Sunday, October 16, 2016

Give Me Liberty, Or Give Me Death!

Question: In your article on Sevens were you implying our fear of pain is fear of physical pain? My fear is not nearly so much of pain as of confinement. The enthusiasm you so accurately describe is a type of inner expansion. I bear my arthritis pain quite nicely, but the confinement of it really gets me down. We Sevens fear we'll be bored, have no options, and if I had to face life imprisonment or death, I'm with Patrick Henry ("Give me liberty or give me death").
This reader is referring to an article about Enneagram style Seven where I wrote, "Their determined cheerfulness manifests a coping strategy developed as children to blunt or cover up any pain. Because they've avoided pain all their lives, their pain threshold is low and they feel pain very deeply... we can all identify with the urge to escape pain by doing something pleasurable." I agree that style Seven's issues are not necessarily with physical pain.  

It's been true of those I've coached that pain refers to whatever brings discomfort for that person, and being confined is uncomfortable for those with Enneagram style Seven. Their avoidance of pain is really more accurately understood as a passion for pleasure, a compulsion to seek variety because reality itself is not satisfying, and that's the real burden of pain that unexamined Sevens bear.

One of my style Seven clients was also an ENTP on the Myers-Briggs, which substantially exaggerated his Seven-ness. Go to this ENTP link and you'll see what I mean. Neither Enneagram Sevens nor Myer-Briggs Type ENTPs like to bother with detail; both are future-oriented, like to leave things open, crave activity and variety. 

That same client (also described in my book Out of the Box Coaching with the Enneagram) said the worst possible thing he could imagine was being jailed. And he'd felt almost unbearably trapped in his job because the newness had worn off and he was stuck dealing with corporate politics. He'd been fantasizing about people he could connect with in the hierarchy to get him out of there. Instead, I suggested he use his discomfort as a clue that his habitual patterns were kicking into gear; that he was, in fact, feeling imprisoned right then and there and feeling compelled to be released. To his credit he did stick with it, felt less constrained by his own compulsive wish for escape, and ended up succeeding his boss as division manager (I'm not sure that was a happy ending).


No comments:

Post a Comment