Updated: Mar 13, 2019
Do you even Enneagram? Episode 4
Just getting started? Check out these earlier posts:
Episode 2 - The Nine.
Episode 3 - Wings and Arrows.
Welcome to Episode 4 - Type 9, the Peacemaker.
I decided to start at the top of the Enneagram with Type Nine - the Peacemaker.
I chose this personality type first because:
#1, I'm a Nine, so this is the one I am the most knowledgeable about, and
#2, Nines rarely put themselves first.
Nines are super chill, friendly, accepting, welcoming and accommodating. They usually prefer to blend into the background of things rather than stand out front and center.
Each personality type on the Enneagram has a core fear and a core motivation. For the Peacemaker, the core fear is loss or separation, and the core motivation is to maintain their inner sense of peace and calm. I view Nines as the hippies of the Enneagram - peace, man, peace.
Question - How many Nines does it take to start a fight?
Answer - Kangaroo.
Okay, so it's not really a joke. It's more like a trick question. If you had a million Nines together and only one donut, 999,999 of them would swear they weren't hungry. For an Enneagram Nine, the Peacemaker, the one thing they desire more than that donut is to avoid conflict, at any cost.
What is interesting is that each of the 9 Enneagram types resides in one of three triads or centers. The triads have to do with each type's main way of interacting with the world and the underlying emotion connected to that interaction. The triads are Instinctive (Anger), Feeling (Shame) and Thinking (Fear) and Nines, somewhat paradoxically, reside in the Instinctive/Anger triad, meaning that anger is a primary subconscious force for these peace-seekers. Underneath all that chill calm lies a deep, untapped rage that many Nines are not even consciously aware exists.
The Peacemakers' unique response to this deep-seated rage is usually to deny, suppress and "fall asleep" to their anger. If you know and love a Nine, you may realize they are angry with you before they are even aware of it themselves. For a Nine who isn't fully aware and/or comfortable with expressing their anger, it can often be exhibited in unhealthy ways. Internalized anger can turn into compulsive coping behaviors like overeating, zoning out in front of the tv, excessive spending or other addictive behaviors.
Uncomfortable with expressing realized anger, Nines are among the most likely to behave in passive-aggressive manners. Nines can be incredibly stubborn and indolent - the more you push them to do something, the more they resent you for disturbing their inner calm, and the more they will delay, deny, forget and maybe even outright refuse to act.
The good news is that healthy Nines are naturally good listeners and gifted mediators. Sitting at the top of the Enneagram, Nines have a unique insight into each of the other 8 personality types. They have the innate ability to see matters from each point of view, and to see the validity in each of those viewpoints. Rarely is an issue black and white to a Nine- we see the full spectrum of color and nuance in each argument. This makes engaging in political discourse (especially in the current atmosphere) pretty much unbearable - at least for this Nine.
If you are a Nine on the Enneagram, guard yourself against "falling asleep" to your own life. Nines tend to go with the flow so naturally that they forget to identify and pursue their own goals and instead may mesh with the goals and ideals of a stronger, more dominant personality. Picture a jellyfish floating along in the current of life - that tends to be the default state of a Nine. Small steps you can take toward reclaiming your own space in the world include:
Speaking up ("You know, I'd rather go to Tijuana Flats for lunch than the Thai place - I'm really in the mood for tacos");
Taking action even on small matters that you have been procrastinating on (call the plumber, pay the cable bill, make the doctor's appointment);
Identifying and working toward a goal (run a 5K, read 10 books this year, learn to sew, start a blog) - work toward that goal a little every day, and invite a trusted friend to hold you accountable;
Practice saying NO when someone asks you to do something you don't want to do. Yep. Believe it or not - it's allowed!
If you love a Nine, make sure you allow their voice to be heard. Gently confront them when they are being passive-aggressive. Support them as they work toward identifying and pursuing their own goals and dreams. When they lose momentum, give them a nudge, not a guilt trip. And most of all, appreciate their genuine warmth and peaceful nature.