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My problem with Enneagram descriptions: Motivation isn't capability.

Indigo Rodent

Active member
Joined
Apr 4, 2019
Messages
432
MBTI Type
INFP
Enneagram
1w9
It's one thing that annoys me when watching Enneagram videos, reading descriptions and seeing memes.
I don't know to how many types it applies, but my beef is mainly with the description of One since I'm One and was misidentifying as Four for a long time. It probably also fits all types in competency triad.

Like let's say someone is passionate about music and wants to be a great musician. It doesn't mean they can be one. Maybe they don't have prerequisites for it and maybe with a lot of effort, they can be a mediocre musicians. What then? Does it make their passion about music any less?

Just because someone values extreme competency and strives for it, doesn't mean, they will be. Perfectionism can be a handicap, especially if one can't actually achieve the high standards one has.
Typical descriptions of One assume that one not only has motivation of One, but also that one actually can fulfill them to any realistic degree. This then extends to supposed compatibility with MBTI types.

Also, many lists Enneagram 4 feature a ton of Thinkers that are often mistyped as "INFPs" because they are Enneagram 4. And not even all. For example, after reading Henry & June and the beginning of Incest, I think that Anais Nin is ENTP Enneagram 2w3.
 

Indigo Rodent

Active member
Joined
Apr 4, 2019
Messages
432
MBTI Type
INFP
Enneagram
1w9
I think one reason for it is that from what I understand Enneatypes were initially described as pathology. They were supposed to be neuroses. But current Enneagram tries to be a typology more in style of MBTI, where you're a type and type get abilities from it. So, naturally for example 1 becomes a TJ. From motivation it becomes a set of abilities.
1s not only want to do things right. They magically obtain ability to do things right. 8s doesn't just want to be powerful. 8s magically become powerful. 3s not only want to be exceptionally successful. They magically become so.
I think that Enneagram needs much more focus on basic fears and desires and much less on capabilities and behaviors and also needs to almost entirely disentangle itself from stuff handled by MBTI.
 

The Tsarevich

Give me a fourth dot.
Joined
Jun 9, 2013
Messages
1,053
MBTI Type
NeTi
Enneagram
478
Instinctual Variant
sx/so
I agree with you a lot.

I spent about 15 years unable to type myself because, while I had the motivation and awareness of my core, I didn't EVER feel as though I lived up to the expected behaviors. Each type has a superego message they try to fulfill--my superego let me know I never quite cut the mustard. So I basically never saw myself in descriptions (still don't) and felt incredibly unworthy to be my type. Doesn't help that I had one of the "cool" types that no one is allowed to be anyway. The deeper things went overlooked because I had no idea they were even significant.

In fact, the only way I figured my type out was by doing exactly what you suggested--looking at the core drivers of the types, the inner workings, the underlying psychology. I still think I utterly fail at doing my type. So, you're right, and I agree.
 

Charus

The singularity hive
Joined
May 27, 2017
Messages
247
MBTI Type
INTJ
Enneagram
5w4
Instinctual Variant
sx/sp
Hmph, the reason why I have been mistyped as a 4 for a long time, because I thought I was just some angry and depressed bloke without any capacity (as most 4 descriptions make them out to be), what a great way to get mistyped and destroy your self-esteem.
 

yeghor

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 21, 2013
Messages
4,278
It's one thing that annoys me when watching Enneagram videos, reading descriptions and seeing memes.
I don't know to how many types it applies, but my beef is mainly with the description of One since I'm One and was misidentifying as Four for a long time. It probably also fits all types in competency triad.

Like let's say someone is passionate about music and wants to be a great musician. It doesn't mean they can be one. Maybe they don't have prerequisites for it and maybe with a lot of effort, they can be a mediocre musicians. What then? Does it make their passion about music any less?

Just because someone values extreme competency and strives for it, doesn't mean, they will be. Perfectionism can be a handicap, especially if one can't actually achieve the high standards one has.
Typical descriptions of One assume that one not only has motivation of One, but also that one actually can fulfill them to any realistic degree. This then extends to supposed compatibility with MBTI types.

Also, many lists Enneagram 4 feature a ton of Thinkers that are often mistyped as "INFPs" because they are Enneagram 4. And not even all. For example, after reading Henry & June and the beginning of Incest, I think that Anais Nin is ENTP Enneagram 2w3.

Difficult to describe the core motivation of ONE. You should know that it stems from an uncaring parent who placed too many expectations on the ONE, and expected them to be over-achievers to cover-up the parent's inferiority complexes. That doesn't mean all children subjected to this treatment will turn into ONEs. Children with certain demeanor reject/resist this expectation whereas some others succumb and internalize it.

From an early age, ONEs try to be model children. Starting back in their tender youth, they internalized the voices that demand: “Be good! Behave yourself! Try hard! Don’t be childish! Do it better!” It is as if they had decided, even then, to earn the love of everyone around them by meeting such expectations and being “good.” They tried to find, develop, and keep to criteria for judging what was good and bad, right and wrong. The demanding voices within them never fall silent.
Often one of the parents of a ONE is moralistic, perfectionistic, or eternally dissatisfied: stingy with praise, this parent takes above-average goodness for granted. The little ONEs were precocious achievers because they didn’t want to lose the love of their nearest and dearest."

That creates an internalized parental voice in them that they carry throughout their lives even when away from the parent, that keeps pointing out their errors and tells them that they should do better and in later stages, tells them how. It results in that attitude over time generating some ever-evolving know-how/reflex to improve/optimize things.

Peace for ONEs comes with accepting their limitations and being content with what is "practically good enough" rather than insisting on "perfect", not just for others but also for themselves.

In childhood, it resembles this clip, the child desperately trying to win the love of the parent while the parent keeps flaying them:


In adulthood that attitude can create self doubt and low self esteem like this:


Once you've made peace with it however, it starts providing mental guidance, conditioning and focus to prioritize and solve problems:

 
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