Enneagram Type 5 - The Observer
Interview by Iain McNay
Discussion with Angelina Bennet, Heather Brown and Kilian Gilbert
Interview by Iain McNay
Iain: Hello and welcome again to conscious TV, I am Iain McNay and again today we are talking about the Enneagram. This time in the studio, I have three type 5's with me, and they are going to talk about how it is to be 5's and the potential of being this type. So, on my right is Heather and then we have Kilian and Angelina. Heather let's start with you. Maybe you can just give us a broad outline of what the Enneagram actually is, for people who don't know much about it.
Heather: OK, at the very basic level the Enneagram is a diagram. It's a nine sided figure: ennea-gram and that as a symbol has been around for thousands of years. It was around at the time of Pythagoras and The Desert Fathers and so forth, but in the 20th century it has also been used to map personality types, a map of the different drivers that energise us.
So the idea behind the Enneagram as a model of personality, is that we are all unique and that each of us has within us 9 drivers. Some of them might be the perfectionist, the achiever, the person who wants to be safe, or the peacemaker, etc. And that we all do all of these things, but within that, each of us, if we really look at the way we operate, know that there is one of those houses that we live in. That’s our home, for good and bad, that there are great blessings to recognise in my type and the blessings it brings and there’s also some bits to myself that I don’t like, but the more I can become conscious of what this type is - how it sometimes drives me and how I can perhaps take more control of it - then I’ve got more choices because the better I know my type, the less I’m driven by it, and the more I can make choices about when I choose to be in my type and when I don’t.
Iain: So it's like: “Know your type, know yourself”.
Heather: Absolutely. Yes, certainly I have found that the Enneagram has helped me to understand bits of myself that were different maps. I had used a lot of personality maps before and the Enneagram looks at some slightly different areas that I don't think other maps look at.
Iain: And when you first found out that you were type 5, what was your response to that?
Heather: (laughs) A kind of “clunk” of recognition, which was both reassuring and kind of "Yep alright, you got me." Because, in as much as our type is something that we really value, [it] also contains parts of me that I didn't like particularly, [so] I kind of went, "Yep, alright you got me there" (places hand on chest). So there was this kind of “clunk” which gave me something to work with.
Iain: So there were certain things that you found out about yourself that kind of shocked you a bit. Is that too strong a word to say, shocked?
Heather: No I don’t think shocked, but you know, I work in management development and I’d used quite a lot of personality maps over the years, really useful stuff. I came across the Enneagram and thought, “Ah, here’s another model to use with people”, went on a workshop and it kind of went, “Thwack! You need to look at this one for yourself first, because there is more to this than meets the eye” and in my own understanding of myself, I’d kind of worked out a few things over the years, but there were some behaviours that were left almost like clinker in the bottom of the boiler that I didn’t understand and would still get hijacked by…
Iain: Clinking in the bottom of the boiler…?
Heather: Well you know, in the old solid fuel boilers where you had the [petroleum] coke going through and in the bottom you would end up with this load of clinker. There were some things about my own behaviour where I could still get hijacked by stuff and I am going, "I don't understand this” and when I saw the explanation of how the [type] 5 driver works, I went, "That's it, that's what drives it”. That's what explains all those bits in the bottom of the boiler that were still hijacking me and which I couldn't get a handle on. So it was a real revelation, more than a shock.
Iain: So, you were finding on a much deeper level what was driving your unconscious patterns?
Heather: Absolutely, yes. So where some of the other personality things I’d looked at were looking at behaviour (and that is really useful); this really helped me to understand my motivation at a deep level, what was driving the behavior...
Iain: OK, good. We will move across to the other bench there. I don't know who would like to start, maybe you, Angelina. So when you first found out you were a type 5 what impact did that have on you?
Angelina: I was really surprised at first at how accurate the description was of me and in some ways there was a sense of relief like, “Ah ha it's a valid personality type to be like me!” Particularly, as you said [Heather] the more unpleasant bits, or things that I always thought were strange about myself. That they were just there and they were part of this type. So there was a sense of relief about it and I actually found it quite comforting.
Iain: So what were the main factors that helped you identify the fact that you were a type 5?
Angelina: Some of the characteristics, like that 5's feel like they are observers of the world, rather than being in the world, really resonated with me...
Iain: An observer of the world, means watching things go by, rather than participating. Is that what you are saying?
Angelina: Yeah, or just analysing what’s going on, so feeling like you’re somehow detached, rather than someone taking part and you’re watching and trying to understand, theorising almost about things that go on, rather than just being there and in it. And feeling quite separate from things sometimes, like you are just watching, even watching yourself… Does that make any sense at all? (laughing)
Heather: (laughing) makes sense to me.
Iain: Kilian, how do you experience watching yourself?
Kilian: I’m very much in my headspace. It can almost be like this rush of energy, right up into my head. I can almost visualise myself talking right now in a way. When I’m being the observer, it’s almost like I’m watching a film, there’s a real detachment from what’s really going on. I’m actually aware of it right now – It’s going straight into my head. I’m relying on what I know, instead of… really just… getting contact with the self.
Iain: So this “self” would mean more… your feelings?
Kilian: Yes, feelings and… my body. Being the observer, you completely detach from your body in a way. Almost to the point of being completely caught up in your head. I don't know if you want to say something more about that (nods to Heather)
Heather: I can so relate to that on a personal level! I mean, I’ve said to people, on a number of occasions, for years my body was just this inconvenient thing, a pedestal, to stop my head from hitting the floor. And people said, “What?” But really, it really was just a sense of what mattered was going on here [gestures to her head] and this [gestures to her body] was just the thing I carried [my head] around on. So I absolutely relate to what you’re saying.
Angelina: It’s quite interesting you say that because I never used to look after myself very well and I took up yoga, a few years ago because I started to see I needed to look after my car. Because I see that [my body] is the car that drives me around. I’m not my body, I’m the wheels. So yes it’s an effort to look after my ‘vehicle’, as it were. But not to look after myself…
Iain: So you guys feel OK, in one way, the way you are, it’s just that you feel detached and not quite in the real world… am I summarising this correctly? There’s not a huge problem with feeling the way you are?
Kilian: Yeah, one picture I have got is a picture of a fortress, and here I am surrounded by the walls of my fortress. Inside is what I know and then everything outside is the world - people, experiences, knowledge, feelings. I feel very secure and safe in my fortress and it takes an immense amount of effort to get out of that and to let experiences in.
Iain: So, why would you go out of your fortress?
Kilian: Good question. First thing is to look for knowledge, to know and to understand.
Iain: Because there is a side of you that has this desire and is drawn towards understanding and knowledge?
Kilian: Yeah, the seeking [of] knowledge is more in a sense, to try and find your place in the world. To try and find your niche.
Angelina: I can relate to that in a way. Given half a chance if I hadn't come across the Enneagram I could actually live in my fortress quite happily and, you know, now there is the internet, there is no need to leave, but social life dictates that you have to go out and you have to meet… Going out, meeting people and things is fine, but there are certain things that take a huge amount of effort like turning up at a big event, talking to strangers. Even sometimes letting some of the things happening in the world touch you, like watching the news is something [that] on the one hand I want to know everything and on the other hand, really I hate it because it's like, “Oooh that horrible world has come and invaded my space and told me lots of bad things I don't want to know”. So there is a sense of, “You are safe actually in your own space”. It takes some effort to let the other things in, or to go out there.
Iain: And you are not great socialisers, are you, as well? You tend to keep yourselves to yourselves. When I was doing my research for type 5's it said [reading from notes]: they would rather sit at home and read a book on their own than go to a party. I don’t know if that's true for all of you...
Angelina: If it's with people I know well, I can be a pretty good socializer, but the idea of going to a networking event, or something like that, really does fill me with dread. There are times when, I am much more comfortable sitting with a book. So yeah, that's where I would default to, the sitting with a book, which I used to get into a lot of trouble for when I was young.
Iain: It's funny you mention that. My sort of favourite Enneagram book is - I'll show these later (pile of books) – ‘The Enneagram Made Easy’ and part of it is cartoons, which is very easy to identify for the various types and I remember this particular one for the 5's. There was a couple going out on their first date and they were sitting back to back with their backs touching, both reading a book and the bubble coming out of their head to show their thoughts was, "This is my best ever first date" (group laughs). Can you identify with that?
Heather: Absolutely. What I relate to absolutely is the basic premise for the 5 - that is sometimes talked about in some of these books - that the world is invasive and intrusive and, if I let the world in, it will overwhelm me. 5's have a reputation of being very calm and not showing their feelings and all the rest of it. But, there are some suggestions that in fact 5's feel, well we do feel things intensely, but that is quite frightening and I think that's what you were referring to (Angelina) and therefore to save myself being overwhelmed by my feelings, I lock myself into my fortress from where I can look out onto the world and my fortress is a lighthouse. I am up here (head) and I can see everything that is going on in the world, but you can't get to me unless you can get the door open downstairs, and then you have got a lot of stairs to come up.
So here we are in our fortress and it's actually very scary to let people in. Because we are not quite sure what will happen, if other people's energy invades us. So one of the concerns of type 5 is always to manage my energy and this is the thing that I recognise about going to parties. It took me until I was into my 20's to understand why, after an hour at a party, I would always end up in the loo. There is nothing wrong with my bladder, but it was the only place I could go just to be alone and it wasn't consciously touching base with my own energy, it was just not touching base with all this energy that was going on outside. I just needed to be alone for a bit and then I could go and socialise again. Because my energy, my space had been invaded... You are nodding there, is that true for you? (nods to Angelina and Kilian)
Kilian: Yes, both in relationships and social environments I can find my energies get depleted quite quickly unless I carefully manage it. That could be just the simple route of going to get a drink and then having space there on my own to recollect my thoughts, to recollect where I am and then go back into the fray so to speak, and re-engage with everybody and all my friends. Socialising is a constant balancing act.
Iain: Well actually, it sounds quite intelligent in one way, in so far as, when you socialise you want to maximise it, you want to use that space for socialising and if you are feeling tired or not feeling like it, you don't do it. There is some sense, some intelligence in that.
Kilian: Yes, I think with 5's there definitely becomes the realisation that the more withdrawn you get, you actually do need to go out and reconnect with people. We are not so caught up in our thoughts that we won't go out and socialise as such. There is a drive and that is something I have noticed. When I am caught up in books, or in doing something, when I have been incredibly focused and blot out everything else apart from what I am doing, then I realise... actually I do need to reconnect with everything else.
Iain: I’ve made some notes from some of these books just so anybody that is watching who thinks they may be a type 5 but is not sure, these are some more clues. So the first one is: observing or reading, rather than doing, which you have kind of covered… (continues reading). Hard to express feelings in the moment. Is this something you would...? You have hinted at it and confirmed that.
Heather: Yes, I think that is certainly true for me. I am much more likely to know what I felt about something, after the event. I need to go back and be on my own and then I can let the feelings come to me and also I will analyse, and this is not something I do consciously; I can't stop myself doing it. I will find myself analysing what has just gone on and then I will have a sense of what I feel about it. I am very often not in touch with my feelings at the moment at which it happens, unless something really socks me in the face and I think this is what, I as a 5, am scared of. Sometimes things do sock me in the face and they knock me totally off balance and so there is this feeling of either I am in control, or I am totally vulnerable. That's one of the reasons why, I think, 5's tend to protect themselves so much when they are in a social space because it's this feeling of either all, or nothing. I am either protected and in control, or I am utterly at your mercy and that is not a comfortable place to be except with somebody that you are really happy with. I don't know if that is true for you, or not so much. That feeling of not knowing what you are feeling in the moment (looking towards Angelina and Kilian).
Angelina: Quite a lot of time I have to go off and reflect on something and then I will go (frowns), "Hold on a minute that really made me angry", but I wouldn't have been aware of it at the time. But, there are other times when you have to go into situations, like funerals. I will cry more than anyone else at any one's funeral even if I don't know them. I will just be absolutely overwhelmed by crying, I am quite famous for it (laughs). But, it's really uncomfortable and I just have to let it go because I can't do anything else about it. Most of the time I would keep away from things that have that intensity.
Iain: OK, just going down this list I made: get's lost in interests (group nodding). Tries to conceal sensitivity to criticism (group is thinking with no comment, Iain looks around the group) …not sure about that one.
Heather: I don't know that we are any more, or less sensitive to criticism than anybody else. I think doesn't everyone take criticism personally? Although probably I wouldn't react in the moment.
Angelina: Again, it would have the same thing about, “Go away and think about it” and then I would also weigh up who it came from and if they knew what they were talking about, like a true 5 (laughing). Do they have the right knowledge to base their criticism on?
Iain: It's concealed sensitivity and a lot of people would react. It is trying to conceal the sensitivity to criticism.
Heather: Yes, I think the basic premise for a 5 is that the likely reaction to any situation that is uncomfortable is withdrawal: physically if possible and if not, mentally. In a conversation, I will suddenly realise that I have actually, literally, gone walkabout (pointing to head) in the middle of the conversation; my brain has gone off to something else. I don't know whether you do that (group agrees). There is a sense of being able to protect myself by withdrawing my energy even if I can't withdraw my body from a situation. So if there is criticism going on, the wall comes up and I will be upset about it later.
Angelina: I agree, it would be, “Take it in, but not be present with it and then think about it later”.
Iain: Do you feel different from most people?
Angelina: Sort of, I know there are others out there but I don't know many of them (group laughs) so I often do feel isolated and I get quite excited when I meet someone who has a similar interest to me, or something like that because, yes, I do feel sometimes isolated in what I am like.
Iain: (continues reading from list) You are calm in a crisis. Is that right?
Angelina: Erm, I am not sure. I think so.
Kilian: I would say, if a crisis is developing and I know and I am in my space and I have an understanding, a knowledge around the crisis, then I can use my knowledge to a great degree and rely on that information to really pin point exactly, “OK this is what is going wrong. Cut it off right here”. So it's spin the crisis on its head and really conceptualise what the crisis is. Take it out from its environment and really work at it up in here (touching head) and then [suggest], “Actually, you might want to do this, or do this”. That, I love doing. I get a real buzz out of doing that. Yeah, it's almost like I look for crises.
Iain: You look for crisis…? (nods at Kilian)
Heather: I am hearing in what you are saying that when you have got an intellectual problem to solve - that sort of crisis – you have the ability to take yourself out of it and observe it? I certainly recognise that in myself. I can be very calm in those sorts of situations, where I feel I have got expertise to deal with it and I can be the expert. That's not about status for me, but it is about [feeling], “Oh, I know what to do here because, I have got knowledge that will serve me”. But I can equally get totally thrown if I am in a situation where I don't have the expertise and then I get into a real panic. So being calm in a crisis for me is about… when I have got the expertise, then I can be calm in a crisis.
Iain: It's interesting it just reminds me of the stories of good friends of Renate and myself. We had lunch with them on Sunday and the story I heard about... he is a type 5 and a number of years ago they were travelling - I forget where they were - they landed somewhere, the plane had been delayed and when they got there no taxis were available or anything. They were stuck at the airport at like 2:00am in the morning with no idea what to do and he, being a number 5, sat on his suitcase, took out a book and read while all this chaos is going on round him (laughing). Would you say this is the sort of thing you guys might do, or would you be more proactive?
Angelina: Would probably bring out a guidebook and start reading about where we can go, or look for information or something.
Iain: Yes, there is a practical side to it, but doesn't get involved in the drama as such.
Kilian: It may be a lower level 5 that has a tendency to want to disconnect from the drama and just get lost in your world again, the world of your book. But, when it becomes the observer and the participant at the same time, then there becomes that drive and that security to go out and actually search for that information which you need to then find out what the next move is.
Angelina: It's like problem solving. Crisis is problem solving but like you, I am fine when I have got options. Say my computer will do something weird and I'll think, “Right, let's try this, let's try this, let's try this”. Then as soon as I find I am out of my depth and I don't know what to do, then that's when I might have a bit of a reaction. (group laughs)
Iain: A bit of a reaction…? (laughing)
Heather: I think some types enjoy the unknown much more than we do. So that story for me and how I would interpret it as a 5 is, that he needed that space of withdrawal, to sit and read the book, which just gave him a bit of space and that he may well have then come up with some problem solving to take some action and say what to do in that particular situation.
Iain: So, he was creating his temporary fortress and then was willing to possibly go out and...
Heather: Yes, and that may look very strange to outsiders because it is not an immediate (clicks fingers), “OK let's do this then”. I certainly know that if you can give me even twenty seconds sometimes, to do that withdrawal, then I can usually do the, be-calm-in-a-crisis-bit. I don't know is that something you are relating to?
Angelina: Definitely, it's like, “Can you just give me two minutes to think? And please stop talking and then I will come up with something.”
Kilian: That moment of space is so important…
Iain: So basically, as you were saying in the introduction Heather, there are certain characteristics we incorporate into our personality that we learn when we are very young, which form the basis of our ego personality type and there is also a potential for each personality type. So type 5 has the potential to grow away from the control that the personality imprints have on us. How would you see an example of how type 5 is able to grow and not be so caught up?
Heather: Well I think the first thing is to notice that we are doing it and that in itself is just such an enormous... if I catch myself withdrawing and I think, “You just did it again didn't you!” If I can do that with compassion for myself…
Iain: So you don't judge yourself, you just take it as a fact that it has happened again.
Heather: Yes, then it already has less hold on me and therefore the boundaries soften. I think you probably get this impression from us about this fortress that is going on and that has got thick walls… you know it's hard. So the journey for a type 5 as I have experienced it is to say what needs to happen for me is to soften these walls. I am not trying to demolish them with a pick axe in order to be somebody different, but if I can let them be a little more flexible, then I can still have my fortress, but I can get the benefits of going out into the world because I start to recognise that actually other people's energy can help me, not just invade me. So the potential - one of the things I can remember vividly from the end of my first workshop - was realising that for me the challenge was to engage. That was the word I took away with me on the first work shop, and with compassion. You don't have to do it all the time but just open your doors for a bit, experience what it is like when you let other people's energy in and do it with people who seem to be understanding and who are not going to trample all over you.
So what I am looking for - if I am going to open my doors and engage with you - is that I want your energy to be quite gentle and respectful of my space. So my fear is if I open my doors, that you will come rampaging over my threshold on a big charger and that, I don't want. So I look for people that I can engage with, show and let myself be seen, show my emotions and tell them what I care about. But I am testing out, first of all, is this person going to be respectful of what I put out there? So that is one of the opportunities for a 5, to experiment with opening my doors a bit. Is that what you (Angelina and Kilian) have experienced, as you have journeyed, with your type?
Kilian: Yes, and realising a lot of the points where I catch myself in the moment. The more times I do it, the easier it becomes and through that, I get a real sense of security which…
Iain: So what's the process, Kilian, of catching yourself in the moment, how does it work?
Kilian: It's really subtle. When we were talking before about observation, it's getting out of my space at that moment and it's looking at, “OK this is what is going on”. It's just for a split second, but that detachment is enough to recognise what's going on and then being able to not act on it; not act on the drive and let it dissipate, let that energy, that kind of anxiety…
Iain: You have recognition that there is a pattern about to start through a thought or an action and then you make the conscious decision not to follow that automatic reaction; am I reading this correctly?
Kilian: Yes, it's a conscious decision but it's not a forceful decision, it's again using compassion to [say to myself], "So what? I'm getting anxious" for example, “What's the worst that can happen?” Asking that question really helps disengage from the negative energy and look for the positive in life.
Iain: OK, have you got any observation on that? (nods to Angelina)
Angelina: For me it was an awareness of what my traps might be, like the trap of trying to accumulate knowledge before taking action. I have sort of learnt now that you don't need to know everything, you can't know everything and it's OK to take action with what you have got. So that trap of over intellectualising things and also catching myself in the act, is often when I start theorising rather than actually being there, or listening. I work as a psychologist and sometimes someone is telling me something and I think, “Oh right, that connects with that theory, or that sounds like that Enneagram thing” and I am off on my own little theory trip and then I suddenly become aware that I am not really doing what I'm supposed to be doing, which is engaging with the person. It's catching myself doing that. It still happens…
Iain: Yes, you bring yourself back and it's starting again really. So it does seem that is the catalyst. It was the same when we were doing the type 9 interview, it was very much about the element of awareness; understanding there are these patterns that we are not always aware of. They do control our lives and just seeing when they come up, we do have a choice. You have to move quite fast and if you don't move fast enough, another pattern has come in there. But, you have a choice of not moving with the automatic response and reaction and something fresh, something new can be sitting there.
Heather: Sometimes the automatic reaction is absolutely the right thing and to be within our type and to do what our type does naturally might be just the thing that is needed, and sometimes it might be working against us. So it's that awareness to actually have that choice in the moment to say, “Is it useful to bring a bit of fiveness here or, actually am I not doing myself a favour by going down that route?”
Iain: “A bit of fiveness”, that's a nice expression! (laughs)
Heather: (laughs) Yes, one of the other things people often say about 5's is that we are stingy and this isn't usually about money although 5's traditionally can survive on very little, I mean the minimalist is a 5. My personal sense is that I would be very happy with a tent to go wandering the world, as long as I got good food. I don't need to acquire lots of stuff, in fact I find myself clearing out a lot of the time. The stinginess is often with my energy, rather than with money; of not putting myself into the world because of the fear that my energy will be depleted. So the potential for a 5 therefore, is to take the risk that by putting myself out there, actually other people might feed my energy instead of depleting it. So the potential for a 5 then, is to say, “If I can take that risk to engage, there is this flow that comes from this interaction and that I don't have to do it all myself anymore. There is joy to be had in letting other people come towards me and not feeling I have to protect my own energy levels all the time.”
Iain: I am just looking again at my notes... There is an inherent fear that nothing will come from the outside.
Heather: Yes, that's the fear, so that's where the real risk is –to actually risk opening the doors - that something precious will escape if I open my doors and there will be nothing to take its place. I will be empty and depleted.
Iain: So there will be more scarcity somehow, like when you open the cupboard that's not well stocked and will be even worse stocked once you have opened it because everything falls out.
Heather: Yes, absolutely. That's right and the cupboard is empty and I have no way of refilling it and the idea that I might be able to get something to refill it from other people... when I am being in my type 5, independence and self-sufficiency is very important to me because I can't rely on other people to refill my cupboard. So the potential is to just open my doors a little bit and see if other people... If I am generous to others with my presence - and my money as well if you like - that actually other people will be generous to me back and there will be this richness of interaction between us.
Angelina: (laughing) I was just theorising, can't help myself sorry. Hmm, I will have to think about that one. I relate very well to the withdrawing thing. That's one of my biggest problems, as a 5 I withdraw from things very quickly. So as soon as I feel I am being overwhelmed by people or misunderstood, rather than open the doors a bit more and engage, I just back off instead. I don't know if that's exactly the same thing as you are talking about.
Iain: I understand 5's are often drawn to the path of contemplation and meditation. Is that something that you have found in your own lives?
Kilian: I love contemplating things and theorising and conceptualising. I can do that for hours and meditation is the key to really disengage from that sort of mechanism. It's a respite from all the frantic energy that is going on in the head and I find meditation really very useful and a re-engaging tool. A tool that helps me to re-engage with life effectively, with society, the environment and with everything else. To just quieten that frantic energy which goes on in the head [meditation] helps me to re-engage with the belly centre. If we talk about the head, the heart and the belly [centres]. It's very useful; I'd recommend it to any 5.
Angelina: It’s really hard though, to switch off. I sort of get a bit of presence when I do yoga and you are doing a really hard balance so you can't think of anything except that one muscle in your toe that is making it all happen and I find that releases me from the usual thing that is going on up here (points to head). I find actual meditation really difficult. It's something I want to do more of, but [find it] really difficult.
Iain: So you are drawn towards contemplation and mediation, but the practice of it is not so easy for you guys?
Angelina: No, because I am sitting there thinking, “I wonder what this is doing for me? Is it calming down energy here and is it changing alpha waves for me?” All this theoretical nonsense is going on. Sometimes you really get into it and you jump out of it and think, “Wow that worked, I felt really calm at that point. I wonder what was going on there?” And then think, “Oh shut up, give it a rest!” (slapping head, laughing)
Heather: (Laughing) Yes I relate to that. Everybody always thinks that 5's must be very good at meditation because we have this energy that's very still and so they say, "Oh you find it easy." And I say, "No, not at all". I certainly don't. Sounds like you have managed to get to grips with it. (nods to Kilian)
Kilian: With anything it's practice, like a muscle really. The more you do it, the easier it becomes. There are days when I can't sit down and quieten the mind. There may be something that has grabbed my attention and it just fires off (points to head). The other thing I find which really helps, is getting in touch with the body. What you mentioned about wiggling your toe… any sort of kinesthetic work, martial arts, yoga, pilates and all that. Getting in touch with your body really, really, really helps.
Iain: Brings you out of the fortress of the mind into the wider horizons that are connected to you.
Heather: Yes it is a grounding thing. Actually I’m just connecting my head to the earth, just getting the pathways going between my head and the rest of me. So even something like walking, just feeling literally the circulation in your body, that grounds me; it is really helpful for all the types but I think particularly for 5's, to get in contact with the present moment. Doing something physical which is so totally engaging that I cannot analyse it while I am doing it, is a place of rest for me. I got involved, for example, in doing shiatsu which is massage, it's one to one, scary stuff. It's physical, very scary stuff and I have to be totally present in the moment and not be doing much of an analysis.
Angelina: You have to touch other people? (laughing)
Heather: Yes, touching other people. I did it because I had so much benefitted from being touched in that respectful way that I was talking about and the challenge to do it with other people, really, was a challenge and a growth path. But needing to get into the body work and through that then hopefully connect with the heart, in terms of the three centres. If I think about, “I know I have got to get in touch with the other two centres [heart and belly] where am I going to start?” For me, getting in touch with my heart: really scary. Getting in touch with my body: possible. OK let's try that one first. I don't know, is that true for you? (nods at Kilian and Angelina)
Kilian: Yes, feelings are definitely the hardest to get in touch with. They are there, it is just a case of firstly recognising them and almost wanting to dip into those feelings. I always seek a lot of safety in conceptualising and really relying on the mind to do one over on the feelings. It's definitely a lot easier to get into the body; and getting in touch with the body really allows the feelings to express. So I love dancing for example and that’s a great way of how I disengage with the head; or the head is busy listening to music, which is another of the things I really love. So body is busy dancing away and the heart.... you know, I can really get in touch with the emotions of the music.
Iain: How are the emotions, feelings and touching for you?
Angelina: Erm, I am not always very engaged with them and they tend to creep up and surprise me sometimes. Although they work away at an unconscious level and my behaviour will get a bit erratic, and when it all actually becomes clear, it turns out that there has been something emotionally bothering me that I just haven't been aware of. So they do work at an unconscious level. It's quite hard to get in touch with.
Iain: And how is that? Are you OK with it, do you accept it, or is it something that you feel there is movement forward there?
Angelina: On the surface level I am OK with it, but I know it does cause me problems because sometimes you can make wrong decisions because you haven't been in touch with what you are feeling, or like I say, it can work at an unconscious level and you start behaving strangely without getting in contact with them, so it's something that I think needs work.
Iain: So how is it to be a partner with a type 5, those of you with partners, or past partners?
Angelina: (laughs) I'd like to ask him actually.
Iain: You don't know? Again that's a little bit type 5 isn't it? You don't actually know how your partner is feeling towards you and your relationship?
Iain: Go on someone else jump in (laughs), I haven't a clue how to answer that.
Kilian: It's a real learning curve...
Iain: Yes, you are in a fairly new relationship aren't you Kilian?
Kilian: Yes and she's a type 7, I think. Space is really important for me, but I am fortunate enough to be with a partner who actually recognises that. As a type 7, I think it's quite difficult for her, but it's a wonderful relationship, especially with that understanding there. Recognising that I need to go away and just be in my space and be disconnected, essentially to recharge my batteries and then re-engage. When I am there with her then, I am very much in the present moment and my mind is not elsewhere and everything, just very much in the present. She has a really calming effect too.
Heather: My partner's an 8, which is interesting. When I first got together with him I was struck by this life force from within him. I thought, “I want some of that!” I had an instinctive recognition that this ability to be there and engaged with life all the time, was something I needed to do and he could hold my hand and take me there. But, then of course, I withdrew, so his persistence…
Iain: So you withdrew because it was all too much for you? (rotating hands creating a tangled movement)
Heather: Yes, because an 8 energy… it took me a long time to work with it. Type 8 [also called] ‘The Boss’ is a big energy, full of lust for life. It's what you see, is what you get and it comes on quite strong. So of course as a good 5, what did I do? Take three paces backwards and his persistence in gently hanging around, not invading on a big charger, but not going away either. So what I would say to somebody who thinks they might be in a relationship with a 5 is, take gentle steps in but don't go away either. It's persistence because very often when people do the Enneagram and they learn about 5's, they say, “Oh we have got to be terribly respectful with you and not invade your space” and what happens is they pussy foot about (laughing) and we don't want you to do that either!
Iain: (laughing) Type 8's don't pussy foot about..
Heather: (laughing) Type 8's don't pussy foot about (shaking head) what you see is what you get and by doing that they show us - if you are in a relationship with a 5 - get your foot in the door and hold the door open very gently, but persistently. Don't keep saying, “Oh well, I will go away again then”. That doesn't work either because in our heart of hearts, we want to let you in; it's just that we are scared. So if you can put your foot in the door and gently say, “Is that alright, if I just stay here for a minute, is that alright with the door open? OK, so what if I took another step further towards you, would that be OK?” And help us [5’s] to build relationships in that way.
Iain: So, we talked earlier a couple of times about potential for the type 5. With the three of you, how do you feel in your own movement towards potential?
Kilian: I think there is an immense reliance on knowledge, but the pathway for growth for me is through learning to trust in myself and not having to rely on the mind to get me through a sticky situation; trusting on my gut instinct a lot more than what I am used to. So with meditation and body work, my thought patterns are a lot quieter. Communication as well, it is a lot easier to communicate. I don't get caught up in my thoughts nearly as quickly - I am just noticing now - there's an interesting little judgment there (points to head). The more and more work I do, the easier it is to open that door and to really let the world in and with that, there comes a real sense of groundedness and a sense of belonging and from that space, to really make an impact on the world.
Iain: The sense of belonging is interesting because that's completely the opposite to the castle you were talking about, the fortress. You know and genuinely feel inside that there is a sense of belonging and you are moving towards that.
Kilian: Yes, it's very powerful. It's difficult but I know it's possible and there is a lot of power in that which is really appealing and it feels true. I don't know if you want to say something on that [Heather]?
Heather: Yes, belonging is a word that is very important to me and I desperately want to be in the group and not outside it and taking that step out to be in the group… why is that so hard? That's what the challenge is. I absolutely relate to what you are saying because if we can do that, I find now - in terms of how I used to be - that I can be more in a group and to actually experience the joy of being in the group, rather than outside it. It's almost as if the castle fortress for me, has become one of those garden gazebo's that has four corners but there is space in between and people can come in, and here I am! I am reclining on my cushions in the garden, but people can come in and out and we are enjoying interactions. So the whole fortress thing is relaxing as the years go on, and the awareness of what the pattern is has been central to letting it become more gentle and more open.
Iain: OK, we have a couple of minutes left. Angelina, did you want to say something about how you are filling your potential?
Angelina: I think I am still on the learning curve with it, to be honest. I do get trapped by my 5'ness quite a lot still, but I do take time to look outside. Literally outside the window and things and just try and get a sense of what's out there and appreciating small things and being a bit more grounded and spending less time in my head and caught up with things. So that's what I am working on at the moment.
Iain: OK, I am just going to run through these books here for people who are interested in knowing more about the enneagram. 'The Enneagram Made Easy' [by Renee Baron and Elizabeth Wagele] I referred to earlier, which is a very basic book but it's very good and even if you know a bit about it, I still find it very helpful. One that Heather gave me earlier, 'The ABC of the Enneagram’ by Eric Salmon, which I hadn't actually looked at yet.
Heather: It has got all wonderful cartoons in it.
Iain: I will like it if it's got cartoons in it. There are a couple of books by Sandra Maitri, 'The Spiritual Dimension of the Enneagram' and 'The Enneagram of Passions and Virtues' which are more about the potential of the spiritual side of the Enneagram and how the bigger picture fits together. All these books cover all the different types. If you get interested in one type, you will also get interested in the other types. It is quite fascinating because, it's not just about discovering what your type is and how that helps you, it's [about] understanding other people's types as well, which can be immensely helpful in relationships and business and all modes of life.
I have 'Facets of Unity' by A H Almaas, which I would say is in the advanced category, but it's very rewarding and it is worth sticking with if you are interested in taking it to a real depth. And one that I haven't read, but I am told is good, is ‘The Wisdom of the Enneagram’, the complete guide to psychological and spiritual growth of the nine personality types, and that is by Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson.
So that is it, I hope you have enjoyed this and that you will seek out the other programmes on the Enneagram if you are not a type 5 and you are interested in finding out what your type is. I think, we might even one day put a programme together where we have one from each type and see how they converse with each other and try to really emphasise some of the differences. So, thank you again for watching conscious TV and I hope we see you again soon. Goodbye.
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