8 to 5

My writer friend, Leigh, offered me a great opportunity to find out more about myself via the Enneagram. Richard Rohr has written a book about it. I’m going to check it out.

I love psychological tests and personality studies. I did lots of psych work in my graduate program and I would like to study much more, if I ever jump off the cliff and get my Ph.D.

Anyway, this ancient, contemplative model was so interesting to me. I have pegged myself and seen some of the work God has managed to do in me ( kicking and screaming at times) and I have figured out my friends and relations a bit as well. The great thing about this model is that it helps me to see how to better relate, communicate and see growth in myself and other folks. It examines our dark sides as well as our public personas. Very helpful.

Here is a link to a summary of each perspective/type if you want to see about yourself. Shauna Niequist wrote this helpful summary.

When I was younger, before I went through too much hell, much self-inflicted, I was clearly an 8. Obviously an 8- the Challenger – “the need to be against.” Think of the unredeemed 8 as the prototype for military dictator, mob boss or drug dealer.  Mind you, I looked like a 3, on the outside.  But inwardly and in effect, I was tyrannical in so many ways. Mean, adamantly opinionated, argumentative and angry would have described me fairly.

Thankfully, so much of that hell has been beaten out of me by Life.

But, Life  was at work and now I’m clearly a 5, which can also be crazy, aloof,  egotistical and arrogant, but not nearly so mean.

Most of my immature, horrible 8 traits have been redeemed or I have been delivered, pick your preferrable theological model. I can now maturely do the things 8’s are made to do, defend the weak, question the models, ask ugly questions nicely, and be confident in myself.

However, I am an in process 5. Investigator – “the need to perceive.” 5 is where I see most of  my present weaknesses. Shauna explains, “They (5’s) are motivated by the need to know everything and understand the universe, to be self-sufficient and left alone, and to avoid not having the answer or looking foolish. ( This could/should be on my tombstone.) They fear being useless, incapable or incompetent…They walk into a room and ask,” What information do I need to understand the environment?” They collect thoughts, ideas, silence, and personal space…” It goes on and on painting a picture of me.

In so many ways these and other descriptors ( distant, cool, arrogant, critical, negative) of this type linger in me.

I have all the strengths of 5 except the analytical part. But, 5, Investigator,  is definitely how I deal with and relate to people and what matters most to me – space, independence, etc. I don’t push people around any more, but I still watch them carefully and knowledge has become the bulk that has replaced my sheer soul power. But, I trust that knowledge less and my ability to “hold” truth less than I did. My fairly recent and purposeful forray into the contemplative discipline and mysticism, long discouraged or demonized in my youth, has definitely helped to lift so much of that soulish dependence from me. The mystical/contemplative orientation has given me a peaceable place to ask questions. I much prefer it to debate and conflict with other people. Ideas in conflict intrigue me,  conflict with people scares me.

{If my very healthy husband, Rob, were to proceed me in death, I might just join a convent. I’d be a great nun. REALLY. I like everything about that lifestyle, the quiet, I love to pray. I love community meals ( My favorite food is whatever anyone else cooks.) I loved living in a dorm setting. I like beautiful grounds and little personal space to be responsible for maintaining. I like libraries and writing and teaching. Come on, you know I would make a great nun. My great aunt is one. When it gets so crazy at my house full of kids and their schedules and friends, I’m sometimes a little jealous of Sister Mary.}

So, somehow the circumstances of my twenties/thirties worked mucho hell out of my person as a Challenger. Maybe the trials and gains of my forties are to work me free of the shortcomings of the Investigator. Let’s all hope so.

God, Great Redeemer, make change in my life come.

God, My Deliverer, move me out and on.

What are you?
(If I know you well, I have probably already run the model on you, knowledge junkie that I am.)


Filed under observation

5 responses to “8 to 5

  1. Luke

    what’s my number?

  2. So interesting that you moved from an 8 to a 5. I find the whole thing to be fascinating, the theology behind it and how people figure out what type they are and so on. Thanks for sharing and for linking back!

  3. PJ

    Richard Rohr, I’m interested just from his interest.

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