"Forgive others, not because another deserves forgiveness, but because we deserve peace" - Johnathan Lockwood Hale
After many, many weeks into COVID quarantine living, life is getting really challenging for most of us. We have done all of our home projects, cleaned out every drawer and closet in the house and garage, and have abdicated the “teacher of the year” title we attempted to achieve in our homeschooling endeavors. Quite frankly, everyone in our house is starting to bug the living stuffing out of us. Tensions rise, we are more stressed and acting out with more ugliness towards those we love the most. Unfortunately, the honeymoon is over.
The Enneagram is a wonderful tool to help bring greater awareness to what we are really after in our relational encounters with our partners, friends, and families. What is motivating us? What primary needs are we looking to get met? What fears and desires do we have with regard to the way we relate to each other?
The Enneagram characterizes three primary components of the human psyche that we go after to get our primary needs met. Body-centered types are looking for autonomy. Feeling centered types are looking for attention. Thinking center types are looking for security. Put these three basic needs in a house full of quarantiners for 6 weeks and watch the relational fireworks begin.
We may find ourselves thinking ….Don’t tell me what to do…. You’ve been on your computer all day and you haven’t even noticed I’m here… If he/she would just wear their mask and gloves every time they leave the house, we just might have a shot at surviving this dreaded disease.
If I am a body-centered or moving type- I am concerned with autonomy, my will, control, action, my gut instincts. When I am using my body’s innate intelligence, I develop healthy personal boundaries, have a sense of my own personhood and vitality, and can easily move through life with constructive and dignified connections with myself and others. When I am stressed and pushed to my limit- I’m become angry, aggressive- either blatantly or passively and start drawing real clear boundary lines that our partners better not cross. It’s like when you were a kid and put your cereal box fort around you at the kitchen table to keep everyone out of your Cap’n Crunch happy place. I’m in- you’re out.
Feeling center types are concerned with affirmation and attention. When I am inhabiting the Essential qualities of my heart center, I know who I am and who I am has nothing to do with what others think of me. I feel loved and valued and am able to offer love freely out of a deep sense of my own true belovedness. When I am continually stressed, I start to demand that you fill my empty love bucket. I become needy, manipulative, and moody. All of this is to elicit an emotional response from you that will help affirm my identity and a distorted self-image. This brings me great inner shame as I come to the conclusion that something is inherently wrong with me and someone outside of me is the only remedy to my lonely wounded heart. The problem is “ the juice ain’t worth the squeeze.”
Thinking center types are concerned with finding guidance, security, and support. When I am living out of a quiet mind that is connected to inner knowing, I have a sense of peace, receptivity, and calm that carries me through any catastrophe, challenge, or pandemic. I know I am supported and held and my mind is able to relax into a quiet spaciousness. When I become frantic and disconnected, my thinking center goes into overdrive and I become more withdrawn into my inner world of fear, anxiety, and dread. Every possible thought revolves around… How am I going to survive? How can I prepare myself for all the bad things that are happening? How do I cope?
The way out is the way through. For the next several weeks, I invite you to begin to notice what you are up to… what you are doing and saying… what you are feeling. Notice without judgment or condemnation. Just be curious about what keeps coming up for you… anger, shame, or fear. You will start to notice these consistent patterns in your interactions and relationships. Give yourself clue words… there’s my “cap’n crunch fort”- I gave the “keys to my heart” to my partner… I am climbing the “tower of terror.” Whatever works for you. Just notice and be curious. Life’s school is in session and the Covid-19 teacher is here.
About the author:
Bev is a Riso-Hudson Certified Enneagram Teacher through the Enneagram Institute. She's also a professional member of the International Enneagram Association. She has been working since 2012 as an Enneagram coach with individuals one on one and assisting couples/partners in their relational strengths and challenges using the Enneagram as a guide.
Want to explore more about Enneagram with Bev? Book a relationship coaching session with Bev.