What Role Do You Play in Your Family?

You can pick your friends and intimate partners, but you can't pick your family.

What does the Enneagram have to say about the role each type typically takes in their family?

In my newest (and currently favorite) Enneagram book The Modern Enneagram, Kacie Berghoef and Melanie Bell share typical roles for each type. Their explanations can help you understand an important social aspect of your personality. 

Enneagram Type One Reformer

  • Ones fill the role of family perfectionist, fulfilling parents' expectations to the letter or instilling values and standards in their children.  

Enneagram Type Two Helper

  • Two fairly into the role of family helper, pleasing their parents or diligently looking after their children's needs. 

Enneagram Type Three Achiever

  • Threes fulfill the role of family star, embodying their parents' values and dreams or encouraging their kids to succeed. 

Enneagram Type Four Individualist

  • Fours shed light on the family's problems, encouraging their loved ones to address difficult familial shadows. 

Enneagram Type Five Investigator

  • Fives prefer to have some space from family dynamics, and seek the role of family expert in areas of interested. 

Enneagram Type Six Loyalist

  • Sixes move between building family unity and rebelling against the family unit. They're often rebellious children and protective parents. 

Enneagram Type Seven Enthusiast

  • Sevens fill the role of family cheerleader, bringing smiles to family members and seeking to minimize pain. 

Enneagram Type Eight Challenger

  • Eights become family protectors, exerting power as children or parents and taking on responsibility for loved ones. 

Enneagram Type Nine Mediator

  • Nines act as family peacemakers, mediating conflicts between parents and children and refusing to take sides. 


1. How does the suggested role for your type line up with your experience?

2. Can you see others in your family taking on these roles? Does this list give you any hints into their type? Into the contours of their personality?

3. Are you satisfied with your role? Are there aspects of other roles you see yourself taking, or long to take?


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