Parenting Woes and Relationship Advice #01
“Dear Cindy, my wife is an Enneagram Type 2 and she has very low self-mastery. Her insistence on helping people can drive me up the wall at times! Please teach me what I could do to help her so that I could feel more sane too.”
Type 2s with low self-mastery tend to focus their energy on meeting the needs of other people. This usually stems from a deep desire to feel needed by others and is a very integral part of their identity. Therefore, it is not uncommon to see a low-self mastery Type 2 become very involved in the affairs of other people, regardless of whether their help was requested for in the first place. Sometimes, the people that receive their help might have actually received it out of sheer obligation and not wanting to disappoint the Type 2.
All these might have been unnoticed by a very well-meaning Type 2. This is possibly the kind of situation that would drive a spouse “up the wall” because he can see that people do not want the wife’s help at all. At times like this, you could guide your Type 2 wife to ease up on her helpful behaviour by using a strategy that we call “Reframing”. Help your Type 2 wife see that some times, by not offering help directly, she is actually indirectly providing even better help to the people in need. For example, a simple analogy would be, if a parent were to always help the child walk by hand-holding the child every step of the way, the child’s development in walking might have been delayed because he has been shortchanged of the chance to experience falling and picking himself up. That would be causing more harm to the child, rather than helping him. Another example would be, if we were to always help two siblings settle their arguments, left on their own, they would have never learnt how to independently resolve their conflicts amicably.
By reframing the situation for the Type 2, you would make it easier for your wife to back off from the situation of need and at the same time, keep your sanity in check!
“Dear Cindy, I find that my colleagues and friends regularly comment on my lack of emotion. They tell me that sometimes I could appear unfeeling and even cruel at times. But I am not! I do have feelings so why do I keep getting this kind of feedback?”
You are most likely an Enneagram Type 5. Type 5s usually have a very strong need to conserve their energy and protect their space. Energy here could refer to physical strength, mental and emotional capacity. Space could mean physical space or even space in time. Type 5s would usually perceive that there is a lack of these resources in their lives and would therefore make sure that as few people as possible have access to them.
This in return would make Type 5s seem rather unfeeling. For example, if there was a retrenchment exercise in the office, other types would have displayed certain levels of anxiety or worry. A Type 5, however, would show a markedly lower level of emotion because he does not want to “put a strain” on his resources (i.e. his emotions). His expression is more likely to be calm and even if he feels a certain level of anxiety, he would merely process it through his thoughts rather than reveal it in his emotions. Type 5s usually value logical thinking and rational, unemotional observation. This probably explains why your colleagues and friends have given you such comments.
In order to let hem know you have feelings too (only that you tend to think them, rather than show it in feelings), you could try to project those feelings more openly. One way to do this would be to talk about what you are feeling and use emotion related words in your description. For example, use more of words such as “mad”, “sad”, “glad”, “thankful”, etc. in your sharing. This would help people understand your emotions better. lso, you could also come up with a “template answer” that you could use to share these feelings whenever you think them. You can also add in a scale to rate from 0 to 10, how intensely you are feeling this way. This might make it easier for you to even begin sharing about feelings which Type 5s usually do not spend much time thinking about.