Psychology without spirituality is arid and ultimately meaningless, while spirituality without grounding in psychological work leads to vanity and illusions. (Understanding the Enneagram, 366)
The Enneagram has been called the spiritual seeker’s Myers Briggs, and is used by millions of people around the world as a psychological tool, a vehicle for mapping the ego, and to aid in one’s spiritual growth. The word the Greek words, ennea (nine) and grammos (something written or drawn) and refers to the symbol of a nine-pointed diagram, usually within a circle. It has elements of Kabbalah, Sufism, Buddhism, Christianity, Taoism, ancient Babylonian and Egyptian principles. The Iliad and the Odyssey are even purported to be about the 9 types or 9 distinct spiritual journeys of man.
The basic personality typing of the Enneagram has been in corporations such as AT&T, Sony, Toyota, and Boeing where they’ve applied it’s principles as a communication tool, to assist them with managing and hiring employees, for conflict resolution, and much more.
Most Enneagram authorities believe in a mixture of nature and nurture as the determining factor in which type you live your life by. Our type becomes our default personality similar to an operating system in our computers. This operating system then filters how we perceive the world, how we behave, what we are motivated by, how we pursue happiness, and what we avoid to make us feel secure in the world. Whether you were very attached or indifferent or hurt by either your protector (often father figure) caregiver or your nurturing (often mother figure) caregiver or both determines your type. Some say that it is the way in which you learned to cope as a child with your separation from God.
By having some self-awareness through the Enneagram we not only discover what box we are in already but we then are presented with an opportunity to dismantle that box. When we know what our filters are we are free to become more objective about what we are experiencing in any one moment in our lives. The goal is not to transcend the ego but to actively engage it in order to change. It’s important to note that we all carry the 9 types within us and through self-actualization we become more balanced can then achieve the greatest potential for our individual type. There is no hierarchy in the numbers meaning that no one type is better than another although being human, our minds will tend to judge them as such. Although the Enneagram is a very accurate system of typography there are many variables including wings (sub-dominate types), instincts, and individual differences that make the Enneagram the most dynamic of all typology methods.
The Enneagram’s insights can be processed effectively and transformed beautifully with the use of EFT. Even if you are born into the world (as the Enneagram authorities presuppose) with a dominant nature, I find that life experiences buttress your unique perceptual reality. An example would be a person who is a type 1 who was born into an alcoholic family where being perfect became a coping mechanism. Another might be a type 8 person who attracts one emotionally unavailable lover after another.
In my work with clients I never wanted to assess anyone’s type for them as it is much more empowering to have them discover for themselves what dominate type they are. For this I recommend the RHETI test available free online on various sites including mine.
Here are some of the labels used for each of the types followed by some suggestions for uncovering key core significant events in childhood that will help you become more balanced overall. With EFT and especially with Matrix Reimprinting we target limiting belief systems as doing so has the potential of really releasing recurring painful cycles on events in our lives. Core limiting beliefs are formed when we have no filters and absorb or are imprinted/conditioned by our environments in childhood from 0-6 years old. It has the potential to transform everything. As with all our self-help tapping prompts and inquiries please note that you should seek a skillful trauma trained certified EFT practitioner if any of this brings up traumas.
Type 1 had some sort of disconnection from the protective adult caregiver. That disconnection could have been as a result of that person being abusive in some way but it also could have meant that this person was just not there in the way you needed. The coping strategy for this is that you turned yourself into your own worst critic and the feeling of not being accepted. Perfectionism is a big issue for type 1.
Tapping on resent events that make you feel internal pressure to be perfect yourself or to insist on others to be perfect is a good place to start the work. Tap on what comes up when you consider relaxing and paying closer attention to what you feel passionate about. Deeper work will be finding or making up events where that protective caregiver didn’t approve of you.
You might have had the feeling of being ambivalent towards the primary protective caregiver adult. The coping strategy was to make yourself good and earn love many times by repressing your own needs and not ask for help. Your sense of worth is connected to how much others need you. You took on responsibilities too young in order to be seen as dutiful and the one others could rely on.
Start with tapping on your fears of staying no to others and setting boundaries as well as any guilt you feel for acknowledging your own wants and needs. Deeper layers of the work will involve might involve Matrix Reimprinting scenes where your inner child is allowed to be a child and not have to caretake emotions of the adults.
You had a deep connection to the nurturing caregiver and learned to instinctively know what was needed to be done. You came to understand that love was conditional and you wanted to do everything to get recurring approval by getting the next and best trophy, award, or grade. The pervasive thought is that you feel if people really knew you then they would reject you.
Tapping on fear of failing in any area of your life of course making it about specific events to be more effective. For more profound tapping work involve using Matrix Reimprinting to let the child know they can be loved for who they are and not for what they do.
#4 Romantic/Depth Seeker/Individualist
You felt a disconnect from both the nurturing and protective figure in childhood. To cope with feelings of isolation you paid attention to what made you different but this only led to feeling even more unusual than other people.
Start your EFT work by targeting what you makes you feel isolated, alone and misunderstood. You can even tap on what makes you bored about your day to day life. Deeper layers of the work might involve scene where you felt completely different in your family and using Matrix to build an energetic field of ways you are indeed similar.
Your wound stems from feeling that there wasn’t much you could do that was fully accepted by your primary caregivers and it led you to feel ambivalent about both the nurturer and protector. As a child you escaped by being in your own inner world and you disconnected from your emotions.
Great healing can happen from tapping on what you think might happen if you do become more in touch with your emotions and your body. Using EFT techniques like Chasing the Pain will help ground you. You can also target your fears/concerns about being vulnerable in relationships. I’ve seen profound changes in personality and behavior with 5s when we did Matrix that helped that child to leave their bedrooms and connect with loving friends/family members.
Your original wound came as a result of feeling a deep connection to the protective caregiver and gave your inner authority over to them. If that caregiver was hurtful then you felt if was your fault and you could have become self-destructive.
Tapping on the fear of the unknown is key for you. Write down and then tap on the worst case scenarios that live in your head. The transformational work will come with healing the child by allowing them to find their own inner authority, to find a way to stand up to the protective caregiver especially if there was emotional or physical abuse.
The break in the bond (usually with mother) was the core wound here. This came from a disconnection from the nurturing figure in their environment who was never really there in a reliable way. To cope you turned to activities or toys to help you fill the void. You tried to nurture yourself through all kinds of things because you felt you couldn’t get it anywhere else.
The next time you want to book a trip, buy a new car, sign up for another retreat ask yourself what you might be running away from and tap! Matrix Reimprinting to repair that break will be very useful in ending these cycles for good.
At the core you felt ambivalent about the nurturing figure in your upbringing. You unconsciously became the opposite of the nurturer in order to appear tough and hide vulnerability. If you felt unloved you became more aggressive.
Find your automatic triggers to anger and then tap before you speak or act on that anger. These triggers are often when others around you seem weak, inattentive or unavailable to you. Progress to tapping on allowing that inner child to be loved.
You were deeply connected to both the nurturer and the protector in your childhood environment. If that family had conflicts and was chaotic then you might have found yourself trying to keep both of them happy. Because no one can truly make anyone else happy you coped by denying what was really happening. You might have felt that you never found your own voice and liked to stay in the background.
Tapping on fears that have lead to avoidance and procrastination will be quite liberating for you. Imagine speaking up and voicing your own opinion and tap on what you fear others’ reactions might be or how you feel that you aren’t even sure what your opinions are. Breaking the pattern will likely require tapping on those chaotic moments and/or using Matrix to have your child feel safe enough to find their voice.
The more you can begin identifying how these modes of behavior served you in the past, and what your core issues are as they relate to your type, the more you can release the compulsion to exist the same old way. Use EFT and Matrix to mend and release those key events. By using these tools to collapse these patterns, not only do you succeed in breaking free of these habitual limiting operating systems, but become a more expanded version of your authentic self.