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The enneagram and grief: The griever with enneatype 7 (I)

In this post we continue to reflect on the influence that personality exerts on the response of an individual grieving the death of a loved one. This text continues the series of articles whereby we address this process from the perspective of each of the nine personality enneatypes contemplated by the Enneagram Theory.

As you may recall, the enneagram is a descriptive system of character formation, based on the phases of a child’s evolutionary development and on the fixations-blocks that occur in these stages. As a result of the failures in the bond regarding figures of reference. Enneatype 7 (E7) is fixed in the genital stage of development (just like E1, E2 and E8).

Characteristics of people with ennea type 7

Generally, the person with E7 feels helpless during their childhood, without protection or security. In these cases, the parent of the opposite sex is usually extremely authoritarian, so the most convenient thing for the E7 was to adopt a mild form of rebellion: passive rebellion. The parent is a figure that does not offer a fair guide: it is suffocating, possessive and seductive, and replaces love with privileges and whims. The child clings to them so as not to connect with the frustration of their unattended essential needs, paying the price of showing passive complicity. In turn, the parent of the same sex, self-impaired or absent, has not served the child as gender identification.

To escape the lack of protection and filial mistrust, the child carries functions or responsibilities that do not correspond to him. Program your mind for cunning survival. The E7 maintains during its growth an apparent submission to people invested with authority, but hides a passive and provocative rebellion. He denies lack and limits and, therefore, has an idyllic memory of his childhood because he focuses on the privileges received.

Patterns of behaviour of an adult with E7

From this situation in childhood, the person with ennea type 7 can develop three possible patterns of behavior when they reach adulthood:

They need to create opportunistic alliances, forming a non-consanguineous family, whose members are interested in contrast to their disinterest in the rest of the world. They have a weakness for pleasure, an insatiable tendency.

Altruistic, enthusiastic, he follows an ideal for which he goes to great lengths, almost maniacally, to compensate for the guilt he feels for his attraction to pleasure or for his own advantage.

Dreamer, fanciful, confuses the dream with reality. He suggests to others and he is suggested by daydreaming, he manipulates and is manipulable, excited about the possibilities.

In general, the observable behavior of the E7 corresponds to carefree, happy, childish, optimistic, dreamy people: lack of discipline due to their difficulty in postponing pleasure or, on the contrary, excessively focused on pleasing while hiding their gluttony for the pleasures They are unconventional and with utopian approaches, always looking for the extraordinary and rejecting the everyday. They have hedonistic tendencies (avoiding pain), are self-indulgent and permissive with themselves.

How does an opportunistic E7 react during grief?

Those E7 who have developed the behavioural pattern of creating opportunistic alliances will probably feel more strongly that intimate feeling of threat to their survival during the duel, but they do not connect with the pain, they defend themselves against it by avoiding and denying it. They will come out of this threat by hardening their cynicism towards those they consider to be “outsiders” and clinging even more to those they consider to be “their own”.

They can compensate for the feeling of threat by taking refuge in sexuality, but more than being satisfied with it, they will sexualize the relationship, using the other person and keeping all the possibilities open through sex.

If they decide to assist therapy, they may benefit from:

  • Recognising that underlying this alliance lies their own interest, selfishness, “smuggling motivation”, that honour is not something instrumental; discover that behind their cynicism lies hidden the pain of their primary lack; differentiate necessity from whim or privilege.
  • Accept and respect the limits that others put on them and understand that they do not imply a lack of love towards them.
  • Learn to contain your drive to get-conquer and develop the motivation to keep-finish projects.
  • Dare to connect with your pain.

In an upcoming article, we will continue to analyse characteristic traits of people with ennea type 7. Additionally, we will also explain how the other two possible behavioural patterns influence them when dealing with grief. All these guidelines are designed to serve as a guide for people who have suffered the loss of a loved one or to try to assist someone in their social sphere who is enduring loss. For further information or to request free psychological assistance, do not hesitate to check our website: