One of the most common and most important questions I get about the Enneagram is "How do you become your type?" Well, that's a big question that has an even bigger answer. There are many Enneagram experts that have many theories. All I can give you is my story.
Let me take you back to the very beginning. And I mean beginning. I was the first grandchild on my mother's side of the family. This is the family we were closest to and ended up spending the most amount of time with. Not only was I the first grandchild but I was born on St Patricks Day. That was a big deal since my mom's family is Irish. So you could say I was the "golden child" the minute I left the womb.
The expectations and attention I received went deep and filled a place in my soul. I was the pretty one, the good girl, the one who could do no wrong. So, when I did, I would be crushed with shame. I didn't live up to the expectations of the family to represent them as perfect, charmed, and having it all together. As much as I loved the attention, I hated the rejection even more. I would hide my mistakes, lie about doing wrong, and pretend that I was perfect until I couldn't anymore.
Fast forward to high school where I was rebelling, sneaking, and stealing because I could no longer meet people's expectations and decided to give up and go the opposite direction. But you know what? It still filled that place that needed attention, acknowledgment, and acceptance, just in a negative way. In my brain, it translated the same.
This lasted until after I was married a few years and had my first child. That was my wake-up call. Giving birth to my beautiful baby girl was what I needed to wake me up from my shameful ways and gave me the desire to be the BEST mom to this little girl (and 3 others). But that also brought out unhealthy ways in me like overachieving, controlling, and needing to present my family as "picture-perfect". I wanted to be seen as a role model of motherhood and not as a mess. I made sure my girls had their hair done and wore matching clothes when we went to church. We chose the best way to educate them, homeschooling, and mentored many moms to be their best.
Again I struggled to keep up the facade and live up to the image I portrayed. My girls started doing their own thing and making their own decisions (as they should). But the way we were taught to parent was to train them up in the way (we) wanted them to go and they would turn out perfect. Now, I am so proud of all my girls and they have all turned out wonderful. Just different than I had thought. But it is hard to watch them make decisions and choices you would rather them not make because of the consequences. But they need to learn their own lessons and walk their own path.
So it was about 6 years ago that I found something to give me the language to my inner thoughts. To explain how I saw the world, to show me when I was going down that path of attention-seeing and people-pleasing. The Enneagram has been my game-changer. It has not only helped me grow into the woman I am today but has helped me become more "Me". I wish I could say it's been easy, it hasn't. It's been hard and humbling work but I'm so glad I did it.
So, to answer the question, "how do you come up with your type?", the answer is, only you know. No one can tell you. But there is a tool that can help you understand who you are and why you do what you do. You aren't just a number or type, you are uniquely you and no one and nothing can change that. But you can learn how to get to know yourself, accept yourself and communicate who you are authentically.
What is your story? Do you know how to communicate it in a way that is true and helpful? Using the Enneagram as a guide can help you rediscover your story and equip you to write it till the end. Let me show you how.
P.S. Can you guess what type I am? Reply with your thoughts.
Author, Speaker, Life Coach
Accredited Enneagram Practitioner
I believe all women have the potential
to have the life they truly want.