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 introducion 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
Type One: The Reformer
One’s are frequently called The Perfectionist or The Reformer. They belong to the Body Centre. While their tendencies and ways of thinking make it seem like they are in the Head Centre, there is an inner persistence to make the world a better place and they want to make right whatever they think is not functioning in a way it should. When they do not get what they want, they tend to suppress their anger which manifests itself in frustration and irritation, while searching for ways to make amends. They are sometimes called the Perfectionists which can be good in certain instances and once it gets overboard, it will pinch the nerves of those who are acquainted with them. .
What makes the Enneagram so palatable is it’s ability to explain how and why each individual behaves a certain way and what are some of these underpinnings. The Type 1 child can usually identify with a parent (usually a father) who was highly critical or put great emphasis on doing things in a specific way and when this standard was not met, the criticism levelled against the young child was present and sometimes severe. Where the One’s eventually grow up to be Un-resourceful is if they grew up with being criticized even if the child believed they did their best but was told that it was never good enough. This fixation on never being good enough stretches into adulthood and they find it difficult to be settled in a place of “good enough’ even when it’s sometimes already great. Conversely, a Resourceful One child would have experienced a healthy upbringing with validation and encouragement. The 2 extremes in upbringing have a deep impact on how the One child behaves.
1) They take great satisfaction in assuming responsibility and appreciate a systemic or orderly approach to tasks and events thus ensuring consistency and accuracy over time where nothing goes wrong in a world where unpredictability is constant.
2) Make things better: It is easy for One’s to see what is wrong or insufficient in a given situation, as well as to see how things can be improved. One’s may come across as demanding or picky but it is simply hard for them not to have things done in a certain way.
3) Congruent: One’s say what they mean and find it very difficult to express something which is not in alignment with their values and beliefs. Hence, they are straightforward and respectfully keen to ensure whatever seems out of line gets straightened out.
4) They have high expectations of especially themselves by maintaining high standards in areas of work quality, values, honesty, articulation, design, structure, process and doing one’s best. One’s hold themselves and others accountable to meet these important standards.
5) They are honest, want things to be right and have high integrity and maybe that’s why the One’s are also called The Good Person. One’s feel uncomfortable embellishing stories about themselves or their achievements. They remain humble, persevering and strive to make things better without any need for attention.
- Can’t Let go: If their own principles are violated by others, letting go for One’s is difficult. Forgiving becomes a challenge since their sense of trust and integrity for good work, can take another knock by the same person in future. They remain cautious and it may take a lot to make good once a serious breach (according to their standards) is made.
2. One’s sometimes choose to mop up the dirt that others can’t or don’t want to do as its tedious and not in the personality of many to be conscientious. It’s when Ones become pedantic, dogmatic, tense, anxious, and take things too seriously that they become unpleasant to have around.
3.Don’t know how to rest: One’s are self-sacrificing and tend to think that problems must be worked on until it’s solved. They work like there’s no tomorrow. Letting go becomes tough. It is not helped by their thinking that what they do is never good enough. Think of a Bull Terrier unwilling to loosen its grip on something. One’s always believe more could have been done.
4.They frequently feel burdened taking on too much responsibility, recognizing that no one else will do as good a job as them. It is a belief that they have rather than speaking out of arrogance. It also does not come from a place of obsessing about what they have done and what others should have.
5. Strong self-critic: One’s are their own worst critic. Before you can point out something about them, they would have already done it many time over. They become frequently get disappointed with themselves when expectations are not met, however, if they can’t let go, expectations will never be met because of their internal critic.
Reflections for the Type 1
1) Become acquainted with your superego (your inner judge) and distinguish it from yourself. Begin to hear this voice as “it” rather than “you”. In other words, focus on how the situation has unfolded rather than how you are the cause if things go wrong.
2) Become more accepting rather than trying to make everything perfect. Let go of some of your attentiveness to detail and needing to have everything under control. The world is imperfectly perfect… Because of it’s imperfections, it’s perfect as it is.
3) Learn to identify important from the not so important, so that you don’t spend too much time on the details of unimportant things and hold up the task to be done.
4) Don’t rest everything on your shoulders. While you might think that others’ contributions are not as great as yours, they can assist you to lighten your load.
5) Be open and honest about your vulnerabilities or you’ll forever carry the burden of righteousness which could be straining and at the same time draining to others around you. Vulnerability builds courage to face your challenges and progressively acceptance of imperfections.
Type Two: The Helper/Giver
The Type 2 belongs to the Heart Centre and they use this strong heart connection to sense the feelings of others much faster than the other types. You feel the loving warmth of the 2 consistently especially if you know they are 2s. Sometimes, because we might be oblivious to the life of a 2, what might be noticeable is a calm demeanour though some of them are more outward and gregarious. Their warmth and kindness allows them to see who they are connected to much faster than others and it helps in their bonding, affection, love and intimacy especially with those whom they care for. They are usually friendly & warm-hearted.
The Type 2 child felt loved only if they stepped up to be there for others, helping or sacrificed their needs for others. As a result they denied themselves of their own needs and feelings and chose to focus on others. Hence their definition of love as a child became one of outpouring and sacrifice without understanding or experiencing much reciprocity.
Strengths of the 2
- a) Sacrificing: 2s have a preoccupation with making a difference in the lives of others almost to a point of living to support people and as the Scouts motto goes, they believe so much in “Service before self”. If a friend has a problem, the 2s use their warmth, kindness and unconditional giving to comfort and care.
- b) 2s are usually enthusiastic, energetic, fun-loving, and have a good sense of humour. They will hardly rain on your parade and can be your most ardent supporter.
c)They are perceptive to feelings, almost possessing a radar on those whom they care about. They give good eye-contact and can pace with you on every level if you are on their list of people they choose to make a difference to. Rest assured you have a devoted friend for life.
d)They are generous leaders and motivators. They see the best in others and can motivate and inspire through their energy and enthusiasm. There is a sense of happiness in their presence and a charm that feels authentic and peaceful.
e)They sense feelings very quickly thanks to their constant levels of eye-contact and emotional attunement. They are comforting, empathic listen well and hence very therapeutic to have around when others are in distress.
Any type becomes Unresourceful when they begin to over-do some of the thoughts and behaviors that are typical of the type.
Here are some of the Type 2s limitations
- a) Overindulgent: Sometimes 2s find it difficult to refuse or say ‘No’. Their inclination to make others happy is usually accompanied by a resistance to say what’s really on their minds since it might mean rejecting others and being rejected. This runs counter to the personality of the 2.
- b) Since some 2s have a challenge rejecting others and putting the needs of others before their own, their focus of attention is hardly on themselves and people may take advantage of their kindness and start to expect such consistency from them. This vicious cycle of focussing on others and neglecting self leads to low self-esteem.
- c) Self-neglect: 2s can feel drained from overdoing for others because of their unconscious need to serve and this cycle can continue until they recognize that their own needs are being neglected and especially so if they have rejected others requests to give back to them. 2s sometimes do not indulge in things they really like to do for fear of being labelled selfish which goes against the grain of their mantra or motto.
- e) Manipulative: Certain 2s can be manipulative when they get upset that others don’t reciprocate their kindness when actually they have an inner need to be in the lives of those whom they want to make a difference to.
- f) They work so hard to be tactful and considerate that they suppress their real feelings. They find it hard to accept anything from others and hence find themselves taken for granted when they get used to rejecting other’s advances for help.
Reflections for 2s
1) Try not to be concerned about winning everyone’s heart. You can’t please everyone as you have a duty to be yourself. Realize that it is okay and healthy to take care of yourself.
2) Recognize the fact that not everyone will express their affection in the same way as you do because few are “other centred” like you. Try to recognize the different ways that others show appreciation instead.
3) Learn to develop boundaries when you choose to help people. Remember, that your duty is not to be responsible for others and forget about your own interests.
4) Learn to recognize if you are using excess flattery and how it may affect your level of sincerity.
5) Enlarge your perception of yourself to include activities and contributions to life rather than just caring for others.
6) Two’s tend to give too much and then regret it. Be brutally honest about your motives and if it’s really not “manipulative” or conditional. Your need to be needed might be causing you to care for others so that they become dependent on you. Once you are intentional, you build authenticity, pride and integrity and can start focusing on your needs as well.
Type 3: The Performer
Type 3s belong to the heart Triad. They repress feelings especially those of sadness and channel their optimistic focus toward being busy and productive and into doing and presenting a successful image to others. The Three then appears very driven—a workaholic. Threes learn to avoid pain by juggling multiple tasks and projects, or adjusting their image to be seen as successful.
During childhood, the 3 child felt rewarded only for what they did and how well they did it. Their feelings were discounted and ignored, only their performance and what was expected of them mattered. This harmed their ability to love themselves and others. Admiration replaced real love.
- Ambitious: 3s are optimistic, friendly, and upbeat. They are energetic and out there to connect, get ahead and move toward their ideals which could be about connection with others or achieving targets.
2) 3s are Resilient from setbacks and are able to ward off most challenges partly because they have also blocked much of their capacity to feel pain. They charge ahead in tough times with the goal clearly at the top of their minds.
3) They are resourceful, informed, actively participate and frequently take charge of situations to ensure progress is sustained in projects. Their playing a big part in it, allows for better control to keep things on course.
4) Persistent: 3s are the most persevering and they have a relentless work ethic to be competent and be able to get things to work efficiently. They are known to live to work and ensure they reach new heights of success and growth consistently. The worst nightmare for a 3 is to be laid off from work and feel useless.
5) They strive to be the best, set goals and milestones and have a boundless energy to get there. Ambitiousness is the order of the day and a 3 will not sleep if they recognize they have not put a hard day’s work to get on track with their goals.
6) They are known to put their best foot forward, to look good, feel good and have a comfortable life. They appreciate good quality and will strive to maintain this quality of life.
Any type becomes Unresourceful when they begin to over-do some of the thoughts and behaviours that are typical of the type.
1) Live to work: 3s have a fear of being seen as unsuccessful. Hence, where they perceive this might be lacking there is a deep insecurity of failure or not having achieved much. So, they work themselves to the bone and repress their feelings. 3s sometimes can’t see an illness coming because of their dogged pursuit for the external trophy.
2) Excessively image conscious: Their energy is put into developing a positive image vs how they feel. Hence, as mentioned, it’s hard to find a 3 who does not care about how they look. However, once it gets overboard, there is excessive resources that go into buying branded goods and expensive wears which they believe will make them feel better. However, the pattern of vanity and looking good only serves to deprive them of looking after more important needs like balance in life and inner happiness rather than external pleasures.
3) Wants to stand out on top: 3s tend to compare themselves to people who do things better. While it brings out the competitive spirit to strive for excellence, it also evokes a sense of need to be superior and be a cut above the rest.
4) Inauthentic: They can assume a chameleon-like adaptation strategy and blend in with the rest. They can be inclined to put on a façade or wear the cloak of success even if they aren’t successful yet. Fake it till you make it is an unconscious mantra. Authenticity can afford to take a back seat. This is when they might sometimes take great effort to hide certain deficiencies by faking success or not allowing themselves to be vulnerable and face up to it with courage.
Reflections for 3s
1) Learn to detect when you are putting on this “image” of performance and when you are not. This self-awareness will allow you to serve your needs rather than your self-image.
2) Learn to do some things for its own sake, that you can be proud of, rather than doing things for the sake of approval from others.
3) Like the 8’s and 1’s, you are not good at taking a break or noticing that you need one. Breaks allow you to take stock and reinvent.
4) 3’s will find it hard to sit and do nothing which is why meditating will be last on your list but do consider it. It will keep you grounded, stable and mindful.
5) Learn to move more with the flow of events and experiences and be less driven to continuously try to make things happen.
6) Find people whom you are comfortable sharing your vulnerabilities. Putting on a façade of extreme competence and ability adds extra stress and expectation to your already busy schedule. Others can help you see a perspective you can’t.
7) Try being part of a team and being in the fringes rather than calling the shots all the time. This allows you to build other competencies while harnessing relationships with others and focusing on the big picture.
Type 4: The Individualist
Type 4s belong to the Heart Domain and are frequently referred to The Individualist or Romantic. They possess an acute sense of their own feelings and that of others. This includes having an intuitive ability to distinguish between subtle emotions that others often miss since they do give focused eye-contact. They are motivated by the need to understand and to be understood, and desire experiences that are meaningful and deep. There is little patience for the ordinary and it is no wonder then that there is a deep appreciation for expression of self through being musical, artistic and eloquent in speech.
As Jerome Wagner would say, they are able to explore the “sweet sadness” that most people might veer away from, i.e. their deep appreciation for an emotion most of us would want to run away from. There is frequently a preoccupation with thinking about how different they are from others, sometimes even frequently pointing out how they might not be part of their own family. This can sometimes lead to their own self-inflicted isolation from others as they further pursue their own authenticity and special-ness.
Type 4 children can frequently feel that they felt some kind of abandonment by one or both caretakers. This could have come in the form of being passed on to someone else to be cared for, the parents being divorced at a young age or left to fend for themselves by busy parents. Hence, they felt alone, cut off from the source of love for reasons they could not comprehend. This sense of loneliness caused them to feel isolated and their feelings not validated by the Ones who had a duty to take care of them. As a result, they turned inward to their feelings and imagination to cope. The response of many 4s was to use the depths of these painful feelings to be different from others and stand out from leading a normal life.
- a) Highly perceptive: 4s have the ability to dig into the depths of life and meaning as they experience feelings at a deep level. They have an inclination to dive into experiences which others avoid, especially those which are painful and sad.
- b) Warm & sociable: Since they are comfortable with feelings, connection and warmth with others are important key abilities they possess.
- c) They have a gift of creativity which is quite unlike the other types. This expression of deep feelings inspire them to be innovative and express it from a place of heartfelt passion and deep intuition vs the heady ways of some of the types.
- d) Since they strive to be unique and be seen as unique, much effort goes into looking different and being different. This can take the form of their dressing, design, choice of words and ideas just as long as they are not labelled as superficial or ordinary.
- e) It is no surprise then that if you peer into the home of a type 4, they have an aesthetic sense of design, arrangement and choice of fixtures that are appealing to the eye and that are usually assembled with little effort. There is something about emotional intensity that manifests beauty and splendour.
- f) Since 4s are adept at reading emotions, they can easily pick up the feelings of people around them and ‘know’ what is happening to others. The wisdom of the heart is lies deep within the 4s.
Struggles 4’s have
- a) 4s can experience a roller-coaster of dark moods of emptiness and despair and swing back to happiness rapidly within minutes and which be caused by something most might consider it insignificant. This unpredictability can be draining to others around them.
- b) Sometimes, in the downward spiral of feelings, 4s can be self-loathing and feel shame. Underlying this is the belief that they don’t deserve to be loved.
- c) Instead of basking in the glory and gratitude of abundance, 4s can sometimes dwell in a state of longing for what they don’t have. Being stuck in this state evokes feelings of sadness, an emotion they are so accustomed to.
- d) Many 4s can relate to some form of abandonment, from mild to intense. It can sometimes be a preoccupation to give such thoughts undue attention and hence intensify such feelings of abandonment. The resulting insecurity makes them needy at times and frequently feel that what they feel or have is never good enough.
- e) They pride themselves in being genuine and strive to be the best and give every ounce of their kindness to others. This comes with a fair amount of guilt if they believe they have not measured up to the standards they are capable of. They wittingly expect too much from themselves and from life.
Reflections for 4’s
1) Recognise the aspects of your fantasy life which is not in alignment with reality. Don’t allow yourself to procrastinate because you have created lofty and creative goals. You may have to step down from your high horse and start seeing the reality of the present and settle for some of the low hanging fruits. This can be done by integrating objectivity with emotionality to find an equilibrium that will allow you to move forward and not get stuck in fantasy and lofty goals.
2) Seek out truthful friends who are willing to mirror your genuine good qualities and talents as well as speak compassionately about your blind spots. This will provide you with useful information about yourself.
3) Find a deep sense of self-worth, your good qualities, talents and contribution to life, without comparing yourself to others. While this can seem like a motherhood statement, you need to recognize that comparing yourself to others is a futile exercise because you are gifted in your own special way. So, finding that sweet spot makes more sense.
4) Be mindful if you are dumping your emotional issues on others. People who care about you want to be there in any way they can for you but the “roller-coaster emotions” must be managed if you want people to accept you and appreciate your gifts.
5) Set up positive and constructive routines for yourself so that you balance out the mental, spiritual and emotional routines rather than fully playing out the emotional ones and living in a world of fantasy or melodrama.
6) Remember that feelings are not facts. They offer you important insights and sometimes are the cause for the mind to go out of whack. 4s need to keep feelings in check by living in the here and now. A recognition that not everything that appears in the mind is rational and much of our thinking needs to be kept in check.
Type 5: The WISE Person
Type 5’s belong to the Thinking Triad and are motivated by the security of having knowledge, wisdom and being in the know. They see themselves as objective, introspective, seekers of knowledge and dispassionate observers. It would be a stereotype to consider that all 5’s are book worms because this is not true. Perhaps an understanding of their underlying fear would allow us to understand their motivations. That said, they believe that because of their detached manner of approaching the world, they acquired a superior ability to grasp the intricacies of life and it’s interconnectedness with factors most of us do not normally think about. Their inquisitive nature mixed with a calm observance of how things flow allow them to connect the dots, articulate theories and explain them with principles they have gleaned from either reading, experiencing or observing.
Many Type 5 children can attest to the fact that they received no meaningful interaction, emotional connection, or much affection from caregivers. Conversely, there is a possibility that the child had over-bearing parent(s) and felt invaded by way of their space or in their communication. The child then put up a mask (their defence) that came in the form of avoidance and keeping quiet where there was intrusion. They built their own imaginary wall and retreated into their own mental space where they formed their own opinions and found ways to understand events outside their mind. Hence, 5s trusted information.
- a) As mentioned, 5s are able to be objective observers, patiently taking in and viewing life objectively without judgment. It sometimes seems like they have no opinion until you ask the unassuming 5 who will unfold the depth of their thinking.
- b) They can come to a thorough perceptive understanding of situations figuring out the cause and effect of an argument with deep logic and a clear explanation.
- c) 5s are simple in taste and lifestyle and are not too bothered about the lavish pleasures, social norms and people’s perception of them. Status and material possessions play a secondary role in their life though it has been seen that they do enjoy good food. Test this theory with 5s. It seems to hold true.
- d) 5s seem to be able to compartmentalize difficult emotions and contain them in a box and not allow this box to affect other aspects of their life. Hence, they are the calmest and coolest in a crisis situation or in arguments. They stay in their heads and work out a logical explanation when the going gets tough.
1) The strength of calm can also be a weakness in relationships as they can be bystanders and quite emotionless or passive. Such a cool exterior can sometimes be mistaken for indifference or lacking care.
2) Though they are deep and insightful, the contents of their deep insights are seldom heard and hence they hardly receive the validation and approval for the depths of their insights. It’s unsurprising that they can appear shy and lack confidence in situations where they should actually shine. Perhaps the worldly insights are hardly tested or put out there for others to sieve through.
3) Type 5s are hardly confrontational. They tend to prefer to keep to themselves or be around those who are capable of stimulating their attention through deep conversation or insight about something that interests them. Hence, they can sometimes come across as arrogant when they are confident about what they know and it can make others around them feel like they are being defensive or trying to act smarter than they are.
4) As mentioned, 5s like their space so there is deep discomfort when they feel obligated to be in the company of those they don’t wish to hang around with. This can range from family to work. They are highly introverted and can sometimes be unsociable.
5) They can assume a poker face in order not to look afraid or get any attention. As a result they sometimes get no attention which is a preference of theirs but this can result in not getting recognized for work or ideas which can be a boon to their progress in society. Examples are marketing themselves for what they are worth.
Reflections for 5’s
1) Engage emotionally with people and practice being present with others. It will nurture the ability to connect and build confidence to communicate the great ideas that nestle in your mind.
2) You are probably least tuned in to your body because your mind is very active. Realize that the mind works best when the whole body functions well and that it includes your emotional self as well. Taking care of one self through leading a balanced life mentally & socially with adequate exercise makes for a well-rounded person.
3) Reach out to others and seek support. Live with an inter-dependent mindset and lessen the isolation as it shelters you from connecting with others who are different from you. Sometimes, those whom you least expect to have deep insight that you crave, may convey their own level of depth differently. The richness of the world does not only exist in your mind. Just staying open to the diversity of human expression will open up a whole new world for the 5s.
4) Learn to connect with your painful feelings of rejection rather than run away from it. Whatever we run away from festers and follows.
5) As you become more grounded by reconnecting with your feelings, let the world in and this will give you confidence and great insight into worldly living less the theory and research.
6) Play a bigger part in events, have greater interpersonal interactions rather than staying unnoticed. It does not bode well for the 5s confidence nor would it test your capacity to become someone you aspire to become.
Type 6: The LOYAL Person
Types 6s want to be safe and secure, feel belonged, ensure things go smoothly with little or no shocks. Unsurprisingly, they function best where the rules are defined and structures and systems are set so that they can follow it closely and ensure that everyone does as well without having to confront anyone.
There can be 2 sides to the type 6, frequently referred to as the phobic or counter-phobic 6. The phobic 6 fears the worst constantly and takes precautions to try to ensure these fears are minimised. The counter-phobic 6, while still haunted by fear, chooses to fight their fear by pushing through it just so that they can convince themselves that they can deal with it although this underlying feeling never does go away. It’s inherent within the 6. They can sometimes resemble the tough 8s but their motivations are different.
6s are doubting and sceptical by nature. Their curiosity prompts them to ask a lot of questions, seek clarification that will help alleviate the doubt. But once the coast is clear, the 6 feels relieved to move ahead. Their constant worry leads them to be very prepared, in fact over-prepared and this deprives them of practicing spontaneity. This can take a knock on their confidence. Their preparation does bring big advantages in the form of reliability, fluid thinking processes and contingency plans when unforeseen circumstances happen.
The type 6 child grew up having trust in their caregiver like any other child only to have that trust betrayed ,having not shown up in situations where they were supposed to. As a result, the child adapted to those situations and adopted a mindset of preparedness for the worst case scenario. The Type 6 child felt that they should be ready for unpredictability and that there are no safe places to go. They lost faith that they would receive the physical and emotional protection that a caregiver should provide. As such, they caved in to their own inner defence of doubting, second guessing, and disbelieving their own inner guidance.
1) 6s are sometimes called the Loyalists because they remain committed and faithful to family, friends and those whom they trust. Since the background behind 6s are based on issues relating to trust, it remains a theme and virtue which is inherent in their lives and one which they treasure so deeply by staying true to it.
2) 6s pride themselves as being reliable and effective team players. They don’t want anyone to be let down and hence, they do their utmost best to be supportive and hardworking sometimes to the point of sacrificing their own needs to ensure they feel trusted.
3) Paradoxcal strengths: 6s have the ability to be a conformist and a non-conformist. The latter simply means that they must do what they fear. They can and will back up what they say with strong conviction and speak their minds but with respect. But a hidden strength (and in a way weakness as well) is this wilfull fight to show bravery and not give in to fear. Almost like a fake it till you make it mentality in this context but that means some 6s will fight it out regardless of inner fear. They confront danger bravely.
4) Observant: Even though 6s are known for throwing spanners, opening a can of worms and raining on your parade sometimes, it is with good intention. They seek to understand the inconsistencies in proposals and discussions, tighten loose ends and ensure that things are good to go. This is how they can be branded sceptical but it is for the good of everyone else if only we’d understand their intentions.
5) All these points raised can only lead to recognizing the dogged persistence a type 6 has when they believe in giving their best for a cause that is important. If it’s care or insecurity about something, completion of a group’s task and leaving no stones unturned, rest assured, a 6 will take care of it.
1) 6s are sometimes called worry-warts. They over-think about the worst possible consequences and then prepare for what could happens which stops them from sometimes just living and allowing. This lack of trust for what’s possible keep them from trusting themselves and letting go.
2) Sometimes 6s short change themselves because of the constant worry that something is going to go wrong. As a result, they are risk averse and they avoid throwing themselves into great opportunities.
3) This then leads to a lack of confidence because making mistakes and the fear of failure stops them from even trying. The progression of this behaviour leads to lessened opportunities to fall down and pick up themselves.
4) 6s can sometimes get so particular about following the rulebook that they get inflexible with themselves about bending the rules. It makes them serious, formal and law abiding and not realising that the very people who bent the rules in the past were the greatest inventors and success stories.
5) 6s are hard on themselves and may dwell on their mistakes more than their victories. This beating up of self can thwart their attempts at recovering fast and going with the flow.
Reflections for 6’s
1) You tend to cut short your celebrations and spend little time on relishing your achievements before you start doubting your abilities again. Learn to use these positive experiences as your anchors and focus on how you perform well.
2) Learn to differentiate between objective reality (what is actually happening) and a projection (something based on your imagination).
3) Start listening to your heart and body more especially if your mind and superego (self talk) starts to doubt peoples’ intentions. Learn to decipher the source of these doubts and compare them with what your heart feels.
4) Start learning to trust your inner authority rather than looking to someone or something outside yourself for meaning and certainty. Wisdom lives within and you have much resources already to back you up.
5) Recognize that change is a necessary strain that will build your emotional and mental muscle. Build courage to face your fears and recognize that change is and will always be a constant and it comes with making mistakes and moving on. You may not always keep up but relish in the fact that you are progressing.
6) Variety is the spice of life. Try to move out of your circles and try a different spice rather than stay in your comfort zones.
7) Have some self-time so that you are comfortable in your own skin while you stay in a state of “mindfulness”. Sixes are active in the mind but may sometimes create negative situations which do not exist…. Future tripping about what will not work or how things might not work.
Type 7: The JOYFUL Person
Being in the Thinking Triad, 7s plan for pleasurable experiences, possibilities and plans to make anything more exciting. 7s are motivated to have many options and hence not limited by choice. They relish in the freedom they have to be, do and have all that is possible in a world where there are limitless possibilities. The 7s are Joyful fun seekers, optimistic and cheerful. They spread joy and happiness and inspire others to notice the rainbows and butterflies, basically the possibilities in life. They can turn the mundane into magical moments.
7s are often multi-taskers who love engaging in many activities at the same time and avoid situations that may result in boredom or stress. Stress at work or in relationships are their areas of avoidance. Who needs stress when you can have joy is a typical mantra they can identify with. When restrictions are placed on them and freedom is curtailed, they escape and flutter into activities that can distract them. The consequences of this is the 7 can live in a bubble and avoid realities of having a multitude of experiences that manifest true colour, depth, connection and empathy.
The Type 7 child was left to her own devices, usually given much less attention and the response was to distract or occupy themselves with no lack of stimulation to distract them from the pain and loneliness. They found a way to entertain themselves when it was uncomfortable and preferred this stimulation while being alone and away from the discipline, rules and inhibitions that would have potentially put a stop on their freedom and joy to do anything they chose. They also had a preference for positive options, those that brought happiness and excitement to fulfil their desires and gain a sense of the world around them. This seeking for what works, staying optimistic and an avoidance of discipline that might inhibit their movement soon became a part of their psyche. Those who rain on their parade can simply be avoided knowing that they can turn elsewhere. 7s grow up dreaming of the freedom they’ll have when they reach their teens or young adulthood.
1) 7s are reputed to be the most optimistic, not allowing a difficult day to bring them down. They are quick to reframe and though they can recall sadness and pain, the labels placed on such memories makes it seem like a passing cloud.
2) 7s love a good time and remain childlike because of their enthusiasm, excitable and free-spirited nature. They are likely to be the life of the party and probably the loudest though this isn’t always the case.
3) They can be outspoken and spontaneous with their ideas, stimulated by their childlike energy. They don’t refrain from letting others know how different some of their thoughts are from the rest.
4) They are the best brainstormers, with a Disney-like mind where there are no holds barred. They have a vivid imagination which keeps them playful on the inside, hence the outside.
5) They are pleasers in many ways, generous and kind in their comments of others and consistently want to bring cheer to others who can’t seem to feel the feelings they do. They just want to make the world a much happier place.
6) With optimism, 7s take it further by believing in themselves and others through their strong risk appetite and living in the moment. This attitude allows them to exhibit a keenness for entrepreneurship since they create the rules of engagement and the hunger to start new projects with creative energy.
7) They are multi-taskers and have such varied interests and abilities which they display through involvement in multiple events which pack up their schedule. They will avoid boredom at all costs.
1) 7s want to be stimulated by exciting pursuits quite persistently or at least be in a space that affords them happiness. This sometimes leaves them judgmental when they are in encounters which are slow-moving or require patience. If in the company of people who may not offer the stimulation they crave for, their mind starts to focus on how to enliven the energy around them. This creates the kind of distraction that causes them to lose presence and attention.
2) They are great starters of projects since they enjoy new experiences but when the mind goes into overdrive with detailed analysis which could get boring, they may begin to defocus. They can be guilty of ditching something which they are bored of.
3) Some 7s find it difficult to come home from “Disneyland” and that is get back to the grind and formulate structured and deep planning which will require focussed attention. They have a tendency to be underground, preferring the Big Picture and lofty goals and fantasies.
4) Since they feel restricted by doing repetitive things, 7s may find it inhibiting to be in a committed relationship unless their partner gives them the freedom they desire. If they are in a relationship with an understanding partner who accepts their need for freedom, they will commit to a long-term partnership.
5) 7s may not experience true joy if they avoid some of the painful experiences in their life. Whatever you avoid, comes crawling back and there will certainly be painful moments. This avoidance of anger, and sadness especially stifles their emotional growth and leaves them sometimes quite unrealistic in their expectations of others. There is a kind of impatience with other’s outbursts.
Reflections for 7’s
1) Try to establish when you are feeling bored, what feelings are you masking… fear or anxiety? Your habit of escaping and finding something more interesting gives you a clue as to what you are avoiding.
2) Allow yourself to experience pain and joy fully. In doing so, you can make your joy more meaningful and real. To experience joy, you must know what pain feels like.
3) Learn to develop ideas fully. All you need is a little more patience to push through more thoroughly in any undertaking and you will really receive the respect you deserve. Otherwise, you can come across as superficial and shallow.
4) Develop the ability to focus mentally on something for longer periods and stay with painful emotions. It will certainly nurture greater patience and an acceptance of whatever happens.
5) Learn to spread your joy without pushing others to feel the same because not everyone feels the way you do. Accept that others are not as hopeful or optimistic with everything in life.
Type 8: The Boss
Type 8s belong in the Gut Triad and are motivated to be strong, be in control of every situation they are put into. They value taking charge, being in a leadership position and ensuring that they are never taken advantage of which is a big hot button for 8s.
They see themselves as assertive, sometimes aggressive if they or those whom they love and care for are taken advantage of. Being the Body type, they find it easier to exert their inner and outer strength to protect their flock even if it means sacrificing themselves in every way to ensure whatever needs to get done, GETS DONE. They will not settle for anything less. Their inner strength, no nonsense, straight to the point stance makes the 8s most misunderstood.
If pushed in a corner which is what 8s will not tolerate, they will retaliate with unabated strength and vigour. They are motivated to seek justice and fairness for all, very much like the great protectors of the world. There is a side to the 8 which we may not see but is obvious if you know them well enough. Through their untiring effort, they are persevering, self-sacrificing and brave warriors who have no qualms being in the front line. They display tough love and are intense in voice, physical strength and spirit. They have a Never say die attitude with anything they are passionate about.
The Type 8 child often grew up in an unsafe environment (emotionally and/or physically) and they had to fend for themselves or speak up for which they were often encouraged to. Their caregivers unconsciously gave the impression that if you don’t speak up or fight for your rights, others will trample on you. They didn’t feel being vulnerable as this was either frowned upon or hardly exercised infront of the 8 child. Hence, the tender and sensitive side was hardly nurtured or present in their lives.
1) 8s are confident, independent and self-reliant. They can either be a one-man show or they can marshal a group of people to execute their orders. They function well where there is opposition or if there is an enemy which evokes their inner drive to seek justice and bring about the truth. Where the other types weaken with opposition, the 8s turn up the heat and battle it out.
- If you want the honest truth with no holds barred, ask an 8, They have little time to beat around the bush or edit their words. Their straight-forward, no-nonsense style keeps you on your toes. You know where your place is with 8s and you never have to 2nd guess.
- If you are on the right side of 8s, you will receive full support, feel empowered and protected. An 8 parent or leader is likened to an eagle looking over their flock. They look out for your interests with a warrior like bravado and ensure things will be taken care of.
- 8s are usually in a time crunch, very much a cut to the chase, take action and get the job done kind of person. You hardly have to push an 8 as they are self-motivated and independent.
- 8s are usually big picture people and visionary. Being the gut type, they feel it in their veins when something is wrong and seem to have bodily wisdom about what to do and they are seldom wrong. All said and done, they are the movers and shakers of the world.
- 8s can sometimes be intimidating because they are the least likely to initially spot a smile and their presence is known just by their energy and serious countenance until you get to know them better. 8s may take a longer time to warm up to you.
- Since they are frequently in a time crunch as mentioned earlier, they have a list of action steps on their agenda. This means they can be restless and impatient with others’ incompetence. They’d prefer others to approach them with confidence and perspective and not appear wimpy and weak.
- Between justice and mercy, 8s would seek justice (and possibly revenge) and this extends to not forgetting past incidents and injustices inflicted on them by any individual. Letting go and forgiving is tantamount to being weak and giving in. The 8s intensity urges them to hold on to anger as the source of energy to keep up the provocation.
- They get Uptight when people don’t do what is asked of them or follow their guidelines. They see it as defiance. They want people to also shape up or ship out, keeping the good and trimming the fat unless they feel a connection and loyalty to them.
- 8s are impatient and they put too much pressure on themselves to move things according to their standards. While they do not seek to be the best like the 3, they want to push any blocks in their way. If others do not fall in line, they see it as their own lack of leadership. They place much burden on themselves as they are self-reliant, independent and believe they are capable of more than they can take.
Reflections for 8’s
1) 8s give the impression of strength and courage but will hide their vulnerabilities. If they allow themselves to be vulnerable, they’d get a lot more emotional and physical support. It will allow other people into their lives, paving the way to connect and receive comfort from others.
2) 8’s generally have a hearty sense of camaraderie but may find it hard to find deep, intimate relationships with friends. They could attempt to share and listen and truly appreciate what people are trying to tell them. They should get down from their high horse and remove that armour of pride as it would help them connect better with others.
3) Allow others to exercise autonomy and control. Learn to let go and let others take over where possible. Sometimes surrendering means empowering and allowing others to take care of situations that are normally under the 8s control. It’s w win-win for all concerned.
4) Be receptive and responsive to input from others rather than moving to immediate, unilateral action.
5) 8’s are intense. They work hard and are intense about everything and it could cause them to have difficulty smelling the roses and appreciating the simple things in life like leisure, rest and bonding with others.
Type 9: The PEACEFUL Person
Type 9s are in the middle of the Gut Centre and are frequently called the Peacemakers. They are motivated to create harmony in their environment, avoid tension and to preserve the flow of things with minimal disruption. They believe that everything is as good as it is. Why fix what is not broken? 9s are most devoted to sustaining inner and outer peace both for themselves and those whom they connect with. They appreciate stability, preferring to avoid conflict, opting to either give in or work towards a peaceful settlement. They seek the company of those just like them so that their feathers are not ruffled and energy is not consumed by other people’s lack of self-control or skewed perceptions.
While the 9s are easy-going and calm, there is a side to them that is quite hidden. Since they avoid conflict and suppress anger, it results in building pressure from the inside which manifests itself as frustration. They resort to supressing their anger which is why the 9s are frequently known to have anger that’s gone to rest. The 9s may be more passive aggressive, choosing to revolt through inaction, silence, avoidance and for many of us, it’s like a silent killer. They also do have strong opinions which can go unexpressed until you ask. With pent up frustration, you might finally witness a continuous rant mixed with a stubbornness to do what feels right. 9s are unwavering when they are clear and have given something much thought.
The Type 9 child may be able to identify being overlooked, left alone or given a lot of space to be on their own. Some may have felt neglected or unimportant and this could have come in many forms, like divorced parents/caregivers, given freedom, having had busy caregivers, etc. The response of the 9 child was to ignore such feelings and take a ‘whatever will be, will be’ mentality to conceal the pain. Similarly, other 9 children might have been rebuked for having needs or trying to get attention from their caregivers. At some point, the 9 child decided that laying low and keeping those thoughts to themselves served its purpose. The numbing of emotional pain worked for the period.
1) 9s are non-judgmental and accepting. They are easy going, calm and peaceful to be with.
2) They bring calm to tense situations by laying out all the possible action steps and making each option worth pondering over. In that sense, they make the best mediators.
3) They are supportive and make you feel heard. You are accepted for who you are and nothing is wrong or right. It feels comforting to be in their presence when you are on the wrong side of a situation.
4) 9s are able to go with the flow. There is seldom argument about right or wrong even though they will have an opinion about it. Their self-control and patience is a lesson for others to sometimes let go and move on.
5) Type 9s are authentic and a great example of “what you see is what you get”. Their (les-say) laissez-faire style makes for a high level of comfort with them. You just feel you can be yourself without being judged.
1) 9s may have a preference for delaying decisions (especially uncomfortable ones) to avoid pain. They do this by numbing themselves from discomfort till it seems more comfortable to proceed. It works in some situations but not in many, like in business situations and those that involve quick decision making.
2) They can be misunderstood for being indecisive or using words like ‘go with the flow’, ‘it’s ok’, ‘small matter’, ‘don’t worry about it’ when sometimes, it might be just a way to avoid talking about something that is uncomfortable. 9s tend to avoid confrontation, preferring to keep the peace and maintain stability and calm that does not rock their inner sanctuary that they often choose to stay in.
3) 9s can be sensitive to criticism. They may not retort or seek clarification but choose to ponder over something for long periods. It can have a negative effect on their esteem and self-worth when others see that they retreat when having to stand up for something important.
4) Since 9s can flex their perceptions from one extreme to another, seeing the good in every situation and not taking sides at the same time, others can be confused about what they really think & want. In fact, they can be confused about their own wants as well.
5) Being too agreeable & caring too much about what others think of you makes it seem like you are missing an anchor in your life. Perhaps, getting to the bottom of the pain may push 9s to make tougher decisions versus numbing it till it disappears.
Reflections for 9’s
1) Learn the value of ‘No’. Rather than silently acquiescing and retreating. A passive stance is a lot less respected than if you were to state what you think or feel upfront in your gentle way. Learn how to express your thoughts directly yet respectfully, the latter of which you know so well.
2) You might be busy pursuing others’ goals for them and forget about your opinions and needs. Don’t feel uneasy asking or telling what matters in your opinion. Your needs matter and let it be known or face suffering in silence.
3) Notice when you are actually imagining having a relationship with someone vs relating with them. Learn to have deeper connections and take risks in communication with others. It’s the best way develop confidence and self-worth and stimulate interest and passion.
4) Learn to embrace conflict and deal with it directly with the understanding that resolving differences brings people together.
5) Learn to make quicker decisions. A typical defence is to numb the pain and hope that it disappears. Like all problems, it never disappears until the root problem is dealt with. Planting the seed of approaching discomfort zones builds assertiveness and confidence.