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Typing Correctly – Stripping Away my Delusions

By | Erica Xenne | No Comments

When I first got back into enneagram, I didn’t think I could be a four as people had suggested, though I saw the signs. My protest was that I don’t need an “identity” – that sounds contrived. I’ve known who I am all my life and I have a deep need to EXPRESS who I am. And “who I am’ is something I study deeply. I even practice crafts and arts so I can go into a trance and dig up some expression from deep inside myself when I’m not thinking. I try so hard to strip my soul naked and then wear the findings on my sleeve – in my art, my outfits, my passions. The idea of “identity” sounded so FRIVOLOUS. Like.. I thought of people who say “I’m gonna be goth this week 🙂 .”

Any time I saw some envious girl on the forum, flaunting a goth outfit… I would say to my friend in private, “look at that cunt, she’s a four.” I found the idea of identity so offensive when I spent my whole life trying to dig up and express who I am, and become who I want to be. And envy is even worse. Wanting to be someone else is UNFORGIVABLE when you have spent your whole life defining, refining and expressing who you are. Sure, I have been competitive with people… but my sense of self runs so deep, I could not possibly give it up just to “be more like” another person.

And on and on I kicked and screamed. Until someone nailed my kicking screaming pouting ass to the proverbial wall with a four case I couldn’t refuse.
Over the next few days it hit me. My friend came over, someone I knew all my life, and I told her about the 4 vs 8 dilemma, acting cool about it. Then she said “Well you know how you said counter phobic sixes are afraid of their fear? You have always been ashamed of your shame…”
I felt all the blood drain from my face. FUCK. “But I have no shame…” fuck. That wasn’t going to fly anymore.
The next day or so , I could not resist anymore and I fell to my knees and balled my guts out.
My identity was contrived… as a child. It was not “who I am” but rather, my ‘self’ was a somewhat arbitrary concept that I clung to. BUT IT DOESN’T FEEL THAT WAY. So what is left? Am I totally deluded?
Shame.. I have no shame. None. I bare my soul, naked.. I hang nude art up at school… I walk around the dorm naked.. I fuck my crush in front of the whole party in the pool… I HAVE NO SHAME…. more tears.
Ok you got me. I do it all for love, for admiration… my sense of aliveness depends upon this IDENTITY I’ve created… my feelings are an addiction….
And when I see my fellow four Milo Yiannopolus boasting about how he has no shame… I just wish so fucking badly that I could unsee it all. But here I am.

Recognizing Shame

By | Erica Xenne | No Comments

Typing someone is not as easy as simply asking whether they relate to anger, fear or shame – and taking their answer at face value. Enneagram unveils the lies that we tell ourselves. The ego protects us from vulnerability and chaos, and hides its patterns to protect itself. Some people will recognize the central issue at their core or some distorted version of it; others will not.

If you asked me a few years ago, I would have said I have no shame – that I’m relatively shameless compared to most people I know. It’s impossible to embarrass me and I do what I want: nude photos, shiny displays of my inner world, passionate sex.  I’m open and honest about my dark history and deep desires; my body is a canvas upon which I display my inner world. Beyond that, I’ve always been open about my flaws, and never felt a need to pretend I was perfect. Shameless, right?

I also would have said I’m resilient: I process trauma, loss and heartache so deeply and honestly that I attain catharsis. Along the way, I turn that suffering to my advantage: anything from my wildest desires to my deepest pain provides an artistic landscape. At my worst, I would write in my diary that romantic interests were art fodder.

I was a singer – my voice was my beauty, passion, identity – until an illness destroyed my vocal cords and left me speaking in a whisper permanently.  It’s no coincidence that in the years following, my image was more impressive and seductive than ever.

On the flip side, I was utterly alone: I needed to process my feelings on a constant basis. Obsessions with men took over my world and I felt consumed by them.  I could not possibly reveal my desire without getting rejected, but I wrote novels and albums baring my soul naked. Though I suffered for years over these men, I eventually presented my feelings in the form of art: only there could I possibly display the full magnitude of my emotions. This released me from their clutches: the men could turn me down, now that I had processed my deep feelings – I didn’t need them.  One of my songs ended with the lyric:

If you don’t miss me, maybe it’s better
To keep you inside me, and love the memory
If I could want you, and I could love you, but never need you
I’d be your freedom, you’d be my freedom


I did not believe my enneagram fixation was in the shame center, as I convinced myself I had no shame – and when I did, with my obsessions, I faced it in my art and then revealed everything.  But why did I make myself into an art piece? Why did I hide my desire and then obsess over some dramatic way to ‘bare my soul?’  This is what I had to dig into in order to see the shame – that it wasn’t enough for me to “just be” and “just feel” – instead, I was driven to embody my inner world and deliver my shameful desires in the form of a display.  This is the “Hide/Reveal” of Type Four.

In recognizing my shame, I also saw that I was hurting people and causing the very rejections that I so feared.  This helped me state my feelings, simply as they are – which allowed me to find love.  Since I am no longer choking on unspoken feelings, I am not overflowing with artistic frenzies.  Instead, I fulfill deeper dreams by focusing on long term projects and visions.


468 is Not “Truth Teller.”

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The “Truth-Teller” archetype – proposed by the Fauvres for 468 – describes a person obsessing over others’ actions, noticing causes for alarm and ‘blowing the whistle.’  Yet this doesn’t fit 468.

If Four is leading, the world is a stage for the Four to act out their inner drama.  Four hides their shameful feelings and reveals them through hints and evocations, often in art.  The subject may or may not include ‘ringing the alarm bell.’  In the case of a Social 468 like Milo Yiannopoulos, this drama might include politics and whistle-blowing, but the tritype in no way guarantees such an outcome.

If Eight is leading, the person will be expansive and lusty.  There is minimal focus on potential threats, since the Eight takes their expansive power for granted.  When threats do arise, Eights are not duty-bound to share their findings.  After all, it’s a dog eat dog world and people dig their own grave – “better them than me.”  Lust is busy moving forward, chasing, expanding.

Six is the only member of the tritype who characteristically notices potential disasters, but this does not necessarily mean Sixes feel the need to announce any threats they perceive.  A Six’s superego is attuned to their own security; telling the truth would not necessarily put them at an advantage. Beyond that, the 468 tritype, by default, makes the Six counter-phobic.  This means even if Six is leading, the person may be on the offensive, unaware of their own anxiety.

Having a need to tell the truth, as if it’s the ‘right thing to do,’ would imply heavy superego in the interpersonal center (Two) and in the gut center (One).  Ones have talent in scrutinizing what is right and wrong, and deciding when it “must be said.”  Twos take it upon themselves to protect and nurture others and take pride in all the sacrifices they make, which may include being the ‘bringer of bad news.’  Without the presence of One or Two in the tritype, someone would not necessarily feel a righteous need to ‘tell the truth.’

The combination is not, by default, duty-bound and other-focused.  If this tritype wants to fight, they will fight.  Some 468s in politics include Milo Yiannopoulos (Four lead), Che Guevera (Six lead), Steve Bannon (Eight lead).  These men took it upon themselves to fight against a perceived danger and would not be brought down.  There are others – such as Eminem (Six lead), Nina Simone, Vangelis, Johnny Cash (Eight lead), and me (Four lead) – who are more interested in expressing inner truths than sounding alarms.

Better names for this tritype: Boxing With God, The Ring of Fire, Big Boss a Nova.  These names were introduced by Robin Goldsmith (Roshan) and Sylvia Martindale.

I am a 468 – to be specific, 4w3-8w7-6w5 Sx/So – and I don’t experience any particular need to “tell” the truth.  Instead, what is central to me is a powerful sense of purpose.

As a child, I wrote novels and music.  I wanted a music career and by age 13, I had one.  I practiced constantly, built myself up in any way necessary and took on the music industry.  There were constant rejections, trials and toil, but none stopped me: I was determined to live out my passion.

At age 16 I became deathly ill with Lyme Disease, which left me speaking in a whisper forever.  Lyme is a political illness, so I was misdiagnosed, mistreated, and barely survived.  Many people have fought for Lyme recognition, making movies, writing books, hosting seminars. I have written posts warning about misconceptions which saved lives, but I was not interested in a Lyme Warrior career. All my life, I wrote music and novels. This was my path.

In my 20s I moved to the city by myself, led a band and sang lead through my whisper. Surviving the city with a chronic illness was no easy feat, but I spent every second of my life funding and enacting this project until I couldn’t anymore due to inevitable health problems.  Then I set about learning to write so I could get my fantasy novels in shape.   I was a horrible writer but, as usual, nothing would stop me.

These lyrics of mine encapsulate my experience and the core of the 468 tritype:

Tell me the odds
I’ll beat them senseless
Summon the Gods
They’ll be defenseless 

When it comes to ‘telling the truth,’ I am significantly less determined.  Rather, truth finds its way to me because I am polarizing and tend to elicit strong reactions.

I don’t do this on purpose. I don’t feel, “I will expose you for all your flaws!” In fact, I often don’t even see people’s flaws; I’m caught up in the ‘juice’ of the exchange.  I’m not thinking about problems or what might go wrong. The ‘critical eye’ is the realm of Type One, which is not part of my tritype.

People have told me: “Your eyes are truth; it hurts to look at them.” “I feel exposed when you look at me.”  On internet forums, where my eyes are not visible behind a screen, I have a similar effect.  Others react strongly to my honesty, openness, and high-voltage energy; then their colors end up being exposed. I don’t do this with intent. It is the natural result of my psychological nudity.

“Kali’s nudity has a similar meaning. In many instances she is described as garbed in space or sky clad. In her absolute, primordial nakedness she is free from all covering of illusion. She is Nature (Prakriti in Sanskrit), stripped of ‘clothes’. It symbolizes that she is completely beyond name and form, completely beyond the effects of maya (illusion). Her nudity is said to represent totally illumined consciousness, unaffected by maya. Kali is the bright fire of truth, which cannot be hidden by the clothes of ignorance. Such truth simply burns them away.” – Red Zambala

In any 468, there are two lines to 2.  As a 4, I demonstrate ‘who I am’ – which gives others a mirror in which to see themselves.  Due to the 2 in me, I’m inclined to dig deep into people’s psyche to inspire or rescue them without expecting something in return. I don’t tend to scrutinize them and think about whether I’m giving more than I should.  Perhaps for a 2 core or fix, there would be more awareness of emotional currency but, for me, there’s a sense that my soul is infinite and I can fend for myself autonomously.  With the 8, I feel indomitable and can’t imagine myself in a weak position, so I have no need to scrutinize or seek ‘alarms.’

My anxiety tends to come on in a sudden wave. I overshare, overgive, overtake… then suddenly realize something is off and feel spikes coming out of my back.  I start thinking of ways the person could betray me or info they have on me, scrambling for power.

Once I am in control again, I’m wary, though I don’t tend to keep people ‘on trial’ for long.  If the betrayal proves ‘real’ then I cut the person out. I can be cordial, but never tune into them emotionally again. If the person comes around, I forget everything and go right back in, full-hearted.  I don’t like scrutinizing and monitoring myself; I like to be in a flow.  Walking on eggshells bores me – either I’m fully present or I’m gone.

In romance, things are different.  My desire for a man gives him incredible power over me and makes him ‘a threat.’  His love or rejection feels like life or death.

This is when my ‘psychological nudity’ slips away.  I feel tremendous shame about how obsessive I become. I’m embarrassed that someone’s name and existence is “with me” at all times, all places. I can feel his breath breathing inside of me; I can sense his motion as I walk; his rhythm and melody rings in my voice; I merge completely. This is extremely shameful, especially when there’s no committed relationship.  I have to hide it.  The power games begin: who wants who more?  Who is in control???

Before I married my soulmate, art was as necessary as air; it was the only place I could express the obsessions that were choking me.  I kept diaries, took photos to mirror my feelings, wrote novels, and composed songs; in my art, I revealed myself naked.  The climax of the last song on my first album captured this problem, raw and unadorned.

There’s no better time than now
Gotta show him who I am somehow
Cry until I’m dry
And I’ll admit it when I want to die
He may never love me
He may act like he’s above me
But I’d rather be rejected
Than be worshipped for a lie…

Now that I’ve married my soulmate, I communicate directly. I know he loves me and needs me, but I still worry that he’s not attracted to me and feel the urge to withdraw, to ‘make him want me’ and ‘make him burn for me.’  This is not his fault – there’s nothing he has done to make me feel unwanted. It’s a delusion based on my own fears. I told him about this fear when we first met, thanks to enneagram study – I was able to OWN it – even in the face of shame. It was only through loosening the clutches of my enneagram fixation that I was able to reveal my most essential truth: the power of my desire, the fury of my obsession, the depth of my love.

4w3 and Image – The World is a Stage

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The world is a stage upon which I can act out my inner drama. The way I see it, I was exiled from Erosia, and my life’s purpose is to embody its essence and channel it here on Earth.

I don’t have conscious awareness of eyes on me moment to moment – as I am focused on my own passion and desires, and honing the talents which allow me to channel them. Since I don’t actively think about others’ reactions, I never thought of myself as ‘self conscious’ until I realized I was a four, and then I saw that self-conscious “look” pervading all my photos… and felt sick.  This tells me the self-consciousness may be so pervasive and constant that I don’t even notice it.

What is conscious for me is channeling what lies within. Most people associate themselves with certain symbolism, passions or hobbies – but for me, there’s a deep dive into my internal world, and a need to wear it on my sleeve, to embody it. Throughout my life, I photograph myself, write poetic diary entries, and write songs to encapsulate my emotional journey.  When things are most dramatic – breakups, arguments, trauma – I feel the most pressing need to capture that suffering in art.  This process is cathartic and sacred: it helps me follow my deepest experience, discover who I really am, shape myself into an ideal, and ultimately, connect to others.

I don’t want people to remember me as ‘some random nice person’ – I want to be known as the embodiment of Erosia – my own creation. I want my inner world to be symbolized in my actions, outfits, and art; and ideally, I want others to find parts of themselves in it. They associate me with desire, passion…. and whatever else Erosia evokes for them. When this happens, I approach ‘Holy Origin’ – as it shows that, in some way, my audience and I are cut from the same cloth. My expression of origin resonates with their experience of their own.  In turn, I tend to bring the people I love into Erosia, and express my experience of them with symbols in my art.

I don’t do this in a calculated fashion: I don’t think “how do I want to affect others?” — instead I find a way to wear my inner world on my sleeve or mirror it in art.  Ideally, the expression would match the inside to the outside – and make it beautiful in some way, even if only in its rawness or brokenness.

When I lost my voice and could no longer sing & perform, I felt like my pipeline to others was cut off and my inner world could no longer be ‘heard,’ which made me worthless, nothing special, nobody. I’ve shared this poem from back then, many times…

am ii too jagged
or is the world too perfectly round?
sometimes ii feel like everyone else is lost
and ii, alone, am found.
but if a tree falls in the woods and no one hears it
does it make a sound?
that question is what keeps me
so tightly bound.

So, to translate – I’m fine with being different, fine with being ‘alien,’ I don’t get lonely or have some need to change myself for ‘them’ — I am found and they are lost. But I need them to hear me, to see me, to behold me. This need keeps me ‘bound’ to “them.” I need an audience or else there is no show.

Art is a lifestyle and a state of mind, but my work is not limited to expressions of ‘self.’  My magnum opus is a fantasy series in another galaxy- which has little to do with ‘me’ or my personal history.  The protagonist is nothing like me, and Erosia, as a planet, is not a major focus of this series, though it does tie in ultimately.  The art is not always directly about me; but I live as a vessel through which my passions and visions emerge.  I sacrifice everything for my art, and I see this as an expression of the lines to 1 and 2: I am a martyr.  The expression of my passions is my mission, and I live for something greater than myself.  I hope to tap into something timeless and eternal that will outlast my body, my feelings, or my tribe – something so deeply primal that it’s universal.  My art would ideally function as a mirror in which others can see themselves, stripped bare.

* Note about other 4s, from Roshan:
Tennessee Williams sp/sx 4w3 wrote deeply personal plays about people,
as a dramatic playwright, he was portraying other people.  Oscar Wilde as well.  Every 4 isn’t just evoking their own personal mythology, but they are expressing their personal experience and there will be a poetic expression somehow.  They express a very personal inner world but in different ways.  The personal is universal.  This is four ‘introjection.’

Tritype “Triple Attachment” – Basics.

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The “attachment types” are 3, 6 and 9 – so when these come together into a tritype, it makes the “triple attachment” tritype.

Here’s the basic breakdown:
You can see that the most basic, primal points of enneagram are 3, 6 and 9 – the ones that are connected by a triangle.
9 is the “central ” gut type, between the gut types 8 and 1.
6 is the “central” head type, between head types 5 and 7.
3 is the “central” heart type, between heart types 2 and 4.

9, 6 and 3 can all struggle with being “out of touch” with the center, but the classic explanation is kind of.. unrealistic. So, the classic explanation is that 9 is out of touch with anger (gut), 3 is out of touch with their shame (heart), and 6 is out of touch with inner mind, thus looking for an authority (head).

This explanation is “classic” but it has to be taken as a ‘dichotomy’ or a jumping off point. Humans are complex. So some 9s have anger and some don’t, but the anger tends to be misdirected. There’s a struggle to pin down the source of anger and aim it DIRECTLY at the problem. So people might not type at 9 because they’ll claim “I’m angry all the time.” “I feel my anger.” Etc. But they might be repressing anger at the REAL core of the issue, while having all this other anger floating around.

Likewise, each of these types are slippery in the core. 6 is out of touch with its inner authority, but is also the biggest SKEPTIC, refusing to believe input coming from others without first putting it through questioning filters. At other times, sixes will have ‘blind faith’ and just latch on to an apparent authority. Three can attach their sense of ‘value’ to accomplishments and certain other premises “out there’ that make people give them applause, like being hot, smart, or other things that appeal to a specific audience they want to attract; and thus lose sight of the shame (of having no worth) that is driving the whole thing; or they can be very aware of feeling worthless and fearing failure.

But either way, there’s something slippery there. For 9, as Robin has taught me, they can “know and not know.” At the same time. And this tritype can be like that.

Now, let’s look at the triangle.

3 integrates to 6, which integrates to 9, which integrates back to 3.
3 disintegrates to 9 which disintegrates to 6 which disintegrates back to 3.
So if someone is triple attached, all their fixes integrate and disintegrate into their other fixes, and they can get into a loop where you can’t tell which one is core.


– by Erica Xenne

Sx vs. Soc

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Common Misconception: Sx = Intimacy. 

Here, I posted an exchange I had today on a forum, addressing this.

Interesting. I’m a bit confused, though, especially about the last paragraph. What’s the difference between So and Sx again? There was a site that said that So is “personal connection” and Sx is “intimacy.” Sounds like the same thing to me. When you say that he enjoys merging with the fascinating qualities about you, that sounds like ‘connecting’ to me. Connecting and merging sounds like the same thing to me. So, if you wouldn’t mind, what’s the difference between So and Sx?

Anyway, you make some interesting points, and maybe this could explain why so many people type themselves as Sx (because they’re perhaps under the impression that Sx is one-on-one relationship, depth, romance, etc. and that So is group interactions and communities and so on). I guess I tend to be under this impression myself as well.

Thanks for the interest and the thoughtful question.

Social is, at root: bonding, warmth, interpersonal intimacy, relationships, love between two people, friendship, having each other’s back. It is also the human need that lies behind the sentiment of loneliness. (Any instinct type can feel lonely.)

If you think about it, not all your close relationships are sexual. You might have a one-on-one intense bond with your brother or sister, or one of your parents, or perhaps your teacher or boss who is elderly when you’re a child; but none of these bonds (under typical healthy conditions) would be sexual. You can bond deeply with your sister without there having to be ‘sexual charge.’ So what would you call your intense, trusting, loving relationship bond with your sister? That would be social. And this extends to your friends.

Sexual is, at root: heat, allure, transformation, sexual intimacy eros. There’s a sense that you want to penetrate and be penetrated by the other person entirely, as though being absorbed into their being; tearing down all walls. (This is often mistaken for intimacy, but it isn’t necessarily, unless the Social instinct is also at play.) It is also the human need that lies behind obsession, limerence. (Any instinct type can experience this.) There’s an addictive quality to it, whether or not you’re actually intimate with the person.. you want them to want you.

In French, orgasm is called “la petite morte” – the little death. This is because when making love, you’re naked, exposed, without walls. You spill your life seed into, or upon, another. Fluids are mixed. Boundaries are lost, and when boundaries are lost, it’s impossible not to transform; to be reborn.

The reason sex has been deemed ‘sinful’ and bad is because it’s too destructive to society – it brings unexpected changes. People who were otherwise loyal to their family, or their job, or “the state” – will suddenly throw it all away for the sake of passion. Or that is what they fear. Sx instinct has a transformative quality.. it is there to strip you down, expose you and entice you, leaving you wide open. In this sense, Sexual Instinct has a danger to it. It can be scary, overwhelming.

Sx dominants are tuned into enticement, allure; they can’t turn it off. There’s a sense they’re always penetrating into you, using some type of luring siren signal, like the way birds show off their bright feathers and sing to impress a mate. All of that is sexual signaling and humans do it very similarly – through dressing up, showing virtuosity to entice (music, art etc).

Now this does not mean that “Sx dominants are sluts.” Quite the contrary, in many cases. The Sx dominant is so deeply attuned to chemistry that they can tell whose chemistry mixes best with theirs. When this instinct is first, it can be very selective, holding out for the hottest person, some kind of Ideal Other who would attract them and allure and entice them for all eternity.

This can, of course, develop into a sense of intimacy very quickly- since there’s an addictive quality, wanting to get deep into every part of the lover’s psyche. But this is a very different type of intimacy than that which you experience with your sister. The type with your sister will outlast most of your sexual relationships. The intimacy with your lover is more penetrating and intense, but it is not in and of itself based on common interests, trust, deep bonding and so forth; until Social instinct comes into play.

And we must remember that people are whole – we are not “just one instinct.” So an Sx/Sp and Sp/Sx couple will become bonded on a social level. Just as an So/Sp and Sp/So couple will enjoy heat and intensity, and want to allure each other. The question is, where does your attention automatically lie? What is the primary call of your instinctual senses? Which instinct is on all the time, in all situations, constantly guiding you, alternately holding you back and propelling you forward?

The Limits of Descriptions

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A type is a living breathing pattern that manifests through living breathing people. Once someone has years of experience with typology, the type starts to come to life. There’s more than words on a page; there’s a rhythm, a chemistry. This is what type really is. And once you understand that rhythmic essence of the types, then the descriptions become a ‘guide’ rather than scripture. Jung and Gurdjieff knew this – they were describing archetypes, not full people, and both were careful to explain that their systems (Cognitive Functions and Enneagram, respectively) were about a fundamental underlying gestalt which underlies the psyche of anyone that embodies that archetype.

If you can feel the types, and see them in motion in actual humans, it is clear that no description on its own is adequate. The various descriptions are maps and the people are the trees and the houses. The underlying gestalt of each archetype is clearly the same throughout each system, even if descriptions by different authors contradict each other – at least to my eye. Not everyone sees the world the way I do, but I certainly don’t gain much anymore from arguing about this description vs. that. It is a necessary stepping stone toward understanding what type is, but I don’t see how tit for tat cut-and-paste does anything to bring a type to life and make it breathe, so that a human may embody its essence. Once we get past that second-grade cut and paste, we graduate to the world of archetypes and rhythm of the world. Yacking about this definition vs that, is no longer relevant.

When you hear a piece of music, do you argue that someone else played the notes in a different syncopation? Fur Elise is Fur Elise, no matter who plays it. It can be to a rock beat, a jazz beat.. it’s still the same fundamental melody and chords. This is what makes it Fur Elise. You can argue that someone completely changed it, but if you heard that intro and you said “Fur Elise!” then your gut knew what song it was. This is the same for types.

Nature vs. Nurture

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The nature vs nurture argument is a lot to unpack.  Parental orientation has been interpreted in a many ways – but the enneagram field has largely rejected the idea that enneagram type develops due to “nurture.” The common interpretation is that parental orientation occurs because of your nature.

Arguably, two siblings might respond very different to the same parents because they are naturally two different types; so the child ‘invites’ the particular parental orientation associated with their type. Still, even that has been under scrutiny, because in a lot of cases, it just doesn’t add up with reality.

In order to make sense of it one must dig beyond the surface. For instance I’m a four. Fours are supposed to be separate from both parents, but I was close with my parents.  So what does this mean?  It means I focused on an identity that was inherently alien or separate from them, developing my own personal mythology on an alien world, and spending most of my brain-power on that “dissection of self’ rather than on family matters. It doesn’t mean I wasn’t close to them.

I’ve seen countless stories where people claim that they don’t match their type’s parental orientation, but upon talking to them further it’s more that their nature invites this orientation with others.  For instance, they look for mothers and fathers, nurturers and protectors, in other people in a certain manner that displays their type.  Two siblings do this differently, according to their own type’s makeup.

Crown of the Enneagram

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People often mistype at 9, taking it literally. “My biggest fear is losing my loved ones, losing myself, losing my lifestyle.”  Sure.  That’s human.

9 is the crown of the enneagram because it deals with the central theme that enneagram exists in order to confront, which is that life is impermanent, and none of us know our true essence.  We have to build up defenses to survive in this world, as a necessity.  Those defenses form patterns, which can be understood as enneagram types.  Many claim enneagram is inborn and it is clearly observable in babies.  What this means is, the brain is programmed a certain way which lends itself to the emergence of a specific pattern.  The innate need for a survival pattern is essentially human, and that’s why everyone has an enneagram type.

So why do we have to “survive” through defenses?  Because people perceive themselves as separate entities, separated from one another.  People perceive “you against me” and “me vs. death.”  They see life as separate from death; thus, a fear of separation occurs.  You are separate from death, so how do you retain your life?  There’s a fear of impermanence and of the inevitability we all have to face: that one day, we will lose everything.

9s take this fear on at the deepest level: to combat this fear, they don’t hold tightly to anything, including their own ego.  This is the misty 9 vibe that people talk about – not quite “owning” their aggression, not owning their own self, going with the flow. This is their attempt to defend against impermanence and it can bring on a kind of ‘premature enlightenment.’  I’m not separate, combative. I am not even “just me” – I have a permeable ego, and nothing can hold me for long. The 9 is slippery.

This is the crown of the enneagram, as it is the purest manifestation of the defense against death, which reads to our mind as “impermanence and losing everything” since we see it as being separated from our life and our ego, rather than seeing ourselves as simply part of a grand cycle.  We need our ego in order to push ourselves to survive.  Without ego, why take care of our kid instead of every kid equally, regardless of the effects this has on our own offspring?  Life would fall apart without ego but, at the same time, it’s still a delusion. A necessary delusion. Since everyone believes it and lives by it, that, in a way, makes the ego very “real.”

So is it really a delusion? I don’t know. It’s more like a coping strategy that results from the reality of how the human mind works.

The other core types are additional defenses against losing yourself, impermanence, nothingness, dissolution.  Each type is a fixation on a different aspect of the human experience. We all have all these experiences and “sides” to us, which is why many of us can relate to many types, if not all, if we are honest with ourselves.  But each type gets fixated on a specific aspect of the experience of being human, thus forming a different core defense pattern.

Enneagram can’t be conceived of as a mere set of traits.  Motivations do not exist in a vacuum, and behavior should evidence the core motivation; but in order to spot a type, we need to understand what lies at its essence.  To truly grasp the meaning of enneagram, it has to be understood in terms of the egoic battle against impermanence.

“Why Can’t I find my Type?”

By | Erica Xenne | One Comment

The ego resists seeing its own defenses.  We need our defense strategies (enneagram) and biases (functions) for a reason. These strategies give the mind a pattern that it can learn to protect itself from chaos.  The defenses work on automatic, so uncovering the truth about them weakens them and leaves the ego bare, exposed, raw…

Over time, this discovery helps us to see ourselves, so that we may use our defenses but prevent them from using us.  But at first, exposing the truth about our automatic reactions and “inner settings” forces us to change. The ego resists changing because it is scared of exposure and chaos…rightfully so. Whether or not someone types correctly, it is only a strong soul that can digest the true meaning of its own type… and even then, the ego will continue defending itself by creating distortions around that idea, such as taking pride in your type, being ashamed, creating internal drama around it… all of which distracts from looking at the self objectively. Embracing the deep value of typology, on an egoic level, is a lifelong journey.