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The Deceitfulness of Good- Why your passion is a big fat liar!

Deception has been around since the beginning of time. In the biblical narrative, in the book of Genesis, it says…”When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable (good) for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. The man said, “The woman you put here with me — she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” Then the lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

How can we be deceived by things that are good? As is always the case, by examining our motives.

Let’s consider the word “passion” and why it’s behind deception.

In the traditional sense of the word, passion is a strong or extravagant fondness, enthusiasm, or desire for doing something.

That sounds good, right?

If you know anything about Enneagram Type 7s (hello, it’s me) you know we are passionate folk! And by passionate I mean up for all things exciting! Enthusiasm drives us! Type 7s have a never ending list of great ideas we are passionate about (and half finished projects as proof.) So, when I signed up for a workshop where we were going to discuss the passion of each Enneagram type, a workshop that could help me discover my true passion, it felt like a life raft that would save me from my floundering self…to guide me safely to shore. Ahoy, I’m on board!

I could not has been any more off course when I signed up for this workshop. In fact, what I would learn would take me in the opposite direction of where I thought we were headed. Passion, in the context of the Enneagram, is from the Latin word ‘pati’ which means ‘to suffer.’ To further explain, our passions are emotional patterns,” “emotional fixations” or an “exaggerated state of the heart” that controls and drives many of our behaviors.” The passion becomes problematic when we let it steer the ship without our conscious awareness.

We cannot change what we cannot name. In naming our passions, what causes suffering we can learn to chart our own clear course and navigate the waters with intention…to find our True North.

Enough ship-chat. Let’s name the passion for each type.

The Passion of an Enneagram type 1s is Anger. Type 1s are often called the Reformers and hold themselves to very high standards which is a good quality, right? The deceitfulness of the passion is that it is good to be conscientious and ethical, with a strong sense of right and wrong. But being angry, in the mind of a type 1, goes against what seems to be good and ethical so type 1s resist showing anger. When others don’t seem to hold the same standards of goodness, that anger that they resist builds. But 1s are even harder on themselves so that anger turns inward if they believe they haven’t lived up to their own standards. The relentless demand of the inner critic to be good and do good at all times and to set the standard for what is good, replaces personal needs and shuts down feelings which, if left unobserved, will come out in the form of resentment. The suffering will subside when type 1s allow themselves to be fully human which includes, being angry at times. Surrendering to Anger leads to Serenity.

The Passion of an Enneagram type 2 is Pride. Type 2s are often called the Helpers. Pride seems opposite of what we see in type 2s who are so giving of their love, their time, seeming to know everyone else’s needs and ready to help fill those needs. In fact, they are so focused on others that they take pride in denying their own needs. It seems good to be servant-hearted but when they resist acknowledging they have needs they are pridefully denying others the gift of service as well as believing they, themselves, are the source of what others need. The suffering will subside when type 2s allow themselves to be fully human which includes, having needs of their own. Surrendering to Pride leads to Humility.

The Passion of an Enneagram type 3 is Self-deceit. Type 3s value not only being successful but also been seen by others as successful. They are often called “shape shifters” because they will take on the role of what they think others want them to be in order to be seen as successful or worthy. It seems good to be success-driven and even good to be adaptable but type 3s deceive themselves while they are, unconsciously, deceiving others all in the name of the greater good…the end goal. The suffering will subside when type 3s allow themselves to be fully human which includes, allowing themselves to be fully, authentically themselves. Surrendering to Self-deceit leads to Truth.

The Passion of an Enneagram type 4 is Envy. This envy is a internal sense of a lack of being whole that stems from the belief that something about themselves is inherently missing. They tend to believe everyone else has that missing thing. They long for authenticity which leads to the desire to be seen as unique. Fours internalize the belief that they are unique because others have what they believe they are missing. Type 4s embody this feeling of deficiency so they seek value in experiences or work or in an idealized relationship. It seems good to be authentic and not conform but they resist knowing there’s nothing missing because they are so identified with that image. The suffering will subside when type 4s allow themselves to be fully human which includes, accepting each person is unique. Surrendering to Envy leads to Equnimity.

The Passion of an Enneagram type 5 is Avarice. In Enneagram language this type of ‘greediness’ it is not a desire for obtaining money or possessions but of amassing resources. Type 5s retreat inward and hoard their time and energy. This inward focus allows the Type Five ample time to focus on ideas and acquiring knowledge. Isn’t it good to know what you’re talking about — to gain knowledge and to not just throw your time and energy away? It can absolutely be good but this desire to hoard these resources can spiral into worry that if they share too much of themselves, they won’t have enough left. Resisting authentic connection for fear of being depleted makes it difficult to build intimate relationships. As they pull back from external connections, they also become detached from their emotional self. The suffering will subside when type 5s allow themselves to be fully human which includes, accepting they will never know everything but that there is an endless supply of resources. Surrendering Avarice leads to Openness.

The Passion of an Enneagram type 6 is Fear. Type 6s are sometimes referred to as ‘the loyalist.’ — great people to have on your team, right? Type 6s are so adept at anticipating what could go wrong in any situation that they are constantly, subconsciously, looking for where danger could be lurking or what problems might occur. They are cautious and security-oriented which are good traits. But they can become so focused on what could go wtong that they become suspicious and filled with self-doubt. So what seems good can become paralyzing. The suffering will subside when type 6s allow themselves to be fully human which includes, accepting you cannot be prepared for every unknown that will happen but that you are still capable of handling what arises in life. Surrendering Fear leads to Courage.

The Passion of an Enneagram type 7 is Gluttony. In this context it’s a almost insatiable craving to experience all wonderful opportunities life has to offer. Type 7s see the positive in most things and are typically focused on being joyful and happy. Their deepest fear is being trapped in emotional pain so they try to avoid anything that causes pain or sadness. In fact, they see their worth is in being the positive person. It seems good to look for the positive, to be Joyful, to not dwell in pain so they resist what is actually before them in the present and deny the experience of pain or grief. This also makes them emotionally unavailable to anyone else who might need them in time of grief. In doing so, they disconnect from their heart and body, rationalize away the pain and escape to a place in the future where there is no sadness. But that place doesn’t actually exist and instead of feeling full, they are left feeling a hunger and emptiness through what appeared to be good. The suffering will subside when type 7s allow themselves to be fully human which includes, experiencing suffering. Surrendering Gluttony leads to Sobriety (the freedom to savor and be satisfied.)

The Passion of an Enneagram Type 8 is Lust. In this context, lust isn’t just about sexuality although it can include it. This type of lust is an intensity in whatever they do. They take the initiative and make things happen! They see the world as unjust and power imbalanced so they feel they need to dominate so they are not controlled. Type 8s are the most assertive type in the enneagram. They want to be self-reliant, to prove their strength and resist weakness, to be important in their world. 8s are often referred to as “the protector” and champions for the underdog. That sounds so good! But in their attempt to control and not be controlled they lose touch with vulnerability seeing it as weakness so they resist letting their feelings be seen. Make no mistake, though type 8s have deep feelings but keep up the powerful façade so they won’t be hurt. The suffering will subside when type 8s allow themselves to be fully human which includes, letting others experience the emotional, vulnerable side of themselves. Surrendering Lust leads to Innocence (a state of being when you let go of judgment, control, blame and expectation that things should go as you think they should).

The Passion for Enneagram Type 9 is Sloth. In this context Sloth is a sense of inertia to yourself —a falling asleep to your own passions, abilities, desires, needs, and worth by merging with others. Type 9s are called the ‘peacemakers’ because they strive to maintain peace both internally and externally. This means avoiding conflict at all costs which sounds truly good. You will often read about type 9s’ desire for Peace and Harmony like they are one and the same but they are not. Type 9s would love to live in harmony with the world but settle for no conflict. The tendency is to go along with others to avoid not having peace. Type 9s often make great mediators because they have an ability to see all sides of a situation. However, resisting your own needs to accommodate others’ will result in unhealthy relationships — maybe even a codependent relationship. Avoiding conflict with others keeps 9s from being fully present in relationships. Avoiding internal conflict leads to inertia and self-forgetting. When so much of their focus is on others, there isn’t a lot of energy to take care of yourself. 9s can become passive-aggressive and resentment builds because they have so much to contribute to the world but taking on the role of the peacemaker keeps them from taking action to their own desires. The suffering will subside when type 9s allow themselves to be fully human which includes, understanding conflict is inevitable and denying their own emotions, passions, abilities, desires and needs does not equate to peace. Surrendering Slothfulness leads to Right Action (waking up to how important they are and learning to assert their own priorities.)

What you resist, persists. What you accept, transforms.

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