We are each endowed with 3 specific instincts that are necessary for our survival. While we have all 3 instincts in us, one of them is our dominant focus. Then we have a second instinct that is used to support the dominant instinct, as well as a third one, which is least developed – a real blind spot in our personality and our values.
These form what they call our “stack”.
Our instinct priority has a huge impact on how compatible we feel with our partner.
If two people have the same first instinct, they are much more likely to get along easily since their basic values and outlook on life are congruent.
Conversely, if your stack is completely opposite to your partner’s, then you can expect tensions and conflicts. Each of you will usually be trying to convert the other.
Most importantly, a healthy balance of all instincts is important. So, if yours is a different stack to your partners, rather than fight about it, you can seek to understand and acknowledge the wisdom in each, learning from each other, and creating a better balance for both of you. Here are the 3 Instincts:
Self Preservation Instinct.
People of this Instinctual type are focused on enhancing their personal security and physical comfort, and can be preoccupied with the basic survival needs, for example, money, food, housing, health, physical safety and comfort. Being safe and physically comfortable are priorities, and they will often bring their supplies with them.
When entering a room, they will tend to notice lighting, uncomfortable chairs, the room temperature, when the coffee break will be, and whether they will like the food provided.
These people often have issues connected with food and drink, either overdoing it or having strict dietary requirements.
They tend also to be the most practical in the sense of taking care of basic life necessities like paying the bills, maintaining the home and workplace, acquiring useful skills.
If this is an instinct that you have least developed, you may not eat or sleep properly, and can lack the drive to accumulate wealth or property, or even care about such matters. Also time and resource management will typically be neglected, often with seriously detrimental effects to your own careers, social life and material well being.
Intimacy / Sexual Instinct.
People of this type have a strong desire for intensity of experience and intimacy. This intensity could be found in great conversation or a great movie. The direct riveting gaze is the dead give- away for people of this type.
When they enter a room they gravitate toward people they feel magnetized to, regardless of the person’s potential for helping them or their social standing. It is as if they are looking for the juice.
These people can be intimacy junkies, and have a strong desire to fuse with someone, often neglecting pressing obligations or even basic maintenance if they are swept up in something that has captivated them. This gives a wide ranging exploratory approach to life, but also a lack of focus on one’s own priorities.
If this is the area that is least developed, you will find you avoid intimacies as much as you can, finding ways to not get up close and personal with people.
People of this type are focused on their interactions with other people and with the sense of value and esteem they derive from their participation in group activities. These include work, family, hobbies and clubs, or any arena in which you can interact with others for some shared purpose. They understand their own and other peoples sense of place in the hierarchy of groups, and can desire attention, recognition, honor, success, fame, leadership and appreciation, as well as the security of being part of something larger than themselves
On entering a room, these people would immediately be aware of the power structures and subtle politics between the different people and groups. They are subconsciously focused on other’s reaction to them, particularly about whether they are being accepted or not.
They need to know what is going on in their world; they need to touch base with others to feel safe alive and energized.
In general they tend to enjoy interacting with people, but they avoid intimacy. They are the most extroverted of the types.
If you have this as your least developed instinct, you will have a lack of interest socially beyond your immediate needs, with very few friends, and will not be very interested in people. You also disregard the opinions of others very easily. You feel you do not need others and others do not need you, thus there may be frequent misunderstandings with others.
It can be interesting to find out what both your own stack is, and also that of your partners’.
This can give you some great information about whether you feel compatible or not, and what you can do about it. For more help in understanding how these forces work in your relationship, come and discover more in our relationship counselling sessions at the Hart Centre..
The following is a broad overview of the nine types of human nature. As you can see, it can be fun to also identify movie stars and people we all know as well, and to be able to see the common patterns amongst them.
Type One. The Reformer. The principled, idealistic Type. One’s are ethical and conscientious, with a strong sense of right and wrong. They are teachers and crusaders, always striving to improve things but afraid of making a mistake. Well organized, orderly, and fastidious, they try to maintain high standards but can slip into being critical and perfectionistic. They typically have problems with repressed anger ( resentment) and impatience. At their best, healthy Ones are wise, discerning, realistic, and noble, as well as morally heroic.
Examples of ones are Jack Canfield, Robert Kiyasaki, Batman, Superman, Plato and Gandhi
If you are a One, you can begin the process of your growth by beginning to hand back the reponsibility for things to others, and increase your fun and relaxation.
Type Two. The Helper. The caring, interpersonal type. Twos are empathetic, sincere, and warm hearted. They are friendly, generous, and self sacrificing, but they can also be sentimental, flattering, and people pleasing. They are driven to be close to others, and they often do things for others in order to be needed. They typically have problems taking care of themselves and acknowledging their needs. At their best, healthy Twos are unselfish and altruistic and have unconditional love for themselves and others.
Examples of Twos are Jennifer Anistan, Princess Diana, Weary Dunlop, Florence Nightingale.
If you are a Two, you can begin the process of your growth by exploring what your own needs are and starting to supply them for yourself.
Type Three. The Achiever. The adaptable, success oriented type. Threes are self assured, attractive and charming. Ambitious, competitive and energetic, they can also be status-conscious and highly driven for personal advancement. Threes are often concerned about their image and what others think of them. They typically have problems with workaholism and competitiveness. At the best, healthy Threes are self accepting, authentic, and everything they seem to be – role models who inspire others.
Examples of Threes are Tom Cruise, Donald Trump, Tony Robbins, Bill Clinton, Madonna, Christopher Skase and Barbara Streisand.
If you are a Three, you can begin the process of your growth by stopping doing what you are doing, and exploring who you really are.
Type Four. The individualist. The romantic, introspective type. Fours are self aware, sensitive, reserved and quiet. They are self revealing, emotionally honest, and personal, but they can also be moody and self conscious. Withholding themselves from others due to feeling vulnerable and defective, they can also feel disdainful and exempt from ordinary ways of living. They typically have problems with self indulgence and self pity. At the best, healthy Fours are inspired and highly creative, able to renew themselves and transform their experiences.
Examples of Fours are Angelina Jolie, Oscar Wilde, David Bowie, Jackie Onassis and Johnny Depp.
If you are a Four, you can begin your process of growth by focusing on what you have that is positive.
Type Five. The Investigator. The intense, cerebral type. Fives are alert, insightful, and curious. They are able to concentrate and focus on developing complex ideas and skills. Independent and innovative, they can become preoccupied with their thoughts and imaginary constructs. They become detached, yet high strung and intense. They typically have problems with isolation, eccentricity, and nihilism. At their best, healthy Fives are visionary pioneers, often ahead of their time and able to see the world in an entirely different way.
Examples of Fives are Bill Gates, Barry Jones, Prince Charles and Geoffrey Robertson.
If you are a Five, you can begin your process of growth by trying to stay present in your body and emotions rather than retreating into your mind.
Type Six. The Loyalist. The committed security oriented type. Sixes are reliable, hardworking and responsible, but they can also be defensive, evasive and highly anxious – running on stress while complaining about it. They are often cautious and indecisive but can also be reactive, defiant and rebellious. They typically have problems with self doubt and suspicion. At their best, healthy Sixes are internally stable, self confident, and self reliant, courageously supporting the weak and powerless.
Examples of Sixes are Julia Gillard, Jo Belke Peterson, John Howard, Mel Gibson and Osama bin Laden.
If you are a Six, you can help your growth by looking inward for your own inner guidance rather than from the outside world.
Type Seven. The Enthusiast. The busy, productive type. Sevens are versatile, optimistic and spontaneous. Playful, high spirited and practical, they can also be overextended, scattered and undisciplined. They constantly seek new and exciting experiences, but they can become distracted and exhausted by staying on the go. They typically have problems with superficiality and impulsiveness. At their best, healthy Sevens focus their talents on worthwhile goals, becoming joyous, highly accomplished and full of gratitude.
Examples of Sevens are Billy Connelly, Steven Speilberg, Sarah Ferguson and Bette Midler.
If you are a Seven, you can begin your growth process by narrowing your focus to a few chosen directions.
Type Eight. The Challenger. The powerful dominating type. Eights are self confident, strong and assertive. Proactive, resourceful and decisive, they can also be proud and domineering. Eights feel that they must control their environment, often becoming confrontational and intimidating. They typically have problems with allowing themselves to be close to others. At their best, healthy Eights are self mastering, using their strengths to improve others lives, becoming heroic, magnanimous, and sometimes historically great.
Examples of Eights are Russell Crowe, Paul Keating, Saddam Hussein and John McInroe.
If you are an Eight, you can begin your growth process by first recognizing your vulnerabilities.
Type Nine. The Peacemaker. The easy-going self-effacing type. Nines are accepting trusting and stable. They are good-natured, kindhearted, easy going and supportive, but can also be too willing to go along with others to keep the peace. They want everything to be without conflict but can tend to be complacent and minimize anything upsetting. They typically have problems with passivity and stubbornness. At their best, healthy Nines are indomitable and all-embracing; they are able to bring people together and heal conflicts.
Examples of Nines are George Harrison, Queen Elizabeth II and Walt Disney.
If you are a Nine, you can begin your growth process by focusing on what you want, and continue to work on your own agendas.
When you can begin to observe how your personality is running your life, in a nonjudgmental way, you can begin to see it like a home movie. As you can begin to observe and let go of it on increasing deeper levels, as well as being increasingly present with your real experiences, you can gradually reach more and more of your full human potential.
If you would like to really discover who you have been wired to be, why you do the things you do, why you have the same kinds of problems over and over again, and , best of all, what you can do about it, book in for an individual Enneagram session with me, face to face, by phone or by skype.
More next week.
…..Beyond Freud, beyond Jung, beyond Myers Briggs lies a personality typing system known as the Enneagram. And whether you’re an overachieving pit bull lawyer or a hopelessly romantic wanna-be poet, it’s got your number.
I’m a One. I do have other qualities, of course.
Still, the discovery of my Oneness – in Enneagram terms – has revealed more to me about my unconscious patterns, habitual preoccupations, underlying fears, and misused strengths than any model I’ve come across in all my psychological training.
What sets the Enneagram apart is that it contains such detailed useful information about what drives us to behave as we do. It’s valuable not just to understand yourself, but also as a source of insights into your friends, family, colleagues and even those you don’t like.
Each personality type on the Enneagram is marked by a central fixation or passion. The result is a narrow, habitual and often defensive way of perceiving the world that deeply influences what we think and feel and how we behave.
The moment we can recognize our type, we have observed ourselves in reality. This personality type was put in place for good reason, but most of us identify with it, believing this is all we are. The Enneagram shows us that there is something else – a higher self, an essence, a soul – that the personality obscures.
As a One, for instance, my fixation is resentment. This was not easy for me to see at first, as I always prided myself in how I always did the right and responsible thing both in terms of things that needed doing and also with people that I had relationships with. However when I looked deeper I realized that I was often feeling underlying resentment, a resentment about how and why others seem to get away with not doing the right and responsible thing.
When you can look at each of the others who are close to you in your life from the deeper perspective of their Enneagram type, you can see that others see the world very differently form you, but just as narrowly. Two’s for example, grow up ruled by a constant hunger to win approval from others, even at the cost of suppressing their own needs. Fives cultivate detachment and minimize their needs in order to avoid feeling overwhelmed – but often end up isolated and cut off from intimate relationships.
When you recognize these underlying dynamics, it opens the door to healthier states of mind and much greater personal freedom, not to mention a far better understanding of your partner and all those you relate to, improving your relationships.
If you are interested in discovering what your type is and more about yourself or those you are relating to, you can book in for a face to face session, or phone or skype session with me at thehartcentre.com.au.
….More details of the types in the next blog.
Until next week
…..Last week I mentioned that there are 7 basic reasons why affairs happen. The first three were the Door opening affair, which helps a partner leave and gives a level of safety straight into the next relationship; then the 3 legged stool, which can distract the focus from the real issues in the relationship, and then also the Revenge affair which is used to “get back” at a partner who has already had an affair, or has hurt you.
The 4th reason for an affair is the “Notice Me Affair”. This usually happens as a result of trying to communicate unhappiness in the relationship to your partner but feeling that you haven’t been heard.This can be either a sexual one night stand, or even an emotional affair, and is an attempt to communicate to your partner that things aren’t right for you when talking hasn’t worked. The partner is not looking to leave the relationship, but to wake up the partner.
The 5th kind of affair is the Avoidance affair. This occurs as a way to avoid intimacy and commitment in your relationship. Usually one affair follows another as a continuing way of avoiding being close and vulnerable with your partner. Or it can occur when you feel that you can’t deliver what your partner is asking for. For some, this can feel like a kind of addiction, as you know you shouldn’t be having affairs, but can’t seem to stop.
The 6th type of affair is the Experimental affair. This is usually just about sex. Often if a couple has not had any or many sexual partners before the relationship, and/or the sex has become very limited and routine, a partner will feel tempted to discover what sex would be like with another person. The person having the affair can feel like it it meaningless sex, but this is not usually how the partner will view it.
The 7th and last reason for an affair to happen is the Opportunistic one. Usually this is a sexual encounter that happens usually after drinking too much, where you find yourself together and often away from home, or given in to a seduction from a friend or acquaintance; or it could be an on-line contact where things have started seemingly harmlessly but have moved into something more erotic. This kind of affair can feed the ego, allowing you to feel good about yourself and attractive and sexy, but is usually the most quickly regretted.
No matter how and why they occur, affairs always have emotionally devastating effects on a couple’s relationship. With help from an experienced relationship counsellor, couples can learn about the reasons behind the affair and gradually repair their relationship, and with a commitment from each partner, can in time use this experience as a catalyst to create an even better relationship than they had before.
This takes time and commitment, but overwhelmingly, couples who have taken this path are extremely satisfied with their relationship at the end of the period, and have found it is in fact, work worth doing.
More next week
…..Most people entering a marriage or long term relationship are doing so hoping and trusting that it will be a monogamous relationship; so the discovery of an affair is a huge betrayal of that bond and trust with devastating effects on the partner and the relationship.
An affair certainly signals that there is a problem in the relationship, but most affairs are symptoms rather than the cause of the problems.
A key question to ask is “What problem in your relationship did the affair solve?”
Julia Cole in her recently revised book “After the Affair” has noted that there are 7 types of affairs each with their own associated reasons. They are:
1. The Door opener Affair . This usually happens when a partner feels they have had enough of their relationship and is looking to set up another one because they are no longer emotionally connected or committed to their current partner. It provides someone to hold their hand as they exit their relationship.
2. The 3 legged stool Affair. This is usually a long term affair that the partner knows about. When pressures get too much to handle in a relationship, one partner has an affair which gives him/her an emotional safety valve and relieves this pressure, and then the couple can spend their time wrangling about his/her unfaithfulness, rather than the original issues.
3 The Revenge Affair. This is usually a short affair, but comes about because one partner has been hurt or betrayed, often by their partner being unfaithful. It can be experienced as a way to re-establish a sense of self esteem, or of a way to express their deep hurt for what their partner has done.
Stay tuned for the next 4 reasons affairs happen in my next blog next week.
If you have had an affair, or your partner has, you can be helped to work through this by seeing a relationship counsellor.
1. Every night:
Make time for the two of you to talk for at least half an hour. This means what happened through the day for you, how you felt about it, and what you have been thinking.
2. Every day:
Find at least one thing you appreciate about your partner and tell him/her.(You look gorgeous, I like your shirt, That was a beautiful meal, I appreciate that you work so hard for us, I love the feel of your skin)
3. Every week:
Have a date night one night a week, just the two of you. Take turns to organize what you’ll do. If something else crops up on that night, swap your date night for another night, but don’t put it off. You show your partner that you value your relationship and are not taking him/her for granted by this small but consistent gesture.
4. Every month:
Check with each other about how your relationship is going.
Ask each other,” On a scale of 1 to 10, how are we going?” And then, the more important question, “What would make it a 10 for you?”
In this way you both keep up to date about the quality of your relationship, and have opportunities to take action to keep it alive and vibrant.
5. Every 3 months:
Go away, just the two of you, for a weekend, or preferably a long weekend, just to have fun. No-one else is invited. Take turns to organize it.
6. Every year:
Celebrate your anniversary (either wedding, or meeting each other, or moving in together) in a way that is meaningful to both of you, and recommit for another year. Talk about what you like to see happen in the next year.
The more you treasure and honor your partner and your relationship, the richer will be the rewards for all. These kinds of simple things done over time make a huge difference to the quality of your relationship.
If you would like further help with these or anything related to your relationship, please see a qualified and experienced relationship and marriage counsellor.
All the best in staying in love.
Mark rang my office wanting an urgent appointment. He could not hide his devastation. He was absolutely stunned. His wife, Christine, of 12 years, had just dropped the bombshell that morning that she had had enough, and was leaving.
He was beside himself. How had it got so bad? He could remember her complaining a few times about him never being home, or being grouchy when he was home, but he had no idea she was this unhappy.
Now he was panicking. He was about to lose his wife, his family, half his assets, and many of his friends all in one foul swoop…..and he hadn’t seen it coming.
5 years ago, Mark had started his own Finance Business, and was now doing very well, and was very proud of it. The business, though, had gobbled up his time, to the tune of 12 hour days and 6 days a week ever since he started.
To begin with Christine had been supportive of these long hours, but over the last couple of years she had begun to feel it was coming at an enormous cost – to their relationship and their family life.
For the last 6 months, they had not even had one night together to talk, no more romance than a peck on the cheek at bedtime, and, not surprisingly, their sex life had evaporated into thin air.
Charlotte, their daughter kept asking when dad would come to the playground with her, and Shaun, their 10 year old, spent his entire time in front of the X box.
Christine was absolutely sick of doing it on her own at home, and was feeling completely unimportant in Mark’s life. She had brought this up a number of times with him, but he had largely dismissed her conversations as a bit of complaining that didn’t mean much in the bigger picture.
There is a story like this for many business owners with families. This is one of the most common problem that clients present to me in my Relationship counselling practice.
Juggling the needs of your business and your family and relationship is no easy task, but if you don’t get the balance right, there can be devastating consequences.
And many men, with their eye on the “Business ball” don’t understand what is needed in their relationships and home life, to be there for their family. It is so easy to take your relationship, and your family for granted, and not realize that they too need time and nurturing, if you want rich and rewarding relationships with both your wife and your children.
Stay tuned for my next blog where I give you the 6 Essential keys to keeping your relationship rich at home, alongside building a richer business.
Remember the days when you first met your wife or husband? Those wonderful romantic sexy days when you loved being in each other’s company and could talk for hours. You would do those special things for each other just to see the look of delight on his/her face. They were the days when your relationship was rich and vibrant and you felt fully alive because of it.
Now the “Limerance” stage is long gone, as it always does………. but have you replaced it with an even better version of a deeper fuller love? …..Or have you been taking your loved one for granted and busying yourself with other “more pressing” things, like jobs and children and work around the home, and finances and friends?
One of the most common themes I find in my private practice as a Psychologist specializing in Relationships is a “natural neglect” in secure relationships.
Even though everything in your shared life is based on a foundation of your love for each other, and your shared life, it’s all too easy to take for granted that your relationship will always be there, without realizing that it, too, needs attending to and nurturing.
Perhaps you could check in with your partner and ask him/her how happy he or she is in your relationship, on a scale of 1 to 10. Then follow it with the more important question of “What would have to happen to make it a 10 for you?”
Keeping your relationship alive and vibrant needs ongoing attention, but not only does it make for a more enjoyable life, but is one of the most enduring aspects of a life well lived.
In the twilight years of one’s life, thoughts more often than not turn to how well did I love and be loved, rather than how much money will I die with.
If you’ve let your relationship go, a relationship counsellor can show you, in a few sessions, how to bring back the vibrancy, chemistry and love again.