December 10, 2013
Beyond Freud, beyond Jung, beyond Myers Briggs lies a personality typing system known as the Enneagram. And whether you’re an overachieving pit bull lawyer or a hopelessly romantic wanna-be poet, it’s got your number.
I’m a One. I do have other qualities, of course.
Still, the discovery of my Oneness – in Enneagram terms – has revealed more to me about my unconscious patterns, habitual preoccupations, underlying fears, and misused strengths than any model I’ve come across in all my psychological training.
What sets the Enneagram apart is that it contains such detailed useful information about what drives us to behave as we do. It’s valuable not just to understand yourself, but also as a source of insights into your friends, family, colleagues and even those you don’t like.
Each personality type on the Enneagram is marked by a central fixation or passion. The result is a narrow, habitual and often defensive way of perceiving the world that deeply influences what we think and feel and how we behave.
The moment we can recognize our type, we have observed ourselves in reality. This personality type was put in place for good reason, but most of us identify with it, believing this is all we are. The Enneagram shows us that there is something else – a higher self, an essence, a soul – that the personality obscures.
As a One, for instance, my fixation is resentment. This was not easy for me to see at first, as I always prided myself in how I always did the right and responsible thing both in terms of things that needed doing and also with people that I had relationships with. However when I looked deeper I realized that I was often feeling underlying resentment, a resentment about how and why others seem to get away with not doing the right and responsible thing.
When you can look at each of the others who are close to you in your life from the deeper perspective of their Enneagram type, you can see that others see the world very differently form you, but just as narrowly. Two’s for example, grow up ruled by a constant hunger to win approval from others, even at the cost of suppressing their own needs. Fives cultivate detachment and minimize their needs in order to avoid feeling overwhelmed – but often end up isolated and cut off from intimate relationships.
When you recognize these underlying dynamics, it opens the door to healthier states of mind and much greater personal freedom, not to mention a far better understanding of your partner and all those you relate to, improving your relationships.
If you are interested in discovering what your type is and more about yourself or those you are relating to, you can book in for a face to face session, or phone or skype session with me.
Until next week