I’ve been reading a lot about enneagrams lately. I don’t think I’ve ever consciously taken the enneagram test, although over the years, I probably did in one form or another.
It seems I’m a Type 9 personality … The Peacemaker. And it wasn’t even close — three points higher than the closest trait, a Type 2. After reading the traits, I can see that, although, like all personal testing, the results are generalizations. Personalities are unique.
According to the analysis, people of this personality type essentially feel a need for peace and harmony. They tend to avoid conflict at all costs, whether it be internal or interpersonal. As the potential for conflict in life is virtually ubiquitous, the Nine’s desire to avoid it generally results in some degree of withdrawal from life, and many Nines are, in fact, introverted. Other Nines lead more active, social lives, but nevertheless remain to some to degree “checked out,” or not fully involved, as if to insulate themselves from threats to their peace of mind. Most Nines are fairly easy going; they adopt a strategy of “going with the flow.” They are generally reliable, sturdy, self-effacing, tolerant and likable individuals.
Check. I can agree. I call myself an extroverted introvert and go with the flow.
Nines tend to adopt an optimistic approach to life; they are, for the most part, trusting people who see the best in others; they frequently have a deep seated faith that things will somehow work out. They desire to feel connected, both to other people and to the world at large. They frequently feel most at home in nature and generally make warm and attentive parents.
Check. I can agree. I am optimistic, try to see the best in everyone and know things will work out. I’m certainly comfortable near water and trees.
The Nine’s inability to tolerate conflict sometimes translates into an overall conservative approach to change. Change can provoke unpleasant feelings and disrupt the Nine’s desire for comfort. Less healthy Nines seem incapable of motivating themselves to move into action and bring about effective change. When change does come however, as it generally will, Nines find they are usually well able to adapt. They tend to be more resilient than they give themselves credit for. In fact, Nines tend not to give themselves enough credit in general, and their self-effacing attitude often seems to invite others to take them for granted or to overlook their often significant contributions. This can cause a subterranean anger to build inside the Nine’s psyche, which can erupt into consciousness in occasional fits of temper which quickly blow over, but which more often manifests itself in passive agressive footdragging. Being overlooked is often a source of a deep sadness in Nines, a sadness they scarcely ever give voice to.
Okay. I don’t think I’m adverse to change. I don’t look for change for change sake, but I think I adapt to it well. I admit to occasional fits of temper, but it does quickly blow over. So, I guess, check.
Nines frequently mistype themselves as they have a rather diffuse sense of their own identities. This is exacerbated by the fact Nines often merge with their loved ones and through a process of identification take on the characteristics of those closest to them. Female Nines frequently mistype as Twos, the Helper, especially if they are the mothers of small children. Nines, however, are self-effacing whereas Twos are quite aware of their own self worth. Nines also mistake themselves for Fours, the Individualist, but Nines tend to avoid negative emotions whereas Fours often exacerbate them. Intellectual Nines, especially males, frequently mistype as Fives, the Investigator, but Fives are intellectually contentious whereas Nines are conciliatory and conflict avoidant.
Just to recap, the nine types are (from 1-9) 1. The Reformer. Ones are essentially looking to make things better, as they think nothing is ever quite good enough. This makes them perfectionists who want to reform and improve, who desire to make order out of the omnipresent chaos. 2. The Helper. Twos essentially feel that they are worthy insofar as they are helpful to others. Love is their highest ideal. Selflessness is their duty. Giving to others is their reason for being. Involved, socially aware, usually extroverted, Twos are the type of people who remember everyone’s birthday and who go the extra mile to help out a co-worker, spouse or friend in need. 3. The Achiever. Threes need to be validated in order to feel worthy; they pursue success and want to be admired. They are frequently hard working, competitive and are highly focused in the pursuit of their goals, whether their goal is to be the most successful salesman in the company or the “sexiest” woman in their social circle. 4. The Individualist. Fours build their identities around their perception of themselves as being somehow different or unique; they are thus self-consciously individualistic. They tend to see their difference from others as being both a gift and a curse — a gift, because it sets them apart from those they perceive as being somehow “common,” and a curse, as it so often seems to separate them from the simpler forms of happiness that others so readily seem to enjoy. 5. The Investigator. Fives essentially fear that they don’t have enough inner strength to face life, so they tend to withdraw, to retreat into the safety and security of the mind where they can mentally prepare for their emergence into the world. Fives feel comfortable and at home in the realm of thought. They are generally intelligent, well read and thoughtful and they frequently become experts in the areas that capture their interest. 6. The Loyalist. Sixes essentially feel insecure, as though there is nothing quite steady enough to hold onto. At the core of the type Six personality is a kind of fear or anxiety. Sixes don’t trust easily; they are often ambivalent about others, until the person has absolutely proven herself, at which point they are likely to respond with steadfast loyalty. 7. The Enthusiast. Sevens are essentially concerned their lives be an exciting adventure. They are future oriented, restless people who are generally convinced something better is just around the corner. They are quick thinkers who have a great deal of energy and who make lots of plans. They tend to be extroverted, multi-talented, creative and open minded. 8. The Challenger. Eights are essentially unwilling to be controlled, either by others or by their circumstances; they fully intend to be masters of their fate. Eights are strong willed, decisive, practical, tough minded and energetic. They also tend to be domineering; their unwillingness to be controlled by others frequently manifests in the need to control others instead. 9. The Peacemaker. Nines essentially feel a need for peace and harmony. They tend to avoid conflict at all costs, whether it be internal or interpersonal. As the potential for conflict in life is virtually ubiquitous, the Nine’s desire to avoid it generally results in some degree of withdrawal from life, and many Nines are, in fact, introverted. Other Nines lead more active, social lives, but nevertheless remain to some to degree “checked out,” or not fully involved, as if to insulate themselves from threats to their peace of mind.
I actually see some of each in my personality. I wonder how others see me.
THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: He who jumps at conclusions cannot always expect a happy landing. — Vern McLellan, Proverbs for People