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MOTM Jan 2010
2,988 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Nines are the sweethearts of the Enneagram. They typically have no hard edges and will go along with ideas, plans, or group consensus purely to get along. Nines often prefer the agendas, values, and ideas of others, so much so that eventually they lose all of their own preferences. To them, peace and harmony are graceful, ideal states well worth personal sacrifices. As such, Nines willfully suppress or deny their needs, wants, dreams, desires, ambitions, or genuine emotions for the sake of everyone else. They have big hearts, and they can be genuinely generous and exceedingly reliable.

Emotional Origins

Nine children repressed their own feelings for the sake of peace in a turbulent family. Whether they grew up with embittered and argumentative parents, a dominating parental figure, or simply in a loudmouthed family, Nines quivered in the face of opposition and sold themselves short for the sake of a peaceful existence. If the parents banged heads, the Nine child learned to cope by seeing both sides of the argument and employing blatant or subliminal negotiations as a way to bring them back together and reunite the family. If one or both parents decided or blatantly rode over the Nine child, for the sake of peace the Nine child quietly surrendered. In a family where vociferous parents, relatives, or siblings created a lot of white noise, the Nine child tried to see everyone's viewpoint and may have done whatever she could to quell the debates and quiet the room.

Nine children desperately wanted congruity and a quiet, orderly life, and as such they often sought to appease both parental figures, or all the warring family members, hoping against hope to bring everyone back together again. Nines learned the art of acquiescence - surrendering their needs for the sake of others, empathizing with everyone else's viewpoint, and appeasing all sides in a disagreement.

If a Nine child had narcissistic or alcoholic parents, she may have interpreted their lack of engagement as emotional abandonment. Or she may have decided that the parents didn't love her sufficiently enough to notice her unique personality or individual needs. A Nine child may also have been the firstborn of many and felt superseded when other children entered the picture. Or she may have been far down in birth order and gotten lost among the shuffle.

Ego-Driven Nines

Ego-driven Nines are the fence sitters of the world. From early childhood on, they coped with life by sitting on the fence as long as possible, withholding decisions about their own lives. They silently hoped someone else would establish goals that they could support or at least go along with until they either grew tired of doing so or were pushed, pulled, or cajoled in another direction. Because they don't feel special enough to matter, Nines assume their voices will not be heard. They can easily lose focus on what they really want because they feel from the outset they will not be able to have it.

Nines surrender self-development for the sake of obtaining and maintaining relationships. In hopes of winning love, they focus their energy on providing a nurturing environment in which their family members' dreams have the chance to evolve. They may look happy, secure, and even noble, but they are, in fact, self-sacrificing to the point of neglecting their needs and denying their sense of self. Nines eventually lull themselves into a deep inner sleep that silences, denies, and hides their needs, drives, and desires.

Eventually their denial of self and constant acquiescence to others takes a toll on those around them. At some point, most previously compliant and passive Nines grow weary of the congenial, lackadaisical, angelic persona they created just to get along and begin to actually want something for themselves. It turns out that all that time Nines were eagerly attending to your every need, on some level they may also have been blaming you for their own failure to pursue their dreams. Even if their unwavering devotion left you feeling mysteriously obligated, Nines generally eventually discover newfound ambition, or at least a renewed drive to discover themselves, that leaves you reeling when they make it your fault that they failed to discover their own unique characteristics long ago.

Being at the center - and most noncommittal - of the anger triad, Nines typically deal with their anger issue by suppressing it so diligently it eventually shows up as what they see as inexplicable fatigue. Anger is simply too volatile and too explosive an emotion for Nines; it blows them off course and out of otherwise stable relationships. Terrified of any major shifts in their lives, Nines covet the status quo. They have a comfort level they don't want breached and thus strongly prefer predictable routines and living life in measurable and manageable proportions. Feeling an intense emotion like anger would upset their apple cart and quite possible force them to get off the fence and mobilize their forces for a change in direction. This feels so overwhelming to Nines that they will gladly sacrifice those pesky emotions for a hyperactive schedule or a list of chose to be done for their husband or children such as selling Girl Scout cookies or volunteering to serve on the organizational committee for the community center's charity drive.

While Nines are busy being charitable and generous, they are usually harboring resentment and amassing a large stash of perceived slights. They won't openly express any of them, but they will drag their feet and inadvertently forget to follow up on essential tasks or drop the ball on a special project. And if anyone dares to push their buttons through direct confrontation or attempt to control them, they may smile sweetly and slow down the pace to a crawl.

Pathological Nines

Pathological Nines barely live in their own skins. They have suppressed so much of their personality and projected it onto others that they no longer have an inner sense of who they are. They have lost the ability to ferret out their needs or desires and survive by keeping themselves so busy fulfilling someone else's needs or meeting someone else's agenda that they don't have time to ruminate on what they have lost or denied themselves.

However, as their personalities disintegrate and their propped up worlds crumble, all that anger Nines pressed down into the darkest corners of their soul comes bubbling to the surface. Suddenly nothing works anymore, and they feel angry often to the point of rage. They may uncharacteristically explode, dumping years of previously unspoken frustration on their loved ones and coworkers. They are, in fact, furious with themselves for sabotaging their won lives, but they still find spoken anger so frightening that they project it onto the people they chose to serve.

Some pathological Nines react to the realization that they subverted their lives by becoming immobilized - locked in place and incapable of or completely resistant to change. Their energy often plummets to the point of serious depression. Some Nines feel so overwhelmed by a rush of intense emotions, they literally disassociate from all their feelings and either consciously concoct or unconsciously spin off an alternate personality or personalities.

Self- Actualized Nines

Self-actualized Nines are the true mediators of the world. Because they can truly see and understand all the variances of opinions, attitudes, or behavior, Nines are natural politicians - capable of making others feel seen, heard, understood, and valued. Nines have an implicit understanding that polar opposites are only two very divergent attitudes and that a lot of middle ground exists. More than any other enneatype, Nines are comfortable with the juxtaposition of opposing viewpoints. They understand paradox and appreciate diversity. Nines hold a higher vision for the world and foresee compromises that leave everyone intact and fulfilled.

A fully integrated Nine has recognized, claimed, and taken action to fulfill her own desires and is able to offer her loved ones her true self, not a self encumbered by a needy undertow. These self-actualized Nines do truly love everyone unconditionally, and at last they are able to express that love fully and spontaneously. Nines who have transcended to their highest self that an active stance in every aspect of their lives and have plenty of energy left to facilitate community development.

Source: The Everything Enneagram Book by Susan Reynolds (really not worth your money if you just want to look at one specific type. This is literally all you get for Nines.)
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