Ego as used with the Enneagram types can be understood in terms of how we maintain a sense of I or self. Early in life we began creating a separate sense of self that made a distinction between what's me (ego reality) and what's not me (world reality). This created a tension between me and the world. This tension is dealt with in different ways by the different types (e.g., type 8 takes a confrontational stance against the world while type 9 takes an accommodating stance). Ego is who you think you are or who you experience yourself to be. In other words, you've confused who you are with the ego sense of self that you've created. The idea is to become aware of the habitual patterns of ego that you've fallen asleep to and find freedom from them by seeing that you're something other than simply what the ego habits imply. So, while personality associates type with who you are, ego associates type with who you think you are. The goal is not simply to identify your type but to find freedom from an over-identification with that type.
Oscar Ichazo created a number of different enneagrams that together can be thought of as describing ego-types. It was from these ego-types that the personality types originated and evolved. The personality types still use five of these enneagrams to varying degrees: Fixations, Holy Ideas, Traps, Passions, and Virtues. As an example, Ego-Type 1 or Ego-Resent can be understood in terms of:
- Fixation: Resentment
- Holy Idea: Holy Perfection
- Trap: Perfection
- Passion: Anger
- Virtue: Serenity
Teachers of the personality types often try to reinterpret Ichazo's labels to make them fit the personality types in trying to explain his enneagrams. The problem is that Ichazo's labels don't match the personality types very well because the personality types have evolved into something different and have taken those labels out of the context a larger teaching where you would further explore and work with the meaning of those labels. While Oscar Ichazo applied his enneagrams to the Arica School training, Claudio Naranjo evolved them into the enneatypes, or Enneagram personality types as they are commonly known. This divergence of paths began in 1970 and has continued since.
A useful solution to this problem is to take the intent of the ego-types and reinterpret them through the core focus of the personality types. The result is a way to clearly describe the ego patterns in terms of today's personality types and reveal the habits that keep us stuck in those patterns by way of each type's preoccupation (fixation), the perpetuation of that preoccupation (trap), and the alleviation of that preoccupation (holy idea). The book Personality and Ego: Exploring the Core Focus of the Enneagram Types does this.