Thursday, January 31, 2019

Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Back Into My Trance!

Psychologists have found strong evidence for the impact of our beliefs and expectations on outcomes, particularly when we are convinced that our predictions will manifest, and even when we don't necessarily consciously know that we hold the expectation. Self-Fulfilling Prophecy in Psychology: 10 Examples and Definition, emphasis added)
One of my Enneagram style Nine clients wrote to me, "Hi Coach, I don't understand today's 9" (from the Enneagram Institute's Type Nine EnneaThought for January 30th):
"Remember that Nines make a fundamental mistake in believing that to stay connected to others they must not be connected to themselves. Watch for this tendency in yourself today. (The Wisdom of the Enneagram, 327)."
As I wrote to my client, entranced Nines only feel safe when following someone else's agenda because of the belief, "If I speak up, especially if I disagree, I'll cause conflict and lose that connection." In staying silent, they deny connecting to what they want -- and the constant reinforcement of this belief makes it difficult to even know what they want.

This belief doesn't have to be conscious. The entrancement of Enneagram patterns runs deep, and even when it's your goal to stay present and interrupt old patterns, a saboteur from the unconscious can play the old game right under your nose.

For example, a developing style Nine who has to overcome some inertia to speak up (perhaps having experienced "Nobody hears me!"), may be more blunt than necessary or blurt out in a way that seems offensive to the other person, causing problems in the relationship.

In the first chapter of Out of the Box Coaching with the Enneagram, Clarence Thomson and I describe the self-fulfilling nature of Enneagram style One's belief in the necessity of striving for perfection:
A flow of energy necessarily follows our narrow focus of attention. This energy supports a particular trance in a self-fulfilling way. Enneagram Ones, for example, will habitually look for something wrong, then receive satisfaction from making a correction. This reinforces their worldview that they must strive for perfection.
The self-fulfilling nature of our Enneagram patterns isn't unique to style Nine or One, of course. We all create occasions that allow us to say to ourselves at some level, "See, I knew it wasn't safe to do that... back into my trance!"

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