Catherine Hayes

Enhancing our Relationships through the Enneagram

Profile ViolinI’m often asked how the Enneagram can be used to enhance our relationships. This is such an important aspect of working with the Enneagram. As we bring more awareness to our unconscious patterns and behaviors, we show up more authentically and are less reactive.

Understanding our Enneagram type brings more peace, openness and compassion to ourselves and others.

The more present we are in our lives, the more present we are in our relationships. When we operate from our ego, we are more reactive and tend to listen less consciously. Our focus is on ourselves and feeding our ego.

As we let go of our ego patterns and become more present to our experience, we bring more benevolence into our relationships and become more aware of our impact in relationships.

Understanding our Enneagram type also brings an understanding of how we deal with conflict or disagreements, which undoubtedly arise in relationships from time to time.

There are three main ways in which we approach conflict and the nine Enneagram types fall into one of the three approaches.

  • Positive Outlook (types 2,7,9)
  • Emotional Realness (types 4,6,8)
  • Competency (types 1,3,5)

The Positive Outlook types tend to bring in what’s working in the situation whether it’s a relationship, a business situation, or friendship. They focus on the foundation and history of the relationship and divert attention from the current conflict. None of this is with malintent and it is a necessary perspective.

For the Emotional Realness type, it’s about getting everything on the table … airing all of the differences and getting down to details of what is involved. They like to show all their cards and get everyone else to do the same.

With the Competency types, the focus is on getting things resolved so there is no focus really on what’s working or on getting everything on the table.

The truth is we need all three perspectives to resolve conflict. We need to look at what is working or has worked in the past.

We also need a willingness to look at what is actually happening in the present conflict.

Finally, we need to be committed to resolving the conflict.

When all three perspectives are operating, we can resolve conflicts peacefully and fully.

Understanding our Enneagram type allows us to see which perspective we tend to bring to conflict and an awareness that other perspectives are needed to bring the conflict to resolution.

The more we explore our own Enneagram type and have awareness of which type others fall into, the more able we are to navigate relationships and communication, particularly in times of conflict. This results in more peaceful, honest and compassionate relationships. The Enneagram is a wonderful lens through which we can enhance our relationships more fully.

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