Enneagram Type 9 - The Mediator
Balanced at the top of the Enneagram, Nines are the most basic and most numerous personality type. They are the "salt of the earth" and the "glue" that holds the community together. People of this type come in all shapes and sizes, but they share a common problem with inertia (or momentum). Whether they are lazy in the traditional sense or hard workers continually on the move, "Nines" have a problem finding and staying with their own priorities. It's hard to change directions or shift attention to what is most important. They "forget" themselves.
Nines excel at seeing all points of view. This can make it difficult for them to make personal decisions, but at the same time, they can be excellent mediators and peacemakers for others. Nines seek harmony in their environment and will go to great lengths to avoid conflict (although at times championing others). They are body-based types, with a strong gut sense of knowing, although they can also be out of touch with their bodies.
Strengths: Balanced, accepting, harmonious
Problems: Stubborn, ambivalent, conflict avoidant
Speaking style: Inclusive and welcoming at their best, Nines may have trouble getting to the point. They can be linear and over-controlled, or they can be quite dispersed.
Lower emotional habit: Laziness of attention, accompanied by stubbornness, makes it hard for them to face priorities or necessary conflict
Higher emotion: Right action, which is the willingness to do what needs to be done and use oneself well in the process
Archetypal challenge: Waking up to priorities in the present moment, integrating harmony with conflict
Psychological defenses: Nines use the defense mechanism of narcotization to avoid conflict (from within or without) and to maintain a self-image of being "comfortable/harmonious." (Narcotization is using food and drink, reading, TV, or simply repetitive patterns of thinking and doing to put oneself in a state of reduced awareness and feeling).
Somatic patterns: Nines tend to stay comfortably undercharged. Good at belly breathing, they can avoid breathing into the chest. Low energy Nines suffer from inertia and physical laziness, while high energy Nines tend to constantly discharge in order to keep a safe equilibrium. The lower back is a particularly vulnerable area. Since Nines so easily blend or "merge" with other people or the environment from their belly center, they have difficulty establishing good personal boundaries.
Tips for Relating
To create rapport: Take the time to talk about things and establish a common ground. Listen to them; stay peaceful.
Try to avoid: Coming on too strong, getting impatient or creating pressure
Join them: Setting the context and looking at the big picture. Share body-based activities, including walking, exercising, cooking, eating, music, etc.
To handle conflict: Fairness is a crucial issue for Nines. Since they avoid conflict and anger, they are more likely to withdraw or become passive/aggressive, with occasional eruptions. Try to find out what's going on inside and let them know you won't abandon them. When and if they do blow up, help them set boundaries on their rage.
To support their growth: Give them personal attention. Help Nines create structures and schedules for their lives to keep them on track with priorities. Ask for their cooperation rather than trying to push them around. Challenge them on their need to be comfortable, and help them take risks. Be accepting, but persistent.