under stress. For instance, Threes under stress can go to the "low side" of Nine and become disengaged and apathetic. But Threes might also be able to access some of the healthier (or "high side") qualities of a Nine, such as the ability to rest, relax, and just "be". What qualities of your Stress Point might you use as a resource?
6. What else has your Stress Point shown you?
7. Let's pause and check in...are you still working with the Enneatype that you started with on our journey? How is the type validation going? Do you need to backtrack and try on another type for size?
8. When you're ready to move on, let's take a look at your Growth Point or Point of Integration...