Enneagram NINE Detail
The NINE sees all points of view, hates conflict, steps back to see the broader picture. In that the NINE is often indecisive. They can see advantages and disadvantages to all points of view. They are aware of others’ priorities. Their attention is often inverted. They have a hard time to know what’s important to them. It takes a lot for the NINE to show anger, who wants life to be comfortable, harmonious, accepting.
They often consider themselves simple and uncomplicated and present themselves accordingly. This makes dealing with NINEs easy. NINEs are honest; they have no hidden motives. They are very humble. They like to stay in the background and cultivate the self-image of not being anything special. Because NINEs don’t take themselves so seriously or demand attention, they are often overlooked by others—which does hurt them, although they seldom admit it.
NINEs are natural peacemakers. Precisely because they themselves often have no clear standpoint, they are capable of shifting to and accepting any standpoint whatsoever. They can understand both sides and bring them together under one umbrella. NINEs somehow harmonize all the conflicting energies present at a meeting. Perhaps it’s because their ego is not in the way. Perhaps it’s the peace of their body, refusing to be bothered by it all. It’s difficult for NINEs to push their own agenda because they may lose someone they love. Nonviolent resistance comes naturally to a NINE. They are natural mediators. Sometimes they grow up in the shadow of stronger figures whom NINEs try to reconcile. They are often seen as harmonizers because of their ability to see all sides, but it is also the fruit of their deep desire to avoid conflict almost at all costs, and their difficulty in making a decision. They can be great procrastinators.
NINE is the sweetest of types because of their ability to see everyone’s point of view. But they can equally stubborn. They can’t be hurried into making a decision. The NINEs are mid-point in the anger, or “gut,” triad EIGHT-NINE-ONE. So anger is present, but it’s an anger that has fallen asleep; NINEs tend to express their anger indirectly.
The NINEs once knew that it was all about love and everything was connected, operative, and effective. It was an effective and workable universe. When it appears this isn’t true, they give up; they stop trying to find any other pattern. “If love does not work, then it is basically an incoherent universe and I want out, or at least I refuse to cooperate.” NINEs are in the center of the gut triad. Their gut response to the shock wave of perception of a situation tends to be “Everything is just too much. I’m not going to feel it. I’m just checking out.” Their compulsion is called sloth or laziness, but it’s a description of their lack of focused energy. They spend their life taking the path of least resistance. They love to procrastinate and constantly need a fire lit under them. NINEs like to go with the flow.
Almost everything that approaches NINEs from the outside world is exhausting and draining. They spend their energy avoiding or deadening inner and outer conflicts and suppressing strong feelings. When they get to the point where they can no longer move at all, they absolutely need outside help in the form of love and attention. It works wonders for them, but it is only a start. The life task of NINEs consists in discovering and developing their feelings of self-worth and their own inner drive in order to become independent of continual outside impulses. What helps NINEs is to help them set up a schedule and have spouse hold them to it. Also, to ask them from time to time “what do you want?”
Unlike the energy-laden high tension of the other two “gut” types that bristle with passion and commitment to justice and a better world, NINEs are gentle prophets. Their peaceful radiance is disarming. They can work very effectively precisely because they are indirect. ONEs and EIGHTs frighten others away; people feel threatened by them. NINEs, by contrast, awaken trust so people are much more willing to work with them.
Stressed NINEs adopt dysfunctional SIX behaviour: this increases their anxiety. They become even more self-doubting and more frozen in place. They avoid decisions as much as they can. They can latch on to some outside conservative authority to provide structure, and follow their rules blindly.
Healthy NINEs adopt THREE behaviour, which helps them engage life. They can develop ambition, create realistic goals, and muster the energy to put it in motion. They can they go after the success they deserve. They learn to take risks, and overcome minor setbacks.
The conversion of the NINEs comes when they are taken seriously and placed inside a structure where they can see they are able to get things done—and that others love them and believe in them, as does God. Their gift, as always, is the opposite of their sin. It is decisive action like that of a healthy THREE. They know they must take their small and honest place in a very big plan. Then they can confidently do their part because they trust that they are being used in spite of themselves, as we all are.
If you feel this describes you fairly well, then click here to explore spiritual practices that might be best suited for your type. Otherwise, click here to return to the summary descriptors of the types.