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Enneagram type-based obstacles to relationships | type 9

Enneagram type-based obstacles to relationships | type 9

In this 10-part blog series, each blog covers a different Enneagram type, focusing on one essential way – of course, there are many per type –  they get in their own way of having real relationships with others. These can be seen in the graphic above.  Diving deeper, the blogs will connect the particular way the type creates specific obstacles in genuine relating to the issues and dynamics of that type. In addition, there will be one activity, process or idea that can relax or relieve this ego-based way we constrain ourselves from having what we deeply want in relationships.

Biggest obstacle | Inability to access real opinions and deeper feelings

While Nines often have a number of cordial and even long-term relationships, the question is how deep these relationships go. These relationships may be supportive and comforting, but how “real” are they, real meaning deeply truthful and sharing of multi-tiered experiences and feelings, and so forth. The challenge for Nines is that of being able to access and express their desires and opinions, as well as their emotional reactions. Going deep inside in this way is not something that is part of the type Nine structure. The reason is this: “anger that went to sleep” is often used as a descriptor for Nines, a metaphor illuminating that in order for Nines to create and maintain harmony, comfort and non-tense relationships, Nine’s unconsciously “numb” themselves to their own anger so that they do not experience it very often or very intensely. Anger, from the Nine perspective, disrupts relationships and harmonic environments. A secondary impact of not accessing anger is that other emotions such as fear, sorrow and joy also get put to sleep, particularly if they are intense in any way.  Nines are also reluctant to voice their own opinions and preferences; these also get put to sleep as a way for them to keep a temperate demeanor, be non-controversial, and to keep the peace. The problem is that real relationships require both parties to be forthcoming and to share their honest opinions, their clear thoughts, and their feeling reactions.


To remove the obstacle to real relationships, the first real relationships begin with the self. Are you willing to have a deeper relationship with yourself, allowing yourself to access what you really think and want, what you feel, and then speaking your real truth? The more you can do that, the more you can develop real relationships at a deep level with a variety of others, both those you already know and new people who come into your life.

How do you get more access to your deeper self? Breathe more deeply and fully, including into the Heart Center area. Second, when you start to engage in activities that your find comforting – sleeping, eating, shopping, collecting, being on the internet for hours, and more – ask yourself what you are really feeling instead of dispersing your attention and energy into arenas where you find comfort. This is an excellent starting place.

Ginger Lapid-Bogda PhD, the author of seven Enneagram-business books, is a speaker, consultant, trainer, and coach. She provides certification programs and training tools for business professionals around the world who want to bring the Enneagram into organizations with high-impact business applications, and is past-president of the International Enneagram Association. Visit: TheEnneagramInBusiness.com | ginger@theenneagraminbusiness.com

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