Podcast – Episode 0402 – The Enneagram Heart Center (Types 2 – 3 – 4)

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In this episode, Joel and Antonia talk with Enneagram experts Dr. Beatrice Chestnut & Uranio Paes about the Heart Center Of Intelligence in the Enneagram system. The Heart Center contains Enneagram types 2 – 3 – and 4.

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In this podcast you’ll find:

  • Guest hosts Dr. Beatrice Chestnut and Uranio Paes join.
  • What is the Enneagram? Beatrice gives a quick overview of the system.
  • What are the three centers of intelligence within the enneagram – and what’s the benefit of understanding this?
    • Is there any correlation between your Enneagram center and your Myers-Briggs® type?
  • Check out our previous episode where we dive into the body center.
  • What does it mean to be a heart type and what are the key characteristics of the three types based within this center?
    • How the heart types generally perceive reality.
  • How do each of the heart types relate to the core emotion of sadness?
  • The obstacles and challenges the heart types face.
  • Why you may look to relationships for validation or approval if you’re a heart type.
  • How the heart types lose touch with the other two intelligence centers.
  • Can you unconsciously manifest a narrative and life path based on your intelligence center?
  • The growth path for heart types – how they can access the wisdom of the head and body centers?
  • An overview of types 2, 3 and 4 – and the strategies they adopt as heart types.
  • Learn more about Beatrice and Uranio’s work via their website, listen to their podcast, or check-out their book: The Enneagram Guide To Waking Up.

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Showing 9 comments
  • Julia
    Reply

    Thanks Gene for the great description of how the functions and function pairs work. That helps clarify things a lot, especially being able to compare the ones I use and understand better to my shadow functions and gives me some good ideas of what to look for in observing and trying to use them. It really interesting to hear how the similarities/difference of Fi vs Ti primary works for two types with the same 2nd & 3rd functions.

    It is definitely Ti that I am using as a primary. It is very much a deliberate analysis/evaluation process I use with it. It is as you say a slower working process in general when used by itself and confident though paradoxically unreliable (to real world hard truth) when used in isolation. Se is very necessary to use in parallel and definitely speeds the process. Ni does even more so when used in an experiential pattern recognition mode when calibrated well and used consultation/back and forth way with Se & Ti on the right things. Of course Ni can cause all sorts of trouble (and does for me) when used otherwise, especially when stuck in a loop with Ti. And yes it does work very well with technical and physical things and I would totally agree can be very laughable (and futilely frustrating) when attempting to apply to human/emotional type things. I hadn’t considered though that it is the same sort of cognitive dynamic going on when Fi gets plugged in, really cool and sounds like pure magic to me.

    The only real work around I have is trial and error. Taking the instances that I notice work well and trying to reverse engineer the circumstances and why of it so I can repeat it. My inferior Fe does care about and need/want connection enough to drive going about figuring it out the long and hard way. Though if I am a Sp 3 that would also explain another very strong driving factor though large unconscious factor to try to ‘solve’ the problem of Fi and the other more people/emotion/system/possibility related functions hiding in my shadow. Sounds like trying to use more of those shadow functions rather than engineer a solution around them may help a lot and really like the idea of trying to plug them in with the ones I do know how to use or at least using that as a framework to see and understand how they could operate and what missing pieces they would add.

    Thanks so much for the great discussion and insight!

  • Linda
    Reply

    Good back and forth; so interesting/informative (infp).

  • Gene
    Reply

    What makes you think Ti over Fi? That 8th function creeps over for sure.

    One of the ways I look at it is that Ti is 1=1. A perfect schematic not open to any nuance. Especially with Se as for ISTP.

    Fi is 1 not = 1. Complete subjectivity. Impressionistic painting.

    So I thought I was Ti lead (man do I laugh at my old self now) but what I thought was “fluid” Ti was just my Fi. The work started by learning how to “solidify” some of my Fi “impressions” into Ti “schematics.”

    One cannot live at either extreme. Ti is too rigid. Fi is too fluid. Gotta be able to slide along the scale. But Ti will be more comfortable with structure. Fi with ambiguity.

    Another analogy. Ti is science / repetition (practicing same technique to perfection.) Fi is art / originality (performing a movement with an extra flourish.)

    Fi is really the search for authentic self. Ti eh, not so much…

    • Julia
      Reply

      The Ti primary part I am sure about. I am definitely an introvert and a thinking type from an MBTI perspective. I was pretty sure about being an ISTP on type description alone but looking at it from the way the cognitive functions work makes me more sure it is a good match for me and also makes a lot things about me make sense (especially to my Ti function).

      My Enneagram type is a lot harder to figure out and I have thought it was a whole variety of types though until recently was convinced I wasn’t a heart type (previous theories in order of likelihood was 7, 5, 8, 1 & 6 though none resonated with motivations behind the personality and they became a less good match when I took my instinctual stack into account which for some reason is a lot more clear to me than my type). Now a self preservation 3 seems likely (it actually accounts for all the reasons I thought I might be all those other types into one type which seems like a good sign), though there are also some of aspects of the self preservation 4 that might fit too. How an ISTP could be either of those (especially a 4 type) is baffling to me and my confidence that I might have finally found the right Enneagram type though while a bit greater than it was before still isn’t very high.

      • Gene
        Reply

        You do realize “pretty sure about” is not Ti language. Ti is logos. A self contained factual explanation that Ti “accuracy” will share only when it is confident in its own conclusion.

        At best, start tracking the functions. Little trick, we won’t ever really see our primary because that is the function we reference our entire world through. So it is like you are using your primary function to search for the primary function:/ I have been at this for 7 years and my Fi is still the most difficult function for me to “see” even though it is my primary. I see my Te a lot more. When I go there it just feels distant from the world. So I don’t spend too much time there, even though I am good enough at it to be confused for Te/Ni by most. But usually it is ESFP. Anyway…

        I am just saying that I see a good amount of emotion, warmth and personality in your writing. For Ti lead to write that something “baffles” them would be an admission of not knowing which Ti lead is hesitant to admit. Ti lead is very, well, cool. They may see their emotions as a weakness perhaps. Something that may “give them away.” Remember they value Fe over Fi. Notice interviews of Tom Cruise when the interviewer hits him with an Fi type of question. He immediately seems to punch back, or at least verbalize a warning. His Fe can get… weird as befitting an ISTP. You seem to be open with your Fi, warmer, confident in who you are as a person (underneath all of this typology stuff, intrinsic Fi value and how it may apply to you.)

        And yes, Enneagram is very difficult to discover. I view them as a defense to the world. For any ego defense mechanism to be effective it will be “hidden” from ourselves. Otherwise we will immediately see its ineffectiveness and change it.

        Taking countertypes into account (Chestnuts original book) – best success for me was to just track my relationship with the three main emotions / centers of intelligence. Each triad has three same ways of dealing with it as was the most important (to me) pattern of these three podcasts.

        Self preservation 3 is a tough one. As is Sp 4. Both are countertypes, so they have that extra layer of defense from being identified.

        Once I realized I was an sp 4 the voice in my head of “don’t say or really want those things, the universe will take them away from you” hit me hard with “something will always be missing.” Which wasn’t true. My “paradise lost” happened decades ago and I have been living this “pain” all along. The lie was that the pain would get worse, if I got completion, and it would “naturally” be taken away again. Another fallacy. I have had all this time living absolutely fine. The worst thing that could happen was me coming right back to where I am now.

        So, I dared to open my heart and get it beat up again:) To me that is a high Fi thing (IFP and IFJ with Fi critic) which males “sense” for the weirdness and beauty that is an E4.

        • Julia
          Reply

          Thank you for the very thoughtful reply, it gives me a lot of things to consider. The way I would translate what I meant by ‘pretty sure about’ it is that it is my current working theory which I am fairly confident in but can’t say with certainty or prove to be correct. And I would have said it was Ti I was use to make that determination. Ni to do the pattern recognition to come up with the theory that ISTP was a best fit, but Ti to decide it was the most likely correct and also to see the need to add the confidence factor for scientific accuracy’s sake (and because it is completely a self typing). I am actually not sure how Ti & Se judging/perceiving combo could be completely confident in any sort of self evaluation as it really isn’t at all suited for introspection. Very good for taking info from the outside world and making objective decisions about that but not so good for looking internally and evaluating that.

          I should also say that I am in a scientific field and one that deals in a whole lot of probabilities rather than certainties and that does color the way I look at things and communicate. When I first started looking at the MBTI, INTP & INTJ both matched my work personality, but came to realize that was much more due to the job than to me. I do use that pattern recognition aspects of Ni quite a lot and am good at it in specific applications but do see how in other areas I am not (or a lot less sophisticated with it) and that fits into Ni being a tertiary well. Also I can see how Fe operates as a inferior function too, in that connections are very important to be even though outside of very specific situations I am not very good at making them and don’t put much attention into the other aspects of Fe.

          Fi is a more confusing function for me. If defined from the perspective of understanding and making space for my emotional landscape, I can totally see it as an 8th function…though from a values or authenticity perspective (knowing my mind and being able to use it to make decisions based on what I view as right or wrong or what aligns with my personal values) I have a harder time seeing it that low in the stack. So your point that I could be using it as more of a decision making function than I thought I was is definitely worth exploring and taking a look back at some of the types I skimmed over as not having a chance of being me based on my assumption I had Ti high in my stack.

          Regarding the Enneagram types, the Complete Enneagram has been one of the primary sources I was working through and I do find the sub types super helpful. The centers have caused be a lot more confusion personally (though I do get how the theory is suppose to work) as it now seems I am not actually using the ones I thought I was or not using them in the way that determines the dominant one any way). The fact that I can so easy identify with so many of the different types (and do operate in those modes at different times) does support Sp 3 given the identification theme/defense mechanism of that type and that 3s tend to repress the heart center and Sp 3’s especially avoid emotions does come up with a good explanation of how I could both be driven by the heart center but be so out of touch with emotions at the same time.

          How that could fit in with my MBTI type or if I had that wrong too, I will have to give some more consideration.

          • Gene

            Te is suited to probabilities, faster thinking, but with “error.” Ti is suited for accuracy, slow but precise. So, something to consider for your career. Ti will start slow and like to build up its Ti schematic / map and is then lightning fast and accurate in its “navigation” / task execution.

            Ni pattern recognition of huge meta-pattern. Also, once it is recognized, it is seldom changed. Much to the unknown chagrin of Ni doms that think they see it “all” only to be smacked with some Se that was right in front of them all along, ha! It happens to me when I am SO Ni sure (skipping my Se navigator.)

            Ne as pattern exploration (like Raven’s Progressive matrices.) Connections that many ignore but were always there. Perhaps shallower in depth than Ni, but still very novel and just as impactful if applied properly.

            Ti/Se is “confident” because it doesn’t even consider “introspection” of self to be a thing. Ti is so completely “confident” with self, as Ti is the ultimate defining / everything on a clearly cut grid “including self” that Fi isn’t even a consideration. Meaning Ti is so rigid in itself that it has a difficult time changing itself as it doesn’t even see a capacity (need?) do so. Ti / self is defined already, set in “stone.” From a high Fi perspective it is laughable how Ti does this on a human / organic level. However utterly in awe of Ti doing this on a mechanical / technical level. STPs in particular.

            Fi is a confusing function in general. It is supposed to be. It really has no words when paired with Ni. The two most fluid internal functions IMO; always shifting.

            So for my Fi/Se, I, perhaps more accurately my body / heart feels and senses things are “right” or “wrong.” I call this my SF animal side. There is no language / words / concepts. (Could also just be my Ennea 4.)

            Language as a framework for understanding reality is, IMO mainly T. Because thinking is “particular” it is not inclusionary. T has boundaries, this is a pen because that is a pencil.

            So for me, SF gut feeling and impression first… NT rational and analysis of impression later, if ever. The Te/Ni of it had to be identified and applied. It is when I can speak that NT framework of what SF happened out loud that I fully understand (head, heart, body) what my Fi/Se was experiencing. I would think Fi/Ne is capable of quicker cerebral understanding via Ne, but may struggle with Se volition / sensation in own body.

            As for figuring out what Enneagram one uses… here is the joke! Ya ready? We don’t use the Enneagram, the Enneagram uses us. Like we don’t see our first function because we are LOOKING with our first function. We don’t see our core Enneagram because we are looking as our core Enneagram. How would one describe their face if they had never seen a reflection of it? You could have seen it in pictures all over the place but until you “know” and identify / link the face in the picture with yours… we could “identify” with many faces.

  • Julia
    Reply

    Well crap, it looks like I am actually a heart type. I say that because I have spent a lot of time trying to understand how the Enneagram works and figure out what my type including reading/listening to a several of the big technical books on the system and considering a lot of different takes on the type descriptions. I had been convinced I was most likely a head type, though might possibly be a body type but probably wasn’t (more likely the body elements were either a wing or growth/stress paths) but definitely wasn’t a heart type. When I saw the heart type podcast come out next I was disappointed though figured I would listen to it as I had another whole week to wait before the head type one would come out and I would get to see if you all would put enough of a new or different spin on the discussion my type would become clear.

    However, listening to this podcast I started to really identify with the motivations/driving force behind the heart types, which while several of the other types descriptions fit me much better, I never did resonate that much with the proposed why’s behind the behaviors enough to really buy they had been unconsciously driving the formation and maintenance of my personality. Also the fact that there were 5 of them I could shift between pretty easily by situation and need didn’t fit with the way system was supposed to work either…which had me doubting how much use it could be to me personally.

    I think the biggest nuance I was missing, was based from all the information about how the 3 difference centers were suppose to work and that you overused or over-relayed on one you were based in. I most definitely do use the head center the most (I am a Ti primary) followed by the body center (Se is my secondary function) and my feeling functions are in 4th & 8th place. What I missed was that from the Enneagram framework, used most is also be defined as avoided and pushed away most for one of the three and for the type that avoids that center the counter type doubles down on that avoidance. So that rather than being a strength or preference, the heart center has been much more of an energy and emotional sink operating in the background (and I am fairly sure now that I am a self preservation type 3 if my description of how I view the heart center didn’t give that away).

    The other challenge in figuring out my type was that the typical description of a 3 really didn’t fit me much at all, nor did I any of the tests I tried come up with that or even put much probability on that type for the ones that weight the various type traits. I can now see how it is a good fit from an underlying motivation stand point, rather than outcome/outward appearance/persona wise and do identify far better with the self preservation 3 description than the other 2 type 3s. Also, I think the fact that the descriptions are written with the assumption that you haven’t yet seen or figured out any of your tendencies/personality hang-ups and how to counteract or mitigate them made figuring out a best fit harder. I can certainly see how some 3 traits still very strongly drive me and are largely unconscious but others I have known about for many years and see more as tools/strengths to pull out as needed and put away when not appropriate. I imagine this is true for everyone but it was still an ‘aha’ moment for me when I realized it was something I needed to take into account and interpret in figuring how to apply the descriptions and types to me and I suspect will be very useful in determining where to focus growth efforts.

    One thing I was interested in though from a cross model stand point is how often it is that 4th & 8th cognitive functions show up strongly informing what your center is. In my case my 8th function of Fi is matches up pretty closely to the 3s goal of figuring out who they actually are and more authentically living and being that. It also seems like more than a coincident that both system points to a very similar shadow/blind spot so strongly. I wonder how often that comes up for the counter types of the avoidance types for each center. It seems more than a tad daunting that my 8th cognitive function is suppose to be the ‘cure’ for my enneagram vice/fixation but on the other hand I had been wondering what a good entry point would be for shadow work and I suppose I have one now.

    I also did really want to say thank you for the extremely well timed podcast and the approach you took with it. While it wasn’t the one I thought I was waiting for, I am very glad I listened to it as it made a whole lot of things click into place…and has given me a whole lot more to think about. Many thanks!

  • Gene
    Reply

    I view it as each Enneagram expression is the psyche’s adaptation / defense mechanism to childhood wound / trauma. A child doesn’t have the experience to formulate a nuanced response (more of a reaction) thus the defense mechanism isn’t suited to all facets of life.

    Meaning overly instinctual (gut), emotional (heart), rational (mind.) Why balancing all three (Tritype work helps) will stop the pathology / insanity that is the “looping” behavior of each Enneagram. But starting at core intelligence seems like the logical point… origin.

    I wrote insanity because each Enneagram does the same thing while expecting different results.

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