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Thread: The Levels Of Development

  1. #1
    Ruler of the Stars Array Asterion's Avatar
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    May 2009
    5 sp/sx

    Default The Levels Of Development

    I stumbled upon this and thought I'd share it, it's from Don Riso and Russ Hudson's Wisdom of the Enneagram:

    The Levels of Development:

    "The Levels of Development offer a way of observing and measuring our degree of identification with our personality structures. Further, they make crucial distinctions between the types possible, and within each type, they add the "vertical" dimension to an otherwise "horizontal" categorical system."

    The Average Range - A functional range. Everyone sees the Average Ranged person as "normal." At this stage we are still highly identified with our egos. To bring it closer to home; In board speak, whenever someone says, "Everyone knows INTJs are like this." Or, "I can't get along with Bob, who must obviously be an S." Or, "I don't know how you can do that. INTJs aren't good at that task." This is what we're doing. This is "average," but if we can't get past the limits of the ego, we can't realize the spectrum of our full potential as humans. The more identified with your ego you become the more trapped in your personality's agenda you are. You begin to live to satisfy the messages of your ego instead of letting nature work for you.

    The Unhealthy Range - It's rare to deteriorate this far permanently but there are always episodes where it's possible (trauma) and occasions when we all visit (stress, unhappiness). At these levels we lose touch with our true natures and what is real. All we can do is react. We abandon ourselves since we don't know what else to do. We act as if we are different people. Part of the effort of the study is to develop a healthy sense of Self so you are less likely to fall into the unhealthy range, or less likely to stay there when you do go.

    The Healthy Range - Our ego identity is in place, but not overwhelming the Self. It's a fluctuating part of our natural color. The top few levels describe a person still operating under the fears and desires of their ego, but still a healthy and mature person. Most of us go here on occasion. Many of us don't have the support systems in place to stay here all the time, and we backslide. Cultivating a stronger sense of Self makes it easier for you to stay in a high range more often without as much assistance. Cultivating a stronger awareness requires intention and practice, and the purpose of the information the Enneagram gathers is to make it easier for you to do that practice in regards to yourself and others. The information is not the goal.

    The Level of Liberation - Describing a state where you've let enough of your baggage go to be a transparent person. Most of our protective artifice is gone. We understand that what we've wanted we probably had all the time, and were keeping our own selves from realizing our goals. When people deal with you they are dealing with a unique you, not a Type. The question here is how to remain in this open state.

    The Bandwith - Basic type ("home type" they sometimes call it) does not change. Your level of health and efficiency does. You might, according to your mood or habits, fluctuate wildly over a single day. This does not mean your person is actually changing. Call this your "likely behaviors." Most of us have a normal degree of likely behavior. Say that you normally might dip from a happy state in the morning, to a stressed state in the afternoon, to a happy state again at night. These moods bring with them likely behaviors for you. Moods, good or bad, are not themselves indicative of overall health. It's the range of your likely consistent states and behaviors over time.

    Mood Vs Level - Being in a good mood or bad mood doesn't indicate any change to the whole. "Your Level" is the language used here to talk about a state in which you are content to be engaged with the real world, as opposed to the illusions and delusions that everyone crafts for themselves. There's nothing inherently wrong in having illusions and delusions. Everyone does. It's how we learn to make sense of the world. It doesn't mean a person is "delusional." It just means that they could react to events in a freer manner, which not only makes them easier to understand to others but makes life on the whole less painful for the person themselves. A good way to restate this is that being grounded, comfortable, and happy with yourself is different from being in a good mood. Even if you're in a good mood a lot.

    The Wake-Up Call - As touched on in the introductory paragraph I wrote up there, there are likely behaviors that any of us might engage in whenever we start becoming stressed and fixated. The purpose of *this* section of Enneagram study is to figure out what the "Wake-up Call" is for you. Likely messages we send ourselves when becoming fixated:
    1 - Feeling a sense of personal obligation to fix everything themselves
    2 - Believing they must go out to win others over for themselves
    3 - Driving themselves for empty status and attention
    4 - Letting their imaginations hold onto and intensify feelings
    5 - Withdrawing into concepts and mental worlds
    6 - Becoming dependent on something outside the self for guidance
    7 - Feeling that something better is available somewhere else
    8 - Feeling they must push and struggle to make things happen
    9 - Outwardly accommodating themselves to others

    The Social Role - On average, people feel like they need to be a certain way in order to satisfactorily navigate life, and, in order to be satisfied that they are doing this correctly, they feel they need others to respond to those actions in a positive manner. They need to be reassured they're "okay." Mechanisms that we've decided work for us pop up in everyday behavior. We rely on them to get us through the future. Most importantly, we have a Basic Desire that we're fixated on achieving through these mechanisms. People might say, "Oh, you know him...He's always like that." A function of Enneagram study is to be aware of these "roles" you might play and when you might rely on them to heavily, obscuring your real Self. Relying on a role too heavily constitutes manipulation of others. You don't want to, but it's a self defense mechanism. Likely ways each type might do this are:
    1 - Correcting others. Insisting others share their standards.
    2 - Finding out others' needs and desires. Forcing dependency/intimacy.
    3 - Charming others. Adopting whatever images "works."
    4 - Being temperamental. Making others "walk on eggshells."
    5 - Keeping preoccupied. Detaching emotionally from others.
    6 - Complaining. Testing others' commitment to them.
    7 - Distracting others. Insisting that others meet their demands.
    8 - Dominating others. Demanding everyone should do as you say.
    9 - Checking out. Passive-aggressively resisting others.

    Being "locked" into your social role means requiring other people to justify your own ego. This is the major tipping point to realizing that your "Personality" is taking over from your "Self." We won't let people interact with us in ways that don't somehow satisfy our personality's agenda and we suffer a self imposed disconnection to the rest of the world when this happens. Basically, it's as simple as that time you might have watched an argument and thought, "Geez...just let it go already." They were busy needing to satisfy their own desires. The arguers in question aren't necessarily selfish, they just know they don't yet "feel okay about things." A lot of relationships fail because people are locked into a dance of defending and needing.

    The Leaden Rule - On the outset this seems really simple. The stereotypical easy-to-read character flaw of hypocrisy. Just a way of saying unhealthy attitudes act out what they most fear...someone "showing their insecurity." Underneath it's not so simple. It might be relatively easy to see another person "going overboard" but, when it comes to yourself, it's not so easy. Not only are the concerns real, they're qualities society tells us to guard against in other people. And what if the other person IS doing harmful things? The point of the Leaden Rule is to note what concern each Type gets stuck on, as it is their ego going on autopilot.

    The Red Flag - A sign you're moving into unhealthy, fixated attitudes rather than normal attitudes. A realistic fear which habitually sets off bad reactions. You need to deal with the issue in order to keep yourself working well.
    1 - Begin to fear their ideals are actually wrong and counterproductive
    2 - Begin to fear they are driving friends and loved ones away
    3 - Begin to fear they are failing, that their claims are empty and fraudulent
    4 - Begin to fear they are ruining their lives and wasting their opportunities
    5 - Begin to fear they are never going to find a place in the world
    6 - Begin to fear their own actions have ruined their security
    7 - Begin to fear their own activities are bringing them pain
    8 - Begin to fear others are turning aganist them, and will retaliate
    9 - Begin to fear they will be forced by reality to deal with their problems

    The Directions of Integration and Disintegration:

    " us recognize whether we are progressing or regressing in our development. Integration gives us objective markers of our growth. Disintegration shows us how we act out under stress, what our unconscious motivations and behaviors are, and, paradoxically, what qualities we most need to integrate."

    This is the feature frequently mentioned as "going to..." I.E. When 9 goes to 3 or when 9 goes to 6, both directions indicated by the symbolism of the Enneagram (but based on observation). One movement is a prediction of what will happen to our normal behaviors if we become less identified, more integrated, and interact with the world in a more appropriate way. The other direction is a prediction of what you'll see evolving as your behaviors move towards a more defensive and self-defeating place. The directions are both different from, and related to, the Levels.

    The Direction of Disintegration - How you might likely act under stress or uncertainty. This is not meant to say , "You do this when you are being bad." It is meant to help with ideas of how to manage stress particular to you. Whatever is repressed by your type is acted out under pressure and generally indicated by the Direction of Disintegration. Think of it as Mother Nature's release valve. In a way, this disintegration is an important psychological safety feature since acting out takes a lot of time and energy. You never seem to get anywhere. This holding pattern is actually holding you up; keeping you busy until you turn around so plunging into pathology is less likely. A healthy Type 7, for example, won't suddenly start acting like an unhealthy 1. If they were stressed they would act out as a healthy 1. This is an important subtle distinction to make in order to create effective stress management techniques. Many people Who have been stressed or grieving might initially identify themselves as the type in their direction of disintegration, as that is how they appear at that particular moment. Individuals who have been stressed or depressed for long periods might habitually move toward this direction and mistake their type completely, as
    the behavior now seems normal to them. Individuals who have suffered multiple trauma, PTSD, or have significant borderline features have less strongly grounded personalities, and are more likely to move across the directions quickly.

    The Direction of Integration - Where the other direction is a place we go compulsively in reaction to our surroundings, this direction requires conscious choice. It describes what might happen when we let go of our personality's baggage based on the nature of what we already have. Like what our room might look like when we "fix it up" or what our piano playing might sound like with practice. When we let o of our issues we begin to understand why we had them in the first place, and this opens up a whole new understanding of who we really are and who that person might become. We become more adept at seeing the limitations we place on ourselves and
    how to solve our own problems.

    The Security Point - Language used to describe the phenomena of how you might act out the average traits of your integration direction when you are very comfortable. This is not the same as actually moving there, or integrating healthy aspects into yourself. This is another automatic reaction you have to your environment and an indication of how your personality might work. (A 5 might act self-assured and assertive when very comfortable, even if they wouldn't normally.)

    The Real Meaning of Integration - Integration takes choice, but it can't be done by imitating another person. The meaning of integration here is the same as anywhere else in life. You have to internalize what certain behaviors do and mean for you, and get to know your own nature through your own insights. It's what that makes your actions ring true. It's the same as a student never knowing their material well enough until they've understood the experience themselves, or a religion shopper that doesn't understand that what he's seeking is most likely in himself. Integration is more about letting go so we can see farther rather than holding tighter so we can control harder. To this end, pretending to be the type in your Direction of Integration, or being so only when you are comfortable, isn't real change. A Type 4 who has "gone to 1" will always be different than a Basic Type 1 because the qualities that make up their persona and past experience as a whole are different. They need to be recognized as such to be dealt with correctly. A Basic Type who has found integration is being the best [Basic Type] they can be.
    5 3 9

  2. #2
    See Right Through Me Array Bubbles's Avatar
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    Mar 2009


    4w3, IEI, so/sx/sp, female, and Cancer sign.

    My thoughts on...

    DISCLAIMER: If I offend you, I'm 99.9% sure it's unintentional. So be sure to let me know, m'kay? (And yes, an INFP would stick this in their signature, lol.)

  3. #3
    Senior Member Array ilovereeses's Avatar
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    Dec 2009

    Default much information! It'll take a while to process it all lol, but it's so brilliant! and really helpful.
    eNFP 9w8 sx/sp

    ~Don't ignore the truth, it will set you free.

    ~10% of life is what happens to you, 90% of life is how you deal with it.

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