In the enneagram personality system (the only personality indicator I find useful and helpful, especially in a pastoral/spiritual setting), there are nine personality types which describe the various assumptions and ways of being we have as we move through this world. Each of the nine types have different tendencies, spanning from healthy and self-aware to unhealthy and destructive. Among the nine types, there are two broad categories people fall into that characterize how we react when something goes wrong.
When something’s not as it should be, half of us will assume you personally are at fault, you are to blame. In some way or another, all of the problems you see when you look out at the world lie within you. When things hit rock bottom, your tendency is towards shame, self-destruction and self-harm. (This is typical of Enneagram #s 2, 4, 5, 6, 7.)
If you are part of the other half, when looking out at the world, you will find fault not in yourself, but in the world. From this vantage point, your life is put together, orderly, and healthy while the rest of the world is terribly broken and depraved. The problem is “out there” as opposed to within. When things hit rock bottom, your tendency is towards blame and the destruction of others around you. (This is typical of Enneagram #s 1, 3, 8.)
Which type of person are you?
When something goes wrong, do you heap guilt upon yourself leading to shame or do you find others at fault, leading to blame?
This is the first part of a short series of posts on shame, blame, and the urgency of forgiveness based on a teaching I gave at Kairos Hollywood. The second post will be up in the next couple of days.