Blogger Widgets Ender-Chan's Thoughts: Ableism and the Enneagram

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Ableism and the Enneagram

Image Description: An accessibility symbol (the new one) with
DiSC on the wheel in red, yellow, blue, and green.
The enneagram is a nine type system that deals with identifying primary motivations. Unlike other systems, enneagram measures instinct and needs apart from temperament or cognitive process. Enneagram is about basic needs and desires that, as with the other systems, translate into actions. Ableism likely stems from a subconscious need of sorts that gets thwarted when presented with disability in one or more of its many forms.

Type 1 is about upholding an internalized sense of "rightness" whether it was brought on internally or externally. People of this type often hold themselves and others to high standards, expecting others to comply with their moral principles. Ableism arises when another person crosses their "moral line" with regards to what is correct conduct. This can manifest as accusing others of malingering or denying necessary accommodations for one's self or others. A One may deny the existence of their disability or try to hide it by "passing" in the hopes of meeting their lofty, often quixotic, standards. When dealing with an ableist One, remember that they are as critical of themselves as they are of you, if not more. Work with their framework in order to gently shift their view; sudden moves will cause this type to be more stubbornly set in their ways.

Type 2 comes close to being truly altruistic, but their true basic need is to be needed. People of this type are generally regarded as kind, but this kindness can quickly turn intrusive if extended without consent. Ableist Twos are likely to be patronizing and help without asking; they are likely to view disabled people as a charity project rather than people. Twos have the tendency of running themselves ragged caring for others and forgetting their own needs in the process. It is common for disabled Twos to feel useless if they find themselves unable to provide for others in the way that they desire. Finding an alternate outlet for altruistic inclinations is the most effective way in dealing with ableism in Twos whether it is internalized or externalized. When dealing with an ableist Two, remember that Twos rarely try to offend anyone with their assistance. They want--no, need--to help in some way.

Type 3 is an image-oriented type dedicated to projecting success according to personal definition. An ableist Three is apt to use disabled people for improving their image while disregarding their humanity altogether. It is likely for an ableist Three to vacillate between ethics ideals to maintain their chosen image. Passing behavior is common in Threes, but it is more so to maintain a desired persona rather than to uphold a moral standard. Threes are likely to share "inspiration porn" to better their image. Their value of external achievement can make a lack thereof almost unbearable, causing a Three to spiral into depression or a depression-like state if they are not careful with what they choose to achieve. When dealing with an ableist Three, remember that Threes are image people. Dismissing them as "fake" is not going to help because Threes are made to succeed and show off.

Type 4 values self-awareness and individuality. It is important to the Four to be unique and authentic. Fours often feel like something is "missing" and that their life purpose is to find it; often, this "missing piece" is unattainable with regards to its nature. An ableist Four may find themselves oversharing information about others in order to be "real" about their struggles. Fours tend to feel conflicted about whether to identify with their disability or not due to the identity-seeking nature of this type. Fours need to be unique and are usually bothered by conventionality, seeing it as conformist and oppressive. When dealing with the ableist Four, remember that Fours take a sort of pride in their struggles. Personal experiences shape much of a Four's identity, more so than in the other enneatypes. Individuality is instrumental to the Four's basic comfort. As such, it is a core need.

Type 5 learns through detached observation and values knowledge formed through facts and patterns of occurrences. Because Fives prize intelligence or at least intelligent appearance, it is easy for the ableist Five to overlook the abilities of someone who does not look so. Fives tend to be so wrapped up in thoughts that they forget that they are organic beings and tend to rely on facts and figures too much. Fives are not personal people. A personal experience is likely to cause a Five to comment on philosophy and what could be rather than the reality of what is. Fives learn purely for its sake, not for merit or attaining something "higher". Privacy is a great need for this type; violation will not be taken well by the Five. When dealing with the ableist Five, remember that Fives desire to learn and observe rather than being hands on. Fives open themselves up slowly and gradually rather than being demonstrative; they prefer the shelter over their mind over the chaos of the world.

Type 6 is known as the "loyal skeptic" due to the Six's nature to mistrust nearly everything that comes their way. Sixes vacillate between trust and suspicion frequently due to their driving need: security. They have two basic types of fear responses: phobic and counterphobic. A phobic Six is likely to hide from conflict and avoid it at all costs while a counterphobic Six will charge headfirst into conflict with audacity. When disability takes away from the Six's sense of security, ableism can result. An ableist Six builds negative associations with disability and, as a result, adds it to their long list of fears. A counterphobic Six may act on this fear through violence; a phobic Six will avoid contact with disabled people. However, with positive associations, the Six is the most loyal friend and caregiver one can ask for. When dealing with the ableist Six, remember that they build opinions on deep-rooted associations and have difficulty changing them.

Type 7 is the epicure, sensation seeker, and the enthusiast. Sevens are made to enjoy all that the world has to offer. They do not like to be stifled or inhibited through any means because stimulation is a need. Because of this, Sevens tend to leave people who cannot keep up with them with regards to intelligence and sensory stimuli in the dust. They resent deprivation of any kind. An ableist Seven is likely to think of disabled people as boring or "missing out" on the sensations and experiences they cherish. Sevens tend to disregard sensations they do not experience themselves and are likely to brush sensory issues off as "nothing". When dealing with the ableist Seven, remember that Sevens need experiences and sensations like water. Without them, the Seven will stagnate and become bored, which is anathema to this type.

Type 8 is a controlling type, though not always in the negative sense. Eights are built to take charge in all situations. They meet every situation with aggression and grounded energy and fight against being controlled. Eights who feel that disability, be it someone else's or their own, has robbed them of control, adopt ableist ideologies. They tend to view receiving assistance as a sign of weakness or inadequacy because independence is a core value. Self-sufficiency enables the Eight to better control their situation; an Eight has lofty ideals about what should be done by one's self in order to maintain the greatest amount of autonomy. When dealing with the ableist Eight, remember that Eights need control and that an Eight will not apologize for such a need. Trying to control an Eight will not end well for either party.

Type 9 can assimilate with anyone for the sake of peace. Nines want peace first and foremost and will sacrifice most things to attain it. It is often that Nines sacrifice following their personal values in the name of preventing conflict. Ableist Nines are likely to have an apathetic, negative view of disability, thinking "I/they can't do that because I/they have this impairment." Nines may not think enough of certain issues or say that others are making too much of a fuss over certain things. This is not that Nines choose to ignore issues for the sake of hurting others, but that their calm disposition makes it hard for them to get worked up about a myriad of things, even things they should get worked up about. When dealing with the ableist Nine, remember that Nines cannot be forced to care or think about grand-scale possibilities. Let a Nine care to the extent they choose to and direct them to reputable sources and groups.


  1. I wonder how the growth and stress spirals affect these?

    Elizabeth Wagele has some great music about the Enneagram which made me think of this "Enneagrams and Ableism".

    [Chopsticks and another tune].

    Ableism really does bend into types, doesn't it?

    1. I should write about that next! Or should I consider instinctual variants first?

    2. The sexual and social ones would be especially relevant.

      Do write about the growth and stress spirals.

    3. A lot of the over-sharing parents are probably unhealthy Twos or Fours.


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