Enneagram and Inner Saboteurs: How To Coach Your Harshest Critics

Have you ever wanted to do something different but lack the courage to do it? 

Have you ever been stopped by your inner saboteur, telling you that you’re not good enough?

How do we get past that?

Often times, your inner saboteur sounds like they know what’s best for you. They want you to work within your comfort zone just to be safe. And they do that by picking on your flaws and telling you that you’re not worth anything at all. More often than not, they shout loudly over your true self, who only wants you to be the best you can. 

So what do you do if you want to listen to your true self? 

Enneagram is a tool that helps you figure out why you’re not living your best life. It helps you unearth deeper layers of yourself; some of which you might not even want to acknowledge. It helps you face your biggest fears. Most importantly, it helps you fight your inner saboteur.

There are nine distinct types in Enneagram – each with their own personality and strengths; none better than the other. Each type displays positive and negative behaviors. Your job is to be as healthy as possible so that you can live a happy, fulfilling life. If you haven’t already, take our free, 3-minute assessment to find out your type.

Let’s take a look at your inner saboteur and how to fight them once and for all

Type 1 (Perfectionist)

Being the torch bearer for responsibility, ethics, and righteousness is not an easy task. You have incredibly high expectations for yourself and other people. Given that, you can be extremely hard on yourself and other people. 

Your inner saboteur tells you that you’re not doing the right thing; that your moral compass is broken. To fight it, you must silence it with resolution and perseverance. Trust that your instincts are right and that you’re doing the right thing. 

Another way to silence your inner saboteur is to ask for feedback from other people. As the person with the most justice in their blood, people look up to you for leadership. Ask a few trusted friends for feedback and trust their objectivity. 

Type 2 (Caregiver)

You are often caring to the point of self-sacrificial. But the reason for that might not be as altruistic as others might think. You crave love and acceptance. And you seem to think that the only way to get that is to be helpful to others. 


Because of this, your inner saboteur scorns you for being helpful only when you need to get your fix of love from other people. 

You tend to be self-sacrificial in an attempt to be liked. So working with your inner saboteur to keep that tendency in check might be a good idea for you. Use your inner saboteur as an entry point to see if you’re sweeping your own emotions and needs under the carpet to keep everyone else happy. 

Type 3 (Medalist)

You’re a natural-born hustler. You’re constantly moving towards success with your seemingly boundless energy. 

And for the most parts, it works. You’re an inspiration to your friends and family. They appreciate your hard work and they know how generous you are with mentorship. 

But deep down, you struggle with feeling like you’ve actually achieved what you look like you did. When people question you, your inner saboteur tells you that you’re an imposter; that you don’t deserve the admiration you gained from other people. It tells you that you’re lazy and you could have done so much better compared to the other, more successful person. 

Your true self is a person who yearns to connect with others. You genuinely want to make the world a better place, which is why you don’t shy away from giving solid advice to people to seek it. Your inner saboteur is diverting you away from your mission by focusing on other people’s superficial success. 

So the first thing you’ve got to do is to define what success is to you. When you’ve got that down, your tenacity and drive will drown out your inner saboteur.

Type 4 (Artist)

As a Four, you’re expressive and creative. You’re one-of-a-kind, which sometimes makes you feel sad because you don’t feel like you connect with other people. Deep down, you’re eager to forge sincere and personal connections with people around you. 

You often have to handle heavy emotions and brooding thoughts because of this constant tug of war between your individuality and your desire to connect. Your inner saboteur doesn’t make it easy for you to choose a side, either. It tells you that you can’t fit in because of your uniqueness and also tells you that you’re not unique at the same time. It makes it confusing for you to focus on your true self. 

To defeat your inner saboteur, you need to take a moment to process the conflicting feelings in you. It isn’t an easy feat, by any means. You need to hone into the tiny voice in your heart that gives you the direction to move forward. It is possible to be unique and connected at the same time.

Type 5 (Detective)

Your pursuit of knowledge makes one of the smartest people in the room. You’re analytical and logical with excellent insight into almost anything you’re interested in. Sometimes, you might even find it difficult to stop when you’re talking about the things you love. Other times, you just can’t seem to find words explain yourself.

This is because your inner saboteur tells you that you’re not smart enough. It doesn’t think you’re competent enough to share what you know to other people. 


Many Fives counter this by diverting the topic to something that they know. Even though it gives them a security blanket, it can be quite tiresome for people around you to listen to the same topic again and again. So instead of doing that, try reframing the situation to one of learning. And before you know it, you’ll have a new topic and new knowledge at your disposal.

Type 6 (Strategist)

You’re likable and loyal. More often than not, you bind everyone together with your foresight and trust. 

But under stress, you’re hyper-skeptical. Your inner saboteur is obsessed with keeping you safe. You start to question everything and become irritable. You begin to lose trust in your friends and family, people whom you’ve bonded with and know well. 

Anxiety is a normal human emotion, but for a Six to silence your inner saboteur, you have to learn to identify what makes you anxious. You need to learn to deal with this anxiety with people that you trust unconditionally. Even though it’s a difficult process, you’ll ultimately gain from it as you rebuild your feelings of trust and balance.

Type 7 (Explorer)

People gravitate towards you because of your fun energy. Your unending amount of hobbies and interests make you an interesting person to be around. You’re spontaneous and adventurous, always ready for a fun dose of excitement.

Whenever you sit down to finish something, your inner saboteur tells you that you should be spontaneous; that you have to be adventurous. That’s why you don’t seem to be able to see anything to the end. 


At your best, you always see projects through, by someone else if not you. To get there, you need to identify your impulses. At the core of it, you want to be happy, not to scatter about like headless chickens. Managing impulses would be a good place to start since you tend to be easily distracted. 

Type 8 (Fighter)

Your self-confidence and authority can be intimidating to some. But at the crux of it, you’re an advocate for underdogs and you’re not afraid to demonstrate what you can do. 

When you’re vulnerable, your inner saboteur tells you to get yourself together and be stronger. Because of this tendency, you might end up sealing away your vulnerable side for good and pushing everyone away from you. It’s great if you truly don’t want it, but deep down, you crave to be connected with other people. You want to be vulnerable with someone who wouldn’t hurt you.

The first step towards overriding your inner saboteur is to remember that the world isn’t against you. You don’t have to put on a tough front all the time. People love and look up to you no matter what. All you need to do is to let in the affection and let yourself be loved.

Type 9 (Diplomat)

Nines excel at understanding different viewpoints and creating a point of mediation between conflicting perspectives. But sometimes, as a result of that, you don’t take yourself into account. 

Your inner saboteur is all about balance, even if it is at the expense of your well – being. At your worst, you strive for harmony no matter the cost. Because of that, you fade into the background or withdraw into yourself to keep yourself sane and calm. 


Your tendency to drift into the distance keeps you away from being present to people you love. To counter that, you have to actively exert yourself. No matter how unpleasant it is, you have to take note of your feelings and emotions, your anxieties and aggression, as well as other feelings that you have to sort through. Sometimes keeping the peace means embracing all of yourself.

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