More on the Enneagram

People

Some of you may have taken one of the two Enneagram Personality tests I recommended in my last article. If you did then it is important to remind you of the following principle:

Whichever of the Nine Enneagram ‘personalities’ you think you have (or scored highest for) you should fight as hard as you can not to be that particular way. In short, you should lose that ossified way of being.

For example, until recently I scored high for the Number 8. Here is a description of the Eight by The Enneagram Institute:

Eights are self-confident, strong, and assertive. Protective, resourceful, straight-talking, and decisive, but can also be ego-centric and domineering. Eights feel they must control their environment, especially people, sometimes becoming confrontational and intimidating. Eights typically have problems with their tempers and with allowing themselves to be vulnerable.

In order to avoid the fate of becoming fixated on strength (and thereby making myself obsessional about it) I had to let go of the banana about having to ‘be in control’. In point of fact I never particularly wanted to be in control of anything until I became a well-known therapist. After that point my Headmind decided that it had something to prove to people who did therapy or training with me, and then the banana about having to be ‘strong’ started to work on me. Before that particular delusion took over I usually scored high on the Number 5 personality. Here is a description of that one from the same source:

Fives are alert, insightful, and curious. They are able to concentrate and focus on developing complex ideas and skills. Independent, innovative, and inventive, they can also become preoccupied with their thoughts and imaginary constructs. They become detached, yet high-strung and intense. They typically have problems with eccentricity, nihilism, and isolation.

I would guess that I was a ‘Five’ all the way from my teenage years until about 10 years ago, when I learnt to see through that false ego. What drove it was my emerging experience of being typed as ‘deaf and therefore ‘stupid’ and ‘inadequate’. That was why I went for one banana about having to be a know-all and another one about having to live in an ivory tower. Neither obsession did me any good.

Here are the fixations that go with each of the nine types.

The One: Has to be in the right. Must never be in the wrong. The Perfectionist.

The Two: Has to look after others. Must never be rejected. The Martyr.

The Three. Has to be a success. Must never be second-best. The Workaholic.

The Four. Has to be admired. Must never be ignored. The Show-off.

The Five. Has to know everything. Must never be caught out. The Loner.

The Six. Has to belong. Must never stand out from the crowd. The Conformist.

The Seven. Has to be happy. Must not be sad. The Addict.

The Eight. Has to be in Control. Must not be weak. The Bully.

The Nine. Has to be inside the Comfort Zone. Must not get stressed. The Slob.

Enneagram

Harmonious This is the first in the series of articles about the Enneagram.

The Enneagram is a method through which you can understand human personality. There are 9 personality types, which I will describe in later articles.

I have written about Personality – and also about the Ego – before. In the system of Reverse Therapy, your personality/ego is a creation of Headmind, which bears no relation to who you actually are.

A common problem with  Enneagram books is that they try to label people as belonging to a certain ‘type’. Nothing could be further from the truth. All that knowing someone’s Enneagram type will tell you is how far they have got stuck in Headmind.

You are far more than your personality. Somewhere, deep down, you possess a Personal Genius which holds  the personality you give out to others in contempt, and which seeks to break free of it. Personal Genius, if anything can be, is your real self. But you have no control over it for that was given to you at birth.

Your Enneagram personality, by contrast, is something you need to work on in order to abolish it. Your personality is not you; rather it is your Prison.

The ideal, the goal, is to become ego-less and to cease to possess a personality.

Only then can you become that which you are truly are. Gurdjieff, the originator of the Enneagram taught precisely this.

Before you read the second article in this series you might want to take the Enneagram test and here are two:

Eclectic Energies (This is a free test which is reasonably accurate).

The Riso Hudson test (The Riso-Hudson test is the most thorough test currently available. It costs $10.00).

How to be a victim

Victim1 Being a victim is hard work. For those of you out there who think that it is important to become one here are my top tips on how to make victimization work for you.

1. Live in the past.

This is the golden rule. Thinking that you have been fucked up by your childhood, or by people who bullied or abused you, is a cast-iron guarantee that you have joined the Victim Club.

2. Hand your power over to others.

This is Rule number 2. You simply have to see other people as more attractive, happier, and more powerful than you are. Be sure to think of these people as part of an unspoken conspiracy to do you down.

3. Whinge – often.

One sure way to draw attention to the fact that you are a victim is to complain a lot. This takes practice, I recommend that you use a dictaphone and develop a script which explains why you can’t do things you want to be doing but your childhood, bad luck, current illnesses, the system, the authorities, your enemies, etc., won’t let you do them.

4. Keep listening to the bad thoughts.

Like: “I am a stupid/bad/guilty/fucked up/useless failure”. Be sure not to do anything else with your day but sit around and listen to Headmind.

5. Do as little as possible.

Good losers don’t actually do anything. They just sit around and think about the what-might-have beens.

6. Do resentment

This is really a re-run of rule number 2. Gossip as much as you can about people who appear to be better-off than you are. Be sure to dwell on their weaknesses and problems and try to make out that they owe everything to ‘luck’.

7. Do Depression

This is related to tips Number 4 and 5. If you want to be a victim then think as much as you can about your past failures and your future hopelessness. Learn how to be depressed and do it well.

8. Be a pessimist.

Professional victims believe they are doomed. That they are in the power of things that they cannot control. That little they do makes any difference, That the world is in the grip of evil powers. Be sure to think the same way.

9. Blame your frustrations on other people.

When Bodymind notices that you are acting like a victim it creates an emotion called frustration. This signal-state is actually telling you to get a life. But don’t do that. Instead, tell anyone who wants to listen that your horrible emotions have been caused by dark forces beyond your control.

10 Do things that demean you.

This is a tricky one. You could stay in a dead-end job. Or you could stay in a relationship that’s past it’s sell-by date (see next item). You could also stay in a rut. Or focus all your attention on other peoples’ problems. But the safest tip is to always talk yourself down. Don’t stint on this: keep telling people how miserable you are.

11. Keep doing dysfunctional relationships.

Victims never learn from their mistakes. They keep choosing the same stupid partners again and again. Always do internet chats/fantasize about/go to bed with/marry people who are losers just like you. Be sure to end the ‘relationship’ by telling as many people as you can how awful your ex-partner was and how this has screwed you up even more than before.

12. Believe everything you are told.

Spend as much time as you can reading the newspapers, watching morning television, or Googling items that explain why you are a victim. Then go and see a Therapist.

13. Visit doctors/psychiatrists/psychotherapists/counsellors – often.

See Rule 2 and Rule 12. Because you are a victim you will need constant help. Help in understanding why you are a victim. Prescription drugs to help you through the pain of failure. Counselling so that you can become a proficient whinger and get even more stuck.

14. Do lots of courses that promise a better life – and fail.

You might need some government grants for this. Always choose dodgy courses that
suggest that you will cease to be a victim once you have mastered the
formula for success. Then, once the course has finished, you can blame
your failures on the trainer.

15. Rage on about conspiracy theories.

See Rule 2. Adolf Hitler – who was perhaps the most famous victim in history – believed that the Jews were behind a plot to do him and his friends down. Other groups that control victims include the ‘System’, the Freemasons, the Templars, Opus Dei, the Illuminati and spaceships from Venus. Follow Adolf’s example and use monotony to explain why your life has been spent in a long struggle against dark forces.

16. Ignore your passions.

This could well be Golden rule number 3. It’s important to understand that you are not important. You are not here for any particular reason and nor have you been provided with any particular gifts, talents, or Personal Genius. Because you live most of the time in your Head you find it unbelievable that Bodymind is continually using emotions to prompt you towards being a real human being.

Are YOU a self-actualizer?

The only Psychologist I have ever really admired – Abraham Maslow – was born 100 years ago next month.

For Maslow, most psychologists studied the wrong kind of animal. If they weren’t playing games with rats, monkeys and pigeons then (like Freud) they were examining people who were ill, depressed, anxious or psychotic.

Surely, said Abe, Psychology should focus, firstly on human beings, and secondly on the small number of human beings who were vital, creative, warm, inspiring and truly alive people?

When we know how these people got that way then we can start to teach other people how to do the same. The result would be a Psychology that contributed to the evolution of the human race.

In Reverse Therapy we teach people that the way to overcome anxiety, depression and stress (as well as stress-related illnesses) is not to focus on the problems created by those mind-states but to work on creating new mind-states that are emotionally-satisfying and forward-looking.

Maslow once defined therapy as ‘a search for value’. Meaning that your emotional health depends on engaging in the work, relationships and and personal interests that inspire you the most and which give you opportunities to release your personal genius.

People who are high on the scale of personal evolution are activating their full personal potential. Once they establish their basic needs for things like food and shelter, a sufficient income, love, family ties, friendships, and education, they are ready to take that final step towards self-actualization.

Maslow studied the writings and letters and biographies of historical self-actualizers. People like Albert Einstein, William James, Goethe, Pablo Casals and Abraham Lincoln. He also carried out an observational study of 12 self-actualizers who volunteered for the research project. Most of these were people in ordinary walks of life.

Here is what he discovered. The list below shows their most common characteristics:

1. A capacity for wonder. Continually marveling at people, nature, new discoveries.
2. Great sense of humour. Able to laugh at themselves as well as with others.
3. Solution-focused. Looked at what was achievable rather than what could not be changed.
4. Independent. Not dependent on other people. Thought for themselves. Resisted conformity.
5. Comfortable with solitude and enjoyed their own company.
6. Deep friendships. Avoided shallowness and preferred a few close relationships rather than a network of acquaintances.
7. Humility. Did not see themselves as superior to others and did not pretend to be a ‘guru’.
8. Creative. This covered a wide range, from those who enjoyed making things, those who played music, wrote or painted, to great creative artists and leaders.
9. Ethical. A strong sense of values, with a deep horror of hurting or exploiting others, and a wish to help those less fortunate.
10. Spontaneous. Maslow noticed a child-like, simple, mischievous, unpredictable quality in most of those he studied.

The most important finding, however, was that self-actualizers regularly reported having what Maslow later on called ‘Peak Experiences’ – moments of spiritual connection, intense joy, or god-like awareness. I will write about these in a later blog.

Do you fit any of these criteria?

 

Quotes from Abraham Maslow:

Maslow_2‘If you deliberately plan on being less than you are
capable of being, then I warn you that you’ll be unhappy
for the rest of your life’.

‘The ability to be in the present moment is a major component of mental wellness’.

‘We fear to know the fearsome and unsavory aspects of ourselves, but we fear even more to know the godlike in ourselves’.

‘All the evidence that we have indicates that it is
reasonable to assume in practically every human being, and certainly in
almost every newborn baby, that there is an active will toward health,
an impulse towards growth, or towards self-actualization’.

Abraham Maslow 1908-1970