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  1. #1
    Certified Sausage Smoker Elfboy's Avatar
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    Default Misuses of the Enneagram

    1) Using the Enneagram to find what your motivations are
    2) Using the Enneagram as an "I'm such a special snowflake" badge
    3) Using the Enneagram to define your true self
    4) Using the Enneagram to find your talents and strengths

    ....none of these are the true purpose of the Enneagram. the Enneagram measures and explains all of the fucked up neurosis you exhibit deep in your psyche based on improper perspectives that distort your view of reality, your emotional state and your expectations on yourself and the rest of the world. it is not designed to "find your motivations" (these are side effects, not causes, and your motivations are not limited to the side effects of your enneagram type). It is not a tool to describe your true self, make you feel special or good about yourself or tell you how great you are because of XYZ talents and strengths. the majority of the effects of the enneagram on your personality are negative because, again, they are the result of a deluded, out of perspective view of reality and if you are typed correctly (though, there are some positive traits that can come about from this), a good description of your type should make you feel uncomfortable, exposed, and maybe even a little defensive (for some marvelous examples of this, check out some of the "What's my Enneagram Type" threads on personality cafe). for most people, studying the enneagram seriously, it is a hard, reality bitch slap to the ego that forces one to reconsider a great deal of their behavior and preconceptions about reality.
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  2. #2
    Whisky Old & Women Young Speed Gavroche's Avatar
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    "I don't believe in guilt, I only believe in living on impulses"

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  3. #3
    #KUWK Kierva's Avatar
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    I've seen it used for discriminating people.

    "You're a 6 because you have a hive-mindset. WIMP"
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  4. #4
    Certified Sausage Smoker Elfboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uwace View Post
    I've seen it used for discriminating people.
    "You're a 6 because you have a hive-mindset. WIMP"
    I should have clarified. I talking more about reasons why people begin studying enneagram in the first place (hopefully learning an entire personality system simply for the purpose of stereotyping people isn't most people's agenda LOL) though I agree that's common (a little guilty myself actually lol)
    ENFP: We put the Fi in Fire
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    5w4>1w9>2w1 Sx/Sp
    SEE-Fi
    Papa Bear
    Motivation: Dark Worker
    Alignment: Chaotic Neutral
    Chibi Seme
    MTG Color: black/red
    Male Archtype: King/Lover
    Sunburst!
    "You are a gay version of Gambit" Speed Gavroche
    "I wish that I could be affected by any hate, but I can't, cuz I just get affected by the bank" Chamillionaire

  5. #5
    i love skylights's Avatar
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    the Enneagram measures and explains all of the fucked up neurosis you exhibit deep in your psyche
    Hah, if only it even began to address ALL the reasons people are fucked up!

    4) Using the Enneagram to find your talents and strengths
    I certainly agree that using your enneatype as the basis for your identity is a misuse, but I also I think that self-improvement is a constructive reason to study the system, and the Enneagram can give you valuable insight into how to turn otherwise-pathological tendencies into strengths. Realistically, as a 6, I am probably always going to be preempting situations with worst-case-scenario thinking, especially when I am under stress - but I with awareness I can choose to utilize that tendency to troubleshoot and avoid problems, rather than to upset my sense of stability. My 3w4 best friend is probably always going to present a glossy persona to the crowd, but she can choose to use that to facilitate professional communication, rather than to self-aggrandize and alienate others. It will always require a high degree of cognitive energy, but we can develop strengths in accordance with our Enneagram tendencies.

    "You're a 6 because you have a hive-mindset. WIMP"
    This is a truly bizarre stereotype to me, and one of the major things that put me off from even considering 6 as my possible type in the beginning of my study of the Enneagram. It's totally missing the other half of the story, which is that 6s question EVERYTHING, so even if we're affiliating and embracing external systems of thought, we're probably actually pretty shitty members of the hive-mind. Bzzzz.

  6. #6
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    I can't stand when people use the Enneagram or any information for that matter as something to tell them what to do. As if they need a solidly paved mental map. I only read about it to understand others a little more, and just because it's kind of interesting.

    People who use it to tell them what to do need to learn how to make their own decisions. It really irritates me. It is not rocket science or even brain science to be able to look at yourself and say "hey, I noticed when I do this, I get a reaction I don't like, so what else can I do to get a better outcome... or why do others not like it when I do this...? what would they like... what would be beneficial?" I have seen someone who does this who lacks a conscious, but because of the lack of conscious he is usually unable to interpret the information correctly, therefore he goes around using it as some kind of excuse and useless work book driving everybody around him insane.

    And the other thing is using it to focus on your problems. Focusing on problems wont pull people out of bad feelings or crisis. That is one reason why I don't like anything that announces negative tendencies in personalities, because it makes people uncomfortable thinking that this is normal behavior, and some people will see it as an excuse. Regardless it has people focusing on the uneccessary bad rather than good. When you see good you see the reward in not being bad, when you see bad, you see bad.

  7. #7

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    ...As old as this thread is, I really gotta ask for clarification: Elfboy, are you saying that the Enneagram is supposed to be a system that outlines to people the obsolete/destructive coping mechanisms they have adopted in childhood that then cause trouble in adulthood? I suppose that that could be useful in helping people understand themselves better (despite your saying that's not what it's for).

    What is that based on? I've only ever seen the Enneagram treated as another method of self-understanding, much like with the Jungian Cognitive Functions. All the titles ascribed to it and the attempts to account for all healthy/neutral/unhealthy types make it seem as if there was a concerted effort to make the Enneagram do exactly what you said it's not for. I'm not trying to pick an argument (I hardly know a thing about either system of typology, which is why I'm here), but this thread made me curious.
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  8. #8
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    Very interesting thread. @ShadowPage, I'm glad you revived it.

    I'm not the OP of course, but I myself do think enneagram is about destructive coping mechanisms. As such, I think it's very different from the information processing configurations described by MBTI/JCF. Enneagram is about better naming and understanding what's fucked-up (damaged) in each of us, while MBTI/JCF is about naming and understanding some diverse and normal variations in human information processing in a neutral way. I feel like this distinction (that these are different systems about very different layers of any given individual) is on one hand glaringly obvious with some exploration, and on the other hand sadly rare as a perspective on this site.

    I also feel that the use of either enneagram or MBTI type/JCF talk to try to create special self or group identity, assert membership in some implicitly superior group compared to others, and/or put down another type is quite common on this site and is really icky and sad as a way to approach all of this.

    Quote Originally Posted by skylights View Post
    I certainly agree that using your enneatype as the basis for your identity is a misuse, but I also I think that self-improvement is a constructive reason to study the system, and the Enneagram can give you valuable insight into how to turn otherwise-pathological tendencies into strengths. Realistically, as a 6, I am probably always going to be preempting situations with worst-case-scenario thinking, especially when I am under stress - but I with awareness I can choose to utilize that tendency to troubleshoot and avoid problems, rather than to upset my sense of stability. My 3w4 best friend is probably always going to present a glossy persona to the crowd, but she can choose to use that to facilitate professional communication, rather than to self-aggrandize and alienate others. It will always require a high degree of cognitive energy, but we can develop strengths in accordance with our Enneagram tendencies.
    Speaking as a fellow 6: Yeah, that's one use, and I have used it this way myself out of necessity. But there are other uses also, which you may already know about but will name a few just to expand from here. For example, take the whole "loss of faith" core to us as 6s - finding and reconnecting with what was lost, what it really is to me (not anything to do with religion despite that word) ... reconnecting with that "faith" that was lost is an extremely powerful thing for me to do, and it gets toward the root of these damaging coping mechanisms I have. Very very hard to put into words, but extremely powerful for me when I can be in that space.

    Also, using the enneagram concepts/language to communicate where I'm at even when I'm in the grip of the coping mechanisms - "I know I'm really stressed about this, I think this is my 6 talking" - has helped me to make use of external resources such as my partner's non-6 outside perspective on reality when appropriate.

    And also, knowing that some of my partner's energy and behavior comes from enneagram 9 coping mechanisms helps me sort out what's what and helps me to not get sucked into distortions based on her specific issues so much ... (as I too often did before we figured out our respective enneagram types.)

    Also, this process I described in another thread illustrating the usefulness of differentiating between enneagram and cognitive function stack in myself (spoilering for length):



    Again, this is a very interesting thread, glad to see it revived, interested to see where it goes, if anywhere.

  9. #9

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    Thank you for taking time to respond so thoughtfully, @Werebudgie. Since reading your post, I had decided to look at those things I had seen about the Enneagram in terms of them being coping mechanisms and well, I think I'm sold on it, too. It's too bad that @Elfboy didn't come back (though, I am still trying to figure out this whole @ mention thing ), but I appreciate that you came by and commented.

    Having a framework of 'manners of self-defense' is certainly something that I don't expect to be talked up all that much, since there is that environment of people wanting to know the ways in which they shine (myself included, to be sure). But I appreciate it- I could certainly stand to gain from looking into it!

    Your (and Skylights') examples of how knowledge of the Enneagram can be useful in self-understanding is definitely what I'm after in learning about it. I definitely could use the opportunity to put words and phrases to behaviors I have that I probably barely realized I acted upon before being given the words to put to them!

    Hmm, maybe I am not remiss in attempting to explore my Enneagram number and JCF type at the same time! The only thing that gave me pause is how quickly I can get buried in my own attempts to research.

    It would be cool if the thread does pick up some speed, or that at least we can hear from Elfboy.
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  10. #10
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    The more I read about the Enneagram types and system as a whole, the more confused I get! It doesn't seem to have the clear associative aspect between ideas and physical objects that JCF theory does (relating to different parts of the brain).

    I do, however, find Enneagram interesting as a way of potentially gaining some understanding about what your fears are and how to fight them. Being a 6 isn't much fun.

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