Misidentification: 7 vs. 9

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Hey friends, I’ve just finished uploading a new Misidentification video, this time on the differences and similarities between the Enthusiast and the Peacemaker!¬† Check it out and chime in if you have thoughts! ūüôā

Be sure to check back in for my next video, on the wings of 4.  See you then!

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Misidentification: 7 vs. 9

Misidentification: 3 + 7

misid_37Enneagram 3’s and 7’s can have a similar energy about them– external, positive, fast paced and people oriented. I know a 3 who has called herself a “false 7” because it’s what many identified her as at first. At the core though, Achievers and Enthusiasts reasons for doing things could not be more different. 3’s seek love and approval, 7’s seek stimulation and distraction. If there were two Olympians that were these types, they would compete with different motivation– the 7 to see the world, and have varied experiences, and the 3 to prove their worth by winning. ¬†One is driven, the other more happy-go-lucky.

Enneagram 3 is a heart type, and struggles with issues of identity– because they have always tried to live up to the expectations of others (donning masks to do so) they often feel that they don’t really know their true selves. It’s said that they sacrifice their heart’s desires at a young age to live up to the ideals of their culture.

Enneagram 7 is a head type, and struggles with issues of fear– specifically of their own deep or negative feelings, or those of others. Enthusiasts are the true optimists, and choose to distract themselves away from negativity by seeking constant positive stimulation. They are continually looking for things to distract them from their own thoughts and feelings. This, of course, is hard to sustain, so 7’s bounce from thing to thing, not staying focused very long on any one.

I actually often use the term¬†bouncy¬†to describe the physicality of Enthusiasts. There is an energizer bunny type of vibe, distracted, bright and effervescent. Conversely, 3’s lack the childlike, open nature of 7’s– coming across in a more polished, charming and salesman-like manner. Because Enthusiasts value experiences over appearance, their physical presentation is usually an afterthought– or if distinctive, adopted for the sake of novelty, or variety. ¬†3’s on the other hand find physical presentation of the utmost¬†importance. Achievers generally put a lot of thought into their appearance, modeling it after popular culture, or people they believe are winners— another product and manifestation of not really knowing who they are.

The sins (or passions) of 3 and 7 are also quite different from each other. The former struggling with Deceit (of self and others) and the latter with Gluttony– the overdoing of, and overindulging in all things: food, social activities, hobbies, you name it.

Clearly there are some surface level similarities¬†between these types, but a¬†lot of core differences. ¬†For more information on this topic, check out the Enneagram Institute’s overview of the differences between any two types and misidentification¬†in general (which can be very helpful when determining type).

Tune in next time for my next Misidentification pair: 4 and 9!

Misidentification: 3 + 7

Misidentification

misidentification

My study and observation over the last four years, has included reading both books and people– and in the end, cross referencing the two. As with any complex topic or system, there is much confusion and misunderstanding afoot in regards to the Enneagram. Understanding these hiccups and why people might be prone to make them is one of my favorite topics, in part because it’s a puzzle within a puzzle. True understanding has the ability to determine what something is, but also what something is not (and the why behind both).

In Biology, I imagine this looks something like the comparison between a butterfly and a moth. Seeing that both have two sets of wings and a similar body shape is not enough, and might lead a casual observer to assume both creatures are close enough to be the same. Many fall into a similar pit when trying to understand the inner workings of others– if they look, talk and behave like your friend Rob, you might assume they have a similar personality structure. Remember that adage about not judging a book by its’ cover? Whether with insects or with human identity, that advice rings true. If a butterfly is too complex to judge on sight, then certainly humans are as well– even when trying to sort out ourselves, we often miss the mark! Actions are clear, but with the Enneagram, we are looking below the surface at¬†motivations, sin patterns and themes. That is when a butterfly and a moth become totally¬†different animals!

It’s important to note that misidentification¬†is a problem, not for the sake of right and wrong, but because the Enneagram is only an effective tool when we authentically identify. Because this system is rooted in sin patterns, the point is to understand that dark side of ourselves¬†in order to move towards health– realizing these things about ourselves should be a humbling experience. Unfortunately, I have found the two main culprits of misidentification¬†are pride/ego and lack of knowledge. ¬†Either an individual feels less threatened (or more flattered) by¬†a type other than their actual type, or they are assigning a label to themselves with little to no understanding of what that label means– the latter is extremely common, and usually fallen into by those unfamiliar with the system. This is the main reason that I am not a proponent of test taking without follow-up study: the Enneagram was intended to further self awareness and personal growth, something that is simply not attainable by answering a fifty question test.

While many people misidentify¬†between core types, it is also very common for individuals to mistype as their wing (a 3w4 mistyping as a 4, for example), or as one of the two points on their health spectrum. Because the possible misidentification scenarios are many, I’ll be covering the most probable and specific cases that I’ve personally witnessed. Check back¬†on Monday¬†for my first post on the subject,¬†Misidentification: 3 and 7!

Misidentification

Enneagram 9

We’ve arrived at type 9, the Peacemaker! Let’s check out the basics. Feel free to click the image for a closer look!

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Peacemakers often seem like very mellow individuals, but their wells tend to run deep. The greatest fear of an Enneagram 9, is the potential separation from others, specifically people they love. ¬†They are said to feel¬†very¬†connected, both to other people, but also to the natural world around them– this being a silent, almost intuitive connection. To protect this bond from being broken, Peacemakers live up to their name by lying low. Several 9’s I know have used very similar language around their fear of ever¬†being disruptive to others– words, including “obnoxious”, “loud”, and “annoying” have painted the picture of what they would rather¬†never be perceived as.

Peacemakers are found in the Gut (or Intuitive) center of the Enneagram, which is indicative of issues in regards to anger. 9’s tend to repress their¬†anger, to the point that they are often unaware of it– this is in order to avoid the aforementioned fears of disrupting harmony. In order to deny (or forget) their¬†negative feelings, 9’s often “numb out”. This is why many Peacemakers feel (within themselves, and to others) to be very “light”, soft, or low energy.

This brings us to the core passion (or sin) of Sloth, which is something of a cop out. By lying low, or fading into the background, Peacemakers often negate both themselves and others. What feels to them like staying connected in the moment, is really holding the inner self at bay (even from themselves).

Health-seeking 9’s however, can be among the wisest and deeply understanding individuals. When they are able to ground themselves in their bodies, “remembering” their preferences and feelings, they will cease to “be blown about by the wind” so to speak. Integrating Peacemakers are active participants in life, rather than passive bystanders who merely ride the current that others produce.

If you have thoughts or questions about Enneagram 9, feel free to comment below! ¬†Be on the lookout for my next post on the Instinctual varieties of the Peacemaker, which will be my last overview post! ¬†Following that, I’ll be posting a photo/interview based project I’ve put together on the Enneagram, which I am so excited to share! Stay tuned, friends. ūüôā

Enneagram 9

Enneagram 8

Wow! Sorry for the unexpected delay since my last post, friends! Without further ado, let’s get to talking about¬†the basics of Enneagram 8, The Challenger. Feel free to click for a closer look!

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The Challenger is aptly named, in that they often naturally force their will on whatever environment they are in. ¬†8’s see life as “survival of the fittest”, and thus often come across as antagonistic– emotionally, physically and mentally¬†pushing or challenging anything or anyone in their path. At the heart, 8’s lust greatly after power and autonomy in order to avoid ever being controlled or harmed by others (hence why they seek to overpower their environment). Vulnerability, though crucial¬†to growth and health for 8’s, is often extremely unnatural and only developed with select individuals– this is because they see emotional openness¬†as a weakness to be avoided.

As one can imagine, the motivation of survival makes for a high success rate– if we believe our lives are on the line, adrenaline and tunnel vision kick in. Such is the case with an 8, but as a constant way of life. ¬†An 8 friend of mine has described this as “machine mode”, automatically putting all of one’s physcial¬†and mental effort into the current endeavor. ¬†This of course, often leaves no space or consideration for people, emotions or relationships. In this way,¬†8’s can have a strong sadistic streak, caring only about obtaining control and furthering the self. Unhealthy 8’s gain pleasure from causing pain and destruction to others, reveling in their supreme control. ¬†With that natural force of will, though, healthy 8’s can bring about the opposite– justice and peace, to others.

Challengers¬†are the natural leaders of the Enneagram, who, when health-focused can create revolutionary¬†change around them. This requires an opening of the heart. I like to note that while 8’s have very hard, rock-like exteriors (both figuratively, and often physically), they have extremely soft centers. Black sheep, under-dogs, or those who have endured¬†injustice often gain the compassion and support of 8’s.

A note on mistyping, which I feel obligated to make. In my experience, 8 is the most common mistype– specifically for men. ¬†I have found that many 3’s, counter-phobic 6’s and 7w8’s mistype as Challengers, because it’s simply more flattering to their masculine identity. Unfortunately, the Enneagram is meant to address our sin patterns and dark sides, not to flatter or make us comfortable. Most individuals who do mistype as 8’s, usually do not fully comprehend the sadistic and destructive themes at the core of this type.

If you have any questions about typing, or Enneagram 8, feel free to leave me a comment below. Also, keep an eye out for my next post on the instinctual varieties of 8! ūüôā

Enneagram 8

Instincts: 7

Now that we’ve discussed the basics of Enneagram 7, let‚Äôs talk about Instinctual differences among Enthusiasts. If you need a refresher on¬†what¬†Instincts are, check out my first post¬†on the topic.

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When talking about instincts, it’s important to realize how the same instinct can look different from core type to core type. The general descriptions of the instincts (above) are much less specific than when those instincts are applied to a specific Enneagram type.

The pain-avoiding tendencies, variety seeking and bouncy nature of type 7 manifest with each instinct in a unique way.

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Though different, it‚Äôs easy to see how the first (general descriptions) factor into the type specific ones. ¬†As aforementioned, all 7‚Äôs will probably relate¬†somewhat to all three above descriptions, but more strongly with one or two. ¬†This brings us to the concept of¬†Instinctual Stack, which denotes the order of an individual‚Äôs instinctual need. ¬†For instance, Sp/So tells us that Self Preservation is preferred/needed most, So is auxiliary¬†and Sx is the ‚Äúblind spot‚ÄĚ. I do also think looking into the instincts of your wing (especially if it is heavy) is important to behold the whole picture.

Other great sources for more detailed reading on the instincts, are The Complete Enneagram by Beatrice Chestnut, these descriptions originally from (the now inactive) Ocean Moonshine, and the work of early Enneagram scholar, Claudio Naranjo (notes on his work on the instincts).

Have any questions about instincts, Enneagram or typing? Leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you!  Be on the lookout for my next post on the basics of type 8.

Instincts: 7

Enneagram 7

We’ve made it to Enneagram type 7, usually dubbed the Enthusiast. Feel free to click for a closer look!

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The Enthusiast definitely lives up to its name and in my opinion, is one of the most blatantly obvious Enneagram typings to assign– this is because¬†7’s can truly be larger than life in their expression, enthusiasm and energy. They are outwardly joyful and fun-loving individuals who charm others and usually lead with childlike excitement! ¬†This usually stems from the fact that 7’s evade the darker side of life, fearing and desiring to be far away from pain. Because of this, Enthusiasts often avoid the¬†inner self, turning instead to the physical world to distract them– 7’s I’ve known have said that they have very busy social schedules so they won’t be left with their own thoughts. ¬†Variety and novelty seeking is a large part of this, to maintain a constant feeling of enthusiasm and happiness. ¬†The negative side effect of this however is often a lack of commitment, or responsibility¬†to the more serious parts of life.

Enthusiasts can often be found at the center of social circles, helping to draw people together and form community with their natural charisma. When health seeking, this can be a beautiful thing, as the 7 is able to acknowledge people on an individual level, slowing down to see depth and detail. ¬†When under stress or less healthy though, 7’s¬†lose sight of depth and spread themselves too thin– valuing quantity over quality, and craving more and more empty experiences which never fully satisfy them. An ugly judgmental quality often accompanies this for 7’s because they have lost touch with who others (and themselves) really are, in their endless pursuit of distraction from pain. The key to growth for 7 is exactly that, slowing down to “smell the roses”, engaging with the broken parts of both themselves and others.

If you have any questions about Enneagram 7, feel free to ask in the comments. ¬†Otherwise, keep a look out for my next post on the instinctual differences among Enthusiasts! ūüôā

Enneagram 7