Is Enneagram affected by adverse childhood experiences?

Is Enneagram affected by adverse childhood experiences?

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This is a discussion on Is Enneagram affected by adverse childhood experiences? within the Enneagram Personality Theory Forum forums, part of the Personality Type Forums category; Hello, I have been wondering lately the affects of adverse childhood experiences on the personality. If one is born with ...

  1. #1

    Is Enneagram affected by adverse childhood experiences?


    I have been wondering lately the affects of adverse childhood experiences on the personality. If one is born with their enneagram type, does this affect their reaction to these experiences, or does the experience shape their personality or warp their perception of it?

    I have recently discovered, thanks to the unveiling of my denial, I am a child of an alcoholic. My mother drank and I was the "lost child" who hid in their room and isolated themselves. As a result, a lot of these coping habits formed themselves later into my adult life and I still isolate sometimes to deal with issues in my life.
    You can probably see where I'm going with this, but I've self-identified with the 4w5 type as a result of this.
    I have another friend who, although her parents didn't drink, they're dysfunctional and authoritarian, and she also identifies with 4w5 and isolates to protect herself emotionally too.

    Now, for those of you who do know about the different reactions one can have to alcoholic parents (scapegoat, mascot, hero, mastermind, etc.) how much of an influence does enneagram have on this? Are those who are born 4w5s more likely to become the lost child, or does the lost child think they are a 4w5 because of their likelihood to intellectualize emotions since they were raised in an emotionless household? I am wondering if I am ACTUALLY a 4w5, or I just have these tendencies due to the family I was raised in.

    Basically I am having somewhat of an "identity" crisis pondering the effects of being an ACOA (adult child of an alcoholic, a term I've learned from support groups).

    It's interesting to me, as my siblings reacted differently, so I assume it's personality. But I'd love to hear other's experiences if they went through something similar/know someone.
    I also wonder the same about MBTI, but since I'm new to the forums, I'm not sure if I should make a new post of the same thing..?

  2. #2

    Wisdom of enneagram (its a book check it out its cool) suggests our enneagram type is based upon what feelings we develop from our childhoods.

    for instance, if you struggled with being rejected by your family as a child, when you needed them, you may become a type 8 who becomes fixated on independence and moreless going "I don't need you!!!"

    So yea, adverse childhood experiences do affect the enneagram.

  3. #3
    Type 1w2

    well I was neglected and alienated, so I became afraid of being helpless and incomeptent (5), a lack of security or stability (w6), a lack of peace (9), corruption to my principles (w1), failure (3), and not being my own person (w4)

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  5. #4

    I think it's just reinforced, or at best assuaged. Everyone has their own PTSD story, with whichever particular specifics, that might augment or affect some level of nuance that adds/subtracts the familial interpersonal construct. But really, we're who we are. Tell me different.

  6. #5

    A lot of these enneagram teachers are talking about the development of neuro-pathways nowadays. I don't know if they have always talked about them, but having listened to their talks about numerous spiritual practices lately, they bring up the idea of brain development.

    The idea is that you become so transfixed on something for so long, that you develop pathways over time that end up dominating your views of the world, your fears, your motivations, etc. From the moment of your birth, for example, if you constantly feel in the company of untrustworthy or unreliable authority figures, you start to compensate for that by turning towards or looking for other means to make up for it, and hence a type 6 enneatype is formed. The enneagram therefore becomes a sort of ongoing map for oneself to help counter that enneatype, and bring you back to your trueself -- for a type 6, that you don't need external resources to feel secure and reassured, because you already possess everything you need within -- so as your brain is constantly in development, using the enneagram map will help you develop pathways that would counter your anxieties, and make you more confident as an individual. It's not a process that can happen over night, which is why discovering your type then coming back a week later to think it's not your type is a common thing; you actually have to have the self-discipline to keep at the idea of bringing your mind to consciousness.

    I know nothing about brain development to have any idea as to whether this is true or not, but from basic, shallow view of the idea from these teachers, it does make sense. I'm assuming all their clients or whatever know absolutely nothing about brain development also. Having said that, however, there have been psychologists who have stated the enneagram can/does work (Helen Palmer being an example) -- I don't know what to believe about enneagram theories.


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