Kinkajou: There are lots of Personality Models besides the Enneagram. Aren’t they just as good
Alternate Personality Theories vs. the Enneagram.
- Big five personality trait model
- Briggs Myer
- The medical model
- The Paill Spectrum model (this model focuses more on the effect of disease on human behaviour rather than looking specifically at human behaviour per se).
And there are many more as well.
Erasmus: The biggest problem with other personality models is that while they can analyse and describe a personality, they have no ability to predict aspects of the person that the analysis itself does not reveal.
Other models have no ability to predict the personalities of parents or siblings or children of the analysed personality. Other models cannot tell you when the observed behaviour is normal for the personality involved, or whether the observed behaviour indicates the presence of disease or injury to the brain of the patient. Other personality models cannot explain how stress and relaxation change the observed behaviour. Other personality models cannot get inside a person’s head and have you understand why they may be doing what they are doing.
The “why” is everything. Prediction is everything. Having a model tell you something that you know almost certainly is present, even when analysis fails to reveal these aspects of behaviour, tells you how useful your model really is. The six gene makes you live inside your head. The six gene makes you use language and makes you think in ways that many other people do not “get”. But the enneagram tells you that if that person is a six, these other things that you will see. Six because of their characteristic language speech and method of thinking is one of the most uniquely identifiable of the enneagram subtypes, identifiable even with just a little bit of familiarity with the type individual.
What Enneagram Type? Looks Official.
Erasmus: I like the enneagram as a personality model because it works. I don’t think that there is any other personality model that can so describe a person, how they react to stress and how they react to relaxation.
The enneagram model suggests that people of any enneagram type, behave differently in circumstances of stress and differently again in circumstances of relaxation. This sort of makes sense. In stress or relaxation, our levels of brain chemicals change and it would be expected that the behaviour perceived would change also.
How a person reacts in these situations is unique, but quite predictable if the enneagram model is followed.
The medical model of personality by comparison is written by idiots for idiots. One thing it does highlight, is that the different enneagram types can often shade into behaviour that looks like one of the “personality diseases” as defined by the DSM: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association.
- Histrionic (drama Queens)
What Enneagram Type?
Learn about Illness and Behaviour. WWW.ENKpaill.COM "Paill"
Dr. Xxxxx: The DSM description does “label” people. It tells you something about what “time” has done to the patient’s brain.
There are different explanations for why people’s behaviour may grow into the DSM personality types, see the Paill Site. The implications of the effect of illness on behaviour are not pretty.
Erasmus: Getting back to DSM and the Enneagram. The DSM description does not tell you what the normal behaviour of the person should be. Behaviour that is bizarre for one personality type can be quite normal for another personality type.
Dr. Xxxxx: Quite true! I remember one mother who asked me whether it was normal for her child to sit in a corner and play happily by himself. I asked how his memory and language skills were. Mum said they were fine.
What Enneagram Type?
For a self pres, this type of behaviour is quite normal. For a social this type of behaviour suggests serious pathology affecting brain development. DSM makes no allowance for the effect of personality on behaviour. Behaviour that is perfectly normal for one enneagram personality is perfectly abnormal for another enneagram personality. Yet the medical model (DSM) makes no distinction and would treat them all as having the same pathological process/illness.
The DSM descriptors also do not reveal any underlying truth about the motivations of the person with problem behaviour. The descriptions the doctors use are clumsy, not relevant to normal people, do not allow predictions of other aspects of “usual” behaviour and do not recognize that behaviour can change in times of stress and relaxation.
In contrast, the enneagram types are distinctive enough and recognizable in every person. The distinctiveness of the behaviour patterns led me to suspect that the enneagram actually describes in some fashion the contribution of DNA genes to a person’s behaviour. I.e. Each behaviour described by the enneagram describes a specific behavioural phenotype.
Brain in Colour : Enneagram Six thinking.
A friend of mine who is wife, who is a sexual nine, starts to look like a self-pres six, if stressed. There is not much optimism. Just a massive list of rapidly shot out questions with a thick layer of encrusted paranoia. It happens every time she becomes substantially stressed.
- What did you do? Where did you do it?
- Why did you do it?
- Who knows?
- Who did you tell?
- Why did you tell them?
- Who did you do it with?
- Who else was there? Et cetera.
(I think you get the picture).
Nine "Anger" : like a layer of ice over everything. Cool and persistent.
Kinkajou: There is that doctor guy with his Paill Spectrum theory. He would probably summarise the behavioural types in the DSM as simply what happens when Paill Spectrum brain injury affects different enneagram types.
With brain injury, you get an accentuation and distortion of the underlying behavioural types often in a way that shows the deteriorating judgment, deteriorating ability to think laterally and increasing behavioural excesses. In Dr. Xxxxx’s model, most of the behavioural medical symptoms are subsumed by the simple description. It’s what happens to normal people when their heads get sick – when their brains become damaged by a disease process.
Erasmus: An interesting perspective. Paill Spectrum doesn’t really talk about the enneagram, but more about illness in people. So let’s keep going.
Kinkajou: The DSM in fairness probably does capture the essence of brain injury, not behavioural genetics. The personality types represented are probably best summarized as the effects of injury overlaid on normal genetic phenotypic enneagram behaviours. The DSM also captures the essence of what is annoying about the behaviour. However it leads to dangerous conclusions. Under the DSM almost every eight, would be a borderline personality, especially if a Paill Spectrum overlay is present. Many doctors using DSM would describe an “eight” as a borderline personality. Their single-minded desire to be the biggest, the best and to be better than everyone else, could easily be seen as extreme and pathological.
Unfortunately, this is type of behaviour is normal for this enneagram type. I would expect to see older eights to be often put on psychiatric medicines to damp the down and slow them down, to stop them being bigger than life. Actually there may not be a lot wrong with them except being an “eight” with Paill Spectrum brain injury.
The "Eight" of the bird world.
Erasmus: Another expression of concern I would have about the DSM behavioural model relates to the extent that the described behaviours overlap to some extent with “normal” behaviour patterns shown by many of the enneagram types.
An enneagram “six” or an enneagram “nine” in stress, could easily be seen by many onlookers as being paranoid. Yet that’s really just who they are in these particular circumstances.
Xylon Six: not your usual "Six".
An enneagram “one” I full swing could be described as having OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), by most doctors.
An enneagram three would impress many doctors as being an overachieving workaholic.
An enneagram “four” could be described as having a borderline personality disorder or as having a histrionic personality.
An enneagram “seven “would be described by many medicos as being, hypomanic, manic or bipolar.
A self-pres personality type could be described by doctors as being withdrawn or suffering from social anxiety.
In short, many of the medical categories of psychiatric personality illness would actually be attributing an abnormal element to people with quite normal personalities.
What Enneagram Type?
Identifying Enneagram Types
Kinkajou: how hard is it to identify the enneagram types?
Erasmus: Attributing enneagram types can often be quite difficult. Many people are often quite unaware of their own innate behaviour patterns. Also, emotions and desires colour people’s perceptions of what they are. Sometimes, it can seem that attributing a personality type can almost require looking inside someone’s head to see how the engine works. It is not surprising that it is easy to get the “enneagram typing” wrong.
For example, I had one co-worker whose husband: Bill decided that he wanted to be a unique distractive individual: a “four” in short. A friend has a daughter who is a four. Her drive, energy, speeds and decisiveness speaks a lot. Bill by contrast was slow, pleasant, had very little drive and seemed to be floating along through life. The friend’s daughter I am sure will float nowhere without that keen penetrating mind watching earnestly and directing decisively all the way.
Bill’s method of controlling situations also seemed to be excessively passive, focusing a lot on withdrawal. Everyone else would go about their business and leave him to do whatever he wished by himself at home, (or elsewhere as it turned out). The friend’s daughter, in contrast, in a conflict situation sees the implied criticism and reacts strongly, immediately and with particular energy. A perceived slight is a slight indeed, to a true “four”.
When Bill split the marriage, everyone began to have a close look at many facets of the relationship. In the end it was decided that Bill was a “nine”. It was something I suspected from the moment I met him. He spoke so slowly and so calmly, on occasion in a passive aggressive manner that seemed so at odds with his statements.
Bill had just decided that he didn’t want to be a “nine”. He wanted to be a “four”. His stubborn insistence, typical of a “nine” derailed everyone who would disagree with him. The irony of it all was that my enneagram aware co-worker had not picked up on Bill’s behavioural signals in all the time she was married to him. Self-deception? A very human desire to avoid conflict?Every Little bit helps. If you want answers , help us to get them for you. Erasmus & Kinkajou need support if they are to keep bringing information to you online. Please donate.
Typical NINE worker
Erasmus: Another of my co-workers had a husband who did not really want to do much around the house. He seemed lazy. She decided he was a “nine”. I think he was actually a “six”. He had a thick sarcastic, cynical steak whenever you talked with him. I can get on the same wavelength so, I don’t mind that sort of language at all. It was a source of adjustment issues for his wife till she became used to it. As an aside, nines may not be motivated, but they are not necessarily lazy. They have just as much capacity to get up and go to work as any of the other enneagram types. Just the types of work that they feel comfortable with are more staid and regimented and demand less decisive initiative. It’s who they are and what they are comfortable doing. And it’s not lazy. My friend’s mum was a “nine”. Her house was spotless and well looked after even when she became seriously ill. She looked after she and hers with a stubborn sense of purpose no one could dare call lazy.
Erasmus: Yet another example of Enneagram mistyping, is a couple of Asian parents of one of my son’s friends. They told him he was a “three”. They wanted him to be a “three” because they valued work and drive and success, all qualities they perceived as encapsulated by the enneagram “three”. I met their son. Within minutes it was obvious he was a “social seven”. He had heaps of ideas and heaps of optimism. He seemed set to solve every crisis with a spark of an idea. He would say things with no thought as to how they might be received by his audience. He liked to play not to work. Though work he did. And reasonably hard, though he was a long way from being a workaholic.
Erasmus: Enough: let’s keep on going.
Kinkajou: I get the idea. It is easy to get the Enneagram typing wrong. Often our own hopes and desires can stop us from seeing ourselves as others may see us. The genetic model you propose, has some of the enneagram types encompassing a number of different genotype behaviours. In short, if you use an Enneagram genotype to type people on the enneagram, there may be more than 9 types on the enneagram.
The Family in the Enneagram: Who's who?
Kinkajou: How do You Know You Have the Model Right?
Erasmus: Essentially, you don’t. To check the model is right or wrong requires molecular genetic mapping and elucidation of the genes involved. The next step is the association of the genes identified with the clinical picture evidenced by real people.
Most likely it will turn out that there are more receptor genes involved than this simple model predicts. Still, you have to start somewhere.
However, I would predict that their functional effects still allow them to fall into the “classes” predicted by the model. The other serious block to validating the model is people misidentifying themselves. I don’t want to be a “nine”. I want to be a “four” thinking, does not change the biological reality. The different phenotypic appearances can probably be altered substantially by the subtype genes as well as life experiences and the parental models available.
Most people really only get exposed to the personalities of a few and their intimates, and find little experience with the personalities of the many. So it is hard to get the experience you may need to disagree with people and to reject their descriptions of themselves.
A model can’t be validated as correct unless it is checked against the “right: answer. This may be quite difficult in this case as the correct answer of what type and subtype you are, relies on the subjective opinion of people themselves. Those opinions are quite likely to vary and disagree depending on the data they have to work with and their own experiences.
None of the enneagram types are immune to reason. They may not see themselves as others see them. People can see the consequences of their behaviour and actions.
(Kinkajou: except maybe the ones with Paill Spectrum).
Erasmus: Enough! Let’s get back to the “Ennegenes” Model: Enneagram Genes Model
The first step in creating a new model is a “new idea”. Once a new idea exists and is incorporated into a model, only then can it be tested using appropriate techniques. Historically, it is unlikely that some government think tank or research group will ever make this sort of a breakthrough. By definition, small groups exert a great deal of psychological pressure on individuals to accept the group agenda. The ideas or avenues available will often regress to the average. To use a quote, “No great piece of literature or work of art has ever been done by a committee”. It is always the individual that makes the first step.
What Enneagram Type?
Kinkajou: It seems counterintuitive to accept this sort of statement. Surely the government has the most money, access to the best people and the most resources. Why should the individual make the breakthrough?
Erasmus: I think the answer lies in that only from a distance does the government seem limitless and all powerful. In my experience, government is the most penurious, has access to the most people who will do exactly what it tells them and its resource management is flawed by a lack of longevity in following up or developing ideas. Also many people with better skills seek better employment: better pay, more opportunities for advancement and more career choices- somewhere else. Government has limited access to human resources as well.
I don’t know if my model is right. But by proposing a model, it means that others have a framework on which to judge. Research grants can be funded based on getting answers to very specific questions. I.e. Identify the receptor types and variants. Then which receptor subtype seems associated with specific clinically observed behaviours. But, the model has to come first before people can look at it. I don’t think you can do any further work to test the model without definitive “absolutely correct” quantitative objectively measured data with which to test the model.
The man who would be a “four” shows the depth to which humans can conceive themselves and others. You can never fit random likes and dislikes into a model which purports to reflect the individual’s genetic makeup.
Kinkajou: Paill Spectrum perhaps !
Erasmus: Yes true. Paill Spectrum explains a lot about people’s behaviour as well. But the focus of the behaviour it explains is:
- Anger, Rage, Irritability
- Bizarre thoughts deeds, words and actions
- Bizarre thoughts
- Memory Loss
- Stupidity and dementia
- Narrow-minded ness
- A whole ragbag of strange things; dyslexia. Process dyslexia, cross-linked memory syndromes
The Ennegenes model is about normal behaviour , not behaviour created by illness or disease.
The model I have built is as close as you can get with the level of information available.
The model has allowed me to pick where people have mistyped their acquaintances and even their loved ones.
What Enneagram Type?
But the value of a model is that it also sometimes says that all things are NOT possible, I remember one co-worker whose blood group was incompatible with the blood groups of her parents. Should we be writing a letter to the scientific community telling them that their whole theory of blood groups is wrong. Or should I just be telling my co-worker to go talk to her mother, if she dares. Maybe the pathology company made a mistake. Maybe there was a random gene mutation causing the observed change. The truth is out there, but may take much thought and many steps to find.
There are overlays to the enneagram types which may appear to alter the perceived enneagram type. One of my co-workers described herself as a “social seven”. I personally feel her behaviour was closer to social eight. Her husband was a “social eight”. Years later they had some difficulty typing their child , but finally decided on “social seven”. I have met the kid. The “social” part is 100% correct based on what I’ve seen. But there is a heavier more forceful aspect to the behaviour, much more than I would expect from a typical “seven”. I still remember the kid grabbing me by the hand and in an excess of childish enthusiasm for someone I think she knew little at that point in time, she pulled really really hard, almost to the point of collapsing me. This is "eightish" behaviour.
What Enneagram Type?
I think that the kid was an “eight ”. The social aspect however emphasizes the “sevenish “ qualities to an extent that it is hard to determine the underlying true enneagram characteristics. “Social” makes you get out more, do more and interact with a lot of people. It swamps the underlying eight aspect and gives the personality more speed and energy than it would otherwise reveal.
“Social eight” mated with “social eight” will always give a “social eight”. But, there are some other considerations .If the child is exposed to other personality types from a young age, ( as perhaps from exposure to a half sibling or a new father: i.e. divorce ) it is quite likely that the child would learn a new repertoire of behaviours.
What Enneagram Type?
In short parents can mistype themselves easily based on their preferences. Social genes or lack thereof, can completely change the flavour of a perso0naility, in fact swamping the enneagram type description with the social “subtype” descriptors.
I have not heard or read about anybody proposing a genetic basis for enneagrams. So hopefully, it’s at least to some extent right.
Kinkajou: Why are enneagrams important?
Kinkajou: The importance of the Enneagram as a Behavioural Model
Erasmus: The enneagram is crucial to understanding your partner, your friends , your parents, your in-laws and you children. All too often unpleasant events in our day to day life make us look at others in an unfriendly light and to re-evaluate our friendships. I think that “eights” in particular are poorly understood and poorly tolerated by many people. Their bluff abrasive manner can often make others feel they are rude, unkind, deliberately unpleasant, abrasive and boastful.
Your perception of events changes when you realise what underlies the events. Most behavioural events are the result of our behavioural programming. The behaviour is innate. We actually have very little capacity to change or alter our behaviour. We usually do what we do because that’s what our genes tell us is the way that it should be done.
An enneagram “eight” can at times be quite bluff and abrasive. Yet, even “eights” have a soft side as well and can have an incredible loyalty to their friends. When you are slated for the electric chair, the only one supporting you and believing you are innocent may well be an “eight”. (Plus mum of course).
Eights like people to tell it as it is. They don’t like people to hide the truth or to focus on excessive subtlety. Things either are or they are not. You can either say it or you can’t. If you believe that you should say it and if you don’t believe it you should so you don’t believe it. If you don’t like someone tell it to their face. And 8 to 8, strangely enough, they will often respect each other for this even if they are in conflict with each other.
I think one of the worlds classical “ eights” is the US president Trump. He tells it as it is. And there are a lot of people who respect him for this, even if being more subtle or deceptive would be a more acceptable behaviour to many more people. He doesn’t bullshit. He tells the truth as he sees it. Yes sometimes you do get it wrong. But the new face that and get on with it.
It’s probably for this reason that I like eights so much. You always know where you stand. Solid support or solid opposition. If an eight is loyal to you or supports you, you can count on them forever. They are not an enneagram type that flees at the prospect of peril. They face peril and adversity head-on, with seeming fearlessness.
Wizard- what Enneagram type?
Some people don’t like eights. Some people are afraid of eights. Some people know how to work with them and against them. It’s who they are.(eights). Don’t take it personally. I think it is very valuable to know that much of the behaviour you seen experience is actually determined by their genes and not under their control. You shouldn’t take it personally because it isn’t personal. It’s just their way of seeing and dealing with the world. And they treat everyone the same. They may bump and jostle you on the road of life. But they are equally accepting a bank bumped and jostled quite vigorously back. And if you understand this, I think you can be a lot less threatened by their behaviour.
The importance of knowledge of the enneagram types is to allow us to understand other’s behaviour and NOT to develop what I will call transference. Transference occurs when we reflect our feelings of irritation, anger or intolerance back on other people who are to blame for causing our negative emotions or feelings. We feel that “ It happened because they did it deliberately.” So it must be all their fault.
I used to wonder why my friend’s wife would have so much difficulty supporting him against the children. She would often argue with her daughter, berating her for her bad behaviour. If my friend joined the argument to discipline her daughter, she would automatically side with daughter against her husband. Typically she would say, “You can’t talk to your daughter like that”, even though she herself was speaking to my daughter more unpleasantly less than a minute before.
What I determined in the long run was that I was encountering the “nine” mother aspect of my wife. “Nines” have a mediator aspect. They can often see both sides and points in an argument, even in the middle or an argument. So support was not an automatic action because it involved choosing sides. She would then argue that no she was not taking the daughter’s side.
Every Little bit helps. If you want answers , help us to get them for you. Erasmus & Kinkajou need support if they are to keep bringing information to you online. Please donate.
Erasmus: Another event that really irritated me was the tendency of my friend’s wife to become “super-paranoid” under stress. The enneagram predicts that “nines” go to enneagram :” six’ in stress conditions. The questions flow thick and fast, for example when there was an argument between staff at work in which I became involved to some extent, the questions could flow thick and fast :
- Who started it?
- What did they say??
- What did the other person say?
- What happened after that?
- What else did they say?
- How did you get involved?
- Why did you do that?
- Where did he go after all that ?
Most questions come so fast and demand so much information that only a film crew and sound stage could possible supply all the answers, not a witnessing participant.
What Enneagram Type?
Sometimes, the barrage of questions demands information about a situation, about which all you can say is , “ I wasn’t actually there . That’s all I heard”.
The example shows that enneagram “nines” change their personality under stress. This behaviour is not their typical behaviour. The behaviour of “nines” under stress can become intense and irritating.
The person, (my friend’s wife in this example), has little control over the behaviour, so I suppose you should try not to take it personally. The reaction (paranoid questioning interrogative behaviour) is an innate reaction to stress. Dictated by the person’s genes and brain wiring, and to some extent previous experience. ( E.g. Learned behaviour from parents or significant others).
Enneagrams predict how people react in conditions of stress and relaxation. There is also the main type : business as usual mode. It predicts the type of behaviour that may be seen by the specific enneagram type in specific circumstances. It can lead to a process of awareness in which you begin to realise what your innate behaviours are, how these can in fact damage relationships at times and can hurt or be seen to hurt others. Some of our innate behaviours can be very disruptive of our long term health and happiness.
Kinkajou: Paill Spectrum is probably a better predictor of bad behaviours, but it would of course occur with an enneagram flavour. The types of bad behaviours that each of the enneagram types evidences would to some extent relate to the underlying enneagram type.
What Enneagram Type?
Dr. AXxxxx: An interesting conjecture ! Observed Behaviour exists as a conjoint of madness and badness. Censored.
Brisbane's Night Life
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