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  1. #1
    this is my winter song EJCC's Avatar
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    Default Need Enneagram 1 advice

    I've read that it's common for Ones to make a lot of excuses for things that they do wrong. That's how it is with me, and I'm a 1. But I kinda think that, in my case, it's also thinking out loud a bit; people will tell me that something I did was wrong, and that will take me by surprise, and I will suddenly have no idea why I really did that thing, and so by figuring out all the reasons why I did that, maybe I'll come across something that will convince me that they're right, so that I can come to terms with being wrong and actually fix the problem - because the problem can't be fixed if I caused it and yet won't acknowledge that I did. (And also, I'm secretly hoping that they'll say "Oh, that's a good reason. You're off the hook", even though I know from experience that the chance of that happening is slim to none.)

    This issue could have a lot to do with my being an ESTJ, or it might not. But either way, it leads to a lot of conflicts with people where they get progressively more mad at me the more excuses I make, and say "I don't want to hear any more from you - just shut up and never make that mistake again." And then I feel like I've been wronged, but the conversation has been ended and I can't defend myself because I would be making more excuses, so I always end up sitting there and simmering in my anger. (A particularly upsetting confrontation just happened a couple of hours ago, which is why I'm making this thread.)

    I just want to know, from fellow Ones and people who understand Ones really well, what I can do to keep this from happening. And please don't say "stop making excuses" - I've heard enough of that today, and I'm sick of it. I just want to hear comforting words, anecdotes, or alternatives that make sense, from sympathetic/empathetic people who either are Ones or just understand Ones and how they think.
    ~ g e t f e s t i v e ! ~


    EJCC: "The Big Questions in my life right now: 1) What am I willing to live with? 2) What do I have to live with? 3) What can I change for the better?"
    Coriolis: "Is that the ESTJ Serenity Prayer?"



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  2. #2
    this is my winter song EJCC's Avatar
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    Grr, I was hoping that someone would reply with some sensible thing before I went to bed, but it doesn't look like that's going to happen.

    Ah well.
    ~ g e t f e s t i v e ! ~


    EJCC: "The Big Questions in my life right now: 1) What am I willing to live with? 2) What do I have to live with? 3) What can I change for the better?"
    Coriolis: "Is that the ESTJ Serenity Prayer?"



    ESTJ - LSE - ESTj (mbti/socionics)
    1w2/7w6/3w4 so/sx (enneagram)
    want to ask me something? go for it!

  3. #3

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    I really don't know. There is some power in the advice to look beyond imperfections, and that extends to yourself. Have a good sleep.

  4. #4
    Reason vs Being ragashree's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EJCC View Post
    I've read that it's common for Ones to make a lot of excuses for things that they do wrong.

    I just want to know, from fellow Ones and people who understand Ones really well, what I can do to keep this from happening. And please don't say "stop making excuses" - I've heard enough of that today, and I'm sick of it. I just want to hear comforting words, anecdotes, or alternatives that make sense, from sympathetic/empathetic people who either are Ones or just understand Ones and how they think.
    Quote Originally Posted by EJCC View Post
    Grr, I was hoping that someone would reply with some sensible thing before I went to bed, but it doesn't look like that's going to happen.

    Ah well.
    I was trying to think of an answer that would help you... But I was tired, I couldn't think straight, and should have been in bed ages before myself, and I just couldn't think of a response that was good enough to be useful, a really stellar, high quality response that could have set all your troubles to rest, so in the end I didn't post anything at all. And now I'm thinking in the cold light of day that since you were so upset last night, perhaps any response, even a necessarily imperfect one, would have been better than none at all, which is what I ended up (not) posting. And now I'm feeling bad about not having done anything to help, when I was perhaps the only person who read the thread last night who understood the issues well enough to contribute something. And, and...

    But perhaps it will help to know that I empathise?
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  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragashree View Post
    .. And now I'm feeling bad about not having done anything to help, when I was perhaps the only person who read the thread last night who understood the issues well enough to contribute something. And, and...
    Hey, hey, I did my best...

  6. #6
    Reason vs Being ragashree's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wolfy View Post
    Hey, hey, I did my best...
    Lol, that wasn't a comment on your anwer... *tries not to make further explanations for having inadvertantly implied a criticism!* I meant due to being type 1, etc, which I don't believe you are (there are only a handful on here anyway) and I know this can be a BIG issue for all type ones.

    It boils down, I think, to a feeling of: you could have done more, therefore you SHOULD have done more... The guilt attached to not having done so (even if there were perfectly good reasons for it at the time) is something that I think a lot of type 1's find it hard to rid themselves of. Explaining the reasons to others (who are most likely a lot less bothered by the apparant "failure" than you yourself are, because 1's are, almost inevitably, their own harshest critics, over small everyday failings at least) is how type 1's try to expiate the guilt that they feel and rid themselves of the unease this causes them.
    Look into my avatar. Look deep into my avatar...

  7. #7

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    That's cool, I am 9w8. I can relate to feelings of failure to a certain extent, as I suppose all of us can. I don't know if I am my own harshest critic though, I have had some pretty harsh critics.

    It might be completely useless but I read this book Failing Forward which had a lot of good tips on mindsets following failure.

  8. #8
    Reason vs Being ragashree's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wolfy View Post
    That's cool, I am 9w8. I can relate to feelings of failure to a certain extent, as I suppose all of us can. I don't know if I am my own harshest critic though, I have had some pretty harsh critics.

    It might be completely useless but I read this book Failing Forward which had a lot of good tips on mindsets following failure.
    Ahhh, now this, you see, is where you're misunderstanding type ones, by viewing the word "failure" from your own perspective. The problem lies not in the actuality of failure, but in their perception of anything less than perfection as failure. Only a very troubled type 1 will suffer the kind of analysis paralysis and "I'm not good enough, I can't do it" self-sabotage from setbacks that the kind of thinking in something like that book seems aimed at overcoming. 1's are probably prone to less actual failure in anything they truly set their minds than most other types and are quite resilient to temporary setbacks when trying to achieve their goals. Remember that 1's are above all practical people, whatever their intellectual prowess: if they can see a way to fix a problem, within or without themselves, they simply fix it.

    people will tell me that something I did was wrong, and that will take me by surprise, and I will suddenly have no idea why I really did that thing, and so by figuring out all the reasons why I did that, maybe I'll come across something that will convince me that they're right, so that I can come to terms with being wrong and actually fix the problem - because the problem can't be fixed if I caused it and yet won't acknowledge that I did.
    This is a classic type 1 way of dealing with issues, which I think tends to be shared by type 1's quite regardless of their cognitive styles. She's identified what she regards as a problem, a possible personality flaw in herself. The approach is not as the self-help books tend to presume (sorry if I seem to be going on about this, but the distinction is really important in understanding type 1s) to engage in catastrophic or unconstructive thinking, but to engage in precisely the kind of intellectualised, problem solving approach that the self-help guides delight in and spend a great deal of time teaching people how to use. The drive to effect change, including in oneself, is innate to type ones where it may need to be learned by other types; they're not called the Reformers for nothing!

    Material achievement, in particular, is scarcely a problem to those 1s who value it and invest their energies in it (just think how common it is for 1's to be STJs) but the devil is always in the details. A type 1 can always see the small failures where everyone else would see broad success, however, and it's the tendency to nitpick and dwell disproportionately on these self-adjudged failures that needs to be addressed.

    The issue is perhaps less of not knowing how to make changes where these are truly necessary, more of fixing on the wrong things to change, or trying to achieve more than is actually possible.

    EJCC, for instance, is worrying about her tendency to apologise too much for percieved flaws, and make excuses. She sees this, as I've mentioned, as a problem that needs to be fixed in herself, and is trying to work out how to do so. The feeling that she's "imperfect" in this respect is bothering her. The point I would put to her is that the most productive way to fix the problem is perhaps to look at reframing it.

    EJCC, from the perspective of others, perhaps you ARE a person who makes too many excuses, at times, but who is judging you most harshly over that perception, yourself or them? If yourself, do you need to regard it as a flaw at all, or simply a character trait that you possess, that may annoy people at times but that stems from your desire to always do the best you can? Can you tolerate the character traits in others, and the mistakes that they make, that you find hard to tolerate in yourself? If so, you have every right to pass judgement on them (which probably you are reluctant to do if criticised for this, because you already feel yourself to have done wrong) for reacting so negatively in the first place, and further when you try to explain yourself.
    Look into my avatar. Look deep into my avatar...

  9. #9
    this is my winter song EJCC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wolfy View Post
    I really don't know. There is some power in the advice to look beyond imperfections, and that extends to yourself. Have a good sleep.
    Thanks Wolfy. That's really good advice. I couldn't really embrace it last night, but I think I can now.
    Quote Originally Posted by ragashree View Post
    I was trying to think of an answer that would help you... But I was tired, I couldn't think straight, and should have been in bed ages before myself, and I just couldn't think of a response that was good enough to be useful, a really stellar, high quality response that could have set all your troubles to rest, so in the end I didn't post anything at all. And now I'm thinking in the cold light of day that since you were so upset last night, perhaps any response, even a necessarily imperfect one, would have been better than none at all, which is what I ended up (not) posting. And now I'm feeling bad about not having done anything to help, when I was perhaps the only person who read the thread last night who understood the issues well enough to contribute something. And, and...
    I love that there is more than one excuse-ish Enneagram One guilt attack on this thread No big deal, Ragashree. What matters is that you did write a response. And you wrote a good one. If you had written a slightly less coherent one (due to lack of sleep) last night, I might have judged it too harshly. But now I can see it in a less objective way. More on that later in the post.
    Quote Originally Posted by ragashree View Post
    It boils down, I think, to a feeling of: you could have done more, therefore you SHOULD have done more... The guilt attached to not having done so (even if there were perfectly good reasons for it at the time) is something that I think a lot of type 1's find it hard to rid themselves of. Explaining the reasons to others (who are most likely a lot less bothered by the apparant "failure" than you yourself are, because 1's are, almost inevitably, their own harshest critics, over small everyday failings at least) is how type 1's try to expiate the guilt that they feel and rid themselves of the unease this causes them.
    And the problem with this is that NOBODY SEEMS TO GET IT. At one point last night, someone in the confrontation said something about how I was "giving her reasons why I shouldn't have done what I was supposed to do". I replied to this with "That's not it at all! I was giving reasons why I did the wrong thing, not giving reasons why I SHOULDN'T have done the RIGHT thing! There's a difference!" And she still didn't get it - or, at least, she didn't care enough to try to get it. That misunderstanding from her and the other person involved hurt the most - which is unusual, since, as you said, I'm always my harshest critic. It just sucks to be misunderstood and then to be unable to make people understand you.
    Quote Originally Posted by ragashree View Post
    EJCC, from the perspective of others, perhaps you ARE a person who makes too many excuses, at times, but who is judging you most harshly over that perception, yourself or them? If yourself, do you need to regard it as a flaw at all, or simply a character trait that you possess, that may annoy people at times but that stems from your desire to always do the best you can?
    Maybe I should explain the situation in more detail:

    I had an interchange with two people last night, where a conversation spiraled out of control in ways that I'd rather not explain in detail, and then the conversation ended when the more angry person in our group stormed out of the room. An hour of awkwardness followed, and then the non-angry person - who, in my opinion, did nothing wrong - proceeded to apologize profusely to me and the other guy, because she had talked to the guy and he had convinced her that what she had done was wrong. And I figured, at that point, that the best thing to do would be to apologize also, and to explain my role in the failed conversation, just so they would understand. And then, the guy got angry again and left the room. The previously not-angry person then got a little testy with me and blamed me entirely for the situation continuing because I was "just making excuses", and because I, try as I might, could not even try to introspect at that particular moment because I was so full of righteous indignation, the most I could do was say that she was wrong and make five to ten different excuses in this form "This was the reason: ____. This was another reason: _____. Wait - maybe THIS was the main reason____. etc. etc." And then she pretty much told me "Just think about what I've said. That's all I ask." And then she left.

    So, Ragashree, while your explanation of this aspect of One-ness was absolutely perfect and dead-on, and while your advice would have been absolutely perfect in 99% of situations where I'm feeling insecure about a perceived flaw in myself, this flaw had just, last night, taken what could have been a nice end to a conflict and blown it all to hell. And the fact that I was just trying to make him feel better, but instead caused him to storm out of the room, frustrates me and, for lack of a better phrase, makes me feel bad.

    And it doesn't help that I'm really, really good at putting things out of my mind instinctively when they're uncomfortable - I feel like I'm already losing a clear memory of the whole situation, and therefore I don't have the clearest or most objective picture of it anymore. Grr.
    ~ g e t f e s t i v e ! ~


    EJCC: "The Big Questions in my life right now: 1) What am I willing to live with? 2) What do I have to live with? 3) What can I change for the better?"
    Coriolis: "Is that the ESTJ Serenity Prayer?"



    ESTJ - LSE - ESTj (mbti/socionics)
    1w2/7w6/3w4 so/sx (enneagram)
    want to ask me something? go for it!

  10. #10
    Reason vs Being ragashree's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EJCC View Post
    I love that there is more than one excuse-ish Enneagram One guilt attack on this thread No big deal, Ragashree.
    Thanks Just to be clear though, although those were my genuine thoughts, I was writing them for a reason, which was to show you how the process comes across to others if taken too far. Normally I'd have just responded and kept those thoughts to myself, but I thought in the context of this thread it might help you with a perspective shift on the issue. You're an extravert, so voicing your thoughts as they come to you probably comes quite naturally. I'm guessing that the way my earlier thoughts came across to you may be somewhat how yours come across to others.

    Quote Originally Posted by EJCC View Post
    And the problem with this is that NOBODY SEEMS TO GET IT. At one point last night, someone in the confrontation said something about how I was "giving her reasons why I shouldn't have done what I was supposed to do". I replied to this with "That's not it at all! I was giving reasons why I did the wrong thing, not giving reasons why I SHOULDN'T have done the RIGHT thing! There's a difference!" And she still didn't get it - or, at least, she didn't care enough to try to get it. That misunderstanding from her and the other person involved hurt the most - which is unusual, since, as you said, I'm always my harshest critic. It just sucks to be misunderstood and then to be unable to make people understand you.
    The problem being perhaps, at least in part, that where others may lose it, type 1's tend to be so skilled in the fraught task of managing their own intense anger as (almost always) to keep both their temper and their reason in these kinds of confrontations. Therefore it's easy to fall into trying to explain yourself in a rational, logical, controlled way with someone who is simply not capable of taking in the information at that particular moment; and hard, due to the tendency for self criticism, to appreciate that they are probably more likely than anything simply overwhelmed by your insistences and lashing out irrationallly.

    It probably seems more like your failure to get yourself across that's causing them not to understand, whereas it is in fact precisely your desire to explain yourself that is causing a problem. Someone whose emotions have taken over will find reason very hard to deal with. Also, when so many people feel the need to rationalise their emotions already, the fact that you are using reason in a way which seems to be undermining their right to feel as they do just puts them on the defensive; it seems like their personal autonomy and the right to have feelings of their own is under attack. This is mostly a problem with insecure people; but unfortunately a lot of people are insecure! What comes across as aggression is just one form of defense against this...

    I actually think it might help more to either disengage completely at that moment, call them out on their emotional state by saying "You're too emotional to take in what I'm actually saying at the moment, maybe we can have this conversation later when you're calmer," and end it. Sometimes just this itself might be enough to snap them out of it, other times there might have to be some kind of break. OR try to engage with their emotions more directly, perhaps if you can get them to engage try to explain that you understand their anger, but don't feel listened to, how the situation is making you feel, etc.

    I think the temptation is when something is wrong to want to fix it AT ONCE. If everyone else agknowledged their emotions existed, were powerful and inherently irrational, but nevertheless were determined to control them with reason, everyone would be a type 1! The vast majority of people are not however (they're a minority on here, and I think may be even rarer Irl, I personally have met relatively few) and so this style of communication simply won't work with them. It makes perfect sense to you because you are always striving to give people a fair chance no matter how you may be feeling...

    Something may be forming in the back of my mind on the actual situation, I'll post on that later if anything comes to me!
    Look into my avatar. Look deep into my avatar...

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