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Enneagram Theory: Fixations (Habits of Mind) – Vengeance

This 9th blog in the series Enneagram the Fixations (Habits of Mind) focuses on Vengeance, the fixation normally associated with Enneagram style Eight. In Eights (really in all of us), Vengeance refers to the mental process of rebalancing wrongs through thoughts related to anger, blame, and intimidation. These thoughts about the desire for “righting” wrongs, even if we don’t act upon them, is the idea that another has caused injury and they deserve – even if it is just in our minds – some justified harm in return as punishment, deterrent, or both.  All of us, not just Eights, engage in Vengeance.

Enneagram Ones
Here is the way in which Ones engage in thinking that can be understood as their version of Vengeance:
Vengeance inciters | thinking someone has (1) criticized them, (2) not acted responsibly, (3) taken arbitrary control, or (4) lied to them
Vengeance behavior-related thoughts | accusations and blame that often gets verbalized or displayed in strong body-language of disapproval and dismissal
The development work for going beyond Vengeance | Ask yourself this question:  Am I listening with an open heart and open mind

Enneagram Twos
Here is the way in which Twos engage in thinking that can be understood as their version of Vengeance:
Vengeance inciters | thinking someone has (1) taken them for granted, (2) used them, (3) not listened to them or dismissed them, or (4) hurt other people
Vengeance behavior-related thoughts | categorizing the other person in a variety of negative ways, from being rude to having deeply rooted character flaws; deciding to make the other invisible by completely ignoring him or her
The development work for going beyond Vengeance | Ask yourself this question:  Am I expressing my own needs and my own feelings directly and in real-time?

Enneagram Threes
Here is the way in which Threes engage in thinking that can be understood as their version of Vengeance:
Vengeance inciters | thinking someone has (1) made them look bad, (2) sabotaged them, (3) blamed them for a problem that was not the Three’s responsibility, or (4) taken credit for what was the Three’s work
Vengeance behavior-related thoughts | dismissing the person as a “loser;” thinking of ways to not have to engage or interact with that person
The development work for going beyond Vengeance | Ask yourself this question:  Am I willing to disclose information that may not make me look good or may not conform with my “public” image?

Enneagram Fours
Here is the way in which Fours engage in thinking that can be understood as their version of Vengeance:
Vengeance inciters | thinking someone has (1) ignored or slighted them, (2) demeaned them in any way, (3) implicitly compared them to another in a way that has the Four as “less than,” or (4) misunderstood and violated the Four’s values
Vengeance behavior-related thoughts | thinking of the many ways in which that person is a perpetrator abusing innocent victims, or has an over-inflated sense of self and then thinking about how to bring that person “down to size”
The development work for going beyond Vengeance | Ask yourself this question: Am I displaying my objectivity and emotional balance?

Enneagram Fives
Here is the way in which Fives engage in thinking that can be understood as their version of Vengeance:
Vengeance inciters | thinking someone has  (1) violated their privacy, through breaking confidence as an example, (2) kept information from them, especially important information to the Five, (3) lied – for example, said they would deliver work on time and then not done this, or (4) made unreasonable or not-agreed-to demands on them
Vengeance behavior-related thoughts | thinking and strategizing how to neutralize that person, keep them at a distance; if the other person has done something that scares the Five or violates deeply held values, strategizing how to get that person removed and harmless
The development work for going beyond Vengeance | Ask yourself this question:  Am I expressing my real feelings in the moment?

Enneagram Sixes
Here is the way in which Sixes engage in thinking that can be understood as their version of Vengeance:
Vengeance inciters | thinking someone has (1) put pressure on them, (2) been deceptive and is, therefore, dangerous, (3) appeared insincere and, therefore, cannot be trusted, or (4) acted abusively and needs to be stopped
Vengeance behavior-related thoughts | thinking about how to keep themselves and others safe from this person, which may include disarming the other
The development work for going beyond Vengeance | Ask yourself this question: Am I differentiating accurately between my projections and insights?

Enneagram Sevens
Here is the way in which Sevens engage in thinking that can be understood as their version of Vengeance:
Vengeance inciters | thinking someone has (1) tried to limit them, (2) not listened to them or taken their ideas seriously, (3) been insincere and, therefore, cannot be trusted, or (4) acted (or is thinking about acting) abusively and needs to be stopped
Vengeance behavior-related thoughts | thinking about how to keep themselves and others safe from this person, which may include disarming the other
The development work for going beyond Vengeance | Ask yourself this question:  Am I willing to deal with and stay focused on painful and difficult issues?

Enneagram Eights
Here is the way in which Eights engage in thinking that can be understood as their version of Vengeance:
Vengeance inciters | thinking someone has  (1) tread on the down-trodden, (2) illegitimately challenged their authority, (3) not taken responsibility for their own negative behavior, or (4) been untruthful and untrustworthy
Vengeance behavior-related thoughts | thinking about how to gain control and authority as a way to disempower that person and put the other in his or her place
The development work for going beyond Vengeance | Ask yourself this question:  Am I sharing my feelings of vulnerability and showing my softer sides to both myself and others

Enneagram Nines
Here is the way in which Nines engage in thinking that can be understood as their version of Vengeance:
Vengeance inciters | thinking someone has (1) chronically disrupted the peace and harmony, (2) been rude to them or others, particularly more than once, (3) ignored them, especially in a disrespectful way, or (4) pressured, demanded or tried to control the Nine
Vengeance behavior-related thoughts | thinking about how to keep the other person at a distance and from trying to control the Nine, often through passive-aggressive behavior
The development work for going beyond Vengeance | Ask yourself this question:  Am I taking a clear stand on issues and expressing my thoughts and feelings directly, especially my anger

It is helpful to remember that we all engage in Vengeance, just in our own ways.

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Fascinating nuances and yes, I’ve always felt the eight-type sometimes gets cartooned-sized in typical descriptions as the Dearth Vadar of the Enneagram and as if all the other types lacked vindictive behavior by comparison…

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