The Enneagram is about accepting your blind spots. Actually seeing what is preventing you from a real life. For me it’s like taking my type and putting it aside a little bit. And see how is life like when my type is not running the show all the time. But I have to accept part of my type so I know what to put aside.
This blog post is a transcription of an online Enneagram meeting on Blind Spots hosted by Flemming Christensen. You can listen to the whole talk in the “Enneagram Insights Podcast – On Awareness, Presence and Relationships”.
Finding your blind spot
Finding your blind spot is actually what the Enneagram is all about.
The Enneagram is not about discovering patterns that you can relate to. That is just more attachment, more self-identification.
It’s just like having post-its sitting on you with all kind of traits and patterns about you.
But that game is not what the Enneagram is all about.
The Enneagram is about seeing how you stumble in life.
Seeing how you distract yourself in life.
So the Enneagram is telling you how do you distract yourself from what matters most in your life.
And things that matters most can of course be in your relationships. So your type will distract you to do what matters most in your relationships.
Or at work. Or in your spiritual life. Or with your friends. Or raising your child.
So and that would be the typical blind spots of the type that if you don’t see that blind spot – If you don’t accept that blind spot – then the Enneagram will not help you at all.
It will not make any sense, any meaning for you at all. So a blind spot is part of your personality that you cannot see, or maybe you don’t want to see it.
At least you haven’t accepted it fully.
If no accept no learning
It can be a limitation not to see your blind spots. But it can also be a way to survive.
It’s well documented in the health care system. If people do not accept how they’re ill. They cannot receive help. So if you have diabetes and you don’t want to accept the fact that you’re sick. It’s very difficult to get help.
It’s very difficult to have a conversation about there is something wrong with your health. So it can be healthy to look at the things that is real.
That is part of you. And have an opportunity to grow. If you don’t accept your blind spots and people are giving you feedback about it. And you won’t accept it. No learning.
So learning and growth and development will stop if you don’t accept.
Yeah maybe I’m hijacking all the conversations. Or maybe I’m avoiding anything emotional. Or if people are standing in their power: “I don’t like that.”
Yeah there’s a reason why you try to avoid it or you don’t like it.
And that would be what we call a blind spot.
Being blind can help you
I’ve also been looking into what if being blind could help you.
And there are several aspects of not accepting part of me that actually can be helpful.
So not knowing that I cannot dance. That’s me. I think I can dance but everybody around me tells me – ah not really.
But I like to keep that blind spot.
And as a type 3 I have achieved a lot of things in my life. I started up a lot of businesses. I have a lot of freedom in my life. So it had given me something. Not accepting it. And now when I kind of work on accepting my blind spots.
It’s like new openings arrive. New ideas.
New ways of living my lives. That is for me even better. But while I was blind, I was kind of okay.
Protection in being blind
If we go into a more serious area. People that had been in concentration camps. It’s very well documented that they are not too much into therapy.
And maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe that’s a way to protect myself. So there are things that we could look at. There are things that maybe we should look at.
There are things that we should accept. Maybe there are things that we should not accept. I don’t have the answer to that.
There are reasons why we are blind.
Why we do not want to accept. Why we don’t want to look at certain things. And maybe our time in our life that’s healthy. It will do us some good. It will help achieving or overcoming. Being in maybe hard and difficult situations.
Or maybe it will create learning and wisdom. And if it’s heavy traumas that is kind of preventing us to see and accept things.
Accepting your blind spots
So the reminder here is the Enneagram is actually about accepting your blind spots.
Actually seeing what is preventing you from a real life. For me it’s like taking my type and putting it aside a little bit. And see how is life like when my type is not running the show all the time.
But I have to accept part of my type so I know what to put aside.
I need to get a good, what to call, handle on my ego. I need to kind of express my ego a lot so I know that there is something that I have to put aside. So it has to be there. I have to be aware of it so I know how to work with it.
Overuse of core Human competencies
Your blind spot is often an overuse of your essential core human competencies.
So all of us have all the nine types.
So the type one in all of us. I know some people have more type one than others and we will kind of maybe call you a type one.
But for me, I see it as traits that we all have.
Type One: judgemental
And one of the blind spots for type one is being judgmental. Of course, we have all been that.
Not necessarily kind of, oh, then I’m a type one. No, we can do that. But I’m very, very good at judging.
And being a little low on the level, I know that I’m right. And I will take the freedom to use sarcasm to make you understand how awfully wrong you are. Maybe I will not use sarcasm.
Type Two: I´m trading
So let’s say type two. In all of us can go help people. Support people. We’ve all done that, of course.
So but my blindness as a type two is, hey, I’m not helping you. Really, I’m trading. I’m actually giving you something nice. And please give me something back. That could be a smile or recognition or not. Or I thank you.
I think you would work for me. So if I don’t see that I’m trading. If I’m a little down the levels, I have to see that I’m manipulating.
Because that’s what I do. And we all manipulate. If we open our mouth and talk, we are manipulating. Because we want other people to kind of get our message. So we are manipulating all the time. And this is a trade of type two to actually see and understand. That’s what I do.
Type Three: Points for achievements
Type three, we have all accomplished something. Yeah, we have all achieved stuff. Yeah, of course. We have all kind of made it in some way or another. We all probably have bought a book one day. Oh, I made it. I bought a book.
Or maybe you own a car. Maybe the bank owned the car. But anyway, maybe you have a car that you think is your own. But hey, we in this time of evolution, we all achieve something.
It’s part of the Western culture. So, of course. But the thing for type three to understand is that I do it to gain points. I want you to give me points for my achievements.
And the thing is, people don’t understand the self-image I have that I want you to recognize. It’s not easy to see, but I see myself as an elite sports person.
I’m absolutely not an elite sports person.
But I did a lot of athletics when I was young. And it’s kind of still a part of my self-image. So, it would be nice if people would recognize that I’m looking good.
Being almost 60, somebody could have said something or at least in the chat say, hooray, or at least something. That longing is a blind spot.
That I want you to guess what I would like to be recognized for. So, we could go all around the types and look into what are the blind spots. But that would actually be a list of things that you have to accept to even get started with your work on your type.
Blind spots are individual
And maybe if I made a list of 20 things about your type, that would be things that would be useful to accept. Maybe four or five of them would be useful for you and another four or five would be useful for another person. So, our blind spots are highly individual. And totally depending on when are you born.
My parents are born in Copenhagen, Denmark, Europe in 38 and 40. That means they were born at the start of World War II. And they grew up with scarcity and paying attention to resources. Of course, that is part of my life today.
So, that might color my blind spot. Maybe if you live in another part of the world where you have lost maybe a brother, an uncle, or a dad to one of the wars that’s been in your area for, I don’t know, the last 50 years.
That would probably impact your blind spot in your type. So, I’m the oldest son of three kids. That has for sure impacted me.
So, this type 3 has been impacted very differently from another type 3. So, the way you have to accept, work with, and integrate your blind spot is highly individual.
Leadership Blind Spots
Blind spots also come in different areas. We could also talk about leadership blind spots.
So, when you’re in the role of power, things change a little bit. Because it seems like when we have power, we are losing our empathy 40 times faster than not being in a role of power.
So, losing empathy, thinking that we can do something that we didn’t need to do before, or we don’t need to do something that we normally would do. That will impact the types.
And I’m not so much into the shadows, even if it’s shadow work still. But I’m moving us over to the types. So, each of the type in a position of power. I call them leadership.
But you can also be a doctor, a nurse, police officer, teacher, parent, where there is kind of a difference in the power over other people.
Here, the Enneagram will also be a very big help.
The thing is, if you lose your empathy towards others, it’s often because you lost it towards yourself. You don’t connect with a part of you that if you did, you would not do what you do. You would not say what you say towards others. You kind of feel how they’re actually doing. If you could connect with that part of you.
Receiving feedback about your blindness in a leadership position is not easy, because you won’t take it in. So, there’s a little something something that we should be aware of when we are looking at the leadership blind spots and working with them.
Because we would traditionally, we will not take in feedback. We would not be receptive to what other people would tell us.
Relationship blind spots
I have also discovered something that I call relationship blind spots.
A relationship blind spot is where I am convinced that my girlfriend Luise should do something or not do something, so I would feel loved.
And if I’m not awake, and if I don’t accept, hello, it has nothing to do with Luise. It’s old old patterns in me that I’m trying for her to heal. If I don’t accept, if I don’t see it,
I will actually try to make my partner or the supporter of things that I should kind of work on myself. Then, there are also collective blind spots. And that is often seen in teams and in cultures or in organizations. So, in families, cultures, teams, organizations, there are things that we accept are being done.
And we don’t act. We, for one reason or another, we think it’s okay. Or there might be a good reason for why things are happening as they’re happening.
Or we are afraid of losing our job if we react. But that’s still a blindness. So, it can be individually, it can be in power positions, in relationships, or collectively. And to work with your blind type, you need to know your blind spot.
The blind spot is, for me, so essential to the understanding of our type and the Enneagram itself.
That when we get the assumptions behind the blind spot, we get the whole Enneagram. If you understand the assumptions of the types, that would be their motives, their fears, their desires, their fixations, everything that drives an assumption,
you will understand type.
The Circle of Development
I spend a lot of time in my book “The Enneagram and Why Your Blind type matters” about this topic because I call it the circle of development that has four stages.
The first part is awareness, insights, I understand. Okay, now I understand my type.
The second part is acceptance.
The third part is practice learning.
And the fourth part is integration.
And a lot of people think that when we learn about the Enneagram: Let’s say I relate to type eight, then I hear, ah, type eight should learn from type two.
It’s about empathy. I should just do a lot of more empathy, vulnerability, trust, love and kindness and stuff. And I’ve never seen a type eight just because I heard about it, go out, do it. So we cannot go from step one to step three.
We have to pass step two, that is acceptance. So maybe I have to accept as a type eight that people are afraid of telling me the truth.
Oh, that could be painful. It could be even more painful. And that would be that my kids are afraid of me, so they will not tell me what’s going on in their lives. That would be painful.
So it would be one of those, oh, no moments. And that is very, very typical when we see what we have been blind to on purpose or unaware.
And maybe we will start in the beginning to defend ourselves. Yeah, my parents, you should have seen my parents. Of course, la, la, la, la, la, la. And you kind of find all your excuses. Or you could do a little typical type three thing.
But not all the time. I do it once in a while, not all the time.
Or type eight, if we tell them you’re a little too direct. So your honesty is a little hard.
Yeah, the truth is hard. So we will all find ways of defending ourselves, not really taking it in. But when we get it, wow, that will be one of those, oh, OK, I’ll get quiet for a little bit and sit with that.
When life disrupts
And sometimes we get the message after a divorce. Or a loss of someone.
Or after we’re kicked out of a job or something has disrupting our lives.
“That’s what my son has told me all my life.”
“That’s what my wife told me.”
“I’m so hard on them. I judge them, I punish them.”
Wow, maybe, oh, maybe it’s true. So there is this kind of really acceptance.
So then we have to accept.