Type 9

As many of you know, I’m addicted to all things psychology, personality, and yes, even some astrology stuff. Stacks of books line my bookshelves, many of which I haven’t had the time to sit down and read yet. Anytime I wander into Barnes and Noble, I happily wander back out with at least 2 new books. I can only imagine working there; I wouldn’t come home with any remaining paycheck.

Anyway. One of my latest reads is the duo of Riso and Hudson’s “Discovering Your Personality Type” books, using the most scientifically validated indicator, the enneagram.

I spent a good hour or so, taking the RHETI test based on how I’ve been (personality-wise) in the past. Too many times, people take personality tests based on who they’d LIKE to be, instead of who they HAVE been. That’s who you really are. We are always striving for our most authentic, most fulfilled selves, but we don’t get there by lying- that’s for sure. I bit my lip and proceeded onward. Since the divorce especially, I seem to be on this enduring journey of “who the hell am I?” and “Why do I do the things that I do?”

Getting past close to 150 either/or questions, I found my 4 highest degrees of personality type that filtered through, and their unique traits:

  • Type Nine: The Peacemaker– receptive, reassuring, agreeable, and complacent
  • Type Six: The Loyalist– engaging, responsible, anxious, and suspicious
  • Type Two: The Helper– demonstrative, generous, people-pleasing, and possessive
  • Type Four: The Individualist– expressive, dramatic, self-absorbed, and temperamental

Most of these traits, I’d definitely have to agree with. For too long in my life, I’ve felt that I had to please other people, sacrificing my own wants and needs to help keep the peace.

Don’t rock the boat. Keep quiet. Keep to yourself. Let them/him/her decide what’s best. My opinion doesn’t matter.

Even now, I’m still trying to speak up for myself. I know this has been an extremely damaging trait to have shadow over me in past relationships and in current ones. Easy-going doesn’t have to equal door-mat. For too long, I’ve let myself be taken advantage of, be walked on, used, abused, chewed up and spat back out. Not wanting to speak up on my own behalf has made me resent myself later… leading to binging. I need to be my own advocate. I should get to have my say at least 50% of the time.

My dominant personality type stems from childhood and is definitely passed on down from my own mother. She is Peacemaker Extraordinaire. She’d apologize for others (especially my dad) to help keep the peace. I’m all for peace, don’t get me wrong, everyone does (or at least, I hope so), but not at the expense of someone being left out, forgotten.

When I completed the full test, I scanned back to the chapter that talked, extensively, about my type 9 dominant personality. I laughed aloud to myself anytime I’d come across a tough-love point about myself. With most personality books, I’d take the results with a grain of salt and enjoy them lightheartedly… but this book, this book nailed it on the head so many times:

“Generally nines are patient, steady, easygoing, receptive, relaxed, unselfconscious, agreeable, uncomplicated, contented, comforting, sensual, and idealizing. Nines get into conflicts by being emotionally unavailable [my need to hide, rather than face problems and conflict] complacent, unaware of their own anger, ineffectual, inattentive, passive-aggressive [the girl likes sarcasm sometimes, okay?], unrealistic, and stubborn. At their best, nines are self-aware, dynamic, proactive, inclusive, steadfast, healing, natural, imaginative, serene, engaged, and passionate. Nines are drawn to anything that affirms the fundamental oneness of the world. Whether they are working with concepts, diverse groups of people, art forms, of feuding family members, Nines want to bring everything and everyone back to a harmonious unity. Nines are eternal optimists, always wanting to believe the best about other people, with hope for the best for themselves. They can be extremely romantic, hoping that every story will end with, “… and they all lived happily ever after.” Healthy Nines will work hard to make things turn out that way. But average Nines will leave it to “luck and a prayer.” To maintain the peace, Nines tend NOT to show their upsets very much, except indirectly, perhaps by eating, drinking, or watching television too much to escape into a more pleasant and comforting world. **They also absorb a lot of tension and neglect- even outright abuse- before showing any kind of emotional response.** They begin to “tune out” reality to protect themselves from anxiety, often seemingly “oblivious” and unresponsive as a result. Nines want to find unity and wholeness more than anything. On the surface, Nines appear to be the most easygoing, pleasant people. They go along with others’ wishes, apparently without any desire other than to make sure everyone is at east and happy. But their hidden side is that they often suppress a huge swell of anger that they conceal even from themselves. Nines want to get along with others, but they also want to hold onto their independence and autonomy. They fear that they cannot express their anger and frustrations without damaging the relationships they have, and so they become easily resentful. Thus for nines to develop themselves into their full potential, they must come to grips with their suppressed rage and find constructive outlets for this energy [exercise works wonders for me].”

Now, with every personality type, when you turn into an unhealthy state (physically and mentally are tied together, you can’t have one without the other), your current-dominant type becomes your secondary (ie I start acting like a Type Six). In this case, when I’m under extreme stress and I haven’t extended myself to others for advice and consolation, I tend to complain, have issues with any and all authority.

There are 3 basic subtypes of all personality types, according to the RHETI test, and in the Peacemaker type, you have: The Comfort Seeker, Sexual Nines (not the actual act, but feeling the need to MERGE with the world and parts of it), and Social Nines. I fall into the Comfort Seeker section indefinitely. As such, I am most likely to need time alone {to blog. Hellooooo, friends!}, be someone of few words (I don’t feel the need to talk all the time, like some other people. I can be a lot like an introvert). Unfortunately, I often pretend to be less savvy and aware that I actually am, as if tempting other people to underestimate me- just so I’ll be left alone, when in reality, I have a great deal of common sense. When I extend my Social side (which is quite often), I am drawn to situations where I feel like I belong; I like to be the “supportive glue” that holds organizations and causes together. I do like to be active and apart of the world, to try to make a difference. Most of all, I crave respect. To be the healthiest me, I need to learn that accommodating myself might mean that I rock that proverbial “boat” with other people, and somehow, that’s okay. My opinion matters, too.

All in all, friends, GO GET THESE BOOKS ALREADY. The fun part is I can now identify different personality types in the people I know and in my family. And that way, I can better associate myself with them and relate to them, understand them better.

And can’t we all just get along already?

 

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