Understanding Basic Personality Traits

In my book, Ring Exchange: Life Lessons from a Multiple Marrier, published in 2014, I discuss how having a familiarity with ourselves, which includes understanding our personality traits as well as our strengths and weaknesses, helps guide us in our relationship choices.

Enneagrams are a powerful tool to gain insights into basic personality traits and core values. The Enneagram provides increased self-awareness by giving specific directions on how to achieve personal growth, restore balance, and figure out how to improve relationships with those around you, including romantic partners.

For instance, I discovered from my Enneagram description that I am a Helper. Helpers are demonstrative, generous, people-pleasing and possessive. We want to feel loved, and have an innate fear of being unwanted and unworthy of love. Celebrities in the Helper personality category include Juliette Binoche, Elizabeth Taylor, Martin Sheen and Priscilla Presley.

Surely Elizabeth Taylor, who was generous as a friend and as a contributor to various charities she cared about, was the very essence of a Helper personality.  In her eight marriages (to seven men, since she married Richard Burton twice), some taking place in rapid succession, she personified the Helper’s innate fear of being unwanted.

Realizing that I am a Helper personality has enabled me to see that in my relationships and marriages, I was the epitome of the generous and demonstrative (both good), people-pleasing (not so good) and possessive (bad) mate. In two of my relationships, I assumed the role of “servant,” acquiescing most of the time to my husbands’ demands in order to maintain harmony. I wore a mask of marital bliss, but beneath that façade, I was increasingly lonely, frustrated and resentful about not being appreciated. These feelings would build until one day, I would literally erupt, determine that I’d had enough and take leave of my marriage for greener pastures.

Until I understood the basic factors that make up my personality and what drives me, I kept repeating this pattern of looking for attention, love and approval by quickly jumping into relationships.

There are nine Enneagram personality types:

1.     The Perfectionist

2.     The Helper

3.     The Achiever

4.     The Romantic

5.     The Observer

6.     The Questioner

7.     The Adventurer

8.     The Asserter

9.     The Peacemaker

Over the next few blog posts, I will delve into more details on the nine personality types, hopefully offering insightful information that you can apply to yourself, your life and relationships.