enneagram & childhood patterns: our basic fears and desires
part 4 of 9
Often, our personalities are more fluid and changeable as children, but as we continually experience certain situations and environments, a personality style gradually emerges as “home base”--our basic style of relating to the world.
From this, we also come to define our basic fear and basic desire--which are universal, but each type’s basic fear and desire will motivate his or her behavior much more than the others.
We can also say that each personality type is formed around an unconscious childhood message--something pervasive and profound that we internalized as children.
These were likely created within us as infants, when certain qualities within us were not adequately mirrored or responded to by our parents or caretakers.
Pretty enneagram art by this clever human.
An unmet emotional need in infancy can result in a blockage or repression of that emotion later in life.
The feeling that something within us is missing, or wrong, gives rise to a deep anxiety.
This fear then creates the basic desire, which is an attempt to reconcile that fear.
Basic fears, desires, and unconscious childhood messages of each of the types:
1: “It’s not okay to make mistakes.” Fears being bad, corrupt, or evil. Desires to have integrity (perfectionism).
2: “It’s not okay to have your own needs.” Fears being unworthy of love. Desires love (a need to be needed).
3: “It’s not okay to have your own feelings/identity.” Fears being inherently worthless. Desires to be valuable (chases success).
4: “It’s not okay to be too happy.” Fears being without an identity. Desires to be oneself (self-indulgence).
5: “It’s not okay to be comfortable in the world.” Fears incompetency. Desires to learn and understand (uselessly specializes in knowledge).
6: “It’s not okay to trust yourself.” Fears a lack of guidance. Desires security (attaches oneself to beliefs).
7: “It’s not okay to depend on anyone for anything.” Fears being deprived or trapped. Desires happiness (escapism).
8: “It’s not okay to be vulnerable.” Fears being controlled/harmed. Desires to protect oneself (aggressiveness).
9: “It’s not okay to assert yourself.” Fears a loss of connection. Desires peace (neglects problems).
Which ones resonate with you?