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Enneagram Theory: Fixations (Habits of Mind) – Melancholy

This 5th blog in a series on how all of us exhibit the Fixations (Habits of Mind) normally associated with only one of the Enneagram styles now moves to Melancholy: Thinking about what is missing, with the accompanying thoughts of being disconnected or separated from others. We typically associate Melancholy with Enneagram Fours; however, all of us, not just Fours, engage in Melancholy, so read on:

Enneagram Ones
Here are just some ways in which Ones engage in thinking that leads to Melancholy:
·       Thinking they are really bad or without value because they have made a mistake or done something they are not proud of
·       Believing that another person is really bad or without value because they have made a mistake
·       Wondering about what is missing in their lives because something is imperfect, didn’t live up to their expectations

Enneagram Twos
Here are just some ways in which Twos engage in thinking that leads to Melancholy:
·       Wondering why they are not happy when they do so many good things for others
·       Believing that no one really appreciates them or that a specific person doesn’t value them, because the other person did something hurtful
·       Wondering why their relationships are troubled when they put so much energy and effort into these

Enneagram Threes
Here are just some ways in which Threes engage in thinking that leads to Melancholy:
·       Perceiving themselves as fraudulent, that they are pretending to be something that they are not (or not fully) and will get found out
·       Believing they are totally without value when something they have attempted to do fails
·       Thinking that they are completely adrift and are nobodies when they have no goals and no plans

Enneagram Fours
Here are just some ways in which Fours engage in thinking that leads to Melancholy:
·       Thinking only about what they don’t have, not what they do have
·       Perceiving themselves as fundamentally inferior to or less than other people – in other words, not-good-enough
·       Recycling negative thoughts about themselves, other people, and situations

Enneagram Fives
Here are just some ways in which Fives engage in thinking that leads to Melancholy:
·     Thinking that they are depleted, drained of sufficient resources and life force
·     Believing that they don’t have truly deep relationships like others seem to do
·     Perceiving themselves as islands adrift from the major continent of people

Enneagram Sixes
Here are just some ways in which Sixes engage in thinking that leads to Melancholy:
·     Believing that no one can truly be counted on, so they are alone
·     Thinking that others will leave them at some point
·     Blaming themselves when things don’t go well, but also blaming others in ways that hurt these relationships and cause them to worry about being isolated

Enneagram Sevens
Here are just some ways in which Sevens engage in thinking that leads to Melancholy:
·     Wondering why, with all their joy, they don’t feel full inside
·     Thinking that there is a hole or empty space inside them that they don’t know what to do about
·     Thinking that even their mild feelings of pain and suffering are catastrophic (primarily because they are so unused to them)

Enneagram Eights
Here are just some ways in which Eights engage in thinking that leads to Melancholy:
·     Thinking that there isn’t really anyone who can or will support them
·     Believing that they can handle everything, big and small, and when they can’t, thinking highly morose thoughts
·     Thinking about the tremendous suffering and abuse in the world, which they believe they should be able to stop from happening

Enneagram Nines
Here are just some ways in which Nines engage in thinking that leads to Melancholy:
·         Believing that they don’t really matter
·         Perceiving themselves as individuals who don’t seem able to stand up for themselves like others can do
·         Thinking that they are going to lose everything and everyone if they express their anger

It is helpful to remember that Fours engage in melancholic thinking continuously, while the rest of us do so episodically. However, Fours are so used to dealing with Melancholy that they often don’t become as depressed as the rest of us during tough times. For Fours, Melancholy is a way of life; for the rest of us, Melancholy is more transient but deeply impactful.

Stay tuned for the next blogs about how each of us engage in Stinginess, Cowardice, Planning and more.

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Peter
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Great article Ginger… and a very important series exploring and explaining how each fixation plays out in each type. This holistic approach is an excellent reminder to us all that, regardless of our type, we are all “in” each other. This is especially important for newcomers to understand.

Tiffany Crain
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Tiffany Crain

Thank you for adressing this! Any thoughts about Vincent Vangough or Hemingway?

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