Saturday, December 3, 2016

"How," not "Why," is the Question

To more fully understand the couple in the Plus ça change blog entry, it helps to know that people with the husband's personality -- referred to as "style Nine" in the Enneagram personality system -- tend to go along with others' ideas, yet feel unspoken resentment when they stifle their own agenda. At the same time, they are peacemakers and want to be reassured that even their unexpressed annoyance has not created a disruption.

Thus the husband wanted to snuggle up to his wife, who was very aware of his "pouting" and didn't feel so inclined.

Those of the wife's personality -- referred to as "style Eight" in the Enneagram -- typically have plenty of ideas but often succumb temporarily to their enthusiasms and/or forget to include their partners. This couple might have been drawn together initially because of their mutual comfort with the wife providing structure, then both began to feel some pain from that same dynamic.

What's fascinating about this couple is that we did not spend time exploring their personality styles so they could understand why they were having difficulty. Instead, I asked questions to help them look closely at what each of them did and said, so they could see how they were unwittingly feeding their interactive pattern. This works in the same way as interrupting a personal pattern. You look carefully at how the pattern operates, then find a way to playfully interrupt it, so it loses its "juice."

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