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The Enneagram in Love and Work: Understanding Your Intimate and Business Relationshipsby Helen Palmer
Synopses & Reviews
Chapter OneOne — The Perfectionistpersonality bias essence qualitiesmental
subtype focus jealously
The One BiasWorldviewThe world is an imperfect place. I work toward perfection.Spiritual PathA preoccupation with error points to a search for "perfection. From a spiritual perspective, the child felt "anger at being separated from the perfect environment of essence. Anger is focused on violations of standards. The commitment to perfection is at stake. Anger disturbs the "serenity of being held in a perfectly balanced flow of events. "Resentment develops from seeing the difference between life as it is and how much better life could be. The Perfectionist strategy is a child's attempt to construct a perfect outer life both to cope with a critical world, and to protect the vulnerable sense of perfection. The search for perfection and a serene emotional life are both spiritual and psychological catalysts. The perfectionistic personality bias mimics the perfection of higher being.Concerns"Works toward perfection. Avoids error and evil.Self-denial causes anger. Unmet needs generate resentment.Finds an outlet for anger through correcting error and champi-oning social causes.Acts out anger in three key areas of life: JEALOUSY "in sexual or one-to-one relationships.
NONADAPTABILITY, "adopting rigid, inflexible social opinions.
ANXIETY (WORRY) "about personal survival. "Am I good enough to make it?""Looks for impeccable ethics as the mark of admirable character.Conscientious. Monitors ownactions.Think right. Moralistic thoughts block real feelings. Should, must, ought to.Do right. Admires the practical virtues: work, thrift, honesty, and effort.Be right. Has severe mental critic that judges own actions. Harshsuperego.Feels guilt about not meeting high internal standards.Dedicated worker. Work can block pleasure and shadow issueslike anger.Has difficulty reading the signals of anger. "I'm energetic today, not mad."Self-criticism reverses in self-defense to become critical of others.Worries about decisions. Afraid to make a mistake.This focus of attention supports ethical behavior. It can also lead to: One-right-way thinking, right or wrong, black or white. No grays.Has superb critical powers. Effective organizer and, analyst.Leads by example. Ethical policymaker who tries, to uphold stan-dards.Personality BiasWe're all familiar with the One mind-set because we adopt it when our values are questioned. When it's a question of integrity, we, like Ones, search carefully for the correct approach. Once established in the right, we feel invincible. We're in service, mistakes seem less important than the purity of the intent. We are suddenly kind to ourselves, because we see the value of our own efforts. It is an honor to dedicate oneself to something good.A life dedicated to perfection requires heroic effort. You can't help noticing when standards slip and no one else feels guilty. How can they ignore this? Have they no shame? The tension builds. Something has to be done. You start to see details slipping out of order. If others don't notice and you do, then you'll be held responsible. Your conscience goes wild when error is overlooked. I saw. I knew. I'm guilty." You can'tleave it alone. You feel compelled to fix it. You don't recognize the rising signals of anger. The tension feels entirely appropriate. Tension means that you're trying hard. You brace for greater effort.If focusing on error becomes automatic, self-observation stops. All you know is that you're working desperately hard, that you see loose ends everywhere, and you can't rest until it's finished. The scope of the task enlarges. More details appear. It's late. It's out of control. Your mind flogs you for being tired and helpless. It's maddening that other people don't care. You don't realize how angry you are until you hear the jagged edge in your voice and feel the fury spiking through your body.Anger leads to action. You can't hold back that shot of lightning. You know exactly what's wrong, because it's infuriating. Something perfect has been ruined. You can't keep quiet. You're too mad to care about overreacting. Attention locks on the right way to fix what's gone wrong, and anger fuels your conviction.Ones grow by knowing what they want instead of what would be right. They grow by relaxing, by letting pleasure in. You have a choice when you can read the natural signals of anger and watch your mind begin to focus on error.They can be helped in relationships by people who accept differences of opinion, who soften the one right way to perfection, and who are open to pleasure.Subtype Focus: Anger Affects Sexual, Social, and Survival AttitudesJealousy (Heat) in Sexual and One-to-One RelationshipsSexual jealousy is acted out in an angry, possessive way. Ones say it's a white-hot rage that seizes their guts if a relationship is threatened. A threat to sanctioned pleasure is maddening. "Howdare you take what's rightfully mine?" Ones have such difficulty in recognizing what they want, and in allowing themselves to have pleasure, that any threat to gratification feels like losing a lifeline. You've earned the right to be loved. You deserve sexual pleasure. You're angry at being compared with a rival. You want to be made right again. If you had been perfect, there would be no contest.This is permissible anger, based on the misconduct of associates or a mate. Jealousy quickly becomes obsessive. Your mind is besieged. You can't drop it. "This has to stop." You feel a compulsion to relieve the tension, an urgency to take action. You have to check up, you must go see, you have to know exactly who said what to whom.
The Ennegram is a remarkable personality typing system that defines nine types of people and how they relate. It also explains why we behave in the way we do by uncovering our unconscious motivations and deeply rooted influences. With vivid examples and insightful description, Palmer introduces the nine types — Perfectionist, Giver, Performer, Romantic, Observer, Trooper, Epicure, Boss, and Mediator — and illuminates each one's strengths, weakness, and potenials. Examining each type individually and in connection to other's, Palmer shows how all our relationships in love and work can thrive with a newfound understanding of our similarities and differences.
The San Francisco Chronicle bestseller--now in paperback. The wisdom of the Enneagram as it applies to our relationships in love, friendship, and work is explored in the latest book from Enneagram expert Helen Palmer. 14 diagrams.
About the Author
Helen Palmer conducts extended workshops, seminars, and training sessions on the Enneagram in the San Francisco Bay Area and around the country. She is the author of The Enneagram in Love and Work
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