enneagram types 8, 9, 1

Continuing on from You and Me and the Enneagram, brief descriptive vignettes of each of the 9 types  follow*. We will start at the top with the anger group of 8, 9 and 1. Recall, that the purpose of this system is not to get a leg up on friends and neighbors, but to have a more comprehensive understanding of one’s own shadow side, as Carl Jung would put it—the part that causes us trouble—the part we sometimes think is admirable, but in God’s eyes… not always the case. Maybe it’s just a lot of blankets piled on ourselves in which to hide our true, essential selves,  as Jesus put it: “… except you become as little children…” Essential selves, just how we were born and made in the image…that’s what we want to uncover and nurture.

To have a working understanding of this system, please consult any of the many books and teachers on the subject (Richard Rohr, Don Richard Riso, Helen Palmer, Claudio Naranjo, Jerome Wagner to name a few), or attend a lecture or workshop.

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8 – The Boss. Gravitating to positions of authority and control, Eights set the rules in love and business life. But behind their habitual bluster and aggressive manner lies a core of kindness, expressed as a strong desire to protect loved ones and stand up for justice. Eights describe a combative childhood in which respect was earned through strength, and they had to grow up young. Uncomfortable dealing with feelings, they tend to deny empathy. Instead, Eights are often strong physical intuitives, literally moving into conflict with a powerful presence that extends beyond their bodies. Many also have a body-based recognition of the qualities of power in the people around them. used wisely, their take-charge stance can be a powerful source of support to others.

9 – The Mediator. Pleasant, ambivalent, and often slothful, Nines are said to merge with the feelings and concerns of those around them. They began doing this as “overlooked” children whose own needs, feelings, and points of view were ignored. Unseen, Nines lost track of their own identities and distracted themselves with creature comforts. The learned to maintain connection by mirroring others’ lives as a way of telling them, “We are the same.” This identification can be so complete that they find themselves “becoming” the other person. picking up that person’s mannerisms, energy, and opinions. Nines can be strong body-based intuitives, but they need to resist the temptation to “zone out” and become absorbed in the energy fields of those around them, or mesmerized by TV. They can make constructive use of their merged states if the learn to recognize the difference between their own impulses and signals  that come fom others.

1 – The Perfectionist. Oriented toward correctness and “doing the right thing,” Ones live in judgment of themselves and others. They yearn for those moments of perfection, when everything fall into place “just so,” especially if these moments come as a result of their own hard work. As good little boys and girls who earned love by never making a mistake, Ones learned to sense when events ere on track toward perfection. As a result, many have become classic picture-straighteners who can’t rest until even the slightest flaws are corrected The good news is that they can refine ideas and products to a degree that others might not imagine possible. Ones intuitively recognize the orderly flow of perfectly balanced effort, because their bodies relax and “feel right” in the pleasure of a job well done.

*These type vignettes are excerpted from an interview with Helen Palmer,  Intuitive Styles of the Enneagram,  by D. Patrick Miller, Intuition Magazine, (date uncertain).

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August 2009

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