Enneagram SEVEN Detail
SEVENs love adventures and travel, because here and now is always boring, painful, and insufficient. Unfortunately, when they get there, it’s always a disappointment, too. So they have to up the ante and plan something even more exciting. But none of it truly makes them happy down deep. So they may move toward addiction. Their compulsion is gluttony, or over-indulgence; their motto is, “More is always better!”
SEVENs feel that the full spectrum of life is limited by pain; so they plan escapes into imagination. Sevens once lived in a world of “enoughness,” an inner world of satisfaction and essence. SEVENs usually admit to an early kind of fantasy world where all was explained and had meaning and grounding. When this security was threatened, perhaps by traumatic childhood experiences, they decided on a one-sided response: “I will make it all positive and no negative.”
They are always upbeat; they use imagination to soften reality. The mundane feels boring; they want to savour anything and everything. They have trouble bringing tasks to completion because they get boring. They tend to have a selective remembrance of the past which they consider positive. They have a desire for constant adventure; they certainly don’t want to get stuck in anything boring. For them, commitment is difficult. They are great at brainstorming, but get bogged down with details.
The need in the SEVEN is to avoid pain. They are masters of denial: “I will not admit, own, or participate in the dark side of anything. I will keep smiling, and I will make the best of it.” SEVENs radiate joy and optimism. The SEVEN is the “eternal child.” But the merriment of the unredeemed SEVEN is the result of their fear of facing pain and a tool of their instinct for self-preservation. SEVENs love infinite horizons and keeping their options open. They unconsciously avoid committing themselves too deeply to someone or something, because in depth, they always see pain lurking. Besides, in commitment, their own limits might become visible—and that too would be painful. They have a hard time settling down in a relation; they can make relationships lively, and are good companions; in relationships, they can be con artists; others feel ditched when the dream is not carried out.
The beginning of conversion for the SEVEN may be something dark or painful that they initially refuse to deal with. Usually, it means the facing of pain that they cannot avoid, such as the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, or the failure of health. Then they may finally recognize that much of their life has been characterized by running from pain. At that point they begin to grow up. Like St. Francis, who was a SEVEN, they actually learn to dive right into it instead of running from it.
Stressed SEVENs regress toward the negative side of ONEs: they become obsessed with order and perfection, and set very high standards for themselves and for others. Then they issue harsh judgments with they or others fall short. SEVENs may adopt ONEs’ black-and-white thinking, think they have all the answers, and blame others for their bad fortune. They can also experience mood swings.
Healthy SEVENs move to FIVE; they slow down from frenetic activity, and create space for further investigation, actual planning and following through. As their comfort level increases for alone time, SEVENs can explore their inner life, including negative feelings.
Mature SEVENs want more meaning; they want to answer the question: what does commitment mean? If they hold fast to experience pain and sadness, they learn to live with the paradox of life. When they focus only on the positive of life, they limit themselves.
The gift of redeemed SEVENs is sober and deeply grounded joy in the face of and despite all the difficulties of life. Healthy SEVENs find a deep self-acceptance when they discover they are accepted by God and by significant others, not only for their radiant side, but for their entire being.
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.