Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The. Enneagram.

Hi All,  So today is...my first guest post!  A year ago I learned about this great personality theory called the Enneagram.  This is not the test you took in high school that told you "about yourself" but was really pointless.  It focuses on people's motivations rather then their actions.  Anywhoo...It is very cool, but I don't know nearly as much about it as my roommate and good friend Mrs. Aaron Rodgers (She is a huge Packer fan.  Those of you from MN don't judge her to harshly.  She is awesome.) She is going to explain it a little and then describe the 9 different types.  Without any further ado...Oh wait! I forgot to tell you...I'm a 6 with a 7 wing.  What are you??  Ok, now go ahead Mrs. A. Rodgers.


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I originally learned about the Enneagram my Freshman year of college and it has transformed the way that I relate to others and approach my own personal growth. As A.H. said, it is a test based on the motivation behind our behavior rather than our behavior itself.

Example: A person jumps into a pool of sharks. Judging just by that behavior, the person is CRAZY. But, if you know their motivation, your reaction to that person could be completely different. Is that person a dad jumping into the water to save his child who fell in? The person suddenly is courageous and loving instead.

This is what the Enneagram does. It gives context to why we behave the way we do, and by learning about the Enneagram as a theory, we can better understand ourselves in order to mature and grow, and we can better understand others in order to have healthier and more fulfilling relationships.

An Enneagram test can be found here: http://similarminds.com/advtest.html. Your top score may or may not be your type. Read through descriptions of your top few scores and the section on "Common Mistyping" before deciding which you think you may be.


NINE ENNEAGRAM TYPES

1. The Perfectionist "Because it is the right, good, perfect thing to do"

Perfectionists care about making sure things are "right" and "good." Perfectionists live in a world of black and white moral absolutes. They are detail oriented, highly organized, self controlled, principled and straight laced. Everything from lifestyle choices to work ethic to how frequently and well a person organizes their desk is a moral issue of absolute importance.

They hold others to incredibly high, sometimes impossible, standards, but their standards for themselves are 10 times higher. Ones seem to do everything right, but sometimes, their focus on living uprightly or their detail orientation is too narrow and they can neglect the bigger picture or fall short in something highly important because they were busy doing something less important to perfection. Above all, Ones are moral and principled. They value goodness and care deeply about people.

Professor McGonagall in Harry Potter is a One as can be seen in her high expectations of her students and her unwavering determination to fight evil.

What people love about Ones: They can be depended on to do a good job and be a good person. What people might dislike about Ones: They can come across as too judgmental, stubborn or solemn.

When Ones are in a state of growth: They can take on more characteristics of a Seven, loosen up and have fun! When Ones are in a state of stress/lacking support: They can become too critical of their own imperfections and sink into the depression/self loathing of an immature Four.

2. The Giver "To help and be helped, love and be loved"

The Giver is people focused, self sacrificing, and wholly devoted to the well-being of others. Women and people of faith tend to score higher on assessments in the two category because of beliefs/socialization and their tendency to serve, love and give self-sacrificially. Twos are often outgoing and great party planners (the "social butterfly" who takes it upon themselves to make everyone else comfortable), or they are the "work horse" who is preforming a hundred different practical tasks just to help and love others.

Twos often expect that others will give and love them in return for their service. They want interdependent relationships and can become hurt, manipulative or lash out when others don't show their love or gratitude in return. Twos can also be viewed as clingy, needy or possessive by more independent types.

Twos are expressive. If a Two loves you (and Twos tend to love everyone), you will know. If a Two is grateful, you will know. If a Two wants you to love or be grateful to them, you will know. A friend who is a Two describes Twos as the "stereotypical Jewish mother" who gives and gives and gives and expects her children to be unceasingly grateful and loyal in return.

What people love about Twos: Their genuine love for others and desire to give of themselves. What people might dislike about Twos: Their clinginess or manipulativeness when trying to force others to love and serve them.

When Twos are in a state of growth: They take on more characteristics of a healthy Four by becoming more independent and addressing their own needs/emotions. When Twos are in a state of stress/lacking support: They lash out at others and become aggressive in their assertion of their needs like an immature Eight.

3. The Achiever "To be successful, effective, and held in high esteem"

The Achiever is assertive, efficient and successful. Threes, in contrast to Ones, care more about the finished project than the process. They get things done and look great doing it. Threes are competent, or know how to appear competent, at almost any task, and they often climb the social ladder or the hierarchy in their company quickly. Threes are highly task oriented and can easily become work-aholics. Threes are diplomatic and can talk circles around almost anyone. They make great lawyers and politicians, and they make great criminals.

Threes can at times be willing to cut corners or bend the truth to preserve their image or get the job done. They suppress their own emotions and ignore the emotional issues of others for the sake of the task. So busy being who they think others want or need them to be, and so busy focusing on the task, Threes can lose their own identities. Immature threes can be deceptive and "slippery," while mature threes can be raw and honest.

What people love about Threes: Their efficiency and competence. What people might dislike about Threes: their tendency to hide behind "masks" of their achievements or portrayal of who they think they should be.

When Threes are in a state of growth: They become more stable and trustworthy like the Six. When Threes are in a state of stress/lacking support: They abandon their desire to be productive and become lazy and apathetic like an immature Nine.

4. The Symbol Maker "To discover and express my true emotions/identity."

Fours are creative, melodramatic, independent and highly empathetic. Fours are not just influenced by their emotions, they are DEFINED by their emotions. Fours are the Emo kids of the Enneagram and tend to feel deeply the pain of themselves and others. Fours are passionate about anything and everything. They are either at an extreme high emotionally or are at an extreme low. Fours appreciate others who match their emotional intensity and become frustrated with those who seem to deny the validity of those feelings.

The Four is on an eternal quest to discover their identity, and this focus along, with a deep sense that they are inherently flawed, causes them to feel alienated from others. They almost always respond to this by strongly expressing their unique identities. They mold their identities to be different from mainstream cultural expectations as a defense mechanism against their shame of being incomplete. Fours are fiercely  independent out of both conviction and self-consciousness in relationships, but once a person is on the "in" with a Four, the Four would DIE rather than see that person uncomfortable.

Fours often pursue artistic expression, are frequently vegetarians and when healthy, can be great with children.  Some famous Fours: Michael Jackson, Edgar Allan Poe, Anne Shirley (Anne of Green Gables, LM Montgomery).

What people love about Fours: Their creative and eccentric energy and their genuine sympathy and mercy. What people tend to dislike about Fours: Their tendency towards depression and drama and their expectation that others will take on their same passions.

When Fours are in a state of growth: They take their passion, emotion and creative ideas and use them to fuel productivity like a healthy One. When Fours are in a state of stress/lack support: They cling to others around them to restore their broken self images like an immature Two, and can become very depressed/suicidal.

I am a Four and I LOVE football and HATE whipped-cream. There is no in-between unless I force there to be. I love movies with sad or incomplete endings because they invoke deeper (and thus more valid) emotions. I went into Social Work and love it because I FEEL the RAW EMOTION of a UTTERLY BROKEN AND DESTITUTE SOCIETY that CAN NEVER BE HEALED without GENUINE and WORLD CHANGING BEAUTY and the TEARS, SWEAT and BLOOD of EVERYDAY SAINTS and POETS and BARISTAS at my local fair-trade/organic only coffee shop. <Please don't judge. I am a Four and can't help it. ;)

5. The Observer "To gather knowledge/wisdom and preserve my identity by maintaining distance"

The Observer is the most withdrawn of the types and tends to sit back and watch. The Observer is constantly collecting knowledge and information (especially pertaining to how society functions). Fives are often seen on their phones or computers, or at the library researching whatever questions popped into their minds throughout the day. Fives are competent, curious, secretive and withdrawn.

Fives tend to be more concerned with the theoretical than the practical. They will study gardening for three or four years straight and may know everything about the best techniques, but could be prevented from actually planting the garden because they would have to go to a store and interact with the cashier to buy the tools needed. Fives are the stereotypical college professor who you see in the library learning about their subject matter or a different subject all together and lose track of time so much that they miss the class the were scheduled to teach.

Because they are withdrawn, Fives can seem emotionally distant or uninterested. They control situations by withholding themselves or information rather than by dominating a relationship or situation. Fives can be "The Observer" to the point that they observe more than participate even in their own life. Fives disengage with their emotions and actions and can "go through the motions" with their mind completely elsewhere.

What people love about Fives: They seem to know everything about everything and can offer sound and wise advice. What people can dislike about Fives: They can seem detached/disengaged and emotionless.

When Fives are in a state of growth: They take on more of the characteristics of an Eight and apply their wisdom by leading others. They also become more assertive in relationships and are willing to take initiative. When Fives are in a state of stress: They can become careless and focus on stimulation through fun, possessions or "freedom." They lose or ignore their depth and allow their independence to become selfishness.

6. The Loyalist "to be trustworthy and committed and to have structure and stability"


The Loyalist is a faithful, dependable and stable person. Sixes do what is expected of them in relationships and at work. Sixes cling to routine and normalcy and can be very conventional because it is comfortable. While being very trustworthy, they can be highly distrustful and are the "skeptics" of the Enneagram. Sixes tend to assume the best of people they trust and the worst of people they don't trust. Their distrust often leads to a highly developed, dry sense of humor.

Sixes tend to have anxiety or fear about the unknown and respond to that fear either by avoiding what they are afraid of or by pursuing change and the object of their fear. Sixes can look very different from one another depending on whether they are Phobic (avoiding source of anxiety) or Counter Phobic (pursuing/challenging source of anxiety), and can look different depending on to whom they are loyal. The anxiety of a Six can be expressed by being less trusting in relationships, being clingy or controlling in relationships or having an anti-authoritarian attitude in work or society in general.

Jack Hodgens (From the TV show Bones) is a Six. Six traits can be seen in his commitment to Angela and his friends in the lab throughout the show and his conspiracy theories/distrust of the authorities.

What people love about Sixes: Their dependability and commitment. What people tend to dislike about Sixes: Their fearfulness of change and lack of trust in relationships.

When Sixes are in a state of growth: They take on more traits of the Nine, overcome or abandon some of their anxiety and become more "at peace" within themselves. When Sixes are in a state of stress they tend to mask themselves and their identities and become workaholics to build stability like immature Threes.

7. The Enthusiast "To experience excitement, productivity and joy"

Sevens are the life of the party. They are always prepared to have a good time whenever and with whomever they can. Sevens tend to be busy, energetic, fun, easily excitable, scattered and spontaneous. No one is on the outside looking in with a seven around, because they will accept anyone and everyone for who they are. Sevens are in a constant state of activity and adventure. It is not unlike a seven to either have two challenging jobs and be in grad school, or to have no jobs, move from exotic beach to exotic beach and play Frisbee all day.

They are notorious for having 10,000 ideas and not following any to completion. They are often distracted by bigger and better things and avoid processing difficult or negative emotions because the are not "fun". Because of this, they can often be viewed as flaky. Sevens will win a popularity contest unanimously but might not always be the confidant or the one that someone runs to in emergency. Sevens never mean harm to anyone and always both want to experience joy and share that joy with others. They are the one making a person laugh at a funeral.

Richard Castle from the TV series "Castle" is a Seven. He plays laser tag with his daughter in their apartment, is often told that he "needs to grow up," and has gotten in trouble in the past for having too much fun.

What people love about Sevens: They are optimistic, exciting and non-judgmental. What people tend to dislike about Sevens: They can be scattered, non-committal and lack follow through.

When Sevens are in a state of growth: They take on characteristics of a Five and are more content "being" rather than always "doing." When Sevens are in a state of stress/lack support: They can become judgmental like an unhealthy one and lose their inclusiveness.

8. The Challenger "To be in control and defeat opposition"


The Challenger wants to fight, and when they fight, they WILL win. Eights are the "boss" and can have a singular focus on accomplishing a goal. They are passionate about justice and can be willing to lose themselves in their quest to achieve it. Eights are fiercely loyal to "their people" like Sixes and Fours, and will fight even more fiercely for their loved ones than they will for themselves. If you find yourself in a dark alley with an Eight, make sure you are on their side!

Eights walk into a new situation (be it personal or at work) and assume instant control. They are excellent at identifying others strengths and delegating efficiently to get the job done. Eights make immediate decisions based on their initial gut reaction and are rarely mistaken.

Eights tell it like it is and are the most assertive of the types, which can often be mistaken for caring little about the emotions of others. Eights are in fact highly emotionally expressive (passion with friends, anger with enemies), but tend to have "rough edges" if they express their emotions instantly. If they wait to say what is on their mind, Eights can be highly diplomatic and can grow to a Two to deliver hard to hear messages with more grace.

Martin Luther King Junior was an 8. So was Saddam Hussein.

What people love about Eights: Their honesty, leadership and willingness to fight for the underdog or "their people." What people tend to dislike about Eights: Their bluntness can be seen as rude and their controlling nature can be seen as bullying.

When Eights are in a state of growth: They adapt the people pleasing, kind hearted and positive attitudes of the Two and become more gentle. When Eights are in a state of stress/lacking support: Eights will take on the withdrawn, impersonal characteristics of a immature five. An immature Eight when upset will lock him/herself in a closet with a 12pack of beer and plot revenge.

9. The Peacemaker "to experience peace within."


Nines are laid back, even keeled, forgiving and tend to be introverted. If a person were to not know an Nine intimately, it would be easy to assume that they have already achieved their goal of ultimate peace because Nines rarely express negative or overly intense emotions - especially around "outsiders." Nines do an excellent job of casting an aura of calm upon almost any situation, often without knowing that they are doing it.

In the middle of the "Gut Center," Nines want peace not only of spirit but also of body. Nines want to be comfortable at all times. Activity and strong opinions are viewed as the opposite of peace and comfort and immature nines can become lazy and apathetic. Even when a Nine is not lazy or apathetic, they may appear to be because asserting the desire to help, or stating a belief, idea or preference can seem like conflict to the Nine. A Nine would rather not chose a restaurant when going out with friends because the potential of conflict were someone else to disagree is enough to motivate them to not share their idea.

Nines experience anger frequently, but bury that anger deep within and avoid expressing it at all costs. More extroverted or assertive types can view the Nine's avoidance of conflict or anything that could cause conflict as secretive. Rather than asserting themselves, Nines will be passive aggressive for extended periods of time, or bottle anger in until they explode.  It is not uncommon for a loved one of a Nine to find out years later about a whole series of things that they did wrong. After Nines "explode" however, they almost always forgive instantly. Nines at their best love deeply and are willing to accept their loved one despite any past harm he/she caused them.

The "unlikely hero" character in movies and literature is often a Nine. Harry Potter and Luke Skywalker are both Nines who move beyond/are forced beyond their desire to avoid conflict to pursue lasting peace.

What people love about 9s: Their "cool, calm, collected" exterior and their forgiving and loving nature. What people tend to dislike about 9s: Their seeming lack of initiative and self expression.

When Nines are in a state of growth: They take on more characteristics of a Three and become highly productive. When Nines are in a state of stress/lacking support: They take on more characteristics of a immature six and become sarcastic and bitter.


For more information on the subtypes for all 9 Enneagram types, click here and scroll over the type you are interested in reading about: http://www.enneagramcentral.com/Enneagram/WhatIsSubtype.htm.




THE WINGS

Everyone has one main type or "motivation," but most people have a secondary type or motivation that is their "wing." A wing is one of the types that borders your type. You could be a One with a Two wing, meaning you are primarily motivated by what is right/good but are also motivated by the desire to help and serve others.

More rare is the double wing when a person identifies strongly with both types that border theirs. I am a 4 with a double wing (3 and 5). I am primarily motivated by the desire to know/express my emotions/identity, but also care about my image/achievements(3) and having knowledge and social distance(5).

People often act on their wings if their typical behavior (based on their main type) is unsuccessful or unsatisfying. I find myself acting more as a 3 or 5 at work because the emotional roller-coster of my typical 4 behavior would not be productive. A friend of mine is a 9 but often acts on her 1 wing when keeping house because the end result of a 1's perfection in cleaning is more desirable than the end result of a 9s apathy or laziness.



COMMON MISTYPING

I am a Four, but originally tested higher in Seven, Two, Nine and Five. Read through the descriptions of the types to see what describes you best. Remember, to look at why you do things, not just what you do.

Women and people of faith tend to score higher in Two because they value or are expected to value service, generosity and self sacrifice. If your highest score is a Two, look at the descriptions for your other high scores as well to determine what you are.

People who have relatively even scores between more than three types might be a 3, 6 or 9 as those types tend to be more adaptable and flexible in their behavior patterns.

People may also score highly in their wings. If you are high in two or three numbers that border one another, look at the descriptions of each type to see which matches yours. A friend of mine scored highly in both 9 and 2, but after reading about it, realized that she was a 1 with a double wing.

If you display certain traits very strongly, you may score highly in different types that tend to hold that trait. Examples: if you are highly assertive, you might score high in 3, 8, 7 and 1; if you are highly emotional, you might score highly in 2, 4, 6, or 8; etc. Thinking about why you identify with these traits can help with determining what your type is.

Depending on whether someone is growing/stressed, your score may be higher in a type that is connected to your type along the integration/disintegration lines (come back tomorrow for more information!). A healthy and growing 5 who is in a leadership position might score more highly in the 8 category than the 5. Check the relationship between your scores to see which is most like you. Be sure you look closely at the behavior of your type during growth/stress as this can help determine which type you are.

- Mrs. A. Rodgers



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Hey All...Come back tomorrow for more info!

Yours affectionately,
A.H.

2 comments:

  1. Yessss! Enneagram post!!!

    Love,
    3w2 :)

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