Today I’m welcoming Ann Gadd, we’re going to talk about enneagrams. But firstly Ann is a good friend, a regular expert on the panel of Natural Medicine magazine, author of 22 books, an artist (you know those little sheep drawings). Welcome, Ann. Hi, hello. So an enneagram, I know it as this symbolic like a sacred geometric shape. Where does this enneagram come from? And what is it used for? It goes all the way back to the days of the Desert Fathers, so thousands of years ago. But it’s only more recently with the likes of Gurdjieff and Claudio Naranjo and Oscar Ichazo that it was brought to the West so to speak (in North America) and had actual personality types ascribed to it – before then it was just a sacred symbol. Right. So it has nine personality types? There are nine basic personality types and then there are also various I call them sub-types, which means that you end up with numerous-numerous possibilities. Because say Type 9 – or not all Type 9s – are going to appear exactly the same but their basic, fundamental wounding and fears will be the same. You introduced the enneagrams to my team a couple of years back when you did a workshop – and this notebook is from that workshop. And that helped to identify why people acted the way that they did. And practically it helped me in when I would interview somebody and I needed some personality type for a specific job, discovering the enneagram and what personality type they are made my life easier in deciding whether or not they’d be a fit not just in the team but also in the work that they’re supposed to do. Yes, it’s very useful for that and I think the majority of the current use is to do with personalities. But one has to remember that the actual intention of the enneagrams was never to define the personalities as such. It was to give us insight into ourselves so that we could work towards healing our “wounds”, if you’d like, and find our way back to integration or wholeness or health. Okay. Well we need to know more about healing our wounds. Well for instance if you were to take, because the enneagram works a lot on paradox if you were to take the Type 8 – the challengers some people call it the boss – they have to be in charge, they have a lot of energy and charisma and they walk into a room and they own that room. If they are unhealthy or less integrated they can become the bullies of the world, you could easily understand that. Not all bosses are 8s though. Not all bosses are 8s; it’s just the term because 8s like to be in charge. But as they become healthier what they understand is that behind that external machismo – I’m using this for women as well – is actually like a child almost, like a child protecting itself. And they learn then to walk the road because if their symbol is power they move towards a 2 – a 2’s symbol would be love – so they understand that there is no true power without love and there’s no true love without power and that would be their road to healing. But they’re not born like that necessarily; this could be an acquired nature? No. They’re born like that? Everyone is born their number – we don’t how, we don’t know why. What does affect the sort of family we’re born into is the emotional health of that family and that affects the levels of health that we have. So if you’re fortunate enough to be born into a very happy family and you don’t have too many problems chances are you’ll be healthier. It’s not definite but chances are you will be more integrated. The challenger for example, could have that unhealthy aspect to its personality emphasised if it was a child that was maybe with a single parent (a mother figure) and that child had to stand up and protect the family and assume that responsibility from a very-very young age. And 8 child’s typical experience would be an environment where it was eat-or-be-eaten, survival of the fittest. And they’ve often felt that they need to protect younger siblings either because the parents were addicts of some kind or a single parent who was just working terribly hard. But at some point that child thought he could not be vulnerable. Because to be vulnerable means to get hurt – so I’ll have to be tough and I’ll have to be strong – and that will be their experience in life. And as an adult they’re probably really protective over not only their family, especially their family I would imagine the Italian mafia type, but also their team? They’ll see life as you’re either for me or against me. Right. When they disintegrate they depersonalise people, people become objects, when they’re unhealthy. When they’re healthy then yes, they would be very protective. You’ve just used a term which I think needs expanding on: the integrated personality type and the disintegrated personality type. Yes. That goes across all, it’s basically when we’re emotionally healthy or we’re acting from a reactive point of view as opposed to our higher sense of self. We’re going to through all the different personality types just now but just to add there are not only nine personality types – there’s 9 with an 8 wing or 9 with a 1 wing?
Correct. Just to go back one step. When you’re talking about the personality type you’re talking about they’re either healthy or unhealthy and then you can explain what it means when they are healthy (integrated) and when they are disintegrated and possibly where you can get evilness come out of someone. I think the healthy part is where they have worked through their fixation. So with an 8 it would be lust, I need everything now and I’ve got to have what I want. It’s when we learn to let go of our personalities really and operate from a higher sense of self that we become healthier. And it’s when we get more and more fixated into our wounding that we become unhealthy. And learning about the enneagram is learning about yourself and where you’re at. Absolutely, which makes it a very humbling process because most of us like to think that we’re incredibly integrated and wonderfully healthy and we are truly great. The reality dawns when you start seeing your behaviour and you realise, ‘Hold it here! I’m doing that and that’s not a wildly healthy thing’. Yes. Because we become, like a Type 1 would become fixated that their doing the right thing is the right thing and therefore it makes them a little more superior to everyone else, when in fact it’s become fixation. And the difference is once you move into integration is normally a conscious choice. Because sometimes it’s so nice to slip back into that disintegrated state so if you’re a 2, just blame everyone it’s so nice to blame everyone. So move beyond that and say, ‘You know what? I’m going to accept responsibility here. I’m going to stop blaming the world for everything that’s happened to me’ is an enormous growth in personality. Right. But we don’t always necessarily enjoy the process. Correct. It can be very humbling especially in an office setting when the whole team is sitting there and they start recognising, ‘Ah! This one’s an 8. This one’s a 4’. And you have to actually own all traits of that personality type. Indeed but I think the idea is not say, ‘Ah-ha!’ The idea is to have compassion for the way that person sees life. But the ‘ah-ha’ might be, ‘That’s why you do what you do!’ Absolutely. I’m talking endearingly. I think it is because I think all of us tend to think everyone should behave the way we do because obviously we’re so amazing and then when people don’t behave that way we start making them wrong. Yes. And I think what the enneagram’s done for me is it’s allowed me to see nine different ways of dealing with life – and all of them are valid. And so, there’s no one number that sits higher than any of the other numbers. I’d love you to talk about the lemon example that you’ve used in our course, explaining all the different personality types. You can take the enneagram across; you know dogs have enneagram numbers, people have enneagram numbers, and presidents have enneagram numbers. I play with it sometimes and that saying, ‘when life gives you lemons make lemonade’. So I took it through the enneagrams. A Type 1 would say, ‘Right. What’s the best way/? What’s the right way to make lemonade so that we don’t use too many lemons and we ease up on the sugar because that’s not a good-ethically thing to do to eat a lot of sugar?’ That would be the 1. A 2 would say, ‘Hey! Let’s just make loads of lemonade and give it to all the poor thirsty kids in the world’. A 3 would say, ‘Wow! We’ve got a marketing opportunity here. We add a little bit of vitamin C. Put it in a nice package. Hey! We’ve got a super-boost drink here that’ll fly’. A 4 would say, ‘You know, I wonder whether the lemons suffer when they get picked off the trees? And I feel like that lemon just plucked from life’. And a 5 would say, ‘I think we should research this so that we can find out the chemical properties of this. And it will take me a while but I’ll get back to you’. A 6 would say, ‘Hmmm… should I make lemonade or maybe I should make lemon curd, lemon meringue pie… let me just phone my friend and see what they think we should make’. A 7 would say, ‘Yeeha! I’ve got some lemonade. Let’s add some vodka. We’ll do some shots here. We’ll create a new cocktail and we’ll party!’ And an 8 will say, ‘Get some of the staff to make some lemonade please.’ And a 9 would say, ‘Ya, I’d like to make lemonade but it could be a bit of an effort… Oh well, let’s just get some water and throw a slice of lemon in it.’ Okay. That’s a beautiful summary of an enneagram. And you’ve written a book about the enneagrams, so I’d love to have you back in another episode and we can get into this a bit more. Thank you very much. Thank you so much, Ann.