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  1. #31
    Administrator highlander's Avatar
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    @Seymore, those are really some excellent posts on the experience. I've thought about doing this for a while but have hesitated to take the time off from work. I would want to go to a good one even if I had to travel to do it.

    Edit: Is this what you went to? It sounds a little like it.

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  2. #32
    Vaguely Precise Seymour's Avatar
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    The first one I attended, was "An Open Heart: Witnessing Our Hidden Barriers in Relationship" with Helen Palmer and Terry Saracino. I was more interested in the general experience and type panels than in the exact topic (although that's certainly an important topic).

    The second one is the "Enneagram Intensive" (in this format it's more commuter friendly, broken up into two separate three-day weekends, three weeks apart).

    The workshops occasionally stray close to my intolerance for too much mushy "woo-woo" stuff; sometimes I find myself thinking "what empirical evidence do they have for this?!?" But I do enjoy both the content, the general community, and the general focus more than I thought I would. Nothing beats direct experience of different types, and definitely going to these workshops encourages one to work through one's type issues and be more mindful of self-sabotage. Makes me wish I had a similar community available to me in Boston.

  3. #33
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    I finished part 2 of the Enneagram Intensive yesterday. Once again, it lived up to it's name by being intense. This second half focused more on the defensive structures and the negatives of each type as well as paths for growth, so was even more emotionally intense than the first part.

    I think I sympathetically cried (or at least welled up a bit) for the panelists during just about every type panel. The sense of openness and vulnerability from people as they talked through their type issues was palpable. In every case, revealing what's behind the type defenses is scary, but lead to sense of a kind of healing intimacy as people survived the experience.

    By the end of the weekend, I felt like my emotional circuits were overloaded, but there was a real feeling of trust and community by the end of the workshop.

    The general format was the same as part one, with the addition of some dyad exercises in which pairs spend time answering how a particular type's defense mechanism operates in one's life.


    My general (subjective, biased) impressions:

    • Type 1 - The type 1 panel made it clear the intense pressure ones are always under. Every single thing they do must be done correctly and appropriately. Plus, the 1s sometimes hate how others tend to dump responsibility onto them, simply because they are so responsible; it's something to keep in mind with my type 1 coworker to work (who is indeed very responsible and detail oriented). I was also struck by how all the "shoulds" of 1s really leave no room in their lives for themselves and what they want. Once again, I really enjoyed chatting with a particularly funny 1 who was my partner in most of the dyad exercises. Also this group of 1s were surprisingly funny (which my 1 dad was leavened with a little more humor).
    • Type 2 - I was a bit appalled by the near total absence of personal identity and the kind of grasping neediness 2s exude when being helpful ("giving to get"). After this weekend, I believe that one of my most personally irritating coworkers is a type 2 who, I believe, continually triggers my type 5-ish defenses by seeming to always want something from me (in return for things I never requested). Conversely, though, seeing the type 2s break down during their panel because they were overwhelmed the group's interest and regard without their DOING anything to earn it was very moving.
    • Type 3 - Being a type 3 seems incredibly exhausting. They talked never getting to rest, and how the significance of an achievement fades as soon as it is obtained. I got the sense of marathon runners running a marathon whose finish line is continually moved as soon as is it is reached. They, like the others in the heart triad, suffer from identity issues, since they tend to so utterly identify with their current role that they lose themselves. Also: snappy dressers.
    • Type 4 - I continue to have a fair amount in common with type 4s (particularly around emotional sensitivity and shame issues). I also share a certain amount of disinterest in the mundanity of day to day life (although I feel I've somewhat made my peace with that). The 4s talked a lot about the frustration of trying to tease apart real authenticity from the manufactured, and how frustrated that can be.
    • Type 5 - Actually being on a type panel was a very different experience than being in the audience. This time was less stressful, since I'd built up some trust with the group, and also since I had a better idea of what to expect. I was the only one of the fives who got choked up a bit (although I stopped short of crying, since I'm good at emotionally pulling back when needed). Afterwards, folks said I'd been articulate and they'd been moved by what I had to say. Still, for our panel it was clear how hard it is how to move out of thought and into action, and how much we really hate putting things out there. Personally, I need to work on reaching out to others, and, I think, finding a local support community of some kind.
    • Type 6 - We only had two 6s for the type panel, but it was helpful that they were such opposites One was an younger ENFP 6w7, and the other was a somewhat older ISTJ (at a guess) 6w5. The constant hypervigilance and lack of trust (combined with some paranoid projection) makes the world a dangerous, exhausting place for 6s. Also: paradoxically they can be relaxing to be around.
    • Type 7 - The thing the struck me most about the 7 panel was their difficulty experiencing negative emotions or being down. The constant reframing of things into positives makes empathizing with the negative emotions of others extremely difficult or impossible. Plus, the 7s have a huge internal well of unprocessed sadness to get through before they can reach any kind of authentic emotion.
    • Type 8 - Once again, the 8s broke my heart. They are such wounded, sensitive marshmallows inside. Seems so weird that they should feel so wounded by people's reactions to their big, overpowering (often angry) energy. Shocking to me how blind they are to the reactions they provoke in others. Every 8 talked about how they had thought that were a "mean woman" or "mean guy" magnet (not realizing the common element in those relationships was themselves). Also, I was again struck about how they (even more than the 1s and much like the 3s) tend to use themselves up utterly.
    • Type 9 - The type 9s were mostly "ringers" from the local community, so I didn't find their panel particularly intense this time around (which was good, because I was almost at emotional overload by that point). I did identify with their avoidance of conflict and ability to passive-aggressively withdraw (although 5s do it a bit differently).


    Outside the above notes, I had a couple of other insights.

    One was a greater understanding of some of the relationship drama I've experienced with my close ISFP friend who, I'm pretty certain now (and he agrees) is a 6w7. Suddenly his paranoid relationship projections are a whole lot more explicable. One phrase that stuck with me is that 6s are "at your feet or at your throat," and that's how I sometimes feel with him. We generally have a close, easy relationship, but occasionally he will read a lot into minor failing or random circumstance.

    For example, if we are IM-ing during the work day, and the connection suddenly drops or I stop responding (in reality, because a coworker is asking a question, or some other work interruption), he will sometimes project that his comment upset/offended me, that I don't care, etc, etc. When he gets into that state, he tends to let lose with subtle digs and attacks that are otherwise out of character for him.

    Consequently, I think I've post-processed more arguments I never had with him than with any other friend other. Otherwise, though, he's generally an awesome guy and one of my closest friends ever.

    My second insight was not directly enneagram related, but arose during an enneagram-related discussion with my mom (who also attended the workshop). I was talking to her about some frustrations with my ISTJ-ish (actually Si+Ti) 5w6 Sp partner (in relation to my INFP, 5w4 Sx self).

    One of my biggest issues with my partner is his difficulty in being emotionally attuned, so that even when he's trying to be sweet or affectionate, I often end up feeling emotionally bruised and trampled upon. Often when I attempt to be open emotionally, I end up feeling misunderstood and not heard (which can feel worse than not reaching out and leaving myself the illusion that I might reach out and be understood).

    My mother's face got very serious (actually she looked a bit stricken) and she pointed out that in this respect I'd married my father. My mother has the exact same issues with my dad (an xSTJ 1). I think my partner is more mentally and emotionally flexible than my father, but it is very sobering to think perhaps that aspect of our relationship (which I otherwise think works well for us) may never improve. I think the lack of closeness frustrates my partner, since it's hard for him to understand why I end up feeling hurt or not understood or really seen. So we have some work ahead of us, there.

    Overall, I found the Enneagram Intensive to be very worthwhile. I found, once again, the type panels to really provide insight that you cannot get anywhere else. Plus, I felt like there was more being "real" during this workshop than I normally experience in a year. The warm community they have in Austin makes me wish there were a similar enneagram community in Boston. I also found myself feeling that I'd miss the other 17 attendees. I felt very close to them by the end of the workshop and we'd built up a lot of communal trust.

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seymour View Post
    One was a greater understanding of some of the relationship drama I've experienced with my close ISFP friend who, I'm pretty certain now (and he agrees) is a 6w7. Suddenly his paranoid relationship projections are a whole lot more explicable. One phrase that stuck with me is that 6s are "at your feet or at your throat," and that's how I sometimes feel with him. We generally have a close, easy relationship, but occasionally he will read a lot into minor failing or random circumstance.

    For example, if we are IM-ing during the work day, and the connection suddenly drops or I stop responding (in reality, because a coworker is asking a question, or some other work interruption), he will sometimes project that his comment upset/offended me, that I don't care, etc, etc. When he gets into that state, he tends to let lose with subtle digs and attacks that are otherwise out of character for him.
    Yeah, I can definitely resemble that second paragraph. One of the ways I've learned to counteract it, tho, is to just look at these projections as likely absurd and ridiculous, and then kinda make a joke out of em. A little bit self-deprecating, a little bit ironic, a little bit checking to see what's actually going on. It's a mechanism I developed over the years, long before ever getting into the enneagram.

    Quote Originally Posted by Seymour View Post
    Consequently, I think I've post-processed more arguments I never had with him than with any other friend other. Otherwise, though, he's generally an awesome guy and one of my closest friends ever.
    What exactly do you mean by post-process?

    Quote Originally Posted by Seymour View Post
    My second insight was not directly enneagram related, but arose during an enneagram-related discussion with my mom (who also attended the workshop). I was talking to her about some frustrations with my ISTJ-ish (actually Si+Ti) 5w6 Sp partner (in relation to my INFP, 5w4 Sx self).

    One of my biggest issues with my partner is his difficulty in being emotionally attuned, so that even when he's trying to be sweet or affectionate, I often end up feeling emotionally bruised and trampled upon. Often when I attempt to be open emotionally, I end up feeling misunderstood and not heard (which can feel worse than not reaching out and leaving myself the illusion that I might reach out and be understood).

    My mother's face got very serious (actually she looked a bit stricken) and she pointed out that in this respect I'd married my father. My mother has the exact same issues with my dad (an xSTJ 1). I think my partner is more mentally and emotionally flexible than my father, but it is very sobering to think perhaps that aspect of our relationship (which I otherwise think works well for us) may never improve. I think the lack of closeness frustrates my partner, since it's hard for him to understand why I end up feeling hurt or not understood or really seen. So we have some work ahead of us, there.
    Not to sound too doomy and gloomy here, but I really do think instinctual variants might be the single most important element of personality theory that I've encountered when it comes to relationships and intimacy. I really do think that sx dom's should be with other sx dom's, and, at the very least, with someone with secondary sx (even then, tho, I don't think it's as optimal as another sx dom). Relationships and intimacy are simply more important to sx dom's than they are to other types, and, if your partner doesn't desire/need the same level of connection and intimacy as you do, it seems like a recipe for pain and misunderstanding.

    Quote Originally Posted by Seymour View Post
    Overall, I found the Enneagram Intensive to be very worthwhile. I found, once again, the type panels to really provide insight that you cannot get anywhere else. Plus, I felt like there was more being "real" during this workshop than I normally experience in a year. The warm community they have in Austin makes me wish there were a similar enneagram community in Boston. I also found myself feeling that I'd miss the other 17 attendees. I felt very close to them by the end of the workshop and we'd built up a lot of communal trust.
    Honestly, it sounds like a pretty amazing/life-changing experience.

    I'm pretty good about sharing stuff and being honest with people I open up to, but I don't open up often, and it's usually only with people with whom I'm in some kind of romantic relationship (close friends and family get to see a good portion of the deeper parts of me, as well, but not all, and not nearly as much as my significant others). This is why this seems so powerful, cuz I can't even imagine opening up to a whole group of people like that, where, not only are you meant to open up to them, but they actually want you to open up, so they can gain insight into your type. I think my type 6 paranoia stuff tends to lead me to not want to spill all my guts to other people, not least because I figure, a lot of the time, other people really don't give a shit.

  5. #35
    Vaguely Precise Seymour's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zarathustra View Post
    Yeah, I can definitely resemble that second paragraph. One of the ways I've learned to counteract it, tho, is to just look at these projections as likely absurd and ridiculous, and then kinda make a joke out of em. A little bit self-deprecating, a little bit ironic, a little bit checking to see what's actually going on. It's a mechanism I developed over the years, long before ever getting into the enneagram.
    My friend could do with a little more of those techniques. He seems to feel a bit sheepish afterwards, but still seems like he quickly jumps from projection -> certainty every time.


    Quote Originally Posted by Zarathustra View Post
    What exactly do you mean by post-process?
    I mean discuss, analyze and reassure after a fight/blowup/whatever. In this case, I'm usually not aware of that anything is wrong until it's mostly over (since it's mostly paranoid projections on this part), so it feels a little odd.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zarathustra View Post
    Not to sound too doomy and gloomy here, but I really do think instinctual variants might be the single most important element of personality theory that I've encountered when it comes to relationships and intimacy. I really do think that sx dom's should be with other sx dom's, and, at the very least, with someone with secondary sx (even then, tho, I don't think it's as optimal as another sx dom). Relationships and intimacy are simply more important to sx dom's than they are to other types, and, if your partner doesn't desire/need the same level of connection and intimacy as you do, it seems like a recipe for pain and misunderstanding.
    Certainly parts of my relationship with my partner were painful, especially early on. For example, the first time he cut off an intense discussion (sx good stuff) because it was his time to get ready for bed (very sp dom) was painful for me. Wish I'd known about instinctual subtypes then.

    Still, who says that two sx doms together is any better in the long run? There's definitely more understanding, but the fact of the matter is that infatuation and intensity fade over time. Unless there's limited access to one another (including being in an LDR, on-again/off-again drama, etc), that kind of intensity isn't really sustained for decades. I'd wonder if two sx-doms living together would be likely to run through the intense phase even more quickly than most relationships, given that the would be few barriers/limitions.

    In some ways, my partner being less emotionally available early on lengthened the intense period for me, because he was less available on some levels. His reticence kind of evened things out and kept things a bit more even-keeled than they might have been otherwise. Still, after 20 years, there isn't a ton of intensity left (although there're a lot of other positives there).

    The instructor at the workshop was pretty blunt (although this was a brief aside) saying that sx doms need to be honest with themselves about whether monogamy is truly possible for them. Clearly it varies according to the individual, but I can see a real craving for intimacy and emotional intensity in me (doesn't have to be sexual for me, necessarily). Still, I'm perfectly capable of enjoying an intense (non-sexual) friendship, or even enjoying feeling infatuated with someone without necessarily acting on it (or even letting on).

    Yet I do struggle with a lack of emotional connection and a lack of feeling deeply understood by my partner... and that's a reality that has to be dealt with.

    The other thing to say is that, to his credit, my partner would like to be emotionally closer. Emotional awareness (and the related body awareness) can often be learned by people, and it's a necessary precondition for deep emotional connection. I think he's willing to work on that. He gets props for that after 20 years together.

    His heart and values are in the right place, and other parts of our relationship work fine. So I think the outlook isn't as grim as all that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zarathustra View Post
    Honestly, it sounds like a pretty amazing/life-changing experience.

    I'm pretty good about sharing stuff and being honest with people I open up to, but I don't open up often, and it's usually only with people with whom I'm in some kind of romantic relationship (close friends and family get to see a good portion of the deeper parts of me, as well, but not all, and not nearly as much as my significant others). This is why this seems so powerful, cuz I can't even imagine opening up to a whole group of people like that, where, not only are you meant to open up to them, but they actually want you to open up, so they can gain insight into your type. I think my type 6 paranoia stuff tends to lead me to not want to spill all my guts to other people, not least because I figure, a lot of the time, other people really don't give a shit.
    I'd generally agree with all the above. In my case, though, I generally keep things private to avoid being judged (as incompetent, unlovable, etc). Still, I do hope the experience has some influence on me, especially as far as keeping the door open to relationships and being seen. Far too easy to retreat into isolation in a 5-ish way, and only reveal myself when it's "safe" (which is almost never).

  6. #36
    Vaguely Precise Seymour's Avatar
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    This last weekend I attended the Austin Enneagram workshop "Moving Forward on Your Spiritual Path: Integrating the Enneagram and Body Wisdom." I confess that the title didn't inspire a great deal of interest in me, but I like the Austin Enneagram community, and having a chance to attend with my mother (a 5w6 so) was a real plus.

    This time, my partner (a 5w6 sp), attended as well, as did a friend of my mother's. This workshop was fairly large, with 80 people attending. It didn't have the more intimate scale of the Enneagram Intensive I attended last year (which had around 20 people).

    (I'm sure this summary of some of the focus of the workshop is oversimplified and doesn't do aspects justice.)

    The workshop introduced various physical and meditation exercises focused around trying to become aware of direct physical "felt sense." These exercises focused mostly on the physical effects of emotions within the body.

    It also used a technique of focusing on where in the body, exactly, the emotion is being felt, and then shifting awareness to an area that is not affected by the emotion (in part to provide as sense of the boundaries of the emotional reaction). This provides a reminder of the other internal resources that can help balance the intensity of the emotional reaction. One can then shift focus back to the emotional reaction, and feel it counterbalanced by other areas.

    I confess that the first day of the workshop I really wasn't getting a ton out of the exercises. Generally, I have a high degree of emotional awareness, and the big issue is not being overwhelmed by the intensity of that perception (which I tend to escape by intellectualizing and analyzing). Plus, some of the scientific findings alluded to were imprecise, which I found distracting/eye-rolling until I accepted that some allusions were more "science as metaphor" than precisely accurate scientifically.

    It was only on the second day that I got better at feeling the bounds of the physical effects of my emotional reaction, and feeling the potential balancing provided by those areas not affected.

    Another part was realizing that the experience of the opposite of the negative emotion is also experienced in the same area. One can increase awareness of the potential for the opposite emotion by focusing on a remembered experience of that emotion. By only ever focusing on the negative emotion, it can grow to fill one's entire field of perception, making it seem more overwhelming than it need be in practice.


    One of the things I really value about the Enneagram Narrative Tradition is the type panels. This workshop had center panels, composed of two people of each of the three types in that center. The first day I felt that the gut center panel was a bit rushed/cut off in parts. Still, the eights once again killed me by showing their vulnerability and showing the hurt caused by negative reactions to their big energy.


    The heart panel on day two went better, I felt, with somewhat better pacing and, again, some deeply affecting moments. As is often the case, I identified to some degree with the issues talked about by the fours (if not their love of intensity, and their always yearning for what others have).

    My mother and I served on the head panel as the type 5 representatives. I felt like I put myself out there (which was difficult, since I'd rather be invisible and fly under the radar). Making myself vulnerable to others and self-disclosing is a real stretch for me. I was fairly choked up (but still able to speak) as I talked about struggling with the ways I don't disclose for fear of judgment and rejection... about the way I feel that I can't depend on others and yet fear I am not enough. Having a boatload of inadequacy and shame issues isn't fun. Still, I got through talking about it, and a number of people said they appreciated and felt touched by what I had shared.

    I think the workshop was a bit of a stretch for my partner, but he found the type panels moving, and I think hearing physical descriptions of the perception of emotions may be helpful to him. I hope he can use the experience of the workshop as a step towards getting a bit more in touch emotionally.

    It did seem like there was a bit of a split between the 5w6s and the 5w4s who attended the workshop. The 5w4s were more emotionally aware, and the 5w6s were far less able to access their emotional state (especially in real time). It fits somewhat with Naranjo saying that there are two kind of 5s... one trying to cope with being overwhelmed by perception of emotion, and another type that is nearly unable to perceive emotional state. I'm not sure if that always correlates with wings, but seemed to be the case at this workshop.

  7. #37
    Administrator highlander's Avatar
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    I am going to go to one of these at some point after APTi, which is next week. Recommendations on best one?

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    Vaguely Precise Seymour's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by highlander View Post
    I am going to go to one of these at some point after APTi, which is next week. Recommendations on best one?
    Hard for me to say. I've only been to three enneagram workshops, really (although one was the Enneagram Intensive... which was, indeed, intensive... spanning six days). What are your options? I think any one that has individual type panels is good (since I think type panels are really the core of the narrative tradition). I'd say Peter O'Hanrahan is one of the best type panel interviewers/facilitators I've had experience with, although Helen Palmer is definitely a treat... and really all the type panels I've attended have been worthwhile.

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    Wow, I just read through this whole thread and I'm excited to say the least! I've considered going to an Enneagram workshop/conference for a while, and am convinced after reading about your experience. Thanks @Seymour for creating and continuing to update this thread, such great information here!
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