Happy Monday and welcome to another Enneagram Paths interview, this time with Type Nine @EnneaMeme! Thanks for being here Person Meme and for all the great Enneagram wisdom and laughs you share with us on Twitter. Let’s get to it and discover more about the Type Nine person (who has chosen to remain anonymous and we respect that here!) behind the Meme. Thank you so much for sharing!
Enneagram Type Nine
1. When and how did you discover that you are a Type Nine?
I first realized I was Type Nine after misidentifying as a Type Seven. I can often look like a Seven because I am gregarious and excitable. A year ago I had to face some deeply rooted anger I had avoided most of my life. That pushed me into an emotional breakdown where I forced myself to look at some very challenging areas of my life—ones I needed to attend before I completely collapsed (this tweet came out of that time). This is what helped me see I was not Type Seven because I was avoiding conflict, rather than pain, and pretending my anger did not exist because I felt it would be inconvenient for other people. This fear of conflict manifested in every area of my life, but mainly in my assessment of my self-worth because I always considered myself as less than and had a desperate desire to avoid relational dissonance. The other thing that made me positive I was a Type Nine was learning about the heart and stress points of the Type. I struggle deeply with self-doubt and lack of confidence, which was the primary cause of my breakdown. I’d built my life around avoiding my internal and external conflicts. On the other hand, when I am healthy, I have the energy and determination of a Type Three, which helped me see why I misidentified as a Type Seven because I often have high energy levels. Also, seeing who I can be when I am healthy gave me hope that I can change, begin moving towards integration, and become the person I am meant to be.
2. What do you love about your number? What do you dislike?
What I love about being a Type Nine is that I feel flexible in most of every situation. I have always taken pride at being able to adapt and being able to connect with most everyone. What I dislike is how that adaptability has interfered in me developing autonomy. What I found is that I tend to conform around other people and their needs rather than figuring out my own.
3. What happens to your closest relationships when you’re stressed and go to Arrow Type Six? What happens when you’re healthy and go to Arrow Type Three?
What happens to my relationships when I am stressed is that I either stone wall or desperately try to eliminate any possibility of relational dissonance. In a sense, I develop a degree of codependence. When I am in healthy, I am not looking to other people to conform to, but I have a strong sense of self, purpose, and confidence.
4. How does narcotizing or numbing affect your daily life? Do you find yourself checking out on both your inner and outer experiences?
Numbing is something I did not realize I did until I identified as a Type Nine. It has been something I have built into my life whenever I get overwhelmed. I mainly shut down or re-frame whatever I am dealing with to avoid my inner conflict. Externally, I keep myself busy, so I do not slow down enough to sit with more difficult emotions. Lately, though, I have been doing much better at knowing when I am triggered to check out and am finding ways to engage rather than numbing myself with food, distractions, or something that may appear productive but the purpose of that is so I feel better about not engaging with what I actually need to.
5. What do you wish other people understood about being a Type Nine?
I wish people understood about Type Nines is that they are often not truly slothful or disengaged. The underlying issue I think is that they have felt consistently undermined, in some form or another, that makes them feel less than or that their presence is not valued. The best thing you can do for them is reminding them they are capable and that they are worthy to engage. Type Nines take a long time to process, are very stubborn, and often out of touch with themselves because they are conforming to everyone around them to maintain equilibrium in their life and relationships. Do not be surprised that you need to reiterate more than several times because breaking their homeostasis means conflict and engaging with the anger they have buried inside themselves. Type Nines need to be reminded that conflict and anger are not to be feared, but are a powerful force that will spark a fire in their gut that will get them back in touch with themselves and create the inner peace they long for. Know that every time you show them they matter and are capable it is time well spent.
6. Do you know what your Wing is? Can you talk about how your Wing shades aspects of being a Nine (for you)?
For me, it’s hard to identify my wing at the moment. If anything, I would say I am 9w1, which manifest in my intensity for doing things the right way and my affinity for rule following. Over time, though, especially as I have engaged more with my anger, there are characteristics of an Eight Wing that come up as I have become far more direct, assertive, and do not feel guilty about my anger. That being said, I feel solidly in the middle right now.
7. What would the phrase, “You can handle being fully yourself and fully present in body, mind, and spirit,” mean to you if you knew it to be deeply true?
This is something I want to be. I think the hardest part of being a Type Nine for me is allowing myself to be fully myself because at many points it has been communicated or I have at least felt that who I am is not enough. This interferes with me being able to be present because I try to be someone I am not for other people. I would say, especially over the past year, I have gotten much better at this because I am aware that this happens to me when I am in unhealth. Having this awareness has helped me develop my sense of self and self-worth and I can say I feel confident that this is leading me to be the best version on myself by being truly connected to myself, God, and my community.
8. Are there any spiritual practices you are drawn to as a Type Nine?
Lately, I have been drawn to listening and liturgical prayer, along with journaling. I have had many spiritual practices throughout my life, but these have been helpful as I have gained a great sense of self. The structure of liturgy gives the more abstract and meditative listening prayer scaffolding so do not feel lost as I quite myself and listen. I am not sure if this ties into Enneagram teachings, but being in gut triad, I find as a Type Nine that I tend to have instinctive feelings I have a hard time formulating into coherent thoughts. So, journaling helps me articulate my intuition. These practices have been significant in my spiritual growth because as a Type Nine I need to be intentional about creating structure in all areas of my life and identifying these practices have been very helpful.
9. How has learning about your Enneagram Type changed the way you view yourself or others?
As I have developed my self-awareness, I have realized so much of what I believed about myself is not true and needs to be replaced with the truth of who I really am, not who other people have told me I am. Understanding my type has given me a lot more grace for myself, and a framework to better understand myself. I have come to believe taking the time to do this challenging inner work; I have given myself and those around me the gift of my true-self. Understanding the Enneagram has given me space and grace I need while I figure out my baggage in a way that is not self-critical, but self-loving. Also, in learning about the other Enneagram types and reflecting on my own journey, I have much more empathy for other people for where they are in life and what they are dealing with. The Enneagram reminds me that everyone is fighting their own battle and showing compassion is one of the greatest things I can do.
10. Talk about what the words Anger, Bravery, and Goals mean to you today.
It is incredible how the meaning of words can change over time. If I was asked this a year ago, I would be flooded with anxiety because that would mean I have to face my demons and actually make decisions. However, since doing more of a deep dive into my type, I can say I am encouraged and excited when I think about these words. When it comes to Anger, I am not afraid of it anymore. I am actually in touch with my anger in a good way because it motivates me and puts a fire in my guy to make myself and my world better. Bravery is something close to my heart right now because I left a job in the summer to pursue a Masters in marriage and family therapy. It is actually through doing the hard work of dealing with my baggage over this past year that gave me the courage to leave my routine and comfort to do what something that is a much better fit for my personality and gifting. My Goals are something I am now excited to set because they are the framework I live in and they help me identify my desires. As I mentioned before, having a structure in my life is crucial for me to maintain momentum in my overall growth. Without this discipline, it would be much easier to fall back into the unhealthy attributes of my type and lose my autonomy, but I am thankful for the accountability and consistency setting goals has provided me.