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Inner Critics and the enneagram

I speak a lot about inner critics—the demons in our head that hold us back from greatness. They are protective mechanisms that may have served us once upon a time but now hold us back.

I recently learned about an inner critic framework that helps to articulate the common types of saboteurs—the disabling thought patterns that trip us up. Reading through his content, I found that the types of saboteurs discussed by Shirzad Chamine map directly onto the nine types of the enneagram (discussed in my previous blog).

Looking at the saboteur assessment helped me to see how the enneagram can deepen an assessment of my own limiting beliefs. Below, I map the enneagram types to Chamine’s descriptions in the saboteur assessment.

Enneagram TypeEnneagram descriptionSaboteur
One: ReformerIdealistic, rational, moralistic, principledStickler/Judge-  rigid and absolute; highly critical of self and of others; perfectionist
Two: HelperCaring, connected, people-pleasing, generousPleaser–  strong need to be liked; doesn’t express needs directly; martyrdom
Three: AchieverSuccess-oriented, drivenHyper Achiever—workaholic; avoids feelings through performance; worthiness is only possible through accomplishment
Four: IndividualistExpressive, withdrawn, sensitiveVictim– misunderstood, isolated, envious, dramatic
Five: InvestigatorCerebral, data driven, isolated, perceptiveHyper Rational-frustrated by emotion, skeptical and cynical; feels misunderstood
Six: LoyalistCommitted, security-focused, responsible, anxiousHyper-Vigilant- anxious, expecting danger, suspicious
Seven: EnthusiastSpontaneous, fun loving, distractibleRestless—easily distracted, stays busy, seeks to escape pain
Eight: ChallengerLeader, confident, confrontationalController—willful, confrontational, surprised that others are hurt by conflict; angry and intimidating
Nine: PeacemakerConflict resistant, self-effacing, easy goingAvoider– resists conflict and discomfort, downplays own needs and deflects, passive aggressiveness; superficiality due to avoiding

Looking at the chart, consider what common patterns emerge for you that stop you from being vulnerable, from feeling all of the emotions, and from facing fear instead of avoiding it. Ready to tackle those fears? A coach can guide your way.

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