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  1. #1
    can't handcuff the wind Z Buck McFate's Avatar
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    Default Instinct variant: dominant most damaged?

    From this site.

    In theory, we are governed by all three instinctual drives, for they represent our most fundamental way of being, but one is generally more dominant and influential in our lives and defines the way in which we act out the passion of our Enneagram point.. If all three instinctual drives were in balance, we could function "perfectly" or "appropriately" to the needs of each situation. Nevertheless, such balance is rare, and usually one of these drives is "damaged" and commands an undue amount of our attention; and it is a person's most "damaged" instinctual drive that is overused and becomes dominant. The resulting imbalance distorts our perception of our essential needs, and we may find ourselves living large portions of our lives "in service" to this damaged drive.

    So, question for those who have studied enneagram for a longer time than myself: is this the prevailing assumption or is it more specific to this site/this person (Katherine Chernick Fauvre)? I can’t say I’ve researched instinct variant extensively, but this is the first time I’ve seen this.
    Reality is a collective hunch. -Lily Tomlin

    5w4 sx/sp Johari / Nohari

  2. #2

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    I've read the second drive is the more balanced.

  3. #3
    Habitual Fi LineStepper JocktheMotie's Avatar
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    I've seen it mentioned by Helen Palmer as well. The thought is that your primary instinct doesn't necessarily equate to proficiency so much as it is more of a compulsion that dominates your energy. You are almost at the whim of its psychological demands on how you orient yourself to the world.

    I'm not entirely sure how it's supposed to get "damaged" early on per se; I don't know how that happens or what that even means. Myself, for example, I can't really see how my sx instinct would become damaged while the other two remained unscathed.



  4. #4
    Senior Member INTPness's Avatar
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    Interesting. It would seem that your last variant would be your damaged one (the one you "aren't as good at"), but this could make sense - that the damaged one is out of balance and, therefore, overused, out of balance, over-relied-upon type of thing.
    NTJ's are the only types that have ever made me feel emo.
    ENP's are the only types that have ever made me feel like a sensor.


    There are two great days in a person's life - the day we are born and the day we discover why. --William Barclay

  5. #5
    Habitual Fi LineStepper JocktheMotie's Avatar
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    Right. And by extension, your "last" instinct isn't necessarily something you're bad at, it's just rarely ever a focus. In isolation, you wouldn't even pay attention to it because it rarely demands any. It's only in juxtaposition with another individual where the lack of focus ever becomes apparent. When an So last interacts with an So first, the So last isn't really sure what to do because the other is emphasizing elements of the world around them that the So last is barely even aware of.



  6. #6
    Senior Member Nomenclature's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JocktheMotie View Post
    I've seen it mentioned by Helen Palmer as well. The thought is that your primary instinct doesn't necessarily equate to proficiency so much as it is more of a compulsion that dominates your energy. You are almost at the whim of its psychological demands on how you orient yourself to the world.

    I'm not entirely sure how it's supposed to get "damaged" early on per se; I don't know how that happens or what that even means. Myself, for example, I can't really see how my sx instinct would become damaged while the other two remained unscathed.
    Perhaps getting hurt early on in your dating experiences, whether because you felt you weren't good enough to keep the object of your affections, or because you were initially scared of intimacy. I can totally relate to that. I know that it's true for 3 SXs in general, not sure about the other types though.
    ISTP 3w2 SX/SO

  7. #7
    can't handcuff the wind Z Buck McFate's Avatar
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    Okay yeah, I found this in Helen Palmer’s Enneagram book (and being only a couple paragraphs, figured I’d post it).

    The operation of the belly center is largely unconscious, but can be recognized by the fact that we each have pressing concerns about issues that affect our physical survival (self-preservation), sexuality, and social life.

    There is a teaching that relates to the subtypes. A cowherd sat on a three legged stool to milk. The milk may refer to the nourishment of teachings or the nourishment of life. One leg of the stool was damaged, and so as he milked, his field of perception was slanted towards the damaged leg of his base. What the story suggests is that we may have three primary areas of relationship and that one of these areas is more afflicted than the other two. As a result of one area of relationship being damaged, a mental preoccupation develops that lessens the anxiety that surrounds that area of our life. The three kinds of relationship are sexual (intimate and other one-to-one relationships), social (group), and self-preservation (our relationship to personal survival). As adults we are sensitive to all three psychological preoccupations that apply to our type, but one will predominate as a more deeply felt concern. For example all Threes will focus a lot of attention on security, prestige, and masculine/feminine image, but one of those words will be the focal point of more concern than the other two. If the three has been the most damaged in the area of self-preservation, then we could also hypothesize that the primary area of concern, which would be security, would also be affected by the chief feature of vanity and the passion of deceit.
    It’s funny how finding this out fundamentally changes what I get out of instinct variant information. Instead of seeing ‘so’ as my weak spot- as if that’s what I should be focusing on, to strengthen it- I’m inclined now to want to focus on how a preoccupation with sp is the problem (as if the ‘so’ drive will naturally expand into my automatic thought process once I become more aware of how ‘sp’ was blotting it out). It’s like the difference between stars being lights in a dark sky or pinholes in the curtain of night.

    I mean, I take all of this stuff with a grain of salt anyway because I don’t think it’s ever a good idea to take any typing construct too seriously, but this does make a significant difference.
    Reality is a collective hunch. -Lily Tomlin

    5w4 sx/sp Johari / Nohari

  8. #8
    Senior Member the state i am in's Avatar
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    i think this idea is just trying to presuppose solutions in a kind of halfway useful way.

    whether damage, blockage, fixation, whatever, you specialize in that. i'm much better at sx, and hell, i also see no reason to assume that it isn't perhaps partly genetic too (my mom always talks about my tremendous focus as a child at 4, 5, 6 years old, voraciously reading and being read to, beating her in games of memory because i could just sit with rapt attention playing for hours. i'm still like this). although the basic theory of dysfunctional family structure seems to have a lot of so/sx types in the clown role, and hell, maybe a lot of serious firstborns are sx and sp, i don't know. but when i think about how so types are so great at recognizing and playing social games within social games, being able to think so broadly and be able to find general context as effectively as possible in so many situations with so many social game variables, i know that it's not just a kind of specific registry you have to pay attention to. it's not just a kind of awareness bandwidth that you have to attend, it's bigger than that, you have to practice, you have to build these kinds of insights, you have to compile tons of information about social norms, roles, games, interactive contexts, definitions of situations, expected behaviors, ways of performing, etc. attention primes learning. you have to be there in that kind of mindset in order to learn how to operate. with that said, if your first instinct isn't totally distorting you, i'd guess it is easier to learn from and integrate a wider range of contexts (probably more efficiently).

  9. #9
    nee andante bechimo's Avatar
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    we could function "perfectly" or "appropriately" to the needs of each situation.
    Anything that defines what we should be is annoying. Isn't it enough that we know what we are so we can find our own way?

    As far as our dom being the most damaged, uncertain of this. But it might be the defense mechanism we use the most to counter whatever shaped us so if that's what it means, I suppose I agree.

    One thing about enneagram. It makes every single person sound beyond neurotic! Makes me wonder if it's a form of dependency tool.

  10. #10
    can't handcuff the wind Z Buck McFate's Avatar
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    I think I titled this poorly. The point is that it was damaged originally, and so the individual becomes preoccupied with it above the others to compensate for that damage. So it isn't necessarily the most damaged- in fact, since it's where focus unconsciously goes it's probably more adept than the other variant drives in a person- but it's more adept because a person is unconsciously primed to pay special attention to it.

    And while I'm not saying I believe this is clearly the best way to look at it, I find it helpful/interesting that a whole new way to apply the information has opened up for me to consider here. I don't think it's possible to decide the best way to look at it before experimenting with which way ends up being most helpful in practice.
    Reality is a collective hunch. -Lily Tomlin

    5w4 sx/sp Johari / Nohari

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