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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
For reference:

The reactive types tend to want to get a reaction from others. When a reactive type is upset, they don't want the other person to stay calm. They want to see their negative emotions mirrored by others. They are often referred to as the "truth tellers of the enneagram" for the simple reason that reactive types can pick up on the more troubled aspects of a situation before other types do. If the positive outlook types err by focusing too much on the positive, reactive types can err by focusing too much on the negative. What they're seeing may, in fact, be there, but what comes across as barely perceptible to other types comes across like a flashing neon sign to the reactive types, and it's very difficult for them to not address it.
quoted from amberheadlights's post here



If you're a reactive type, what has been your experience? Problems? Strengths? If you aren't, how would you describe your dealings with this triad? Let's discuss reactivity!!
 

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The reactive types tend to want to get a reaction from others. When a reactive type is upset, they don't want the other person to stay calm. They want to see their negative emotions mirrored by others.
Yes. Yes. However, I'm not too sure how concerned I am with the other person "mirroring" my emotions; I'm not that focused on emotions. I just want the visual cue that what I'm saying is being communicated efficiently.
What they're seeing may, in fact, be there, but what comes across as barely perceptible to other types comes across like a flashing neon sign to the reactive types, and it's very difficult for them to not address it.
This resonates with me a lot, and I always attributed it to Ne before really getting into the enneagram. If something doesn't "sit" well with me, I'm not good at hiding it, which gets pretty frustrating; because most people see it as being "confrontational" and react with getting defensive, which doesn't accomplish much beyond frustrating me. I'm not trying to transmit an "emotion", just stating the obvious; so it's always strange when someone reacts that way.

I'm curious to hear from types other than ones from this triad and their experiences with communicating with us.
 

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Well, my type belongs to the positive triad, but I have always related to the reactive triad better. After all, I have two reactive fixes and a reactive wing ;)
 

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@cosmia

I definitely, definitely want to see my negative emotions mirrored in others, or at least a sign that they understand and empathize. If I don't, my reactivity will only get worse and worse. I'll sulk, brood, pout, and withdraw to get them to respond to me.

There's nothing that gets me more riled up than seeing someone perfectly calm and cold while I'm sitting here seething in anger. It really gets to me, and I can't control that. Especially in a conflict, I will zero in on the subtle nuances in what a person says, and I'll use those to get to the core of things. "You said this, does this mean you ______ ?" or "That didn't sound like a question." Lol. I can be a nightmare.

My primary way of reacting is very 4-like, in that I'll withdraw to get their attention. I won't make it too obvious, but obvious enough for them to feel like there's something wrong. If they're oblivious, I interpret it as them not caring, then I get angry.

I really love this description:

The Reactives are actually those who seek a reaction from others. They feel that in order to get to the truth, they must deliberately provoke others into giving them an authentic response.

For Type Four, Russ offers the example of a young girl who, during a disagreement with her parents, dramatically storms out of the room and crawls beneath her bed to hide. Unlike a Five child, the young Four girl not genuinely want to be left alone. She stormed out of the room to see if her parents cared enough about her to chase after her. She was testing them. That’s what it means to be “reactive” in an enneagrammatic sense.
I think I often test others in that way. For example, say something said something to upset me. I won't just explode (and people often misinterpret reactivity for explosiveness), but I'll simply be less talkative, more curt and dry, or simply say I have to go. This is when I'm really feeling childish and less healthy. It's still an overpowering urge, though. If I had to speculate, I'd say the truth 4s want to get at is more in the realm of emotions. If there's something that really infuriates me, it's seeing someone fake how they feel about something. Which is why I'll probe, and test to get to the heart of matters, to know how they REALLY feel about something.
 

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voicetrocity said:
This resonates with me a lot, and I always attributed it to Ne before really getting into the enneagram. If something doesn't "sit" well with me, I'm not good at hiding it, which gets pretty frustrating; because most people see it as being "confrontational" and react with getting defensive, which doesn't accomplish much beyond frustrating me. I'm not trying to transmit an "emotion", just stating the obvious; so it's always strange when someone reacts that way.
I agree with this completely. I'm a strange mix of passive aggressive and overly confrontational, it just depends on the matter at hand. For example, if I'm really angry about something, having to hold back only gets me even more furious. I get really frustrated at having to conceal how I feel, so I often fail at that. I just need to solve it NOW.

People in my world see it as immaturity, which I guess it is in a way. I can't fake not being affected by something for the life of me, and that is often considered "inappropriate" socially :p
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
There's nothing that gets me more riled up than seeing someone perfectly calm and cold while I'm sitting here seething in anger. It really gets to me, and I can't control that. Especially in a conflict, I will zero in on the subtle nuances in what a person says, and I'll use those to get to the core of things. "You said this, does this mean you ______ ?" or "That didn't sound like a question." Lol. I can be a nightmare.
God, this is so like me. I like it sometimes because if I'm paired with somebody equally as reactive it can be a really intense and fulfilling experience (odd way to describe it maybe..? cathartic maybe?). But when I'm paired with somebody more withdrawn like my boyfriend, somebody who prefers to keep his emotions to himself and think things over instead of having intense here-and-now confrontations, it is really frustrating. For both of us.

I know it puts a lot of pressure on him, and it usually makes small problems bigger (I bring something up, valid or invalid -> he stays calm/gets quiet/tries to avoid it -> I get angrier -> nobody's happy) which is partially why I started this thread, maybe to find out how us reactive types can tone ourselves down under stress and better communicate with others.
 

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God, this is so like me. I like it sometimes because if I'm paired with somebody equally as reactive it can be a really intense and fulfilling experience (odd way to describe it maybe..? cathartic maybe?). But when I'm paired with somebody more withdrawn like my boyfriend, somebody who prefers to keep his emotions to himself and think things over instead of having intense here-and-now confrontations, it is really frustrating. For both of us.

I know it puts a lot of pressure on him, and it usually makes small problems bigger (I bring something up, valid or invalid -> he stays calm/gets quiet/tries to avoid it -> I get angrier -> nobody's happy) which is partially why I started this thread, maybe to find out how us reactive types can tone ourselves down under stress and better communicate with others.
You know, intense here-and-now confrontations are amazing in the intensity and feeling like your partner cares just as much, but they can be really frustrating as well, as you'll keep going around and around in circles. Anything one will say will be taken a step further by the other, and so on and so forth. It can be exhausting, but it's still better than arguing with someone who seems unaffected.

Perhaps your partner is in the competency triad? I saw this table, and it might be helpful to you ^^

PartiesReactive Group (4,6,8) in conflict with Competency (1,3,5)
Reaction to conflictThe other person doesn’t respond emotionally – they don’t appear to think this issue is very important. You get frustrated because the other person is jumping ahead to solving the problem before you’ve had a chance to fully understand and internalize the scope and magnitude of the problem.
“Why are you trying to solve a problem we don’t fully understand?”
The other person is overreacting – they get overly emotional and pessimistic. The other person frustrates me because s/he keeps focussing on how bad the problem is without wanting to fix it. I’m trying to resolve this problem, but s/he is stuck dwelling on it.
“Yes, I know there’s a problem, I’m trying to solve it.”
Conflict Resolution StrategiesDon’t expect the other person to react emotionally, because they are not usually comfortable expressing their feelings. You can communicate your concerns more effectively through logic than through feelings.Try to express some emotional concern, either for the magnitude of the problem, or your desire to fix it.
If you can’t respond emotionally, try to paraphrase what they are saying to acknowledge their concerns.

(Source)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
You know, intense here-and-now confrontations are amazing in the intensity and feeling like your partner cares just as much, but they can be really frustrating as well, as you'll keep going around and around in circles. Anything one will say will be taken a step further by the other, and so on and so forth. It can be exhausting, but it's still better than arguing with someone who seems unaffected.

Perhaps your partner is in the competency triad? I saw this table, and it might be helpful to you ^^

PartiesReactive Group (4,6,8) in conflict with Competency (1,3,5)
Reaction to conflictThe other person doesn’t respond emotionally – they don’t appear to think this issue is very important. You get frustrated because the other person is jumping ahead to solving the problem before you’ve had a chance to fully understand and internalize the scope and magnitude of the problem.
“Why are you trying to solve a problem we don’t fully understand?”
The other person is overreacting – they get overly emotional and pessimistic. The other person frustrates me because s/he keeps focussing on how bad the problem is without wanting to fix it. I’m trying to resolve this problem, but s/he is stuck dwelling on it.
“Yes, I know there’s a problem, I’m trying to solve it.”
Conflict Resolution StrategiesDon’t expect the other person to react emotionally, because they are not usually comfortable expressing their feelings. You can communicate your concerns more effectively through logic than through feelings.Try to express some emotional concern, either for the magnitude of the problem, or your desire to fix it.
If you can’t respond emotionally, try to paraphrase what they are saying to acknowledge their concerns.

(Source)
Yep, I think it is possible he is a 5, and if not that, definitely somewhere in that triad. Thanks for the table and link! I have been slowly learning this from experience but to see it all written out like that gives me a nice confirmation :)
 

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@kaleidoscope - thanks for the link! I've never seen that before, how could I miss that?

Anyway, I can't relate to the positive types in conflict AT ALL. To reactive, though... painfully accurate.

(not doubting my type, just thinking aloud)
 

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Interesting thread.

But when I'm paired with somebody more withdrawn like my boyfriend, somebody who prefers to keep his emotions to himself and think things over instead of having intense here-and-now confrontations, it is really frustrating. For both of us.
Yes. Sorry about that. I guess dealing with a reactive type - when they are in a reactive kind of mood -- can feel like an interrogation. It feels confusing, intrusive, and intimidating. It's like, "what does this person want from me"? It's my habit not to share my thoughts and feelings; certainly not right away. I like time to think and look at the situation from different angles.

This thread has been illuminating for me. Hearing reactivity described from the reactive types' perspective makes it seem much more reasonable than it tends to come across in 3D reality. I will try to keep the information here in mind, as an aid in future communications with people.

Kaleidoscope said "It can be exhausting, but it's still better than arguing with someone who seems unaffected."

Having read the above statement has made me realize that, relative to my father, I'm actually a bit reactive myself and I know the feeling of trying to communicate a genuine concern to someone who seems unaffected. Because that's often how I felt interacting with him. As if he was somehow above me and all my petty, mortal concerns. Or like he didn't have feelings at all. I feel bad knowing I come across the same way to people much of the time.
 

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I partially relate to the reactive triad, in that I do find some truth in people's emotional reactions and I want to know that others care about the issue. I don't necessarily want to have my emotions mirrored, though. If I go to someone with a problem I might want to vent about it, and if it's just one of those minor frustrations of life then I'll quite enjoy everyone getting a bit pissed off together. If I go to someone because I need help solving a fairly big problem, I'm going to be more reassured by the person calmly explaining to me how the issue can be resolved and what they/I/we can do about it. If they do that, assuming it's someone I can trust, that'll reassure me that the problem probably isn't as big as I thought it was and there's a way around it. If they get as worked up about it as I am, then I'll start thinking I'm not going to be able to resolve the problem. I hope that made sense.
 

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You know, intense here-and-now confrontations are amazing in the intensity and feeling like your partner cares just as much, but they can be really frustrating as well, as you'll keep going around and around in circles. Anything one will say will be taken a step further by the other, and so on and so forth. It can be exhausting, but it's still better than arguing with someone who seems unaffected.

Perhaps your partner is in the competency triad? I saw this table, and it might be helpful to you ^^

PartiesReactive Group (4,6,8) in conflict withCompetency (1,3,5)
Reaction to conflictThe other person doesn’t respond emotionally – they don’t appear to think this issue is very important. You get frustrated because the other person is jumping ahead to solving the problem before you’ve had a chance to fully understand and internalize the scope and magnitude of the problem.
“Why are you trying to solve a problem we don’t fully understand?”
The other person is overreacting – they get overly emotional and pessimistic. The other person frustrates me because s/he keeps focussing on how bad the problem is without wanting to fix it. I’m trying to resolve this problem, but s/he is stuck dwelling on it.
“Yes, I know there’s a problem, I’m trying to solve it.”
Conflict Resolution StrategiesDon’t expect the other person to react emotionally, because they are not usually comfortable expressing their feelings. You can communicate your concerns more effectively through logic than through feelings.Try to express some emotional concern, either for the magnitude of the problem, or your desire to fix it.
If you can’t respond emotionally, try to paraphrase what they are saying to acknowledge their concerns.

(Source)
This is has definitely been the dynamics with two fives AND two nines that I have been in intimate relationships with. You would think I would get it by now. :rolleyes: But, show up for the fight dammit! I know what to do with that but when I'm upset about something and I'm expressing it to be met by an ice block or a brick wall type of response...all it does is serve to infuriate me more. Since learning about the Enneagram....I'm learning to catch myself in the act.

But, something about receiving a reaction lets me know that I have been heard...and at the end of the day that's all I really want to know is that you heard me and understood me. You don't have to agree with me...but don't be Mr. Stonewall or Mrs. Stonewall and that will go a long way towards getting it resolved with me more quickly. :wink:

Edit: forgot to say thanks for posting this. Excellent info....hadn't seen it before.
 

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For reference:
quoted from amberheadlights's post here
If you're a reactive type, what has been your experience? Problems? Strengths? If you aren't, how would you describe your dealings with this triad? Let's discuss reactivity!!
I think the term "reactive" though accurate at times, has a poor connotation. less mature 4s, 6s and 8s can be pretty reactive, but I think the "intensity triad" is a more accurate term for them
 

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I think the term "reactive" though accurate at times, has a poor connotation. less mature 4s, 6s and 8s can be pretty reactive, but I think the "intensity triad" is a more accurate term for them
I agree. The description 'reactive' sounds irrational. As an INTP 6w7 my conflict style is to express the problem or concern thoroughly, and I need a reaction so I know the depth and scope of my feelings and perspective is well understood. But I am, in the end, only trying to solve the problem. The experience of sharing and receiving a reaction is a means to an end. That being said, like some INTPs, sometimes I come off a lot more upset about something than I really am. Emotions stemming from separate things sometime come out all at once. And the 6 in me gets scared. So conflicts with other reactive types can escalate and if I'm too angry I may accuse the other person of overreacting. If the other person isn't reacting I can become insecure that I'm not being understood and or seem irrational. Hmm, typing this out made me finally realize what went wrong in a few situations and now I can avoid that in the future :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I partially relate to the reactive triad, in that I do find some truth in people's emotional reactions and I want to know that others care about the issue. I don't necessarily want to have my emotions mirrored, though. If I go to someone with a problem I might want to vent about it, and if it's just one of those minor frustrations of life then I'll quite enjoy everyone getting a bit pissed off together. If I go to someone because I need help solving a fairly big problem, I'm going to be more reassured by the person calmly explaining to me how the issue can be resolved and what they/I/we can do about it. If they do that, assuming it's someone I can trust, that'll reassure me that the problem probably isn't as big as I thought it was and there's a way around it. If they get as worked up about it as I am, then I'll start thinking I'm not going to be able to resolve the problem. I hope that made sense.
To the bolded part: Yeah I get this. For me, in such a case, it wouldn't be about having my emotions mirrored necessarily, but having my investment mirrored. However invested I am in the problem I would really want most for them to care equally. If I told them my problem casually, didn't make a big deal, I would expect a casual comment or a couple of solutions suggested. If I were really worked up, like crying or something, then it would be obvious I'm invested in the problem, and I would expect somebody who cared about me to be equally invested, not necessarily equally UPSET. I'm not sure if what I'm describing is a reactive people thing or a people thing, but there it is.
 

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People in my world see it as immaturity, which I guess it is in a way. I can't fake not being affected by something for the life of me, and that is often considered "inappropriate" socially :p
Dear lord, I get the "immaturity" card all the time, my parent even liked to tell me that I needed to learn how to "cope" (which I'm sure you can imagine how well that went over). I'm honestly not programmed to stop and think "Oh, lemme stop and think how this is going to make someone feel". If something "touches" me, you're going to know about it; I'm not trying to make you go claw your own eyes out or anything, so it's really shocking when someone responds with "Why are you trying to make me feel bad". Not that I'm a saint or anything, but assigning me motives or feelings really isn't on my list of favorite things and doesn't help the situation at all.

To be honest, my reactivity could use some "reeling" in; but the only way I've found to be able to do that is to logically talk myself out of it, which works about as well as putting your weight against a door trying to prevent a 400lb person from opening it and telling yourself repeatedly "There's no weight against my back right now". Riiiiiggghhhhttt...
 

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The reactive types tend to want to get a reaction from others. When a reactive type is upset, they don't want the other person to stay calm. They want to see their negative emotions mirrored by others.
I'm of two minds about this. I'll say that more often than not, I'd rather my feelings be acknowledged rather than mirrored, but there are certain times when mirroring is what I need to feel better. Many times, I think both parties freaking out is more detrimental, and one person should keep a clearer head. Like @Octavarium said, I prefer solving problems rather than getting emotional about them. I do need time to understand, though.

They are often referred to as the "truth tellers of the enneagram" for the simple reason that reactive types can pick up on the more troubled aspects of a situation before other types do.
As a child, I got in "trouble" a lot by saying what was on my mind rather than thinking it through and saying things tactfully. I still mess up quite often, but I put even more effort into being kinder and in saying less.

What they're seeing may, in fact, be there, but what comes across as barely perceptible to other types comes across like a flashing neon sign to the reactive types, and it's very difficult for them to not address it.
I have experienced this a lot. Many reactives, most often 6s, seem to have something of a Cassandra Complex (@Boss introduced this concept). I've coped by keeping many things to myself, but I still feel wrongness and can (rarely) act furiously in response if I get overwhelmed by it.

------
Well, my type belongs to the positive triad, but I have always related to the reactive triad better. After all, I have two reactive fixes and a reactive wing ;)
I'm similar in regards to the object relations triads. I'm supposed to be the attached 6, but I end up relating to the frustrated 1/4/7s more... And like you, my tritype explains why :p
 

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@Paradigm @Octavarium

Mirroring is not something I want when I'm talking to someone I'm not upset with. When I go seek advice from a friend, I don't want them to be equally as upset as I am, and like both of you, I want someone to give me concrete ways to solve it. I don't think someone can be reactive with a person not involved in the problem in the first place.

But when I am upset with someone, that's when I need my emotions mirrored and acknowledged in that same person.
 

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I've always seen myself as a "reactive" type based on the descriptions. It describes my emotional energy so well. I agree with all these points in particular:

There's nothing that gets me more riled up than seeing someone perfectly calm and cold while I'm sitting here seething in anger.
My 9w1 parents were lords and masters of sneering down on me the more I'd get worked up. I'd practically be reaching for the knives, and they'd be laughing at how "immature" I was being. I've come to think it was just the opposite.

For example, if I'm really angry about something, having to hold back only gets me even more furious. I get really frustrated at having to conceal how I feel, so I often fail at that. I just need to solve it NOW.
Can't hold the feelings back.

Anyway, I can't relate to the positive types in conflict AT ALL. To reactive, though... painfully accurate.
It's OK. I relate to other things than complaint-attachment. I'll mention that at the bottom.

This is has definitely been the dynamics with two fives AND two nines that I have been in intimate relationships with. You would think I would get it by now. :rolleyes: But, show up for the fight dammit! I know what to do with that but when I'm upset about something and I'm expressing it to be met by an ice block or a brick wall type of response...all it does is serve to infuriate me more.
Yeah, just like I said above. Hell, it infuriates me just to read that, because I know what you're talking about so much.

To be honest, my reactivity could use some "reeling" in; but the only way I've found to be able to do that is to logically talk myself out of it, which works about as well as putting your weight against a door trying to prevent a 400lb person from opening it and telling yourself repeatedly "There's no weight against my back right now". Riiiiiggghhhhttt...
Yes.

As a child, I got in "trouble" a lot by saying what was on my mind rather than thinking it through and saying things tactfully. I still mess up quite often, but I put even more effort into being kinder and in saying less.

I have experienced this a lot. Many reactives, most often 6s, seem to have something of a Cassandra Complex (@Boss introduced this concept). I've coped by keeping many things to myself, but I still feel wrongness and can (rarely) act furiously in response if I get overwhelmed by it.
I have the same trouble with speaking the truth the way I see it. I've been told I lack discretion, and since that basically ruined my life 5 years ago, I've been struggling every day with saying things really, really nicely. I think it's working.

I also DO have the Cassandra Complex. That's my family's nickname for me actually.

And, I'll add some of my own thoughts:

The reactive types tend to want to get a reaction from others. When a reactive type is upset, they don't want the other person to stay calm. They want to see their negative emotions mirrored by others.
I want people to feel what I'm feeling.

They are often referred to as the "truth tellers of the enneagram" for the simple reason that reactive types can pick up on the more troubled aspects of a situation before other types do.
Story of my life. I know what's really going on and you can't fool me.

If the positive outlook types err by focusing too much on the positive, reactive types can err by focusing too much on the negative.
Well, I am in the TRIPLE NEGATIVE tritype after all.

What they're seeing may, in fact, be there, but what comes across as barely perceptible to other types comes across like a flashing neon sign to the reactive types, and it's very difficult for them to not address it.
I don't know. I just know stuff gets under my skin, and I want it out of my skin.

Again, of all the triads, I've always identified MOST with reactive, followed by withdrawn and rejection, followed at a distance by frustration. There was a reason I first thought I was in the 458 tritype, let's just say that. I don't identify much with attachment, compliant, or competency, and positive is total wtf.
 
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