Tuesday, March 29, 2011

What are Enneagram Instinctual Subtypes?

Picture taken from Ginger Lapid-Bogda, The Enneagram in Business

I have collected information on the Enneagram Instinctual Subtypes from a variety of sources, however I would especially like to acknowledge the following online sources for their expertise on the subject, from which I synthesized most of my forthcoming A to Z Challenge information.

Clarence Thompson, Enneagram Central
David Daniels, Enneagram Worldwide
Peter O'Hanrahan EnneagramWork
Beatrice Chestnut guest blogger at The Enneagram in Business

We all have three centers of intelligence. There is the mental center, which includes our ideas, plans, thoughts. There is the emotional center, where our feelings come from. There is the body center, from which come the three primary instinctual drives. The drives are known as Self-Preservation, Social, and Intimate (otherwise known as One-to-One or Sexual in Enneagram literature).

We have a distinct preference for one of the primary drives, which exert significant influence on how we express our type.

If the Self-Preservation instinct is our primary drive, then we focus on material security, which includes food, shelter, warmth and family.

If the Intimate (or otherwise known as One-to-One or Sexual) instinct is our primary drive, we seek to bond with one person or a few close friends. We may or may not be especially sexual, but people whose Intimate instinct is primary tend to be more energetic overall than people whose other instinctual drives are primary.

If the Social instinct is our primary drive, we feel the need to belong and to be members of groups that extend beyond family into the community.

Each Enneagram Style has all Three Instinctual Subtypes: Self-Preservation, Social and Intimate, and there are NINE Enneagram Styles, which makes a total of 27 Instinctual Subtypes, each one very different from the others.

Tomorrow, I'll put up a chart of the names I've given each of the Enneagram Types with Instinctual Subtypes, and the day that each will appear in the A to Z challenge.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Preview of Coming Attractions: The A to Z Challenge

For many years, I’ve been a student of the Enneagram, which is a personality typing system. If you’re familiar with Myers-Briggs, it’s a little like that, except I find using the Enneagram to be about 100 times better in terms of understanding myself, others, and for understanding how to create characters.

The Enneagram sorts personality into Nine basic styles. From there, each type has two wings—the styles on either side of the number, a stress point and an integration point. Besides all of that, people fall into one of three Instinctual Subtypes.

It’s the 27 Instinctual Subtypes that I’ll focus on in the challenge.

If you’re interested in determining your own Enneagram style, there are various online tests for the Enneagram. Each type has good traits, bad traits, and downright ugly traits. Each type also has a potential for greatness, a particular gift that your type best bestows upon the world.

While you might be thinking the purpose of knowing your style is to become a better example of your style, that is NOT why we study the Enneagram. We all have ALL styles within us. The problem is, in stressful situations, we fall back on a certain paradigm, or Enneagram style, of reaction. You probably know that a definition of insanity is trying to solve a problem the same way, time after time, and getting the same result? Well that’s what we do. We use habitual reaction styles—and get the same results. It’s a recipe for self-defeat.

A sound knowledge of our own reactions, which also known as self-awareness—which is gained through intense scrutiny of our thoughts, feelings and behaviors—gives us a baseline for change. From there, if we thoroughly understand other Enneagram styles, we can step out of our paradigm, or box, and choose a behavior from one of the other styles that serves us better in a given situation. That’s known as transcendence, or growth.

The Enneagram also helps us to understand where someone else is coming from. You might think that everyone thinks and feels and reacts to things the same as you do, but if you do, you are dead wrong.

We all focus on different things in the environment, and use different means to try to gain control, depending on our Enneagram style. Nor is everyone the same within a style. An Enneagram style is like a nationality.

The Enneagram is a map of personality and the State of the Art in personality studies. Psychologists, psychiatrists, counselors and coaches everywhere use it to better understand and help their clients. Lord knows how many books there are on the Enneagram, how many Ph.D. dissertations, and so on. I’ve read 21 books on the subject (nowhere near all of them) and have listened to 78 CDs.

For help in understanding human personality, the Enneagram is second-to-none. For help in understanding characterization in a novel, you couldn’t find a better place to start and end your studies. But it's not a quick study. If you become a student of the Enneagram, expect to go through layers of understanding and growth. It will take a long time to understand your own style. From there, a long time to understand other styles.

But once you have an excellent grasp of it, you will often be able to read someone, or even their blog! like a book.

If you want to start studying the Enneagram, you should first determine your type. For a great overview and introduction to types and a list of online Enneagram tests, click here.

Tomorrow, I’ll give a general introduction to the Instinctual Subtypes, and on Friday, Arpil 1, I'll start rolling out the Enneagram Instinctual subtypes in A to Z format.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Road Trip Wednesday: I Would've Given Anything to be Like ...

Road Trip Wednesday is a "Blog Carnival," where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on our own blogs.

I've known about RTW for a couple of weeks but never gotten around to participating. Today's topic is one I couldn't pass up:

I would've given anything to be like Scarlett O'Hara of Gone with the Wind. Instead, I was far more like sweet, long-suffering Melanie Wilkes than spoiled Miss Scarlett. While reading the book, I had so much fun imagining that I was the daughter of a wealthy plantation owner in the antebellum South. Oh, the dresses I'd own. The suitors who would stand around me like love-sick puppies! But I never understood what Scarlett saw in Ashley Wilkes, when Rhett Butler was so obviously her match in every way. 

Interestingly, I had a good friend in high school who was like a blonde Scarlett O'Hara. Like Scarlett who tried to steal Ashley from Melanie, my friend did actually did steal my crush from me. That's me on the left, and my friend on the right. She had boyfriends galore, and a closet full of clothes ... but she also had a darker, more troubled life, which I didn't really see as a teenager.

This friend's life has intrigued me to this day, and was the inspiration for the heroine of my current WIP. After high school, I lost contact with this friend. She's never attended any of our class reunions, and has always been one of the people on the list of "Can you help us find this person?"
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