I HATE BEING “AVERAGE”
but I’m working my way up!
PREVIOUS: Levels of Development #3a
BOOK: “Personality Types “~ Riso & Hudson (excerpt pages)
MEANING of the 3 Mental Health GROUPINGS (cont.)
AVERAGE (4-6) – ALL Types
LEVEL 4 – Imbalance
External Behaviors – We are non-conforming, dilettante or expert, we acquire technique, collect, delay closure, practice, prepare, study, withdraw
Internal Attitudes – We are acquisitive, abstracting, encyclopedic, knowledgeable, uncensored, uncertain. We analyze, build models, conceptualize & ‘fine tune’
Desire is To – feel safer and more confident by retreating into our mind and imagination (like a Tinker Toy)
Basic Fear of this Level – That others will demand too much of us, & then our inner world will be threatened.
At Level 4, we become more attached to / identified with a self-image we’ve created, & tend to reject any of our qualities and actions not consistent with that ‘picture’. Protecting our self-image comes at the price of limiting our options. We now believe that by striving after the qualities listed at Level 2, we’ll be able to meet our needs. Dissatisfied with reality, we become high-minded idealists, thinking it’s up to us to improve everything & can become crusaders, critics, advocates. We get into “causes” & try to explain to others how things “ought” to be.
* * * *
LEVEL 5 – Inter-personal Control
External Behaviors – We are flighty, high-strung, impractical, interpreting, offbeat, preoccupied, secretive, speculative. We create fantasy worlds, compartmentalizing ourselves & the parts of our lives
Internal Attitudes – We are agitated, absent-minded, detached, distant, indiscriminate, intense – complexifying, minimizing & ignoring our needs
Desire is To – shut out intrusions (be more ‘in their head’)
Basic Fear of this Level – That others are attacking our niche or our competency
At Level 5 we’re afraid of making a mistake, so everything must be consistent with our ideals. Internally, we become orderly & well-organized, but emotionally constricted, impersonal & puritanical, rigidly keeping feelings and impulses in check. Often workaholics, can get anal-compulsive, fastidious, punctual & pedantic.
● The main strategy used with others is manipulating & controlling inter-personal relationships. We really insist that people accept our self-image, but unfortunately they don’t always respond the way we want, leading to tension and conflict.
● At this Level, we start to see the Shadow Issue of each type. As its name implies, this is a hidden element of our personality which represents the major defect each type needs to correct in order to grow.
* * * * *
LEVEL 6 – Over-compensation
External Behaviors – We are contentious, far-fetched, insensitive, prickly, scornful, submissive. We argue antagonize, provoke, rationalize
Internal Attitudes – We are cynical, extreme, greedy, impatient, intellectually arrogant, pessimistic, stingy. We distrust & jump to conclusions
Desire is To – scare off anyone who threatens our niche or inner world
Basic Fear of this Level (red flag) – That we’re never going to find our place with people or in the world
Throughout the Levels, the strategies we use is an attempt to ‘manage’ underlying feelings of anger, shame, or fear.
At Level 6 we over-compensate for those emotions. We’re so desperate to have others accept our self-image that we act out in truly offensive ways – are abrasive, indignantly angry, moralize, scold.
● We’re highly critical both of self and others: judgmental, picky, perfectionistic. Impatient, never satisfied with anything unless it is done according to our prescriptions.
● Very opinionated about everything: correcting people and badgering them to “do the right thing” – as we see it.
From: “The Everything Enneagram Book“ by Susan Reynolds
“While it’s true that part of your type is genetically predetermined, without question your early childhood experiences vastly affect your development.
The quality and style of parenting, in conjunction with environmental givens — health, income, education, location, and wealth or dearth of physical, emotional, or spiritual resources — have everything to do with your ability to function at the higher, the middle, or the lower spectrum of your EnneaType.
You began life whole, but whatever happened in your early life led to the development of a set of adaptive behaviors that suppressed your essence and created a self driven by its own self-constructed ego.
These traits are sustained by habit and the failure to examine your beliefs. If your childhood was particularly dysfunctional, your coping mechanisms will likely be more rigid and more neurotic than those people who had “normal” or idyllic upbringings. Fear grows in proportion to the dysfunction — the greater your early childhood family’s dysfunction the greater your underlying fear, anger, or need for relationship.”
NEXT: Levels of Development – part 3c