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Stress Triggers of Enneagram 1 and Coping Style

Stress Triggers of Enneagram 1 and Coping Style

Updated on Jan 10, 2023 | Published on Jan 02, 2023

Reviewed by Dr. Nereida Gonzalez-Berrios, MD , Certified Psychiatrist

Stress Triggers of Enneagram 1 and Coping Style

The stress triggers of Enneagram 1 show that Type Ones become resentful and annoyed under anxious and stressful circumstances. Their sensitivity to criticism will increase, and they may try to blame others for the circumstances they are facing around them. 

People with enneagram 1 are perfectionists; therefore they may feel stressed out in circumstances that are against their wishes or preferences. These individuals will look more like an enneagram 4 in times of stress. 

Their impulsivity will increase and they may lose touch base with their own emotional maturity. Enneagram type 1 will behave in odd ways that are not their usual type characteristics.

In this think piece, we will discuss the various factors that can cause them emotional discomfort and what they do to bust the triggers.

Let’s get our basics clear right away…

Stress Triggers of Enneagram Type 1 Personalities

We have all experienced stress and mental pressure in varied forms in our daily lives. An enneagram 1 is just another human, and it’s obvious that there could be factors that can irritate them, or make them anxious in no time.

Under the grip of stress, Enneagram 1s will suffer a disintegration of their natural abilities and tend to behave more like another enneagram type. They will overthink the expectations of others around them.

 Moreover, they will expect others to resolve the issue but in vain. People with type 1s may feel overwhelmed that others are a bit too lazy and don’t appear as good as they were earlier. From all these, it seems clear that an unhealthy enneagram 1 is critical, abusive, and prefers to exhibit behaviors that are completely unlike them.

Their stress triggers of enneagram 1s are varied. They may feel stressed out if they find their actions and hard work getting dismissed in some ways and they’re unable to accomplish their goal. If somebody dismisses their values and moral judgments, Type Ones can feel the air in the room quite heavy and uncomfortable.

The stress triggers could be anything that doesn’t resonate with their mental well-being and can really overwhelm them in no time. 

When Enneagram Ones are stressed out, they may resort to their unhealthy personality traits and behave more like an enneagram 4. These perfectionists will become freaky, toxic, and critical of others’ opinions and decision-making. 

They may also kickstart a blame game with fellow friends, relatives, and even colleagues. Sometimes, they may even blame and scapegoat the situation that has given rise to their overwhelming emotional impulsivity, anger, and annoyance.

Under stress, Enneagram Ones will tend to become more perfect, and will not leave an inch of space for mistakes and imperfections. They will become short-tempered and abusive as well. Mood swings, irritability, and intolerance for change will begin to appear in their day-to-day behavior.

Enneagram Ones will lose touch with their healthy feelings completely and may appear irrational and illogical from all ends. Another behavior that they show under stressful circumstances is they behave like someone else as if their core personality traits have been mistyped with some other enneagram number. 

Type Ones may also withdraw from the source of stress. They will internalize their negative feelings and burn deep inside. They will also feel out of place and isolated, as such resorts to a lot of procrastination and loses focus of the goal that they were about to accomplish.

So, under the grip of stress, Enneagram 1s can either internalize their feelings and withdraw from the source of stress or they’ll externalize and act out in unhealthy ways in the form of criticism of ‘self’ and others, showing anger directly to people and situations, getting into verbal fights with people around them, and much more. 

Both forms of reactions and responses can occur one at a time or co-exist in an enneagram type 1 under stressful circumstances. Both are true actually!


Signs of stress in enneagram 1

There are several signs that suggest that an Enneagram 1 is feeling stressed out. 

  • They will become more critical of themselves and others.
  • Impatience is not uncommon.
  • Impulsivity and nervousness in daily work
  • Becoming more resentful day by day
  • Appears emotionally distant
  • The smallest inconveniences can bother them immensely
  • Tends to correct others frequently even when it is not needed
  • Type Ones may think everyone else is lazy and laid-back and they are only doing everything
  • May take up unnecessary reorganization tasks
  • Enneagram Ones will not be able to silence their inner critic.

The 10 stress triggers

There are several factors that can cause stress in enneagram Ones. Some of them are discussed briefly:

1. Lazy and irresponsible people

If you expect enneagram 1 to keep calm amongst unproductive, lazy, and irresponsible people, then you’re highly mistaken. These individuals cannot tolerate those who fail to keep up their normal standards of work and ethical practices. 

Enneagram One is highly devoted and responsible as far as their daily work is concerned. Therefore, they hate those who are lazy and unproductive or people who procrastinate and lose out on their valuable time.

They cannot work with such people and will feel anxious and frustrated being in such a situation. It can stress them out in no time.

2. Action has not been taken to meet the goal

When Enneagram Ones see that people around them are procrastinating and not taking any necessary actions, they will feel stressed out in no time. These individuals will start feeling anxious about pending work.

They’re organized and serious about their work, so anything that interferes with their perfectionist tendencies can tear them out easily.

3. Feels shameful of their mistakes

Type Ones are hard and harsh on themselves. They will not feel good after making mistakes. Any small imperfections from their own side can make them question their self-worth.

They will start suffering from poor self-esteem and tend to blame the ‘self’ for their mistakes. Shame and guilt tend to work together in Type Ones after making even a small error.

4. Not living by the rules of the book

Enneagram 1s are driven by values and perfection. Thus, if they fall short of their expected standards in terms of performance or goal accomplishment, they will feel stressed out in no time.

These individuals will prefer to abide by the rules of work completely; otherwise, they feel anxious about their abilities. This insecurity can give rise to anxiousness and dissatisfaction about the ‘self’ and others. 

5. Being taken for granted

Enneagram Ones are quite serious about their work and they actually become responsible employees in an organization. However, they feel bad when others try to overwhelm them with more work, or perhaps when they are taken for granted. In certain working setups, Enneagram Ones will be pressured for their good work. 

Their colleagues and hierarchy managers can use their dedication and perseverance in negative ways. This can stress them out in no time. Type Ones will appear resentful and frustrated. Impulsivity and lack of emotional control seem probable at this stage.

6. Messy setups

Enneagram Ones are highly organized and structured in their daily lives. Their homes are always neat and in order. Their office desk is well-organized and their daily planner remains in perfect structure as always.

These people cannot work in messy working conditions where things are not in order. If they face such a situation at home or elsewhere, they will show their annoyance instantly. 

People with Type 1 personality may act out their anger outwardly if they’re forced to be in unorganized work setups. Their sense of perfection will be hampered, eventually leading to more frustration and irritability.

7. Corruption and societal malpractices

Enneagram Ones are bound with strong ethics and values. Therefore, they cannot tolerate unfair practices and corruption going on in this world. They feel immensely bad and cannot tolerate atrocities done toward the weaker sections of the community. 

These situations can put mental pressure on them. They tend to suffer from mood swings, anxiety, and annoyance because of this situation. When Ones find that they cannot do anything to change society’s way of living, their frustration increases, and their mental health and happiness decrease to a great extent.

8. Hypocrisy

When someone pretends to have a lot of moral compasses but fails to show it through their words and actions, Enneagram 1s can get really mad on this. They will feel extreme anger deep inside and may also externally manifest those feelings over a period of time.

Enneagram 1 is driven by values and authenticity. Thus, hypocrisy irritates them mentally and makes them feel annoyed if it continues to work around them at home or the workplace.

9. People being late

Enneagram 1s are grounded and pragmatic but hate being late for an event, or for office work. They are overcautious about time and thus fail to deal with people who intentionally get late for work. They hate excuses given for the same by those irresponsible people who do not value time. 

When others are late for work or for an important assignment that requires urgent attention, type Ones may start to yell, or externalize their angry feelings through some other means. These individuals are punctual and expect a similar form of seriousness and a time-friendly attitude from others.

10. Their own perfectionism

Sometimes their own perfectionist tendencies can take a toll on their mental health. Enneagram Ones have set a very high standard for themselves.

As such, anything shorter than their expectations can make them feel irritable in no time. Moreover, they will start correcting themselves in harsh ways, overwhelming themselves with some more rigidity than before. 

This constant turmoil of correcting oneself at every step can lower their self-esteem. Their self-image will appear insecure and tarnished as well. Their critical inner voice gets busy in finding faults and stresses them out every now and then.


How does Enneagram 1 cope with stress?

Coping with stress is an individual art and no two people do it in the same way. Enneagram 1s are perfectionists and this mental pressure is well enough to stress them out even if there are no environmental variables present to cause them emotional discomfort. 

There are certain lifestyle changes and attitude changes that need to be done by perfectionists to overcome stress.

1. Check in with your internal state every time you’re feeling stressed out

Type One is capable of taking on much more work than others can even think of. Being hard-working people, they will stretch their limits every now and then and will overload themselves with efficiency and perfection. Their daily chores can cause a lot of mental pressure on them. 

Whenever they are feeling internal discomfort, they should do a thorough self-check to know the various daily issues bothering them and how they can make the necessary lifestyle changes that would be helpful to overcome the stress triggers.

Enneagram 1s will have to find out realistic ways and leave aside their perfectionist tendencies so as to feel better about themselves and others. 

Nurturing flexibility and time-out is essential for them. They should avoid taking up unnecessary commitments also so that their too perfectionist tendencies can rest in peace for some time.

2. Celebrate your little accomplishments

Enneagram 1s should know how to celebrate their tiny joys as well. Sometimes, they put so much emphasis on perfection that they tend to dismiss what they have achieved. They overwhelm themselves with something much more and never feel happy about their accomplishments. 

Their inner critic is nitpicky and tends to find faults all the time. Enneagram 1s should stop putting pressure on themselves and give themselves a break whenever needed. They should learn to recognize their good side so that the imperfections appear silly and not important ones.

3. Seek help from others

Being an individual contributor, enneagram 1s dislikes taking help from others. They may overload themselves with both necessary and unnecessary commitments and may feel tired and exhausted. 

To avoid this burnout, they should seek help from friends, family, and co-workers in trying times. Type 1s should realize the fact that asking for help is not bad, rather it makes them feel realized and refreshed. 

As they are tempted to do things on their own, they take much more burden than what they can actually handle in reality. In such a situation, it is important for them to ask for assistance from people who are eager to lend their helping hands.

Sometimes, type Ones can become obsessed with tiny details that are otherwise unnecessary. These attitudinal changes need to be done to keep them in perfect mental health.

4.  Meditation

Meditation is a healthy tool to unwind and rejuvenate your lost spirits. This mindfulness practice will unplug you from your daily chaos and you will feel in control of your inner being. Meditation induces calmness and provides a deep peace that ensures emotional control and maturity. 

The regular practice of meditation can relax your body muscles, ensures better quality sleep, and ensures a relaxed mental state.


To Sum Up

Under the impact of stress, enneagram 1s will become out of place. Their behavior patterns would depict a lot of anxiety and nervousness. They may also feel alone and walk along the path of perfection for no obvious reason. 

Stress can impact their physical and mental health. They may also suffer from unexplained body aches, headaches, and other physical ailments because of the mental pressure they are going through.

Enneagram 1s should learn the various ways of relaxation. This will keep their perfectionist tendencies at bay and they will get more time to take care of their physical and mental health.