Skip to main content

Self-Preservation 9 In Detail

Sloth in the Preservation Sphere

Satisfying one's own hungers is the driving force of the conservation subtype of the E9. Laziness here manifests ironically, it is a substitution of nonessential satisfactions for those that he really needs. Often you can see an E9 immersing themselves in activities just to narcotize, activities such as eating, sleeping, playing games, sports, reading etc. Because of their sloth, they lose spirituality and a touch with their inner self, which can lead them acting irrationally, without clear defined actions other than just chasing physical stimulation. In short, this type has a duality between forgetting themselves through activities and a drive to ensure the most basic survival.

Ichazo called SP9 "Appetite", someone who has a passion to satisfy his own hungers[1], a constant stimuli that compensates for the registration of one's necessities.[2] Naranjo described this more in depth, conservational sloth results in carelessness about one's own survival needs, this then manifests as lack of awareness of what's actually needed, so the need for survival is replaced with a constant longing for comfort, food, distractions, sleep and other sensory stimuli.[2]

Trait Structure[3]


It is repeated in the life of the conservation E9 letting things happen (God will provide), and a lack of determination and diligence when facing the day to day. This strategy is based on the idea that there is something bigger that decides for you what has to happen or not. In this surrender there is a part of acceptance that can be considered healthy and even wise, and at the same time, a harmful resignation that is the essence of this lazy personality unable to act according to their own desires and needs.


Acidia or laziness leads you to postpone more intimate relationships with loved ones (siblings, friends ), prevents you from developing affection, respect, fraternity, and ends up causing distance with those people who are really important to you. In reality, the experience or the sense of not existing and not seeing oneself is reflected in a difficulty in feeling the existence of the other; don't see it. Loneliness and frustration then appear.

Positive in imagination

Reading love stories and watching romantic comedies or dramas replace the love that does not live; it is as if he lived the life of others and was already satisfied seeing that they are happy even though he is not; that gives him the possibility of thinking that although he lacks love today, then someday it will be possible.

Emotionally blunted

The conservation E9 does not tolerate, in the long run, the intensity of emotions. Feeling too much is dangerous; there is the fear of losing control, fear of something that he does not know about himself, and that produces anxiety. He fears what he might discover and show if he follows the intensity and goes deeper. 

Showing yourself without fear of judgment leads to the assumption that the more you show, the more you feel. And there is less need for the other, to the point of ending up not needing it, with the implicit risk of being left alone. Too much pain could kill him or lead him to kill, too much pleasure could make him feel and come off as lustful, too much joy could make him feel childish and inadequate, and too much joy could make him feel shallow and, above all, selfish.

You have no confidence in your emotions and thoughts. You do not believe that what you feel, think, or want is fair, and following your impulses without the approval of the world can be dangerous. Basically, there is the confusion between being and not being, plus the fear of rejection or indifference. On the one hand, he needs to believe in himself, but if the world does not give him confirmation, he cannot exist. In order not to conflict or create problems, give up and adapt.

Physically confident

Trusts his body a lot and its ability to always respond to the maximum; he is his guarantee of survival and the machine with which to face difficulties. He must always feel healthy; if the body is wrong, it feels betrayed.

Stubborn and Reactive

To support your reasoning you need a lot of anger and energy. He already starts with the shotgun loaded because he doesn't really trust them; he always thinks they will make him look stupid, childish, or out of place and therefore inappropriate. When he argues and does not feel heard, he automatically raises his voice: if he shouts, the other is forced to hear him.  In reality, it is a way of giving energy to reasoning that cannot be sustained assertively; he thinks that the other does not understand him because he does not want to listen to him. He doesn't feel recognized and that makes him feel bad; he feels invisible, he feels that for the other he does not exist.

Consequently, he is stubborn, does not easily recognize that he has made a mistake, and can cling to straws as long as he does not change his attitude or opinion. He stiffens because he feels between a rock and a hard place and must defend himself. If he recognizes that the other is right, it is like abdicating himself and he is afraid of the power that he gives to the other over him; but he also knows that his renunciation of self-assertion is to betray himself in the name of “quiet and harmonious living.” Sustaining yourself in the conflict seems crazy to you and you say to yourself: “It's okay, whatever happens.” At first he feels anger but then anxiety, doubt and fear of being alone, and weakening his drive also come. In the end he becomes stubborn so as not to appear weak, to remain faithful to his ideas.

Kind and Insecure

He is friendly. You would like to present your ideas and have something to say, even if it is often only perfunctory, and you easily remain neutral in a discussion between friends or colleagues. If he starts talking, he can become verbose and passionate about what he says, expressing himself with emphasis and emotion. While he speaks, however, he is very attentive to the expressions of those who listen to him to know if they agree or not, and slips into the sentences words that ask for approval. If he perceives nonconformity, he quickly loses confidence and becomes deflated. To understand you need simple and clear words;  the right word is “frankness,” without detours or manipulations that make you lose your self-confidence. 

If you realize that a thought of yours, or an emotion, or a gesture, is approved and appreciated, that means that it is going well, and then it becomes a point of strength that you use repeatedly, because it acquires the value of recognition. It can be recognized in him, through him it exists for the world. This compensates for the feeling of insecurity and the threat of rejection that he experiences when he shows himself, which is part of the crazy idea that it is not correct, from the outset.

Resistant to change

He has a need for certainty and it takes an effort to accept change, which raises questions on reality: he fears not knowing how to orient himself any other way; trying another path may mean getting lost, and you lack confidence in your ability to find the resources to protect yourself. He suffers change by resisting like a storm: just wait for it to pass; it remains like a reed that folds but does not break and adapts. He is afraid of what is different, afraid of not knowing how to be up to change, afraid that the situation will overwhelm him because he does not understand it. He learns not to desire in order to survive, and every change, even those he considers positive, is experienced as destabilizing.

Other conservation E9s, although they crave change, seek it through superfluous modifications, or else wait for it to happen on its own. They easily give up their desire, not only to avoid conflict but also to save themselves frustration. This character knows the polarity of opposites, but does not accept that they can coexist instead of canceling each other out. It is an emotional rigidity that is born from the sensation of insecurity, of danger, of not knowing what to believe, and of the habit of giving more value to what the world says than to what you feel inside. White is a certainty, and so is black, but if they get mixed up, he no longer knows how to recognize them.

Voracious in inertia

There is an unconscious voracity for experiences and knowledge, but it lacks the internal drive that overcomes inertia to start the search. He harbors the illusion that he must see it from outside, like an illumination from above. He doesn't know how to search because he doesn't believe in his intuition or in his desire, he is afraid of making mistakes and, therefore, getting lost. He remains frustrated and subconsciously hungry. That is why he looks for the “extraordinary” that upsets everything, it frightens him and excites him to imagine something extraordinary, being amazed at what happens to him makes him come into contact with life;  it is the opposite of ordinary and activates desire.


Not knowing how to live in reality, he seeks escape routes. He is under the illusion that his kingdom is not of this world and that he can live in another. In his childhood escape from reality instead of facing it, he lives the experience better with his eyes closed, with sensations that lead to another dimension instead of living in the present. He despises his own abilities: “I am not up to this world,” with victimhood: “no one understands me.” He does not feel of this world, but with nostalgia for another dimension where there is only harmony.

Reality is never completely acceptable to the conservation E9, which spends a lot of energy coloring it without actually transforming it. You can endure a lot, standing firm and imagining, at the same time, that you revolutionize the world. Resisting real change requires a lot of mental work and abdominal control; hence, one day it may happen that, not having made small and substantial changes, it explodes like a pressure cooker and acts without thinking, sweeping away everything.


If someone throws an accusation at you, your first reaction is to believe that the other is right and that it is really your fault. Only later, on rethinking, may he realize that he could not be his sole responsibility.

Conflict avoidant

He is slow to metabolize an experience; it is not enough for him to get married once to learn that fire can be dangerous. To elaborate is to judge and that implies coming into conflict with oneself. The conflict generates anxiety, doubt, confusion, destabilization, and even the possibility of choosing oneself instead of the other, which brings one closer to the taboo of selfishness. That is why he is not capable of relativizing and takes everything very seriously, both relationships and commitments.

Avoids and postpones choice

In the face of abundance, he does not know how to choose, everything is on the same plane and one thing is the same as another. Not knowing what he wants turns into compulsive greed and tries everything. Choosing takes effort and you can postpone an important decision to infinity for fear of not knowing what the right choice is. He is afraid of taking risks and if he thinks or feels too much he is no longer able to act, which causes anxiety. He does not know how to make the assessments that allow him to choose, he chooses on impulse, when he launches himself and manages to move. That is why he is clueless, because he is always loaded with a lot of things. Furthermore, choosing supposes the need to take a position, to place oneself, and this would mean being aware of an “I” that desires. 

Impulsive and Naïve

Money is important to the extent that it helps you get what you want. If he likes an object, he can pay for it above its value without realizing it, and he can also find the low value of an object excessive and not buy it even if it works for him. From excess to lack, he impulsively splurges or gives up by reflecting too much. If he sells something made by himself, and he has felt pleasure doing it, his price is only that corresponding to the material used, because he can not make him pay for the pleasure that doing it has given him.

Low self-esteem

She is impatient, she would like everything and that's it, and that everything would turn out perfect the first time. She doesn't know how to handle frustration and doesn't believe in her ability to learn: “I'm worth nothing.” To this judgment that she makes, she reacts with rebellion: “I don't need it”; she prefers to give up fighting.


Automatically goes on the counter. If the situation is tense, he assumes the role of an observer who does not want to get involved. If, on the contrary, it is harmonious, he is intolerant and provocative. It is an attitude linked to internal rebellion; in fact, very often he remains outside of real participation, he wastes his time interpreting situations instead of living them fully. He is also confrontational with himself and is undisciplined. The mind programs and sets homework but the guts and the heart do not collaborate; there is no emotional involvement. Thus, the illusion is created that he is free, that he does what he wants and not what he should, as a substitute for pleasure.


There is a lot of shyness, because he does not exist, he is in the world just to look. He is very uncomfortable if he sees himself in the front row, he feels too exposed and has to force himself not to be in the center of attention. In relationships, he is not the one who takes the first step, because he always thinks that the other will not be interested in getting to know him, that he will annoy them, with fear of rejection and dependence on the judgment of others.


You are better at postponing than coping. Easily postpones everything you don't like or finds too tiring because it leads to arguments or conflict. Or he postpones because the situation calls for organization and movement and he doesn't know where to start, he gets lost and gives up.


He sacrifices himself automatically, with a robotic altruism that perceives the discomfort of the other and makes himself available to him. He renounces himself and offers this renunciation. Basically, he has the passive and underlying claim to be seen and loved precisely because of this ability to offer himself. He puts the other on Olympus, makes him God. For the conservation E9 it is taboo to feel like a God, and he projects this image of himself on the other, making him absolute, unique, and resplendent with his own light. He agrees to be his shadow because, through his projection, the other will return his splendor to him and he will be able to live on the light reflected from him. It is a form of parasitism; it could even be said that he feeds the other and then feeds himself.

Involved and Attached

Has difficulty withdrawing, either from relationships or experiences. You can stay attached even if you perceive, in either case, that it's over; it is always better than wandering in space without direction or purpose.


He does not like that another depends exclusively on him, it scares him because it would take power away from his need to feel free and autonomous. You can give yourself entirely to the other and at the same time feel indispensable supposes too much commitment and responsibility.

Without limits

It is difficult for him to understand that there is a limit, either for himself or for the world. He doesn't feel any brake and doesn't even know when he wants to or should stop, as if he could keep going (it is the principle of inertia, by which a body continues in a straight line unless an external force intervenes). It is the consequence of feeling that it exists only if the other exists, by not being in contact with oneself. Fear can become an ally because it tells you, with its manifestation, that it is time to stop. 

He makes it instantly in touch with him. He thinks of revenge as a consolation strategy, and he can ruminate on it and never execute it and remain attached to rage. He finds it hard to accept that for others it is not something temporary and starts manipulative strategies to try to find out if the other is still angry with him. He needs to know that the conflict has not turned into a war for the other, and he needs to return to harmony, to feel at peace with the world, to know that the conflict has ended.


Is not deliberately transgressive of social rules and authority, and at the same time it is not a problem for him to go against social conventions and moral rules. It is difficult for him to take into account the roles, because he does not know how to move in formality. This makes him appear aggressive and self-confident, when in reality it is a failure to recognize, first of all to himself, the possibility of having a role and being able to protect himself through it.


He feels comfortable in the middle of nature, and feels love and deep respect for animals, because in nature and with animals the relationship occurs in a simpler way.

Claudio Naranjo's Self-Preservation 9 Description[4]

E9 Conservation (Self-Preservation) – Appetite

We will end, then, with E9 conservation, for which Ichazo used the word appetite. It is obvious that these people tend to have bigger bodies, so it is very likely that they have a bigger appetite too. Sancho Panza is a literal example of E9 conservation and it is interesting that the belly was chosen by Cervantes to baptize him, being something so central to this character.

Let's explore the idea that some person can be said; “as, therefore I am”. Each of the characters is open to this Cartesian approximation: “I think I am, therefore I am,” an E6 would say. “I suffer, therefore I am”, an E4 would say. Actually, they are very descriptive expressions about how each of the characters feels the emptiness of their being. Take the example of sexual E4, whose central theme is competitive hatred and goes around cutting heads. I could say: “I hate, therefore I am.” This main feature of each subtype is the one that best responds to this equation of solving the question of being through a substitution or a mirage of being.

Human beings have all kinds of substitutes for being: a veritable fury of lollipops. We have all kinds of pacifiers that give us the impression that this or that is what we were looking for. And we miss our way because we run after these illusions that promise us to be where he is not.

In the case of the nine conservation, there is an excessive resemblance to a little animal. It is not only about “I eat, therefore I am”, but also about “I sleep, therefore I am”, “I have, therefore I am”, “I am standing here, therefore I am”... The facts of life, everything ordinary, they have the ability to obstruct your consciousness. For him there is no metaphysical level. Somehow, the question of being has been erased from the life of a nine conservation. You can't talk about being with Sancho Panza. There is only his belly. The substitution of the mother's breast for the bottle has been so complete that there is no memory of maternal love in the vocabulary.

So these conservationists are very loving people but deep down they don't have a sense of being loved. His resignation is the most prominent. And there is in them a kind of joy, a kind of tenderness that, however, is far from the full experience of love.

Erich Fromm already says it: to have or to be. It is probably the same thing for them. In the world of the great bankers, for example, you see many friendly faces, with double chins, very practical people... This is Homo Economicus.

Sandra Maitri's Self-Preservation 9 Description[5]

9+Self-Preservation – Appetite

The focus for a Self-preservation Nine is on satisfying his appetites and hungers. His laziness, in the sense that we have defined it as the passion, manifests here in the substitution of nonessential satisfactions for those that he really needs. At the deepest level, this shows up in substituting material gratifications for those that are really spiritual. An example on a more superficial level of this substitution of the nonessential would be eating a chocolate bar when what he really needs is a nourishing meal. Also, as the word appetite suggests, Self-preservation Nines tend to overindulge, ingesting and acquiring far more than they actually need out of insecurity about receiving sustenance.

Beatrice Chestnut's Self-Preservation 9 Description

Self-Preservation 9 Subtype description (2021)[6]

This subtype merges with comfortable routines and physical activities like eating, reading, watching television, or doing puzzles. They tend to be more practical, grounded, concrete, irritable, and stubborn than the other two Type 9 subtypes. They are the hardest to move and like being alone more. They often have a good sense of humor.

It will be important for you to notice if you tend to get stubborn and display other passive-aggressive behaviors when you feel disrespected or pressured by others. You may dig your heels in and refuse to move in reaction to being told what to do. You may “go to sleep” to your own anger and power and avoid any consciousness of anger as a way to stay safe and comfortable. You may not always see when your anger leaks out as stubbornness. You may tend to lose yourself in comfortable activities and routines as a way to avoid showing up in the world and expressing strong opinions, taking a stand, asserting power, or initiating change. You will need to become aware of your anger and own your power to grow.

Self-Preservation 9 Subtype summary (2013)[9]

Instead of feeling an ongoing connection to their feelings, desires, and power, SelfPreservation Nines focus on merging with physical comforts and routine activities, such as eating, sleeping, reading, or doing crossword puzzles. SP Nines are practical, concrete people who focus on everyday things rather than abstractions.

Self-Preservation 9 Subtype summary (2013)[9]

The Self-Preservation Nine: “Appetite”

The combination of the passion of laziness and the dominant instinct for self-preservation in Nines results in a personality subtype that Naranjo, following Ichazo, calls “Appetite.” The deeper motivation of this subtype of Type Nine is finding a sense of comfort in the world through the satisfaction of physical needs. This personality finds satisfaction in activities such as eating, reading, playing games, watching television, sleeping, or even working (if work is a comfortable thing to do).

Whichever form of activity is chosen by a given Self-Preservation Nine, the key is that this Nine expresses his or her need to find protection and well-being by merging with an experience of the satisfaction of concrete needs. In giving their attention over to a favored activity in this way, these Nines simultaneously avoid or “forget” their own being—or the pain of not being connected to their own being—and find a substitute sense of “being” in the comfort of the fulfillment of routine, everyday appetites.

For Self-Preservation Nines, it feels safer to take refuge in physical comfort, or in a routine that structures their experience in concrete and familiar ways, than to have to show up in the world and risk potential conflict or overstimulation. It’s easier to erase yourself by losing yourself in comfortable activities than to reveal yourself or open yourself up to whatever unpredictable or complex thing might be happening in the outside world.

The name “Appetite” doesn’t refer just to eating, but also to the need to find a sense of well-being through the fulfillment of various physical needs—for food, for comfort, for restfulness, or for something interesting to pay attention to that provides a sense of support or structure or peace. Appetite also refers to concreteness, to the grounding aspect of fulfilling physical and material needs in simple, straightforward, tangible, and enjoyable ways. One Self-Preservation Nine I know focuses her self-care efforts on physical fitness and dieting in specific, routine ways. She belongs to a gym where she exercises with a close-knit community of people who all participate in regular earlymorning workouts and support each other by going on periodic diets together based on the clearly articulated structure of a practical nutritional methodology.

Self-Preservation Nines are concrete people, oriented to immediate experience, who don’t relate much to abstractions or metaphysical concepts. With these Nines there is less “psychological mindedness” and introspection and more focus on tangible and immediate “things to do.” They find experience much easier to deal with than theory. They don’t always put their experience into words, however—they don’t talk a lot about what is going on inside them in general.

Naranjo describes the meaning behind “Appetite” as a kind of excessive “creaturelikeness,” characterized by an “I eat therefore I am” or an “I sleep therefore I am” attitude that erases the question of “being” in a larger sense. For these Nines, the ordinary facts of life get in the way of thinking about abstract things, like what might be lacking in their experience. These are people who live life in a more simple, direct way.

More than the other two Type Nine subtypes, these Nines tend to want more time alone. Like the other Nines, Self-Preservation Nines habitually focus their attention on other people and on their environment, but Self-Preservation Nines can actually find it more relaxing and grounding to be by themselves, as it allows them to more fully relax into whatever activity they are engaged with. These individuals also tend to have a distinctive sense of humor characterized by a wry and self-deprecating attitude.

Nines are very loving people, but deep down they usually don’t have the sense of being loved—it’s as if they have resigned themselves to not actively receiving love for themselves. For the Self-Preservation Nine, the search for comfort in pleasurable activities may reflect a desire for compensation for their deeper sense of abnegation, or a giving up of the need for love, with the fulfillment of other appetites. The jolliness or funloving spirit of this type of Nine, though it is a very real, very endearing characteristic of this personality, may be another kind of compensation for an early lack—they substitute fun for love.

Self-Preservation Nines tend to be active and intuitive, and they express a kind of subtle strength. This is the most “Eight-ish” of the three Nine subtypes. Their sense of inertia with regard to taking action places them firmly in the Nine type, so they are unlikely to be mistaken for Eights, but they do have forceful energy, especially in contrast to the Sexual Nine, which is a much less assertive character. Self-Preservation Nines have a stronger presence than the other two Nine subtype personalities, and they can be more irritable and stubborn. It can be very difficult for them to accept that another person is right. This subtype also lives a life of excess more than the other Nines, and while they don’t get angry very often, they can express the “fury of a peacemaker” when they get mad at people who cause problems.

Haiki Self-Preservation 9 Description[7]

Self-Preservation Nine: Appetite

They have a passion for food and put into it all of their hopes of satisfaction. They transform the passion of laziness into an appetite. With their voracious desires to eat, they cover their disconnection with the emotions of anger and desire. They tend to have problems with obesity and they may like to drink more than they should. They can be alcoholics in secret.

This subtype takes the theme of invisibility to the extreme and they seem like they are capable of disappearing from this world.

Being with people takes them out of their comfort zone, so they prefer to avoid it. They are very shy and embarrassed and if they can they will escape from any crowd.

However, they will be with their close friends and family, but the rest of the world does not matter.

Additionally, in opposition to the Self-Preservation Eight, who is wild and power-seeking, the Self-Preservation Nine is kind and good-natured: a person perceived as noble and inoffensive. This being said, as they lick their lips in their narcotization and beat themselves down with their Robotic Doing, their lives become sad and gray.

Carmen Durán and Antonio Catalán's Self-Preservation 9 Description[8]

SP9: Appetite -> Distraction

The satisfaction of needs is substituted with satisfaction of appetites, making do with them. This produces a displacement of one thing to another and a substitute form of satisfaction. “Distraction” is the tool that allows them to escape from the commitment of complying with their true I needs and becomes the need itself that motivates action. Appetite has to do with a desire of something which substitutes, certain satisfactions that do not complicate life too much and that, in some way, are connected with physical satisfactions. There is a making do with having that which permits a kind of comfortable safety, not having to worry. Sometimes, hunger for affection becomes a true hunger for food, for material things, for concrete activities, like games or reading, distractions that all work to cover up deeper needs.


[1] "The Arica Training according to John C Lilly and Joseph E Tart"

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

[3] Naranjo, C. (2018). "La pereza psicoespiritual" (Translated by star_shine)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Written and maintained by PDB users for PDB users.