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Enneagram insights for anxiety

Many have found the Enneagram to be an accurate and effective system for working with anxiety. The Enneagram identifies our core fears and insecurities that lie at the root of our chronic anxiety.

As I discussed in a previous blog, anxiety is our emotional response to real and perceived threat. While we cannot avoid or control real threats, understanding the soil that germinates our perceptions proves immensely useful in overcoming the oppressive impact of chronic anxiety.

Each Type's core fear lays a template for the activization of anxiety. The basic belief that each Type adopts sets in motion a reactive process when that belief is threatened.

Not only does each Type have a predictable elevation of anxiety based on this sense of threat, each has its go-to mechanism of relieving the resulting anxiety. Unchecked, it becomes a perpetual cycle of activation and reaction.

Without a system like the Enneagram, the core fears and beliefs can remain hidden. Lack of awareness leaves us stuck in a persistent autopilot mode of unproductive thinking and behavior.

Here's a basic rundown of each Type's core belief system:

*Type One: "I am not worthy, I am not loved, I do not belong if I am not perfect."

*Type Two: "To belong, feel secure and be loved, I must have others' acceptance. I accomplish this by meeting their needs, because my needs are not important."

*Type Three: "To be loved, valued and belong, I must perform and achieve. I'm only as important as what I can accomplish."

*Type Four: "I am inherently flawed, so in order to be noticed, loved and accepted, I must be unique and extraordinary."

*Type Five: "To be loved, valued and secure, I must protect myself from a world that demands too much and gives too little. I am on my own, so I must be competent and self-reliant."

*Type Six: "To be loved, valued and secure, I must seek certainty, safety and security in a world that is full of danger. I must do my duty, follow the rules and be prepared in order to be secure."

*Type Seven: "To be secure, loved and valued, I must be open to all the positive, pleasure and adventure that life offers. I have to avoid discomfort."

*Type Eight: "To make it in life, I must be strong and invincible. I live in a world where the powerful will take advantage of me, therefore I cannot afford to be weak or vulnerable."

*Type Nine: "To be loved, valued and secure, I must blend in and go along to get along. I must avoid conflict in order to belong and maintain my sense of harmony."

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