In our last Insight I introduced you to the Inner Triangle that illuminates our universal (shared) human story, where we all started and how we get to where we are now. It is an important part of the Enneagram symbol as it explains how and why we lost track of our Gifts and replaced them with our Defensive Strategy, as well as how and why we can let go of our Defensive Strategy and reconnect with our Gifts. The Inner Triangle follows the journey we start early in life and one we will continue on until our dying day. This journey unfolds in two parts; today we begin with the first part, beginning at point 9 where we first lose track of ourselves.
The term the Enneagram uses for this losing track is “falling asleep” to ourselves. This term highlights what we will do, unaware, here at point 9. This all begins sometime in our first four years of life. You see, we arrive in the world open and vulnerable, intellectually unaware, but holding qualities that come naturally to us (our Gifts.) Our initial vulnerability includes an assumption that we’ll be welcomed and seen as we are, especially in our gifting. We eventually run into experiences in which we’re not seen or welcomed and experience pain and fear as a result. It is simply too scary to be overlooked or misunderstood at this stage in life therefore our sense of security is affected. If this happens too often, we are compelled to find a solution to ensure the seeing and welcoming we require. It will come down to tweaking, in some way, how we have interacted (which has up to this point been driven by our Gifting). As we tweak our Gifts, we are essentially developing their replacements, our Defensive Strategies- behaviors meant to help relieve the pain and fear we experience.
Our new tweaked strategy seems to work, we are grateful, and our pain and fear lessen. As this process repeats itself, we find ourselves moving further away from our Gifted behaviors through lack of practice. At the same time, we are building our Defensive Strategy.
It is important to keep in mind that this is happening when we are young… when there are limits on our knowledge and our options, but no limit on our need for the security that comes from being seen and welcomed. The creativity we demonstrate given these combined limitations, is admirable.
In the next Insight we will continue The Inner Triangle’s journey and find out what is next for us at Point 6.