Knowing your Enneagram patterns
gives a glimpse in what others see,
but may not be saying.
Sometimes, it’s hard for people to tell us the hard stuff. Or, if they do, it’s hard to be receptive to what they are saying.
Below, I list common feedback I hear from people when working with people of your style. Remember, this is a protective, automatic mechanism, so be kind to yourself as you bring these blind spots to awareness.
Challenge: Getting stuck in blame.
This results in polarization of positions and defensiveness in other people. Instead of directing energy toward solving the problem, energy goes toward feelings of anger and resentment.
Remember, body types are “self forgetting.” Instead of taking the initiative, they tend to be more reactive to what’s already there: “I like. I don’t like.”
It’s important to consider how anger and blame affects the situation. Be sure to include the anger and blame you direct at yourself.
Type 1: The Perfectionist: Your co-workers may see you as responsible, but also as critical. Your drive for excellence is a gift but can also be a weakness when you feel resentful for having to get everything right. Others don’t share your level of standards. This can also lead others to feel inadequate, criticized or micromanaged. Notice how you replace priorities with “the correct thing to do” and become angry when you are convinced that you are right. Shift this habit to identifying one or two things that you and others do as “good enough.”
Type 9: The Mediator: Your co-workers see you as not taking full ownership for your opinion or position on things. When things go wrong it is easy to blame if you haven’t been clear on where you stand. While your gift for finding consensus and for being flexible can be invaluable, it can lead to lack of awareness for the “skin” you need to have in the game.
Notice how you replace your own priorities by merging with many points of view. Shift this habit by stating one clear opinion a day for starters.
Type 8: The Protector: Your co-workers see you as accusatory and intimidating when things go wrong. They also see you as inflating your value and your belief you’re right and they’re wrong. Being blamed shuts down candid conversation and effective problem solving. Although you may be a strong leader, your tone of voice, your line of questioning and your body language convey an angry and blaming message.
Notice your big energy. Notice how you may be guarding softer feelings by becoming excessive. Also pay attention to a tendency to over inflate yourself. using your anger to defend yourself. Shift this habit by speaking not just from your gut but from your heart which allows for more warmth and softness and from your head where you can listen to multiple truths.
Simple PAUSE Practices for all 3 Body Types:
Head Practice: Notice when your attention is going toward blaming a person or situation for your feelings of anger and frustration.
Ask yourself: What is my personal responsibility here? How is my anger protecting me in this relationship or situation? Can I become curious about other perspectives on the situation?
Heart Practice: Notice when anger and blaming occurs. Sometimes it is an appropriate response to a mistake or wrongdoing, but often it serves a protective function of keeping us unaware of other feelings. Pause and see if any other feelings come up. Treat these other feeling kindly and resist the temptation to begin self blame and negative self talk as a way to push away soft feeling like shame, sadness, or disappointment.
Ask others: Once you have grounded yourself (below) and have identified the feelings that go along with your anger, own your own power and have a direct conversation with the person rather than talking about them to someone else. Blaming conversations create toxic environments so clear the air. Ask others how the situation affected them. Experiment with sharing some of your softer reactions to the situation with others and notice if it improves the situation or relationship.
Body Practice: When you start behaving in ways that indicate that you are angry, frustrated or resentful, do something physical. Take a walk or workout if possible.
If you are a One, a walk in nature or around the block will put you back in touch with physical sensations and feelings. Gently inhale and feel the sensation of the breath. Imagine you are spready energy into the cells of your body.
If you are an Eight, it can release pent up and rising anger or it may re-energize you from deep frustration. Breathe deeply into the diaphragm and relax and let go on the exhalation. Don’t power up into your chest as this armors you from feeling. (Think Gaston from Beauty and the Beast).
For Nines, physical activity is helpful as long as you check in with yourself every 10 minutes and ask, “Am I still paying attention to what triggered my anger?” and “What am I thinking and feeling about it right now?” You are different from the One and the Eight because belly breathing relaxes you. As a Nine, this actually feeds your pattern. Rather, breathe into your heart and feel sensations. Feel your life force energy.