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Poorly Modulated Polarities Part 2 | A Guest Blog by Tom Hattersley

In an August 27th “Ginger’s Blog,” I discussed a technique I found useful for helping clients deal with poorly modulated polarities, such as Duty and Deviance (Type 6), Friend and Enemy (Type 8), Success and Failure (Type 3), Right and Wrong (Type 1). I discovered the approach, which I will label “Word Look-Up,” while pondering my own Type 6-based polarity of Duty and Deviance.

Noticeably absent from my blog was my complete list (oops, 5 wing).

Having been appropriately called out, I offer the actual list as follows:

DUTY
Obligation
Custom
Responsibility
Assignment
Task
Job
Chore
Stint
Render
Provide
Endow
Empower
AUTHORIZE
Allow
Leeway
Variance
Dissension
Disagreement
Exception
Breach
Nonconforming
Irregularity
Abnormal
Aberrance
Different
DEVIANCE

While my Type 5 wing privacy needs partially explain my omission, there was another more conscious reason. I observed when writing the first blog that my list is not completely logical. (Uh oh, my arrow line to Type 3: “I must look good.”) The progressions from Duty and Deviance to Authorization are not as gradual and linear as I experienced them at the time. In fact, I did not like that at first.

I now realize the freedom from rigid form may be one of the most important points about this “Word Look-Up” technique. It is not supposed to be logical; it is supposed to be personal.

The making of the list oneself may be THE transformative act. Struggling within ourselves to overcome our polarities may turn out to be the essential element. And, it is certainly OK if different people end up with different words – even if they are the same type – as awareness triggers for identically worded polarities.

On the other hand, it may be helpful for some to simply review a thoughtfully created and reviewed “Word Look-Up” list. So, we need to experiment. Which is better… reviewing someone else’s perfectly logical, gradual, symmetrical, and linear list, or struggling with our own self-experience and coming up with however crude a list that works for each of us?

I predict we will find the struggle essential. I cannot picture a just-add-water approach being as transformative. However, my wife just asked me to make her list for her. There’s no way I am going to say “No” to my Type 2 spouse when she asks for help (but I should!)!

Tom Hattersley came across the Enneagram in the Half Price Books store about four years ago. He has worked in human resources for 40 years, 28 years in large organizations – The Kroger Co., Cintas, and International Paper – and the last 12 years in consulting. He is a partner in a management consulting firm in Cincinnati, responsible for the firm’s HR practice, spending most of his time in executive coaching using The Enneagram In Business methodology. He can be reached at tom.hattersley@pathwayguidance.com.

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