What is Enneagram Darkness Growth?
A few thoughts on darkness in general. Darkness is something we try to avoid, right? And it IS awful going through a dark time or feeling in a dark place. Yet, darkness is an underrated state of being; it can actually be one of the most fertile moments in our lives. Deep stress, hurt, pain, transition, betrayal, uncertainty, and loss are all ripe for extraordinary change, growth learning, rebirth, and renewal. The following darkness ideas for each Enneagram Type might feel really “ouch”, but in actuality, are huge opportunities for growth.
The term I’m using “Darkness Growth” stems from the idea of a shadow side found in many Enneagram teachings. The shadow is characteristics, behaviors, and motivations that we exhibit but are not consciously aware. Both helpful traits and unhelpful are hidden in shadow, and can be brought to light to form a whole, integrated person.
The key with Darkness Growth is to remember we don’t shame or hate ourselves, we face the dark with courage to realize some behaviors harm us now, even if they’ve helped us survive for years. You have to love yourself first, to be able to authentically grow. Take the following thoughts and ruminate on them. See if they resonate with you in any way, and what questions you might ask yourself about what the darkness is inviting you into.
Darkness Growth Type One:
Pointing out the incorrect politics, moral failings, and questionable behavior of others to make the world better and prove your own goodness, only serves to exhaust you and alienate people. How can you embrace the spectrum of humanity?
Darkness Growth Type Two:
Cultivating an image of how good you are by constantly being there for others actually serves to disconnect you from your true feelings and personhood, turning you from falsely helpful to demanding and needy. How can you love yourself well first?
Darkness Growth Type Three:
Your character-shifting gets you admiration, likes, and success, but when it comes time to be intimate and love deeply, you will struggle because you don’t know who is the real you to share. How can you be still, in order to connect with yourself more fully?
Darkness Growth Type Four:
Idealization of self and others pulls people in, then pushes them away. This pattern solidifies your untrue victim status when people get fed up and leave. But you’re not a victim, you’re the perpetrator. How can you empower yourself with commitment?
Darkness Growth Type Five:
Your boundaries keep people from hurting you and affecting your perceived safety. But when shit hits the fan, you won’t have a network of people to help when you really can’t help yourself. Your aloneness will be real. How can you let others in?
Darkness Growth Type Six:
The search for certainty in situations and people is a self-defeating survival tool. Eventually everything will disappoint you, confirming an untrue belief that the world is unsafe. How can you shift your perspective to realistic optimism?
Darkness Growth Type Seven:
If you only show people the fun, energetic, happy side of you, they will come to think you’re truly happy all the time. It’s then not their fault that they don’t check on you or see the pain you’re experiencing. How can you share your heart?
Darkness Growth Type Eight:
You can technically treat people however you want, disregarding their feelings or etiquette. But then, when you realize you have tender, needy feelings that require love and nurturing, don’t expect compassion. How can you treat others better?
Darkness Growth Type Nine:
You can be so affable and nice that people forget you exist sometimes. The desire to avoid sticky situations backfires to eject you from a life that needs your active presence. How can you shine today?