I'm new to the forum, and new to the enneagram. I took the MB a long time ago and have always been either IE/NFP, and my extraversion has dominated as I've gotten older, fairly substantially. I grew up in a horrifically dysfunctional home, passed around to different family members & in foster care for a while, with no sense of security, so the way I developed was probably affected as much by that as anything (like all of us). I've had about 15 years of therapy in different modalities (CBT was a lifesaver) and several years in support groups, so I've achieved some measure of mental health and comfort with my own inner demons, or so I like to think. I struggled for years with insecurity and depression, but I have done the work to feel good (which seems to be a 7-ish sort of thing to do, and also explains why my brother & sister get so mad at me when I get annoyed with them for seeming to wallow in self pity. BIG insight for me!).
I scored w/ a 2 as my highest a few times, but with a 5 & 7 just a hair behind. When I read the type 2 description, I realize I scored a 2 because of my socialization and as a 7, I just want everyone to be happy. I think my "quick fix" mentality is an unhealthy 7 tendency that I push on others. I think it may be survivor's guilt or something, since my brother & sister are so down all the time--my brother tried to commit suicide twice, and I was kind of his mother when we were kids (I'm the middle kid), so I felt this duty to make him want to live. It still plagues me. When my family or friends suffer, I feel an obligation to help. It's definitely a burden to me, and it drains me, but it's almost compulsive. I have to spend a lot of time alone to recharge. I really enjoy my own company, actually. I'm upbeat all the time, whether alone or with other people. It actually borders on anger/irritability sometimes (hypomania/adhd has been a frequent diagnosis). Idk if the solitude is maybe a 5 thing, since I always score a tie between 5 & 7, but I have no problem making friends, and we're brutally honest and open with each other, which I love. They know everything about me (more than my family, actually).
Anyhow, the overwhelming sense of burden and anger when people seem to be in self-pity really struck me when I read through some of the 7 descriptions. That's why I recognized I'm not a true 2. I don't get a thrill out of making people happy--it's more of an "I did that!" like I accomplished something. I get all puffed up from how much I can improve things, but it also wears me out. I tend to obsess over making everything better, even when it's already ok. I test out about a million vitamins and supplements every week and buy tons of supplements for everyone else, trying to push them to "get better." Meanwhile, my dissertation is languishing, untouched, for years. I'm actually at the end of my timeline to finish my PhD and yet here I am, running down a new rabbit hole!
I also consistently score with an 8 almost as high as my two highest, within a point or two on every test of my 7 & 5 tie. Those three are far higher scores than any other (2 has been my highest, but has also been very low in different tests), and my lowest is always type 4. That's my boyfriend's type. He scored with a 4 and a 3 as his second highest. He had a 5 as a fairly close 3rd highest. When I read the description of 4, it seems quite clear that he's a 4, possibly with a 3 wing. Does Don Draper from Mad Men seem like a 4w3 to you? He loves that guy. Ugh. I find him annoyingly self-indulgent and melodramatic.
So, to the point: Everyone here is very helpful, I've noticed. I love how you seem so committed to digging into yourselves and finding out how to be honest and make your personality work for you and with others, and I want to do that. Your patience is heartening to me, so I am hoping someone will respond to this post with some insight into how to deal with a relationship I'm in with a 4w3.
He is 11 years older than I am, VERY intelligent. We met in our PhD program. He, in what seems to be typical 4w3 fashion, has worn a number of hats, professionally. Without being specific, I'll say that his drive to achieve high status is clearly evident in his resume. He has pretty much "won" at everything he has tried. Yet, he changes course every 10 years or so, at least if you look at his history. He admits freely that he seems to want to gain approval, especially from male figures he sees as authorities. He has no real direction (like me), but my god, when he sets his mind to something, it's game on. He has been more successful in 20 ways than I ever expect to be in any one aspect of my life (which is totally fine with me). I'm very proud of him and admire him a lot, but his moods are killing us. He doesn't see it, either. He snaps at me, yells, interrupts me, and takes his bad moods out on me a lot. And it seems like he's always in a bad mood. I don't get it--I grew up with a s**t sandwich as my childhood, and he has had everything. His parents have helped him his whole life.
He's very accomplished, like I said. Very independent. But when he wants something to come easy, he just plays the victim card and gripes about how he has to put brakes on his car or something WE ALL have to do, and he tells his parents, who worry to death over him, and they just give him money for it. And he doesn't even need the money. Grrr. So, I feel they've only enabled his faux-helpless bratty behavior, and now, as he gets into middle-age, he doesn't know how to handle being an adult, which is ultimately what I need. I can baby someone for a while--I've done it (and shouldn't have) with my brother and thought I was doing the right thing by helping him get on his feet after our traumatic childhood. I realize now I was only crippling him. Though it's so hard to stop, I'm working on not enabling him, and I wish to god my selfish boyfriend would get the memo that he's being a brat. I don't say it to him like that, but I have told him repeatedly for 3 years now that I need him to get out of his own little bubble and see the world around him, see ME for who I am (not just an extension of him who is obligated to be a passenger on his drama-train), hear that I love him (instead of insisting I don't and constantly needing validation), and stop dumping his emotions on me.
He just cannot deal with the crappy ways of the world that we all have to deal with. I feel shame, guilt, anger, sadness, etc. I get the shaft at work. We all do. He thinks he's the only one who struggles. It's sooooo infuriating and I'm at my wit's end. He is such a beautiful man and I don't want to break up. We fight all the time because I get shut down before I've even gotten a sentence out. He cuts me off and thinks he knows what I'm going to say, and--granted, I talk fast and say a lot--he won't let me finish what I'm saying before he gets defensive and thinks I'm attacking. It's insane. He yells when I say "I'm still talking, please let me finish." We're at an impasse. I cannot talk to him. I have to email when I get upset and need to say something and even then, he says he's read it and needs to think about it, but he NEVER responds and we just pick back up like nothing happened. I get over my anger really, really easily, so he gets it in his head that nothing's wrong, but then it all happens again, like the very next day. After 3 years, I'm finally over it. My patience is completely gone. And I think I have been incredibly patient with him. Probably too patient.
His friends were on the verge of divorce and actually suggested to him that he and I try the enneagram as a way to learn how to communicate. It has helped their marriage a lot. So, he's the one who told me they recommended it. And, as usual, I'm the one rushing out to do the work and digging into it all. He's dragging his heels. I'm seeing how useful it could be, but I'm past the point of even trying to strategize with myself about how to make it work, since I cannot do anything to make him put forth the effort.
First, does anyone on here have any thought about my typing of myself or of him? I feel like I have a pretty good sense of where I fit into this model, but maybe I've got some of the details wrong? I like how much the overlap is addressed here, so that's why I thought maybe someone would have some expertise about this situation--either my self-typing, my typing of him, or the terrain of our little wasteland of a relationship. I want it to work so badly, but I'm starting to lose hope.
Second, any books, links, articles, or other suggestions for where he and I might find some help? He is willing to read a book together. Of course, we've now started 2 or 3 different books that I found over the years, and we've really gotten nowhere with them. I have made soooo many changes to try to meet him where he is, and he has tried to make some changes, but it seems like he has a much more stubborn constitution than I do. I don't know. I'm so frustrated!
I know this was a very long post. Even if no one can respond, I do appreciate reading all the great insights and help you guys offer each other. It's enlightening.