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Enneagram Childhood Wounds: How Past Trauma Impacts You

Updated: Oct 20, 2023


Enneagram Childhood Wounds sad child

Did you know that the Enneagram can explain a lot about the wounds from your childhood?

Interesting right?

Our childhood experiences shape our beliefs, emotions, and actions as adults. By understanding what happened in our past, we can begin to heal and move forward in our lives in a healthier way. The Enneagram can assist us in identifying our wounds by analyzing the core fear and core motivation of each Enneagram type.

One of my earliest childhood memories was sneaking into my parent's master bathroom and using my father's razor to shave off my left eyebrow.

That was me, a curious little go-getter. I also remember always saying or asking inappropriate or even impolite things at times.

But as I got older, I started to come to the conclusion that restraining my curiosity and keeping quiet was the kinder and safer way to go. I gradually became a type 9 who aimed only to please others.

I lost touch with the child within me.

It wasn't until I observed how fearless my children are that I began to reminisce about the child I once was.


In this blog post, we'll explore the childhood wounds of each enneagram type and how they impact our emotional and behavioral habits today. We'll also discuss coping mechanisms and the role of love and affection in the healing process.

By the end of this blog post, you'll have a better understanding of how your Enneagram type relates to your childhood wounds and how you can begin to heal from them.

Table of Contents

Understanding the Enneagram

the Enneagram symbol

The Enneagram is a pretty cool personality typing system that helps you understand yourself and others better. It's based on the idea that each of us has a unique identity with our own personal needs, but we also share common traits with others with the same personality type.


Enneagram splits people into nine personality types, each with strengths, weaknesses, and motivations. Each type has a unique way of viewing the world and dealing with challenges. By understanding your Enneagram type, you can gain insight into your core motivations and behaviors.


Your Enneagram type is influenced by the experiences you had while growing up. These experiences may have been traumatic or just significant to you at the time. These experiences play an important role in shaping your personality, behavior, and relationships, particularly as you get older.


Recognizing and understanding your own negative feelings and thoughts is an important starting point in the healing journey. It can empower you to take positive steps towards improving your life, such as establishing healthy boundaries, communicating more effectively, and pursuing your dreams with renewed clarity and direction.

Remember, you are not alone in this process, and it takes time and effort, but the good news is you can do it.


In the following sections, we'll explore each Enneagram type in more detail, including their childhood wounds, core motivations, and typical behaviors.


Past Trauma and How It Affects You

sad child looking up

If you think back to when you were a child, do you remember that unpredictable situation when things changed for you? That traumatic thing that you will never forget? Or maybe it was just a bad feeling you got after authority figures got upset with you. That moment is important because you were shaped by it and forever changed.


That's a childhood wound, and it can manifest in various ways depending on your Enneagram type.


For example, Enneagram One children who felt heavily criticized by one or both parental figures may have experienced self-judgment as a child, while Enneagram Eights may have experienced betrayal.

It can be tough to face our past, but understanding the childhood wound associated with your Enneagram type can be powerful for growth. By acknowledging the source of any lingering pain or trauma, you can begin to work through these challenges and make positive changes in your life.


Remember, you deserve to live a fulfilling life, and with a little bit of compassion and self-reflection, you can start down that path today.

In the next two sections, we'll explore the impact of parenting on children and how each Enneagram type's past trauma may impact their adult behavior.

Impact of Parenting on Enneagram Types

sad mom and dad with sad son

As a child, your parents had a significant impact on your development and personality. The way they treated you, the level of trust and love they showed you, and how they met your needs all played a role in shaping your Enneagram type.


If your parents were not present or didn't show you enough emotional support, it's understandable if you developed a fear of being left alone and a strong desire for love and connection. This might mean that your Enneagram type is a Two, someone who looks for validation and affection from those around them. It's important to recognize that these feelings and behaviors stem from REAL emotional needs, and it's okay to seek out the support and genuine love you deserve.


On the other hand, if children had an overly strict or over-controlling parent, they may have developed a strong sense of independence and self-reliance. This could lead you to become an Enneagram type Eight, who values autonomy and resists being controlled by others, or a type 9, who fears conflict and drama.


It's important to remember that not all Enneagram types have the same childhood wounds or needs. Each type has its own unique set of experiences and behavioral patterns.

As a parent, it's so important to be aware of how your actions and behaviors impact your child's development and personality.


Being a nurturing figure by showing love, trust, and affection can help your child feel safe and loved, while neglect or emotional distance can lead to deep-seated wounds and fears.

As a parent, it’s crucial to be attentive to your child’s needs, both emotionally and physically, on a deeper level and to create a loving and supportive environment that will help them mature into well-adjusted adults.



Emotional Aspects of Enneagram Types

a sad girl looking lonely

Discovering your Enneagram type can help you better understand your emotional tendencies and behaviors. Each type has distinct emotional traits, fears, and sensitivities. Here are some emotional aspects of each Enneagram type:

Type 1: The Perfectionist


As a Type 1, you may struggle with feelings of anger and frustration when things don't go as planned. You have a strong desire to do things the right way and can be hard on yourself when you fall short of your own expectations. You may also struggle with guilt and shame when you make mistakes.

Type 2: The Helper

As a Type 2, you are driven by a desire to help others and to feel needed. You have a tough time with resentment and anger when your efforts go unappreciated or when others don't reciprocate your kindness. You may also have a hard time with feelings of guilt and shame when you prioritize your own needs over the needs of others.


Type 3: The Achiever

As a Type 3, you deal with feelings of anxiety and stress when you feel like you are not meeting your goals or living up to your own expectations. You may also deal with feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt when you compare yourself to others or feel like you need to be the best version of yourself at all times.

Type 4: The Individualist


As a Type 4, you are driven by a desire to be unique and special. You may struggle with feelings of sadness when you feel like you don't fit in or when you feel like others don't understand you. You may also have a hard time with feelings of envy and jealousy when you compare yourself to others.

Type 5: The Investigator


As a Type 5, you may have feelings of isolation and detachment from others. You have a strong desire for knowledge and understanding but may struggle with expressing your emotions and connecting with others emotionally. The fear of being vulnerable often comes up when you feel like you are being asked to share too much of yourself.

Type 6: The Loyalist

As a Type 6, you have a strong desire for a sense of security and stability but may find it hard to trust others and feel secure in your relationships. You may also struggle with self-doubt and indecisiveness when making important decisions.


Type 7: The Enthusiast

As a Type 7, you are driven by a desire for new experiences and excitement. You may deal with FOMO (fear of missing out) or anxiety and restlessness when you feel like you are not experiencing enough or when you feel trapped in a routine. You may also struggle with pain and sadness when you avoid negative emotions and experiences.

Type 8: The Challenger


As a Type 8, you are okay with feelings of anger and aggression. You have a strong desire for control and may struggle with feeling vulnerable or powerless in certain situations. You may become uncomfortable when you allow yourself to be emotionally open and exposed.

Type 9: The Peacemaker


As a Type 9, you are driven by a desire for harmony and peace. Conflict and tension are the worst! You don't enjoy it when you feel like your needs are not being met or when others are not getting along. You may also deal with feelings of numbness and detachment when you avoid conflict and difficult emotions.


Enneagram Types and Their Childhood Wounds

sad child with a band aid

Let's explore each type's unique childhood wounds.


As a Type 1, you may have experienced the message that it's not okay to make mistakes. You may have felt like you had to be perfect to earn love and approval. This can lead to a strong inner critic and a tendency to judge yourself and others harshly.


If you're a Type 2, you may have experienced the message that your own feelings and needs didn't matter. You may have felt like you had to be helpful and accommodating to earn love and approval. This can lead to a tendency to neglect your own needs and focus on others to the point of burnout.


As a Type 3, you may have experienced the message that your worth was based on your achievements. You may have felt like the only way to be worthy of love was if you were successful. This can lead to a tendency to prioritize work over relationships. Failure is not an option for you!


If you're a Type 4, you may have experienced the message that something was missing or flawed about you. You may have felt like you had to be unique and special to be loved. This can lead to a tendency to feel misunderstood and to struggle with feelings of envy and sadness.


As a Type 5, you may have experienced the message that your needs were a burden. You may have felt like you had to be self-sufficient and knowledgeable to be loved. This can lead to a tendency to withdraw from others into your own mental realm, to struggle with feelings of isolation, and to research information to no end.


If you're a Type 6, you may have experienced the message that the world is not a safe place. You may have felt like you had to be loyal and obedient to receive real love. This can lead to a tendency to seek security, struggle with anxiety, and trust your own instincts.

As a Type 7, you may have experienced the message that pain and discomfort felt selfish and were to be avoided at all costs. You may have felt like you had to be upbeat and optimistic to earn love and approval. This can lead to a tendency to avoid difficult emotions and to struggle with boredom, restlessness, and numbing pain.


If you're a Type 8, you may have experienced the message that vulnerability was a weakness. You may have felt like you had to be strong and in control to be loved. This can lead to a tendency to dominate others and struggle with vulnerability and trust.

As a Type 9, you may have experienced the message that your presence or opinion didn't matter. You may have felt like you had to be agreeable and easygoing to earn love. This can lead to a tendency to keep a low profile, avoid conflict, and struggle with assertiveness and true self-expression.

It's important to remember that these messages are not true and not set in stone. Healing is possible. By becoming aware of your Enneagram type and its associated childhood message, you can begin to work on healing and growth!


Coping Mechanisms for Each Type

A confused looking woman

As you learned about past wounds, you may have noticed that you developed coping mechanisms to deal with the pain and trauma. These coping mechanisms can be both positive and negative, depending on how you use them. Here's a look at how each Enneagram type copes with their past trauma:


As a Type 1, you may have developed a coping mechanism around control. You may feel that if you can control your environment, you can prevent mistakes from happening. This can be helpful in some situations, but it can also be limiting. It's important to recognize when your need for control is hindering your growth.


As a Type 2, you may have developed a coping mechanism around giving. You may feel that if you can give enough to others, they will reciprocate and be a source of love for you. While this can be a positive trait, it's important to recognize when you are over-giving and neglecting your own needs.

As a Type 3, you may have developed a coping mechanism around your image and achievement. You may feel that if you can accomplish enough, you will receive the validation and recognition you crave. It's important to recognize when your need for success comes from a place of insecurity and not genuine desire.

As a Type 4, you may have developed a coping mechanism around retreating and feeling alone. You may feel that if you can retreat into your own world, you can avoid the pain of feeling misunderstood or rejected. It's important to recognize when your need for retreat hinders your ability to connect with others.

As a Type 5, you may have developed a coping mechanism around being knowledgeable and controlling your environment. You may feel that if you can understand everything, you can prevent unpredictable events from happening. It's important to realize when your need for control is stopping you from connecting with others and experiencing life fully.


As a Type 6, you may have developed a coping mechanism for preparing for the worst-case scenario. You may feel that if you can anticipate every possible outcome, you can prevent bad events from happening. It's important to know when your need for control is stopping you from trusting yourself and others.

As a Type 7, you may have developed a coping mechanism around being distracted and avoiding emotional pain. You may feel that if you can keep yourself busy and entertained, you can avoid the pain of negative emotions. It's important to know when your need for distraction is hindering your ability to connect with your own emotions and others.

As a Type 8, you may have developed a coping mechanism around being in control and not showing vulnerability. You may feel that if you can control your environment and not show weakness, you can prevent others from hurting you. You need to learn when control is hindering your ability to connect with others and experience vulnerability.

As a Type 9, you may have developed a coping mechanism around avoiding conflict and pleasing others. You may feel that if you can keep the peace and make others happy, you can avoid the pain of conflict and rejection. It's important to be aware of when your need for peace is limiting your ability to stand up for yourself and your own desires.


The Role of Love and Affection in Childhood

a happy loving family sitting on the couch

Love and affection play a significant role in the development of Enneagram types. As a child, you may have felt a lack of love and affection from your parents or caregivers, which could have resulted in a childhood wound that still affects you today.


Some Enneagram types crave love, affection, and a look of approval more than others. For example, Type Two personalities seek admiration and intimacy from others, while Type Four personalities crave deep emotional connections. Understanding your Enneagram type can help you identify your specific needs for love and affection and work towards fulfilling them in healthy ways.

It's important to say that while love and affection are crucial for personal growth, they should not be relied upon as the sole source of validation. Enneagram types that rely too heavily on external validation may struggle with codependency and low self-esteem.

To cultivate a healthy relationship with love and affection, it's essential to practice self-love and self-compassion. This means treating yourself with kindness, understanding, and forgiveness, even when you make mistakes. By loving and accepting yourself, you can attract more love and affection into your life and build healthier relationships with others.


Trust and Fear

a sad lonely little boy

When it comes to the Enneagram, trust and fear play an essential role in each type's core wound. Understanding these two emotions can help you understand your Enneagram type's core motivations and fears.

Here are a few examples...


Enneagram Type One's childhood wound is the fear of making mistakes. This fear stems from a lack of trust in themselves and their abilities. They doubt their judgment and often feel they must be perfect to be accepted. As a result, they strive for perfection in everything they do, which can lead to burnout and self-criticism.

Enneagram Type Seven's childhood wound is the fear of being trapped or limited. They crave safety and security but fear that they will miss out on new experiences if they commit to one thing. This fear of missing out can lead to restlessness and impulsivity. They doubt their ability to make the right choices and often seek external validation.

Enneagram Type Eight's childhood wound is the fear of being vulnerable and abandoned. They fear that if they show any weakness, they will be taken advantage of or left alone. This fear can lead to a need for control and dominance in their relationships. They doubt others' intentions and often feel the need to protect themselves.

Enneagram Type Nine's childhood wound is the fear of conflict and separation. They fear that if they express their opinions or needs, they will be rejected and cause conflict. This fear can lead to a tendency to avoid confrontation and merge with others' opinions and desires. They doubt their ability to assert themselves and often feel overlooked or ignored.

Understanding the role of trust and fear in your Enneagram type's childhood wound can help you develop self-awareness and compassion for yourself. By acknowledging and addressing these fears, you can work towards true healing.

The Role of Instincts in Enneagram Types

the 3 Enneagram Subtypes chart

One important factor that the Enneagram considers is the role that instincts play in shaping each type. Instincts are the inner guidance that helps us navigate the world around us, and they are often referred to as "gut" or "body" instincts. It's important to recognize and understand these instincts to gain a deeper understanding of why we do the things we do.


There are three main instincts in the Enneagram system: self-preservation, social, and intimate (or one-to-one). Each instinct is associated with a different set of behaviors and motivations. Here's a brief overview of each instinct:

  • Self-preservation instinct: This instinct is focused on survival and self-care. People with strong self-preservation instincts are often concerned with their physical health, safety, and comfort. They may be attentive to their diet, exercise routine, and sleep habits. They may also be cautious and risk-averse, preferring to avoid situations that could be dangerous or harmful.

  • Social instinct: This instinct is focused on relationships and connection with others. People with strong social instincts are often concerned with fitting in, belonging, and being accepted by others. They may be very attuned to social norms and expectations and may be skilled at navigating social situations. They may also be very loyal and committed to their social groups.

  • One to One instinct: This instinct is focused on intimacy and connection with a partner. People who have strong sexual instincts are often concerned with finding a mate or partner whom they can connect with on a deep level. They may be very passionate and intense in their relationships and may be willing to take risks to pursue their desires.

Each Enneagram type has a dominant instinct that shapes their behavior and motivations. For example, Type One (the Perfectionist) is often associated with a strong self-preservation instinct. Type Two (the Helper) is often associated with a strong social instinct. Type Eight (the Challenger) is often associated with a strong, intimate instinct.


Learning more about your Enneagram subtype can help identify areas where you may be over- or under-emphasizing certain instincts, leading to imbalances or difficulties in your life.

In general, the Enneagram system emphasizes the importance of balancing all three instincts to enjoy your life fully.


Conclusion


By identifying your childhood wound, you can work towards healing and overcoming the negative patterns that may have developed as a result.


It is important to note that while your childhood wound may have contributed to the development of specific traits, it does not define you as a person.


You are a complex and multifaceted individual who can change and grow.

Frequently Asked Questions


What are some common childhood wounds for Enneagram types?


For example, Enneagram type 1 may experience hypercriticism, type 2 may feel like their needs are not important, type 3 may feel like only their performance or accomplishments matter more than they do, type 4 may feel abandoned, type 5 may lack affection or intimacy, type 6 may feel unsafe, type 7 may lack nurturance, type 8 may lack vulnerability, and type 9 may feel neglected. (PsychReel)


What impact do childhood wounds have on Enneagram types?


Childhood wounds can have a significant impact on Enneagram types. They can influence how individuals view themselves, their relationships, and the world around them. They can also shape their habits, behaviors, and coping mechanisms. (Psychology Junkie)


How do Enneagram types cope with childhood wounds?


Enneagram types cope with childhood wounds in different ways. Some may develop defense mechanisms, such as denial or repression, while others may seek out validation or overcompensate for their perceived weaknesses. (Truity)


What role do parents play in Enneagram childhood wounds?


Parents can play a significant role in Enneagram childhood wounds. They may unintentionally or intentionally reinforce negative messages or behaviors that contribute to a child's wounds. However, it's important to note that not all childhood wounds are caused by parents, and individuals can heal from their wounds regardless of their source. (Enneagram Gift)


How can Enneagram types heal from childhood wounds?


Enneagram types can heal from childhood wounds by acknowledging and addressing their wounds, identifying their triggers and defense mechanisms, developing self-compassion and self-awareness, seeking therapy or counseling, and practicing self-care. (Enneagram Gift)


What are some signs that Enneagram childhood wounds are affecting an individual's life?


Signs that Enneagram childhood wounds are affecting an individual's life can include difficulty forming and maintaining relationships, fear of rejection or failure, self-doubt or low self-esteem, perfectionism, people-pleasing, and difficulty expressing emotions. (Psychology Junkie)


We're near the end of this blog post, but before I end it, I want to share something with you all.

a picture of me when I was a child
A picture of me when I was a child

The picture above is a picture of me when I was a child. If you have a picture of when you were a child, find it. That innocent child looking back at you was brave, smart, and fearless. If they could tell you one thing today, they would say, "I'm so proud of how far you've come."


A huge part of healing involves nurturing and loving that inner child.


I suggest placing that photograph somewhere within reach, like your bathroom mirror or on your nightstand, so that you can see it every day. It will serve as a reminder of how far you have come and how much further you are destined to go.


I hope after reading this blog post, you understand how important acknowledging your Enneagram childhood wound is and how it can help you heal, grow, and live the beautiful, fulfilling life that you deserve.


If the topic of childhood wounds is something you want to learn more about, let's have a conversation. Click on the "Book Now" button below to schedule an appointment with me.


If you would like to start your Enneagram journey by taking a free test, check out the best free Enneagram test to get started.




A sad child holding a teddy bear

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