3. Trait Structure
Ennea-type VII individuals, are more than just open minded, exploratory; their search for experience takes them, characteristically, from an insuTcient here to a promising there. The “insatiability” of the glutton is, however, veiled over by an apparent satisfaction; or more precisely said, frustration is hidden behind enthusiasm—an enthusiasm that seems to compensate for dissatisfaction as well as keeping the experience of frustration away from the individual’s awareness.
Whether in the question of food or in other realms, the gluttony of the glutton is typically not for the common, but, on the contrary, for that which is most remarkable, for the extraordinary. In line with this is the characteristic interest in what is magical or esoteric itself, a manifestation of a broader interest in what is remote—either geographically, culturally, or at the fringes of knowledge.
Also, an attraction to that which is beyond the boundaries of one’s own culture reflects the same displacement of values from here to there; and the same may be said of the typical anticonventional tendencies of type VII. In this case, the ideal may be in a utopian, futuristic, or progressive outlook rather than in existing cultural models. Hedonistic Permissiveness. A pair of traits inseparable from the gluttonous pleasure bias, are the avoidance of suffering and, concomitantly, the hedonistic orientation, characteristic of ennea-type VII personality. Intrinsically connected to these traits are permissiveness and self-indulgence. In connection with permissiveness it may be said that it not only describes a trait of the individual with regard to himself, but a characteristic laissez-faire attitude toward others; such permissiveness sometimes even becomes complicity when gluttons seductively become friends of other people’s vices.
Closely related to self-indulgence is the trait of being “spoiled,” usually employed in reference to an attitude of entitlement to grati!cation. Also the “play-boy” orientation to life falls in here, and, indirectly, the exaggerated sense of okayness that the individual develops as a protection of hedonism against pain and frustration: the “optimistic attitude” that not only makes him and others OK, but the whole world a good one to live in. In some cases we may speak of a “cosmic okayness,” in which the individual’s contentedness is supported by a view of the world in which there is no good or evil, no guilt, no shoulds, no duties, and no need to make any efforts—for it is enough to enjoy.
Of course, without rebelliousness self-indulgence would not be possible in the inhibiting world of present civilization. The main things to be said of type VII rebellion are that it manifests most visibly in a keen eye for conventional prejudices and that it usually finds a humorous outlet. Also, the rebelliousness is mostly embodied in an anti-conventional orientation while intellectual rebellion goes hand-in-hand with a good measure of behavioral acquiescence. This characteristic makes type VII people the ideologists of revolutions, rather than the activists.
Ennea-type VII is typically not oriented towards authorities. It might be said that the glutton has “learned” early in life that there is no good authority, yet adopts toward authority an attitude that is diplomatic rather than oppositional. An aspect of implicit rebellion is the fact that the type VII individual mostly lives in a non-hierarchical psychological environment:
Just as type VI perceives himself exaggeratedly in terms of his relationships to superiors and
inferiors, type VII is “equalitarian” in her approach to people. Neither does she takes authority
inferiors, type VII is “equalitarian” in her approach to people. Neither does she takes authority
too seriously (for this would militate against her self-indulgence, permissiveness, lack of guilt,
and superiority) nor does she present to others as an authority, except in a covert way which
seeks to impress while at the same time assuming the garb of modesty.
Lack of Discipline
Still another trait that is both independent enough to be considered as such and yet dynamically dependent on gluttony and rebellion, manifests through the lack of discipline, instability, lack of commitment, and the dilettantish features of ennea-type VII. The word “play-boy” re)ects not only hedonism but the non-committed attitude of an enjoyer. The lack
of discipline in this character is a consequence of his interest in not postponing pleasure—and, at a deeper level, rests on the perception of pleasure-postponement as lovelessness.
The cathexis of fantasy and orientation to plans and utopia, are part of the gluttonous bias that, like a child at the nipple, clings to an all too sweet and non-frustrating world. Closely related to the above and also an escape from the harsh realities of life is the attraction towards the future and the potential: gluttons usually have a futuristic orientation for through an identification with plans and ideals, the individual seems to live imaginatively in them rather
than in down-to-earth reality.
There are two facets in the ennea-type VII personality, each of which has given rise to the popular recognition of the character (“happy” and “amiable” respectively) and which together contribute to the characteristically pleasing quality of type VII character. Just as ennea-type VII is a glutton for what is pleasant and has come to feel loved through the experience of pleasure —he seems bent on fulfilling the pleasure-gluttony of those he wants to seduce. Like type II on
the antipodes of the enneagram, type VII is eminently seductive, and is bent on pleasing through both helpfulness and a problem-free, cheerful contentedness.
The amiable aspect of this character is alluded to by such descriptors as “warm,” “helpful,” “friendly,” “obliging,”“sel)essly ready to serve,” and “generous.” Gluttons are very good hosts and can be great spenders. In the degree to which generosity is a part of seductiveness and a way of buying love rather than a true giving, it is counterbalanced in the psyche of the glutton by its corresponding opposite: a hidden but effective exploitativeness
that may manifest as a parasitic tendency and perhaps in feelings of entitlement to care and affection. The state of satisfied well-being of ennea-type VII rests partly on the priorities of an enjoyer, partly on the glutton’s knack for imaginary fulfillment. Yet, “feeling good” also serves the ends of seductiveness and seductive motivation may at times make type VII especially cheerful, humorous, and entertaining. The good humor of type VII makes other people feel lighted-up in their presence, and this contributes e+ectively to the pleasure they cause and the attractiveness of being near to them, to the extent that happiness is, at least in part, seductive and definitely compulsive. The happy bias of ennea-type VII (as in the case of type III) is maintained at the expense of the repression and avoidance of pain, and results in an impoverishment of experience. In particular the “cool” of type VII involves a repression of such anxiety as chronically feeds the attitude of taking refuge in pleasure.
Another group of traits that may be discerned as an expression of seduction may be called narcissistic. It comprises such descriptors as “exhibitionist,” “knows better,” “well informed,” “intellectually superior.” Sometimes this manifests as a compulsion to explain things, such as Fellini seeks to portray in movies where a narrator constantly puts into words everything that is taking place.
We may speak of a “seduction through superiority” which most usually takes the form of intellectual superiority, though (as in Moliere’s Tartu+e) it may involve a religious, good, and saintly image. The apparent lack of grandiosity in such saintly image is sometimes manifest even in the case of those who actively seek to assert their superiority, wisdom, and kindness. This falls in line with the fact that gluttons tend to formequalitarian brotherly relationships rather than authority relations. Because of this, their pretended superiority is implicit rather than explicit, masked over by a non-assuming, appreciative, and equalitarian style. As in the case of pleasingness, the superiority of ennea-type VII expresses only a half of the glutton’s experience; the other is the simultaneous perception of self as inferior, and the corresponding feelings of insecurity. As in ennea-type V, in both cases splitting allows the simultaneity of the
two sub-selves, yet while it is the deprecated self that is in the foreground in type V, it is the grandiose self that has the upper hand in narcissistic personality. A psychological characteristic that is important to mention in connection with the gratified narcissism of the “oral-receptive” is charm, a quality into which converge the admirable qualities of ennea-type VII (giftedness, percep-tiveness, wit, savoir-vivre, and so on) and its pleasing, non-aggressive, vaseline-like, cool, and contented characteristics. Through charm the glutton can satisfy his gluttony as e+ectively as a !sherman succeeds with bait, which implies that pleasing and charm are not just seductive but manipulative. Through his great charm the glutton can enchant others and even himself. Among his skills is that of fascination—hypnotic
fascination even—and charm is his magic.
Along with the narcissistic facet of ennea-type VII it is necessary to mention the high intuition and frequent talents of type VII, which suggests that such dispositions may have favored the development of their dominant strategy (just as the adoption of the strategy has stimulated their development).
We may think of ennea-type VII as a person in whom love seeking has turned to pleasure seeking and who in the necessary measure of rebellion that this entails, sets out to satisfy his wishes through becoming a skillful explainer and rationalizer. A charlatan is of course one who is able to persuade others of the usefulness of what he sells. However, beyond the intellectual activity of explanation, which can become a narcissistic vice in type VII, persuasiveness rests in one’s ownbelief in one’s wisdom, superiority, respectability, and goodness of intentions. Thus only arti!cially can we separate traits that exist in close interwovenness: being admirable serves persuasiveness, as also does pleasingness.
The qualities of being a persuader and a knowledge source usually !nd expression in type VII in becoming an adviser at times in a professional capacity. Charlatans like to influence others through advice. We may see not only narcissistic satisfaction and the expression of helpfulness in charlatanism but also an interest in manipulating through words: “laying trips” on people and having them implement the persuader’s projects. Along with a manipulative motivation to influence others we may consider the high intelligence, high verbal ability, capability of suggesting, and so forth, that usually characterize type VII individuals.
We have discussed the polarity of feeling OK (and better than OK) and of being at the same time driven by an oral passion to suck at the best of life. We have spoken of a rebelliousness as described in Fritz Perls’ observation that “behind every good boy one may rebelliousness as described in Fritz Perls’ observation that “behind every good boy one may find a spiteful brat.” We have encountered in ennea-type VII a confusion between imagination and reality, between projects and accomplishments, poten-tialities and realizations. Then, we have encountered a pleasingness, a persona-hiding anxiety, a smoothness hiding aggression, a generosity hiding exploitativeness. The word “charlatan” of ennea-type VII in its connotation of fake knowledge and confusion between verbal map and territory has thus an appropriateness to the character beyond mere persuasiveness. Taken broadly, it conveys a more generalized fraudulence (to which all the above add up). Indeed the conceptual label “fraudulence” may be more appropriate than the symbolic or metaphoric “charlatanism” for the ennea-type’s fixation.
4. Defense Mechanisms
More than one defense mechanism seems particularly pertinent to hedonistic-narcissistic character. To say that the type VII individual learns early in life to excuse the indulgence of his wants through “good reasons” implies that the mechanism of rationalization acquires an important strategic function in his life.
Rationalization was described by Ernest Jones as the invention of a reason for an attitude or action the motive of which is not acknowledged. Though it is not always regarded as a defense mechanism, there is enough reason to claim that it is, for even though it does not entail the inhibition of impulse (but, rather, the opposite), it does involve a distraction of
attention from the “real reasons” for a person’s attitudes and actions, and in making such actions appear as good and noble, it satisfies the demands of the superego. As Matte-Blanco12 writes: “Dissipating suspicion concerning the ignificance of an action, it facilitates the pacific maintenance of repression, and thus it can be considered a manifestation of it.” Rationalization is the more striking, in that it operates and constitutes a way of life—an “explainer” uses persuasion to get around obstacles to his pleasure. Rationalization may be contemplated, however, as a rather elementary defense mechanism that supports the more complex one of idealization. Just as rationalization has not been universally regarded as a defense mechanism, the same is the case with idealization, prominent in ennea-type VII
First of all there is self-idealization, which in the mind of the type VII person is linked with the denial of guilt and also with the narcissistic attitude and its claims. It may come across as self-propagandizing, even though the self-congratulating individual believes in his idealized version of himself. Idealization also operates importantly in relation to people, and particularly in regard to the mother and mother surrogates. (Just as type VI males tend to be father lovers or father idealizers, tender-minded type VII individuals are characteristically devoted to their mothers and rebellious in the face of authority wielding fathers. In relation to authority figures in general, type VII seems to have adopted a de-idealizing attitude, implicit in its non-hierarchic orientation.)
It is possible to say that the optimistic attitude characteristic of type VII and the joyful mood that is habitual to them would not be possible without the operation of idealization in regard to the world in general and the more signi!cant people in it. In relationship with others as in connection with oneself, optimism entails the suspension of criticality and blaming, and an assumption of lovingness as well as loveability. There is a strong bias toward the feeling expressed by the slogan “I’m OK, you’re OK.” Beyond that, there is a tendency to entertain a “cosmic optimism”—the sense that everything is all-right in the world and that there is no need to struggle.
Beyond rationalization and idealization, we may also mention a relevance of the defense mechanism of sublimination and type VII psychology, inasmuch as sublimation is defined as a turning of instinctual energy to socially desired ends, and the glutton is characteristically one whose self-interest has been relabeled as altruistic motivation. The operation of sublimation helps us to understand the orientation of gluttons towards fantasy, which involves a substitution for the real goal of their impulses by images, plans and the cathexis of their own resourcefulness (i.e., in virtue of which, furthermore, they tend to accumulate tools for doing rather than simply doing).
5. Etiological and Further Psychodynamic Remarks
In Sheldonian terms ennea-type VII individuals tend to be predominantly ectomorphic with endomorphia as the secondary component, yet as a whole seem to be the most balanced in the distribution of the three components. This matches a personality in which intellectual and spiritual interests exists side by side with social extroversion and an active or even restless disposition. Perhaps a constitutional predisposition through a balance between the intellectual, emotional and active orientations explains the intuitiveness of ennea-type VII (highlighted by Jung in his picture of the type). Yet I think it likely that the highly strategic type VII arises most commonly from a background factor in which a good intellectual endowment and genetically determined verbal ability are also present. Just as it is natural for an inborn fighter to settle on “moving against” people in the case of type VIII, it is natural for one who is clever and good with words to become an explainer in his approach to getting his way.
It is appropriate to begin the consideration of the environmental aspect of the nature/nurture equation with theissue of breast feeding, for there is evidence of the correlation between prolonged and happy breast-feeding and a trusting and optimistic personality. As in the case of the relation between unsatisfactory breast feeding and the oral-aggressive shown in the same study, I think that we may consider the finding paradigmatic for a more general relation between happiness in early childhood and cheerful optimism in later life. It is common for ennea-type VII people to report prolonged childhood satisfaction.
When we look at the life history of the cheerful and trusting individual, however, we find that there frequently has been a fall from paradise even more distinct than in the case of type IV, so a regression to the passive and trusting attitude of the child at the breast has taken place in response to the frustrations of later life. Just as type VII does not want to see the harsh aspect of life, it seems that the child has not wanted to deidealize his mother or sometimes his father. Memory in such a case supports fantasy to deny suffering.
I have described such a transition from a happy early childhood to a less happy situation in the life of a type VII individual in The Healing Journey.15 I was a witness to my patient’s remembrance (in the course of psychotherapy) of the idyllic relationship he had sustained with his nanny before he was old enough to share his meals with his parents and was exiled from the warmth of his nanny’s kitchen to the cold atmosphere of the dining-room, when he was for
the first time exposed to sustained contact with his not-so-welcome mother.
Other examples may be less dramatic, such as the following: “At home child rearing ended at the age of two, then we came under the care of our aunt and our parents became like phantoms … I was breast fed until I was two without any kind of schedule. My mother went along with my father in his journeys and they took me with them until I was three, then they left me in the house of an aunt to begin my schooling.” Or:
“My mother was very overprotective and I began speaking early and was graceful and sweet. School was a shock for me. I was completely unprotected before aggression. I was a victim of my class. I sought refuge in a
world of fantasy.” Still another: “For me the family was great, life flowed very well, and I had
no cares. I think it is at school that I began to be problem ridden.”
A frequent element in the life stories of ennea-type VII people that I have heard is that of an outrageously authoritarian parent vis-a-vis whom a soft manner of rebellion seemed most appropriate. Most commonly this happened with type I fathers whose excessive dominance and sternness was experienced as lovelessness and not only contributed to an implicit judgment to the effect that authority is bad, but to the experience of an authority that is too strong to be met head-on, and also to a correlative misconception of love as indulgence (i.e. as being free from discipline). Mothers have often been experienced as over-protective and permissive (commonly type IX).
“What got my father most nervous about me is that I did not confront him, but I did what
I felt, in spite of his rules. My father was physically imposing, I did not face him, but there
was no way in which he would control me.”
In response to the question, “What circumstance led you to develop a strategic disposition in face of your parents and life in general?,” one subject explained how his parents were always right and this would have overwhelmed him if he had not cheated. The seductiveness of ennea-type VII is usually apparent in relation to the parent of the opposite sex, and type VII men are most commonly mother oriented (just as type VI men are mostly father oriented). There may be a sense of competing with father in the protection of mother, or caring for her to compensate what hurt father has caused her. “My mother was very seductive and she always presented my father as an ogre, an intimidating man.”
Of course it is also true for ennea-type VII that the presence of a similar character in the family has been a factor: “At home it is as if there were ‘VII’ values, for the things that I heard there are so fantastic and marvelous that it seems you are in another world. Now I can see it better. My father is a crazy VII, for him there is not such a thing as a pound of meat, only cows. We have an industrial refrigerator. Bedrooms, little by little, become pantries. Aside from that he has everything; in animaginary place, he does. It is as if he has a magical bag and everything becomes reality. I was celebrated for being graceful. My mother used to say that I as not beautiful, but I could conquer the world through charm. Everybody laughs at home and there is freedom to show one’s craziness. My mother likes very much when people express themselves very well and values culture.”
Another factor I have noticed in the story of “oral optimists” as a whole is the frequency with which the father is fearful. In a little piece of research, in seven out of eight instances the father was either VI, VII or V. In another, four out of five responded in the affirmative to the question, “Did you adopt a weak and gentle position because you lacked an example of healthy aggression, because you lacked the image of a strong father?”
Type VII tends to become a pleasure-seeker to the extent that love becomes equated with the indulging of his wishes. Also the love search becomes a narcissistic striving to the extent that the means of attracting love—being ingenious, funny, and clever, for instance—develop into autonomous motives, and the pursuit of a charming and amiable superiority, an end in itself. Thus as in other personality orientations, a particular facet of love becomes a love substitute, and an obstacle towards a satisfying love life.