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So I'm torn between two enneagram types (I can share if you'd like to know, but I thought I'd try to avoid skewing the opinions at first!) I've been trying to work it out on my own, but I'm looking for a little assistance if anyone feels like helping! I know there are lots of people on here seeking the same, so feel free to skim my perhaps overly long responses. Thanks!


Main Questions

1. What drives you in life? What do you look for?
What drives me in life is a search for some meaning and understanding of the world. I am always looking to understand how people work, and what the deepest level of meaning might be - what is most important, ultimately? This seems to me to be a search for an understanding of goodness at the same time. I want to do the best I can in life. This seems to come on in spurts, as I see people around me doing well in areas that I value, like when I see a talented musician or someone who is very wise. It makes me want to achieve that, too, with a kind of simultaneous pain and inspiration.


2. What do you hope to accomplish in your life?
I hope to do meaningful work, and to feel I've provided some real contribution to society. I hope to have a family with whom I feel I belong and can be comfortable, and I want to foster good, healthy, genuine community around me. I hope that I am able to write a book, whether or not it is ever published. I just want to feel that I've gotten a good grasp on how the world is and who I should be in it.

3. What do you hope to avoid doing or being? What values are important to you?
I hope to avoid living a completely ordinary/normal/unimportant life - to live just unconsciously without any depth, and never bring anything new or real into the world. I also hope to avoid being so serious and contemplative that I miss my life completely, and can never properly engage with the world/people around me, though there's probably more danger of the latter than the former. I value openness and understanding of one's surroundings/the world. I value real consideration of real issues and wisdom in the treatment of these. I value caring and compassion for people - recognizing that we are all connected in a myriad of intricate ways, and how important it is to be respectful of others, not knowing what life they've had to walk. I value thinking of each individual as their own person with something to offer, whether or not they're able to right now. I also value uniqueness or difference - finding a niche for yourself.


4. What are your biggest fears (not including phobias)? Why?
That I will live my life in an essentially meaningless, nondescript way, devoid of larger purpose and caught up in pointless inanity. I am also afraid, on a more everyday basis, of being 'found wanting' as a person. I try to stop, but I worry that people won't like me, or will think I'm faulty in some way - that I'll fail when I try to do something.


5. How do you want others to see you? How do you see yourself?
I want to be seen as intelligent, kind, unique, and interesting; as someone who thinks and feels deeply. I want to be someone that people can relate to, who is interesting and insightful, but really cares about people around them and meets them 'where they're at'. I'd love to be seen as a little quirky or unique, as long as I'm not so bizarre that no one wants to be around me. It changes depending on my mood, though! Sometimes I want to be seen as very responsible and practical, very competent and ready for anything; other times I want to be seen as reserved, but with a depth of thought and mystery and intense emotion welled up below the surface; and other times I want to be fun and imaginative - someone who is a free-spirited dreamer and enjoys being playful.

There's some overlap, but anyway... I see myself as someone who tries very hard to be 'good' without necessarily being sure of what this involves at its base. I see myself as a bit of an imaginative dreamer, who sometimes doesn't follow through with things as I should. I see myself as someone who is quite adaptable, and can appreciate what is good in many things. I also see myself as someone who tends to feel things quite deeply, and think deeply about things, without sharing this with people around me.

6. What makes you feel your best? What makes you feel your worst?

Worst: Being forced to engage with a situation when I don't feel able to do so. I don't like having to be around 'intense' situations when I'm in a bit of a 'funk', whether it's a noisy group or a fight or just a conversation. I don't like it because it feels like physical pain to tear myself away from the inner state that feels crucially important (like, I must answer this question about the world, or explain this pattern in myself, or be alone to listen to sad music so I can really cry and be upset, as these are 'deep' or 'genuine' things while the petty discussion of things we've talked about a million times before is not useful at all). Also, it usually ends with me doing or saying something completely weird and socially inept and looking like an idiot. I can up to a certain point subjugate my own needs, but eventually they must be met.

Best: When I feel I have the freedom to do what I want, whether this is read a book or have a good talk with someone. Also, being in nature can be really peaceful and deep for me - especially being around water, for some reason. Another is feeling I've done something useful or meaningful to help someone or engage well in my world.

7. Describe how you experience each of: a) anger; b) shame; c) anxiety.
a) I don't get full-on angry very often. I do get annoyed about things, and sometimes actually angry I suppose. If I feel frustrated by something, I ask myself why, and if it's appropriate. Sometimes I get snippy, especially with people I'm close to, but I don't believe I've ever had a full blown yelling match or argument with another person. I often want to just remove myself from the situation, as a lot of these frustrations aren't necessarily the person's fault, just something that happens. If it is an ongoing thing and there's no need for it and it drives me up the wall, I'll say something about it in an annoyed tone and explain why it bugs me. If I'm brave enough - unfortunately I've been known to put up with more than I should. Conflict bothers me. I can bear it, but I'd rather not.

b) It's sort of hard to admit to it, but I do feel as though I'm just not good enough a lot of the time. It's usually provoked by genuine awkwardness or deficiency on my part - I handle a situation in the worst way, or I look around me and see how much better everyone else is doing. When I'm in these states I think 'I can't do anything really well. There's nothing that I'm useful for. I'm such an incompetent person.' I want to be alone and write about how I feel in an attempt to work through it. I certainly don't feel like I can be around other people, then. I feel like I'm not good enough to interact with them, almost, and if I do I'll destroy any chance of them seeing me as the semi-normal mask I've crafted. I feel like I've had no excuse at all for not doing so much more with my life - being so much more, accomplishing so much more - and that there is something really wrong with me, that I can't handle even normal life challenges and experiences without breaking down inside.

c) I, again, want to be alone (is there a theme here? lol). I want some space to just examine my own worries and try to solve them if possible. Only if I am absolutely getting nowhere, or there is sufficient stress, will it come bubbling out to the surface. I can get sort of light and floaty when I'm stressed - it's a bit of an exhilaration, and I might thrive on it if it feels manageable enough. Then, I'll not say much about being anxious, but let it fuel lots of action.


8. Describe how you respond to each of: a) stress; b) unexpected change; c) conflict.
Stress is pretty much answered in c) above, and conflict in a) above.
b) If something changes suddenly, I usually just roll with it as best as possible, while feeling a little thrown off inside and hoping for a chance to look at the change on my own later on.

9. Describe your orientation to: a) authority; b) power. How do you respond to these?
I have no problem with either, unless I feel they're being used to take advantage of someone or restrict freedom without a good reason. This goes for myself, too.


10. What is your overall outlook on life and humanity?
I think we're all in the curious position of arriving here without asking to do so, and so we're just trying to figure out what to do with that. I think that we all have the potential for both goodness and badness in us; it's never just one or the other. I see life as something to be experienced fully and deeply - a chance to explore and hopefully understand, and a chance to live out our own deepest selves while giving permission and space to those around us to do the same

Optional Questions

11. Discuss an event that has impacted your life significantly; more importantly, how you responded to it.
A few years ago, I found I could no longer believe in the sort of religion I'd believed in for my whole life. It was earth-shaking, to say the least - as though the world was suddenly turned upside down. I did not discuss it with anyone for a long time, since essentially everyone close to me did believe very strongly, and in fact have still disclosed this to hardly anyone. I stopped studying for my classes, and instead spent hours alone pretending to do homework while actually doing internet research on different religions and systems of belief, hungry for some sign that another person felt like me. I did eventually talk to one friend outside my normal 'circle' about it, a little, though it took at least a year before this opportunity presented itself. I continued to portray outward participation while inwardly suffering and seeking answers and feeling completely awful about my lack of courage and integrity, though I could still see many good things about the old system of belief. I felt mired in emptiness and as though I'd been transformed into a dark, selfish person.

12. Comment on your relationship with trust.
It can be difficult, but I tend to idealize people and then I have no problem after that.


13. List some of the traits you: a) like; b) dislike most about yourself.

a)
-I care about people. I'm always assessing how they're feeling, where they're at, and what they like. I can often figure out what a person will think about something or how they'll want to be treated. It just seems to happen automatically, without thinking.

-If I'm interested in something, I will devote a huge portion of my time and energy to it. I often get interested in some new topic, and will spend as much of my time as possible reading about it, looking things up online, etc., and take notes and record my thoughts. I love joining up ideas in this way - perhaps combining an old topic of interest with a new one. It helps me understand the world, or at least feel I might be making some slow progress in understanding it.

-I can feel deeply, but keep it inside so it doesn't become a huge issue for people around me (i.e. if I'm upset about something, I'm generally good at tucking it away until I can deal with it properly). I do have the occasional breakdown, but it's rare.

-I try hard. I want to always do the right thing - it's important to me that my life be lived in a way that is 'ethical', though I'm still figuring out exactly what that means. Whatever the specifics, though, I am deeply concerned with being 'good', and always have been. I know that sounds a bit egotistical or goody two-shoesy, so I'll say that it's an effort, and I'm by no means always successful. Far from it. I still want to do good though, and I think I devote a lot of thought to what that might be.

b)
-I am an awful procrastinator. Sometimes it feels as though I actually cannot do a task, as I can't focus properly on it, or can't pull my thoughts away from other stuff that seems critically important in my life (i.e. some turbulent emotional state or a new interest). It is usually like the issue (feeling/existential angst/question about the world) is super important, and is going to determine the value of my life, while those meaningless dishes are, well, meaningless.

-I'm not consistently good at organizing my life. I can do it, and sometimes quite well, but I do tend to go through phases where it's all just a mess - there are papers all over my room, and I haven't done laundry in ages, and I'm reading too many library books at once to know which ones are due when, etc.

-I sometimes hold things in when I should share them with people. I tend to think 'I can handle this situation, emotion, etc. on my own; I shouldn't need to get others' help' but then I can't always really handle it. If it's a situation, I'm more likely to get help than if it's an emotion or personal problem. I tend to be quite private about that stuff when it's unresolved and messy, and don't like sharing unless I'm getting absolutely nowhere on my own and I'm desperate. I like sharing once I've worked out how I feel and why, or found the solution, though.

-I tend to get into these 'funks' where I just can't seem to gear up to do anything, or get any enjoyment out of what I do. I want to be alone all the time and listen to sad music, or think through my troubled thoughts, or write about it, even though I know it can be helpful to be with other people. I feel completely not like a normal person who could carry on a normal conversation, and so I just need to be alone until I'm able to do that again.



14. What do you see or notice in others that most people don't?
The potential


15. If a stranger insults you, how do you respond/feel? What if they compliment you?
Insult: I try to preserve the social niceties while inwardly reeling, and later bemoan the fact that I couldn't come up with a snappy comeback in time.
Compliment: I thank them, and maybe offer some comment that generally serves to 'level the playing field' like 'thanks, this shirt was actually quite cheap'

16. What's something you are: a) thankful you have; b) wish you could have? Why?
a) a piano and a guitar, because even if I'm not great it helps me to deal with however I'm feeling
b) a wonderful, full, exciting, dramatic life, because I might feel I'm actually living it
 

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My guess is 1w2. Is it one of the types you're considering?
 
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No, actually, though that does look quite 1ish, doesn't it? No, I think I'm a 9 or a 4. I tend to score highest on those, and sometimes 5.
 

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Argh this is so difficult. Just when I think I have it narrowed down to two or even three options, up pops another. I keep reading about all these types, and I relate to things in all of them. It's just so hard to know. I do relate to a lot about 1, especially after reading that Timeless description. I dismissed it initially since I'm not at all organized or punctual or certain about what is right or good. I want to find out, but I don't know what it is, nor do I really expect to find out exactly what that is. Also, I'm actually uncomfortable criticizing anyone, and much more likely to say 'oh it's alright' rather than correct them, or even think that what they did wasn't right. However, the 'perfectionism about what matters' I can absolutely relate to. I know I'm idealistic, and it does seem to get to the root of a lot of my life. I would never have realized it without typing all that stuff out on the questionnaire though, so thanks for reading through it all!

I don't really relate to 2 except on a superficial level - I don't think I'm giving enough for a 2 on a personal level. I could see a 2 wing, though. I've been studying and starting to work in the field of social work, and I know 2w1/1w2 are supposed to be quite 'humanitarian' so I guess that fits. . . I don't feel distanced from my emotions, and I do have a penchant for the unique. Bah. I'll keep thinking and reading.
 

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Argh this is so difficult. Just when I think I have it narrowed down to two or even three options, up pops another. I keep reading about all these types, and I relate to things in all of them. It's just so hard to know. I do relate to a lot about 1, especially after reading that Timeless description. I dismissed it initially since I'm not at all organized or punctual or certain about what is right or good. I want to find out, but I don't know what it is, nor do I really expect to find out exactly what that is. Also, I'm actually uncomfortable criticizing anyone, and much more likely to say 'oh it's alright' rather than correct them, or even think that what they did wasn't right. However, the 'perfectionism about what matters' I can absolutely relate to. I know I'm idealistic, and it does seem to get to the root of a lot of my life. I would never have realized it without typing all that stuff out on the questionnaire though, so thanks for reading through it all!

I don't really relate to 2 except on a superficial level - I don't think I'm giving enough for a 2 on a personal level. I could see a 2 wing, though. I've been studying and starting to work in the field of social work, and I know 2w1/1w2 are supposed to be quite 'humanitarian' so I guess that fits. . . I don't feel distanced from my emotions, and I do have a penchant for the unique. Bah. I'll keep thinking and reading.
No desire to change others to the ideal. 1s are known to brew resentment over wrongdoings. I don't really know how you could be a 1 if you don't need those things. 1s are action oriented, a need to change things for the better. It is more of a gut reaction to right and wrong leading to a belief in a moral code or idealism in how things should work which shapes 1's perspective.
 

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Hmmm. I don't have any desire to actually change others unless they want to change, in which case I might try to help them, but it makes me uncomfortable thinking I might know for sure what is best for them. I think they have to figure that out themselves, to a large degree. It's interesting though, because I'm almost certain my mother is a 1. Actually, a big part of any conflict we have is her being very sure of how things ought to be, and me being much more laissez-faire about it. Example: if we're talking about some problem someone has, say a kid that's always late to class, she seems to always be quite sure of how they should act, what the solution is, etc. It's something akin to 'They just need to be responsible and get there on time. How will they ever do well in life if they're always late? It isn't fair or respectful to anyone else.' I, on the other hand, tend to focus more on why they might have this problem, and understanding how difficult the situation would be for them and everyone else involved. I think 'oh, I have trouble being on time, too. It can be really hard to organize yourself that much, and does it even really matter? There are so many other things that we could care about. Also, their home hasn't really been that stable, and I can see they're just trying to make it through their days.'
 

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Hmmm. I don't have any desire to actually change others unless they want to change, in which case I might try to help them, but it makes me uncomfortable thinking I might know for sure what is best for them. I think they have to figure that out themselves, to a large degree. It's interesting though, because I'm almost certain my mother is a 1. Actually, a big part of any conflict we have is her being very sure of how things ought to be, and me being much more laissez-faire about it. Example: if we're talking about some problem someone has, say a kid that's always late to class, she seems to always be quite sure of how they should act, what the solution is, etc. It's something akin to 'They just need to be responsible and get there on time. How will they ever do well in life if they're always late? It isn't fair or respectful to anyone else.' I, on the other hand, tend to focus more on why they might have this problem, and understanding how difficult the situation would be for them and everyone else involved. I think 'oh, I have trouble being on time, too. It can be really hard to organize yourself that much, and does it even really matter? There are so many other things that we could care about. Also, their home hasn't really been that stable, and I can see they're just trying to make it through their days.'
Ya, that is because 1s are very action oriented, and monitoring their own actions in a conscientious way to not create problems for themselves or anyone. You're not a 1.

So much emphasis on helping others, and rather compassionate yet thoughtful. What doesn't fit about type 2?
 

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Ya, that is because 1s are very action oriented, and monitoring their own actions in a conscientious way to not create problems for themselves or anyone. You're not a 1.

So much emphasis on helping others, and rather compassionate yet thoughtful. What doesn't fit about type 2?
Well, I guess because I'm an introvert I identified with the withdrawn triad. I don't think I'm clingy or intrusive or manipulative, even when stressed. Also, I consistently score the lowest on 8, which is supposed to be the stress arrow for 2, so I should have some 8ish behaviour surely? The 2 just seems like they're so very concerned with others, and while I can be like that, I think I'm maybe too caught up in my own self sometimes.

That being said, after looking at this again, pretty much the entire reason I though I was a 9 is down to factors that can also be explained by 2, and since it's also part of the image triad, some of the 4 stuff is carried over, as well. I'm wondering if I've internalized some values of other types of important people around me, and this is confusing me? It would not be inconceivable.
 

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Well, I guess because I'm an introvert I identified with the withdrawn triad. I don't think I'm clingy or intrusive or manipulative, even when stressed. Also, I consistently score the lowest on 8, which is supposed to be the stress arrow for 2, so I should have some 8ish behaviour surely? The 2 just seems like they're so very concerned with others, and while I can be like that, I think I'm maybe too caught up in my own self sometimes.
2 is all about the emotional attachment, and ensuring it is there, indispensable to others' lives. You shown serious signs of being reliant on the superego that it is hard for me to point away from this triad. You didn't really show strong signs of being 6, and I'm not very good about typing 6s...


That being said, after looking at this again, pretty much the entire reason I though I was a 9 is down to factors that can also be explained by 2, and since it's also part of the image triad, some of the 4 stuff is carried over, as well. I'm wondering if I've internalized some values of other types of important people around me, and this is confusing me? It would not be inconceivable.
What makes you think you're a 9?
 

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2 is all about the emotional attachment, and ensuring it is there, indispensable to others' lives. You shown serious signs of being reliant on the superego that it is hard for me to point away from this triad. You didn't really show strong signs of being 6, and I'm not very good about typing 6s...

Yeah, I don't really feel like a 6. I think I'm a bit more relaxed about things than a 6 would be.


What makes you think you're a 9?
When I read the description for 9, a lot fit, especially about the way I act around others: the willingness to go along with others, the procrastination and difficulty with making decisions or knowing what I think when I'm around others, the dislike of conflict, the focus on what's good in people, creativity, and the longing to retreat to fantasies in one's mind as an escape from reality, the disconnect with one's body. The only thing that didn't ever quite seem right was the 'inner peace' thing. I wouldn't say I run from negative emotions at all. If anything, I sort of enjoy feeling any emotion, as it makes me feel more alive.
 

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When I read the description for 9, a lot fit, especially about the way I act around others: the willingness to go along with others, the procrastination and difficulty with making decisions or knowing what I think when I'm around others, the dislike of conflict, the focus on what's good in people, creativity, and the longing to retreat to fantasies in one's mind as an escape from reality, the disconnect with one's body. The only thing that didn't ever quite seem right was the 'inner peace' thing. I wouldn't say I run from negative emotions at all. If anything, I sort of enjoy feeling any emotion, as it makes me feel more alive.
Ya, tending to inner peace is the core of 9.

I think I may have been a little wrong with the 2's strong feelings toward motivation manipulation, it can be a little less suttle than that.

Naranjo says Social (SO) 2s are based around gaining love from the group, and to be able to tend to the pack in order to gain advantages and favors from others. This SO 2 seems to carry themselves differently than other 2s, they seem to play a role of the parent looking after the other members. Almost like being the key figure has its own reward, and the item of love is less evident. This does seem to differ slightly from Riso-Hudson's SO 1 description which I'll discuss with you in PM.

Do you try to reciprocate affection from most people you grow talk with?

How does the image issue which made you think you were a 2 make you think you're a 4? I find it unlikely that you're a 4 from my readings of your POV.

Oh, did I ever show you the instinctual variants of the Enneagram? It's a typing which explains variations within a type. Here read this to get to know them: http://www.the16types.info/vbulletin/content.php/133-Instinctual-Stackings
 

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Thanks for that info! The instinctual variants stuff was much clearer than I'd seen before. I want to mull it over for awhile, but I'm thinking maybe SO/SX.
Here's what drew me to the 4 (other than the fact that I usually score high on 4 in enneagram tests):
-I resonate with the shame issue (though this fits with 2, also)
-I like unique things, and feel uncomfortable looking/being too much like people around me (ex. I get almost everything at thrift stores because it's different and neat)
-I can be a bit disdainful of anything trendy or faddish, and often refuse on principle to like or be part of whatever 'new thing' that everyone else is into. (Ex. I dislike a lot of popular movies and music, and am not afraid to say so) Here's the qualifier, though: I don't want to be too unkind to people who do like these things, so I don't usually outwardly complain about them unless it's to people I know won't be offended.
-I tend to feel things deeply (again, could also work for 2)
-My 'greatest fear' should maybe have been re-worded, as it's more like a fear of a completely ordinary life, where I just go along with the typical path and don't really reach anything beyond that. Basically, that I spend my whole life worrying about a house and discussing paint colours and what movie we're going to see on the weekend, and that's it. There's nothing more to it than that.
-I've always felt a bit awkward, or like I just didn't fit with people.
-I get the whole 'getting stuck' thing. Sometimes it just feels like I can't really act in the world, or make real progress with anything. Instead, I might dream about what I would do if I could.

So, there's a lot of 'outer v.s. inner' stuff going on. That seems a bit like the image triad to me. You could be right about the 2, though. I'm keeping it in mind.
 
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