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Self-Preservation 1 In Detail

Anger in the Preservation Sphere

In the E1, the passion of Anger combined with the SP instinct turns the anger against oneself. The Anger of the SP1 is then transformed into worrying about not being perfect. They feel as if they have to be perfect to survive. This 1 is the most perfectionistic, as well as the 1 that hides their anger the most, often you will find this subtype turning their anger outward into warmth, he does not want to let his anger show through. They can feel dirty or that they have a lot to improve in themselves, which gives them an excess of extra pressure. However it is also not uncommon to see these people being extremely critical, both to themselves and to the outer world.

Ichazo called SP1 "Anxiety", someone who is constantly worrying about not being perfect[1], someone with a compulsive need for self-perfection which results in constant worrying about not meeting those perfect standards.[2] Naranjo says that Anger in the Preservation sphere results in "warm" assertiveness, which is justified through good conduct, a "virtue" that could not be claimed without a corresponding self-demand.[2]

Claudio Naranjo's Self-Preservation 1 Description[3]

E1 Conservation (Self-Preservation) – Worry

Ichazo called anguish to the passion characteristic of the one conservation. However, he preferred to use the word worry. It could be said, in fact, that in this type of person concern is a real passion. And it's not just behavior that can be described as worrying too much — or even feeling a need to worry — but they worry about things that are okay, and sometimes spoil what they touch by trying to fix what doesn't need fixing. This need to worry can be understood as an exaggerated need for foresight and to have everything under control, in turn motivated by a fear that its survival or conservation will be threatened.

In reality, the image he has of himself is that of being too imperfect and that is why his activity becomes a constant and obsessive improvement of himself. His anger, on the other hand, hides behind a friendly benevolence and an attitude of service that does not allow his anger and resentment to show through. That is, it transforms his anger into goodwill.

Sandra Maitri's Self-Preservation 1 Description[4]

1+Self-Preservation – Anxiety

The satisfaction of their basic needs becomes fraught with anxiety for Selfpreservation Ones. They have an underlying belief that they are not good enough to merit their needs being met, and because of this they worry in anticipation that something will go wrong and their survival will be endangered. This can become a self-fulfilling prophecy, causing them to take action preemptively or to do things badly out of their anxiety. Their passion of anger gets triggered if someone threatens their survival, a reflection of their deeper anger at themselves for not being perfect and so being unworthy of survival.

Beatrice Chestnut's Self-Preservation 1 Description

Self-Preservation 1 Subtype description (2021)[5]

This subtype experiences the most worry and anxiety and pursues perfection the most aggressively. They usually feel they have to be overly responsible from an early age, and so have a fear about survival. They are the most self-critical and least critical of others. They repress anger the most, and so don’t relate to being angry. Their anger leaks out as body tension, micromanagement, or resentment—or the need to control everything. They are, however, the warmest and friendliest subtype.

If this is your subtype, you maintain a high level of anxiety and worry about everything you do. But you never really feel that things turn out right enough, so you never really feel okay. You unconsciously repress anger to the point where you express its opposite—you appear very polite and friendly. You internalize the anger you repress so that it fuels self-criticism and becomes trapped in your body. You feel the need to control every detail of everything you do. You fret about making everything perfect all the time—including yourself. To grow, you will need to find ways to ease your anxiety and become more aware of your anger.

Self-Preservation 1 Subtype summary (2013)[8]

Self-Preservation Ones are the true perfectionists of the three Ones. They express the passion of anger through working hard to make themselves and the things they do more perfect. In this subtype, anger is the most repressed emotion; the defense mechanism of reaction formation transforms the heat of anger into warmth, resulting in a friendly and benevolent character.

Self-Preservation 1 Subtype description (2013)[8]

The Self-Preservation One: “Worry”

For the Self-Preservation One, anger is most repressed. To render their own anger less threatening, the mechanism of reaction formation transforms the heat of anger into warmth. And this is a major shift—an angry person disconnecting from his anger to become a gentle, supportive person with good intentions. In this subtype, the anger of the One, together with defenses against that anger, manifest as good intentions, perfectionism, heroic efforts, obedience to rules, and an obsessive striving for perfection.

The outward result is an excessively gentle, decent, and kind person. In the quest to perfect themselves, Self-Preservation Ones believe it’s bad to be angry and so make a virtue of being tolerant, forgiving, and sweet whenever possible. Underneath, these Ones are very angry, but they control it. Under pressure, however, this One’s anger may leak out as irritation, resentment, frustration, or self-righteousness.

The Self-Preservation One worries a lot. This subtype has a need for foresight, a desire to plan everything out, and a compulsion to try to have everything under control. Self-Preservation Ones often had a chaotic family history where they had to provide the stability, even as young children. These Ones were usually the most responsible person in the family. Perhaps because their survival felt threatened by out-of-control elements in their early environment, this subtype has a lot of anxiety. They lack confidence that things will go as they should, so they display an excessive sense of responsibility that takes the form of worrying and fussing, even when things are going well.

This One has an ongoing sense that anything could go wrong at any minute unless they are on high alert to make sure that things happen as they should. This One also has a faulty sense of security with regard to survival and an implicit anxiety about things not going well and the consequences of failure. Self-Preservation Ones can sometimes let go of worrying if they become convinced there is nothing they can do about a situation, but it is difficult for them to stop being vigilant if there is something they can do to have an effect on the situation.

This tendency toward feeling anxious and constantly on guard can, in some cases, trigger obsessive-compulsive defenses; that is, Self-Preservation Ones can become obsessive in their thinking and compulsive or ritualistic in their behaviors as they attempt to reduce anxiety by thinking certain thoughts or engaging in certain behaviors. The SelfPreservation One does so to gain a sense of control over what is happening, and through gaining a sense of control, finally be able to relax. However, there are so many things to be done and worried about that this One is rarely able to relax. This subtype is the epitome of a true perfectionist, as they are especially hard on themselves if they don’t get things right. As Naranjo points out, Self-Preservation Ones have difficulty loosening their need for control and allowing for a flow to happen. Instead they feel compelled to insert themselves if necessary, to make sure every important detail gets scrutinized and perfected. The quest to do the right thing or to find the perfect solution is how the Self-Preservation One finds safety.

The title of “worry” was given to this type as a descriptive label because they have a passion, or a strong emotional compulsion, to worry or fret. And more than having frequent worry as a character trait, the Self-Preservation One feels an insatiable drive to fret. Self-Preservation Ones typically experience three convergent aspects of this “worry/fret” drive. Constant fretting is used to 1) attain perfection, however small; or 2) avert misfortune, however large; or 3) free themselves from blame, however slight.

Anger lies beneath the fretting and constitutes this One’s early response to having to worry in the first place. The young Self-Preservation One cannot allow himself to be conscious of his anger, as the experience of anger (or overwhelming frustration) itself represents a threat to the child who takes on too much too early. However, older SelfPreservation Ones are usually plenty angry and this anger shapes the personality in adulthood.

In relationships, Self-Preservation Ones demonstrate a sensitivity to being criticized and can become very angry when they feel blamed. In times of conflict, these Ones can be self-righteous, rigid, and unyielding. They tend to own up to their failings (sometimes too readily) and are forgiving when others admit guilt or apologize. Partners can feel criticized and held to impossibly high standards, but can also count of Self-Preservation Ones to be extremely reliable and trustworthy.

Self-Preservation Ones can get confused with Type Sixes, especially Social Sixes, who have characteristics that make them look One-ish, like black-and-white thinking and obedience to rules and authorities, or Self-Preservation Sixes, who also feel an underlying sense of anxiety and insecurity. What differentiates the Self-Preservation One from the fear-based Six, however, is the central, though mostly unconscious, role of the One’s passion of anger. Sixes are motivated by fear and doubt as opposed to resentment. Self-Preservation Ones continually ask the question: “Why am I always the one working to improve reality, when it benefits all of us to try to make things right or better?” Sixes, by contrast, are preoccupied with coping with anxiety. Ones also have more confidence in the standards of perfection they apply, whereas Sixes continually doubt whether or not what they do is “right.”

Self-Preservation 1 Subtype interview

Haiki Self-Preservation 1 Description[6]

Self-Preservation One: Worry

In this case, we are looking at the most perfectionistic and anxious One. The passion for anger turns into an excessive attachment to control and “I have to/I must” thinking patterns, which evidently makes this subtype suffer a lot. They live in an almost constant state of anxiety. Their worry focuses on ensuring that everything will go well, and what “well” means to them will be more than well for everyone else. They do not have a normal measuring stick. They are very farsighted and want situations under their control. However, they are not able to see that everything is good as is and that they are merely in constant improvement mode. They can feel dirty or that they have a lot to improve in themselves, which gives them an excess of extra pressure. They tend to hide their anger, worry, and control, wasting time trying to make it seem like something it isn’t.

In the words of Claudio Naranjo, “We could say that this is effectively a person where worry becomes a true passion. And this is not just talking about a behavior that could be described as worrying too much, but rather that they worry about things that are already good, and sometimes end up losing what they are trying to fix because it didn’t need to be fixed in the first place. This need to worry so much can also be understood as an exaggerated need for foresight and having everything under control, simultaneously motivated by a fear that their survival seems threatened.”

They accumulate a lot of energy trying to appear like an almost perfect person. They tend to always be physically tense and sometimes this can even make them feel like they have physical illnesses. Also, they can sometimes seem quite emotional. With this being said, in the same way that Social Sixes end up mistyping themselves as Ones, a lot of Self-Preservation Ones can mistype as Sixes. This is because, at first look, we cannot see the anger Self-Preservation Ones carry inside, as they just seem like people who look for control and security.

Additionally, the Self-Preservation Ones seems quite reasonable and coherent, with an air about them that seems Three-ish (definitely not Social). It could seem that if we did not know they were emotionally more dead than alive, they would have little to change. They are the most affable and friendly of all Ones since they deeply mask their anger. They are very hard-working, down to earth people. This being said, they are extremely critical to things they do not care for.

To Claudio Naranjo, Aristotle was a good example of a Self-Preservation One: a more down-to-earth philosopher who had an immense influence on his disciples.

Carmen Durán and Antonio Catalán's Self-Preservation 1 Description[7]

SP1: Worry -> Control

In this subtype, anger is transformed into a constant worry about everyone and everything, into a worry that masks aggression, because it gives them the right to intervene in others’ lives, in an imperial need to have everything under control. It is because of this need that we propose the term “Control.” It possesses a strong component of anxiety, insecurity, and preoccupation ensuring that nothing bad happens to them or their loved ones. Maintaining control is a guarantee that nothing bad will happen. Control is related to doing things right, as if it underlies a magic belief about things badly done being catastrophic, while things well done give a type of guarantee. Life will respect me if I do things well. Control, justified by worry, is the distorted form of demonstrating love.


[1] Lilly J. C. & Hart J. E. (1975), The Arica Training

[2] Naranjo, C. (2017). "Ensayos sobre psicología de los eneatipos"

[3] Naranjo, C. (2012). "27 personajes en busca del ser"

[4] Maitri, S. (2001). "The Spiritual Dimension of the Enneagram"

[5] Chestnut, B. (2021). "The Enneagram Guide to Waking Up"

[6] The Haiki Enneagram Website (Link To Subtype Translations)

[7] Durán, C. and Catalán, A. (2009). "Los engaños del carácter y sus antídotos"

[8] Chestnut, B. (2021). "The Complete Enneagram"

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