June 12, 2020
Between the pandemic and the protests for racial equality, there’s a lot going on that can trigger different aspects of our personalities. This is a time when you might note the different Enneagram types within you – remember, we all have all nine types within us – and you may be experiencing multiple forms of reactivity. (See below for representative examples for each type.)
Most people tend to think of anger as a “negative” feeling. At Voyance, we think of it differently - as a powerful energy that can be channeled productively in three directions: truth, boundaries, and / or action.
Ask yourself – what is a truth I’m not speaking, and to whom do I need to speak it? Then find a time and a way to express it. Start with, “What’s true for me is…” Be careful not to express this as “THE truth is…” There’s a big difference between “my truth” and “THE truth.”
Other useful phrases include: “My experience of this is…” or “My opinion about this is…” Even better: “Here’s what’s going on for me about this…” This approach only works if you use it with the sincere intention to both understand the other and to be understood – not just if you’re insisting that the other person understand you.
Ask yourself – what is a boundary I need to hold? This could be something like, “I’m not willing to have the grandparents see my children if they aren’t following the same care protocols we’re following to protect our health.” Or it could be, “I am no longer willing to be a member of an organization that tolerates discrimination.”
To express and hold a boundary requires the ability to see where boundaries have been weak or have been transgressed, either because you haven’t stated what is acceptable to you, or because others haven’t respected boundaries you’ve set. The anger you feel about this can be directed into holding the boundary – not in a rageful way, but in a direct and firm way.
Ask yourself – what can I DO right now? What concrete action step can I take? How can I make a difference? Harnessing the energy behind your anger and channeling it into action will relieve feelings of frustration or powerlessness and empower you to do something about it.
The key to processing anger is first to recognize it (this is easier for some types than it is for others), express it, and then do something with it (truth/boundaries/action). If you think you aren’t holding any anger beneath the surface, dig a little deeper and practice radical self-honesty. As with many emotions, we’re socialized to repress this “unpleasant” emotion, which leads to compartmentalizing, acting out, or letting it out in a context unrelated to the original trigger. Anger is a powerful emotion that provides the energy for important conversations, realizations, and action. So this week, we encourage you to face your anger and become friends with it. What can you accomplish when you channel the energy behind it into something constructive?
to view common triggers and reactions for a given type
Principled, ethical, self-controlled, & perfectionistic
The One in you may feel reactive to violation of principle(s), or others not doing the right thing (for instance, people not wearing masks when you believe the evidence proves they should)
Reaction: lecturing other people; feeling agitated, irritable and judge-y
Caring, warm, attentive, & people-pleasing
The Two in you may feel reactive when perceiving that you’re being taken for granted (for instance, feeling that you’re doing more than your fair share of household and parenting tasks)
Reaction: cutting people off or becoming angry
Motivated, hard-working, adaptable, & image-conscious
The Three in you may feel reactive to being made to look bad (for instance, if someone cuts you off during a Zoom meeting)
Reaction: doing whatever it takes to “repair” your image in the eyes of others, which could include becoming angry and competitive (not your usual charming self)
Introspective, creative, imaginative, & sensitive
The Four in you may feel reactive to being told to do what everyone else is doing, when you believe you and your circumstances are different
Reaction: becoming stubborn about “my way for me”
Cerebral, objective, rational, & detached
The Five in you may feel reactive because there’s not enough high-quality data to analyze or to lead to clear conclusions
Reaction: doubling down on research; withdrawing from others and feeling a strong preference to be left alone
Trustworthy, reliable, problem-solving, & anxious
The Six in you may feel reactive that other people are not being reliable, or, in the case of the protests, that government is abusing its authority
Reaction: feeling like no one has your back and that you must protect yourself and your loved ones from all risk
Fun-loving, excitable, energetic, & scattered
The Seven in you may feel reactive and frustrated that your freedom and options are limited
Reaction: trying to find new adventures and sources of stimulation
Action-oriented, direct, bold, & controlling
The Eight in you may feel reactive to feeling weak, sad or vulnerable; being told what to do; feeling out of control
Reaction: getting really mad and taking it out on your closest loved ones
Easy-going, empathetic, accommodating, & indirect
The Nine in you may feel reactive to life and routines being disrupted and feeling unstable
Reaction: denial or self-medicating to try to feel like everything is okay