Introduction to Enneagram

Introduction to Enneagram

The Enneagram, is a description of the human psyche which is principally understood and taught as a typology of nine interconnected personality types.

 My first introduction to the Enneagram was in the year 2000. I was casually exploring another profiling system when a Jesuit priest would have me begin a journey of deep exploration through one of his half day workshops advertised through an email. I was typed a certain number and found many reasons to disagree until I found some deep seated patterns which I strongly tried to deny. But when I came to terms with them, it unravelled so much about me, I then recognized that I had to take it further.

 The Enneagram is a personality-typing system akin to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), but much richer, more penetrating and more practically useful. The Enneagram posits that there are nine distinct personality types. These 9 nine personality types are meant to help us know ourselves at a much deeper level and in turn, discover some of the similarities and differences among the other 8 types. Each type profile serves as a road map for on-going personal growth consistent with categories of modern psychological typology. Each type is marked by a central defence or preoccupation — a specific lens through which each of us reflexively and narrowly views the world, in order to feel safe.

There is strong evidence that you are born into your type. I will not go deep into any theory to prove this but this is the premise of the Enneagram. Many ask, will your Enneagram type change? Well, from my experience, at least mine has not and I have dug deep to explore the type I am and how my life unfolded as a kid and suffice to say, I  identify fully with this type as far as memory holds. I have tried to do the same with my family members and those whom I coach and many have differing views but the most common one is they could not exactly identify who they were when younger. Perhaps, our distant past holds isolated memories and joining events into a logical trail for some makes it difficult to classify.

One thing is for sure, our identity took many twists and turns, knocks and bumps and our mental, moral and spiritual compass would have pointed us in multiple directions in order to help us cope and survive. Perhaps how we see ourselves might shift a little when we faced Significant Emotional Experiences in our lives like rejection, punishment and failure in school. By the same token, events like marriage or divorce, moving into a new job, experiencing toxic bosses and colleagues, achieving a life-long dream were significant factors that changed the emotional trajectory and hence our thoughts and reactions. Fundamentally, if you dig deep enough, specific patterns would emerge and hopefully, The Enneagram would help you see these distinct patterns in our thinking, feelings, actions, beliefs and how we coped with them

We are conditioned in a tight structure developed from childhood. Our stages in the lifecycle especially during the formative years have a massive impact on who we become and how we respond to our life’s circumstances. The Enneagram will hopefully weave a fabric for understanding our life events and how the different threads have come together to show us a clearer meaning in the spectrum of life in front of us.

There is strong evidence that you are born into one of the types that we are about to explore.  When your particular focus of attention is engaged and feelings of wellbeing and comfort are accessed, you are drawn toward this aspect of life and unconsciously, a bias sets in. Preferences and Prejudices start to be more pronounced and patterns of thoughts, feelings and behaviors start to manifest. Over time we develop these biases toward and away from certain types. The Enneagram can explain this structure of our reality which can help us make sense of this “box” we live in and in many ways, not get boxed-in by our unconscious patterns.  And so, we begin the exploration of the 9 Types