The Harmonic Groups
The Harmonic Groups are useful for transformational work because they indicate how each person copes when they do not get what they want (as indicated by the Center they are in). The Harmonic Groups are important because they reveal the fundamental way that our personality defends against loss and disappointment.
We have also discovered a third significant way to group the nine types that we have named The Harmonic Groups. We noticed that for each primary type (those located on the equilateral triangle, the Three, Six, and Nine) there are two secondary types which seem very much like it in numerous ways—and that people repeatedly misidentified themselves as a result of the similarities between these types. For example, Nines often misidentified themselves as Twos or Sevens; we also repeatedly saw that Threes misidentified themselves as Ones or Fives, and Sixes were almost notorious in misidentifying themselves as either Fours or Eights.
Even though there are no lines that connect them in the Enneagram symbol, there are common themes and issues that unite these types. The Harmonic Groups tell us what attitude the type adopts if it fails to meet its dominant need. In other words, the Harmonic Groups tell us how we cope with conflict and difficulty: how we respond when we do not get what we want.
The Positive Outlook Group
The Positive Outlook Group is composed of types Nine, Two, and Seven. All three respond to conflict and difficulty by adopting, as much as possible, a “positive attitude,” reframing disappointment in some positive way. They want to emphasize the uplifting aspects of life and to look at the bright side of things. These types are morale-builders who enjoy helping other people feel good because they want to stay feeling good themselves (“I don’t have a problem”).
The 9-2-7 Harmonic Pattern: The Positive Outlook Group
These types have difficulty facing the dark side of life; they do not want to look at anything painful in themselves or others. Also, depending on the type, each has trouble balancing their own needs with the needs of others. Twos focus primarily on the needs of others, Sevens focus primarily on their own needs, and Nines try to focus on both, although often with the result that they have trouble adequately fulfilling either.
|Main Themes of the POSITIVE OUTLOOK GROUP|
|Type||Emphasizes||Avoids Seeing||Problems With Needs|
Positive self-image. “I am a caring, lov-
ing person.” They focus on their good intentions.
Their own needi-
ment, and anger.
asize the needs of others, and neglect their own needs.
ences, enjoyment, activity, excitement and fun.
Their pain and emptiness: their role in creating suf-
fering for self and others.
asize their own needs, and easily feel burdened by the needs of oth-
The positive qual-
ities of others and of their environ-
ment. They idealize their world.
|Problems with their loved ones or their environment as well as lack of their own development.||
Nines can feel overwhelmed by their own needs and needs of oth-
ers. They do not want to deal with either.
Common Traits of the Positive Outlook Group
SEVENS (Both can be…)busy, active, fun loving, optimistic, sensual and earthy, talkative, gregarious, storytellers, in flight from anxiety, distracted, and impulsive.
TWOS (Both can be…)nurturing, kind, modest, supportive, sentimental, self-sacrificial, free-spirits, people persons, intuitive, idealizing of others, self- deceptive, and self-neglecting.
The Competency Group
The Competency Group is composed of types Three, One, and Five. These people have learned to deal with difficulty by putting aside their personal feelings and striving to be objective, effective, and competent. They put their subjective needs and feelings on the back burner; they try to solve problems logically and expect others to do the same.
The 1-3-5 Harmonic Pattern: The Competency Group
These three types also have issues related to working within the confines of a structure or a system. (“How do I function within a system? Can I use it to my advantage? Will it hamper me from doing what I want to do?”) The types’ attitude toward systems evolved from their relationship with their families. These types are not sure how much they want to give themselves over to the values of the system, and how much they want to withhold themselves from it. Ones operate inside the rules, following them so well that no one would dare question their integrity. By contrast, Fives tend to operate outside of the rules. Threes want to play it both ways, having the benefit of the rules and structures while not having the restrictions.
|Main Themes of the COMPETENCY GROUP|
|Type||Emphasizes||Manages Feelings||Relates To System|
Being correct, or-
ganized, and sen-
sible. They focus on standards, improv-
ing themselves, and knowing the rules.
By repression and denial. Feelings are channeled into
ivity, getting things done perfectly. Feelings also held as physical rigidity in the body.
|Ones want to work with the system. They try to be a “good boy or girl,” and are irritated with people who disregard the rules.|
Being efficient, cap-|
able, and outstand-
ing. They focus on goals, being prag-
matic, and knowing how to present self.
By repression and keeping attention on tasks, staying
active. Achievement offsets painful feel-
ings. Threes look to others for feeling cues.
Threes want to work with the sys-
tem but also like being outside of it
—bending rules and finding “short-
Being the expert and having deep information. They
focus on the pro-
cess, objective facts, and on main-
taining clarity and detachment.
By splitting off and abstracting feel-
ings, Fives stay preoccupied and cerebral, as if their feelings were hap-
pening to someone else.
|Fives reject the system and want to work on their own, outside of it. They have little patience with rules or procedures.|
Common Traits of the Competency Group
ONES (Both can be…)
idealistic, goal-oriented, altruistic, strive for excellence, realistic, pragmatic, perfectionistic, self-controlled, angry, hostile, use denial as a defense, and workaholism.
FIVES (Both can be…)
thinking types, intellectual, organized, efficient, high achievers, technical, analytic, can work alone, observe others without revealing themselves, secretive, knowledge as power, arrogant, intimacy issues, argumentative.
The Emotional Realness (Intensity) Group
The Emotional Realness Group is composed of types Six, Four, and Eight. These types react emotionally to conflicts and problems and have difficulties knowing how much to trust other people. “I need you to know how I feel about this.” When problems arise, these types look for an emotional response from others that mirrors their concern. In conflicts, the Emotional Realness types want the other person to match their emotional state. “This is really bothering me! It should bother you, too!” The types in this group have strong likes and dislikes. If there is a problem, others are going to hear about it. In conflicts, they need to deal with their feelings first, and usually once they are able to do so, things can blow over fairly quickly and permanently. If they are not able to ventilate their feelings, however, these types can become increasingly resentful and vindictive.
The 4-6-8 Harmonic Pattern: The Emotional Realness (Intensity) Group
The Emotional Realness Group types also have difficulty balancing their need for independence and self-determination with their need to be nurtured and supported by others. They simultaneously trust and distrust others: to accept the support and affection of others is a deep desire for these types, but to do so feels like losing control of themselves and of their circumstances. They fear being betrayed and need feedback from people in order to “know where others stand” toward them. They are either looking for advice and direction (“parenting”) or defying it. Subconsciously, Fours want to be parented, whereas Eights want to play the role of parent and provider, and Sixes want it both ways, sometimes being the parent, sometimes being parented by someone else.
|Main Themes of the Emotional Realness (Intensity) Group|
|Type||Seeks||Fears||Deals With Others By|
A rescuer, some-
one to understand them and support their life and dreams; Fours want to be seen.
Abandonment—that no one will care for them; that they
will not have enough support to find and become
|Keeping others interested by limiting access, playing “hard to get,” and holding onto supporters.|
dence and sup-
port. Sixes want someone to rely on, but also needs to be “the strong one.”
Being abandoned and without sup-
port, but also fears becoming too de-
pendent on others.
and reliable while trying to maintain their
dence; they are engaging, but also defended.
Independence and self-reliance. Eights want to need
ers as little as pos-
sible, to be their own person.
Being controlled or dominated by oth-
ers. Thus, they fear intimacy and be-
coming vulnerable by trusting or caring too much.
Keeping their guard up,
ting others get too close, and tough-
ening themselves against hurt and their need for others.
Common Traits of the Emotional Realness (Intensity) Group
FOURS (Both can be…)creative, sensitive, artistic, intuitive, emotional, tender, withdrawn, stormy, self doubting, self questioning, anxious, insecure, abandonment issues, identify with the victim, depressive, unstable, inferiority feelings, self-defeating.
EIGHTS (Both can be…)assertive, self reliant, outrageous, strong, authoritative, rebellious, fighters, independent, aggressive, responsible, obligated, feel they need to struggle to survive, feel “life is tough,” and authoritarian.
Harmonic Groups at a Glance
The Positive Outlook Group:
Deny that they have any problems
|NINE||“What problem? I don’t think there is a problem…”|
|TWO||“You have the problem. I am here to help you…”|
|SEVEN||“There may be a problem, but I’m fine….”|
The Competency Group:
Cut off feelings and solve problems logically
|THREE||“There’s an efficient solution to this—we just need to get to work.”|
|ONE||“I am sure that we can solve this like sensible, mature adults.”|
|FIVE||“There are a number of hidden issues here: let me think about this….”|
The Emotional Realness (Intensity) Group:
React strongly and need response from others
|SIX||“I feel really pressured, and I’ve got to let off some steam!”|
|FOUR||“I feel really hurt, and I need to express myself…”|
|EIGHT||“I’m angry about this and you’re going to hear about it!”|
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