The Enneagram Types As Fictional Characters

One of the things I like to do when studying personality types is find examples of the different types in fictional characters. It helps each type make more sense to me if I have some example to link it to. While I was reading The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile, I started having fictional characters come to mind as I was reading. The types “clicked” as I realized I understood them well enough to relate each to a fictional character.

Much has been written in books and online about the numbers on Enneagram, and today’s post is not going to re-tread that ground with complete profiles of each Enneatype. I’m just going to give a brief example of each type using a fictional character that I think is a good example of that type. I’m still an Enneagram beginner, so don’t take everything I say as the definitive view on the Enneagram. But I hope to give a overview for others who, like me, are trying to get a better sense of how the Enneagram shows up in real life using examples of fictional people. I’ll be quoting from the book I mentioned earlier as well as type profiles from The Enneagram Institute®.

Ones — Steve Rogers

These types are perfectionists who follow rules to the letter and are deeply committed to the concept of fairness. They tend to believe that their way is the right way and they’re very sensitive to criticism (both from other people and from their harsh inner critic). Ones have a mind that naturally compares things and makes value judgements, but as The Road Back To You points out, they tend to be shocked that other people see them as critical. They’re “The Rational, Idealistic Type: Principled, Purposeful, Self-Controlled, and Perfectionistic” according to The Enneagram Institute. Read more

Why Type Fictional Characters?

I love typing fictional characters. Partly it’s the same part of me that enjoys studying English literature in an academic setting. I like analyzing stories and character motivations, and writing deep-dives into why something works the way it does. It’s also partly about my interest in typology. I like thinking about how Myers-Briggs® types show up in actual people and fictional characters can provide a nice way to analyze that.

It’s this second reason that starts to get at why I think it’s useful as well as entertaining to type fictional characters. Discussing the personality types of fictional characters gives us a chance to exercise our typology skills without running the risk of wrongly interpreting real people’s motivations. My friend might not appreciate me micro-analyzing their every word and action to figure out what their type is but Tony Stark, Scarlett O’Hara, and Luke Skywalker don’t mind.

Typing fictional characters also lets us use them as examples when we’re describing personality types. One of the first questions my mom always asks if I’m talking about a specific type is, “Do I know any of them?” Sometimes I can give her an example of someone she knows in real life but more often I’ll use a fictional character as an example. They’re a great way for us to see examples of how a single type can look in different for different people based on their individual preferences and personal background. And it also shows that we can relate to people even if they don’t share a type with us (such as the INFJs I’ve talked with who relate to ISFJ Cinderella).

This brings us to the reason for today’s post. I ran out of time to write a full-length post for Tuesday this week because I was working on a post for my other blog, Star Wars Personalities. Susan Storm asked me to guest post about the Myers-Briggs® types of Star Wars characters, and I got that post done with plenty of time to spare (I’ll share a link with you when she publishes it). But then I got distracted writing a full-length post about Princess-General Leia Organa’s personality type. Here’s the link if you’d like to click over there and read it.

 

“I Feel There Is Something Missing in Me” — The Wounding Message of Enneagram 4s

I’ve been trying to study the Enneagram for several years now. I’ve read highly recommended books by Helen Palmer, Don Richard Riso, and Russ Hudson but for some reason none of them really made sense. I mean, I got what they were saying and it seemed like a useful system but I didn’t feel like I understood it well enough to actually use it in my life and especially not in relating to other people.

This latest Enneagram book I’ve tried is one that my first counselor recommended over a year ago. I’ve finally been able to get it through a digital library (didn’t want to buy it if it would just sit unused on the shelf like all my other Enneagram books). I haven’t quite finished it yet, but what I’ve read is enough to know The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile is the best Enneagram book I’ve read (please note this is an affiliate link, which means if you click on the book title and make a purchase I’ll receive a small commission at no additional cost to you).

I’ll be talking in more general terms about the Enneagram in later posts, but today I wanted to share a personal story. I know my enneatype is 4w5, but until now that knowledge as been more depressing than helpful. Myers-Briggs® types tell you how your mind works. We can talk about healthy and unhealthy versions of each type, but overall it’s usually a fairly neutral description. Your Enneagram tells you how you’re broken. It talks about your deadly sin, your childhood wounding message, and your core fears. To me, it seemed overwhelmingly negative. Read more

Are You a Vanishing INFJ? Here Are 5 Tips for Keeping in Touch With People When You Want to Withdraw

One of my most popular posts on this blog is one I wrote back in 2016 called “The Vanishing INFJ.” Not only does it get quite a bit of traffic, but I’ve heard from several INFJs who contacted me specifically about the idea of them “vanishing.” It’s often something they hadn’t realized about themselves, but recognized immediately when they read my article.

Many INFJs have a tendency to drop out of contact with people. We get distracted by the world inside our own heads and might cancel plans, respond very briefly to communication attempts, or ignore other people entirely. Some INFJs might do this very rarely, other quite frequently. It depends on a variety of factors, including the INFJ’s priorities, maturity, personal growth, and how much social energy they have left after dealing with the people they come in contact with each day.

As an INFJ, you might think it’s perfectly normal to go months without contacting someone. You might not even notice it if you’re used to retreating inside your head for long periods at a time. Or perhaps you do notice it, but you worry about intruding on others and so you don’t like to reach out first. Maybe this time your vanishing is prompted by some outside influence, such as the social distancing regulations designed to help stop the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

As you become aware of your tendency to “vanish,” you might also notice that it can have a negative effect on your relationships. Assuming these are relationships you value, you’ll want to find ways of keeping in touch with the people you care about and not letting your “vanishing” get in the way. Here are five tips for keeping in touch with people even when you’d be more comfortable withdrawing.

1) Give Yourself Alone Time

This may seem a weird place to start a list of tips for keeping in touch with people. After all, “alone” is the opposite of keeping in touch. It’s one of the things that happens when you vanish.

INFJs are introverts, however, and that means we need a certain amount of introvert time. One of the reasons we may want to vanish is because we’re burned-out and need some time to recharge. Before you try to push yourself to reach out to others, make sure you’re taking care of yourself as well. Read more

Hey Guys, “Sensitive” Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Means

What do you think of when you hear the word “sensitive”? Chances are, some of the first words that come to mind are things like “weak,” “overly-emotional,” or “unmanly.” Even if your first thought isn’t negative, you probably still don’t think of words like “strong,” “masculine,” or “courageous.”

I’m using words like “unmanly” and “masculine” because today, I want to talk about sensitivity in men. At this point, you might be wondering why a female blogger is writing about how men think about sensitivity. Even with this outside perspective, I’ve seen how cultural definitions of sensitivity affect the men in my life. And even though the way that other men view sensitive men matters a great deal, how women view sensitive men also matters.

When Brené Brown started studying shame and vulnerability, she did not interview men for the first four years. Then at a book signing, a man came up to her and said this:

“You say to reach out and tell our story, be vulnerable. But you see those books that you just signed for my wife and my three daughters? They’d rather me die on top of my white horse than watch me fall down. When we reach out and be vulnerable, we get the shit beat out of us. And don’t tell me it’s from the guys and the coaches and the dads because the women in my life are harder on me than anyone else.” (from Brené Brown’s “Listening to Shame” TED talk).

This man wasn’t talking about high sensitivity but I think a lot of men (including those who are highly sensitive) can relate. Our culture puts unreasonable expectations on men for how they handle anything that makes them seem vulnerable, because for them “vulnerability” (much like sensitivity) is considered weakness. That perspective really needs to change.

Also, if you’re still thinking this post would benefit from the addition of a man’s perspective, I agree. You can read a couple articles like that here: “The World Needs Highly Sensitive Men Now More Than Ever” by Ted Zeff and “The Double Whammy of Being a Highly Sensitive Man” by Quentin Stuckey.

Read more

How To Start A Deeper Conversation With Each Myers-Briggs® Personality Type

This pandemic might have us stuck at home and/or keeping our distance from other people. But that doesn’t mean we have to go without conversation. We humans are social creatures, and even the introverts need other people sometimes. And so we head online to talk with people on social media, or pull out our phones and call a friend, or join one of the Zoom hang-outs that people are organizing to stay in touch. If we’re still leaving our homes, we might have the chance to talk with customers and co-workers in-person as well.

But what do you talk about?

Assuming you want to move beyond the weather and other small-talk, then you’ll need to find a topic that the other person is interested in as well. When trying to draw others into conversation, it can help to know what things different personality types like to talk about.

I recently published two posts about how to tell which Myers-Briggs® type you’re having a conversation with: How Do You Know If You’re Talking with a Feeling or a Thinking Type? and How Do You Know If You’re Talking with an Intuitive or a Sensing Type? Figuring out which personality type someone has is going to involve talking with them quite a bit, so if that’s part of your goal then you’ll already be having a conversation with. Once you know someone’s type, or have a good guess which type they might be, then knowing how to start a deeper conversation with each personality type can help you move past small-talk to connecting on a more meaningful level. Read more