Dial "E" for Murder
A droll look at the shadow connection between the nine Enneagram personality types and murder
By Elizabeth Wagele and Jaqueline Girdner
This is precisely the reality and meaning of the shadow: Each of us could imagine and could commit any atrocity or achieve any greatness of which humanity is capable; the shadow is the rest of who we are. For every virtue we have espoused, the opposite has had to remain undeveloped, unconscious. While we have the right to consider the murderer, thief, adulterer, terrorist, prostitute, blasphemer, drug dealer, extortionist, or racist in us sinister and evil, we do not have the right to consider any one of them absolutely nonexistent in us.
-Anne Brennan, from Celebrating Mid-life, Jungian Archetypes and Mid-life Spirituality by Janice Brewi and Anne Brennan
Okay, admit it. You've wanted to kill before. You've longed to kill. Luckily, you were mature enough to find other ways to handle the conflict. We hope. But don't you wonder how you were capable of dehumanizing someone to the point of contemplating murder -- even for a moment? We'll show you.
At the same time, we'll introduce you to some murder victims, based on the nine types of people as described by the Enneagram.
The key to our "ability" to dehumanize can be found in what psychologists refer to as the shadow, the unconscious part of our personality containing thoughts, feelings, and abilities we've rejected or are unable to recognize as our own. Admitting to the shadow side would be too terrifying, so we protect ourselves by burying it and projecting it from this hidden place onto someone else. For example, if we don't accept our fear, we may ask a friend why she's so frightened. If we don't accept our anger, we may accuse others of being angry; then we're free to live out our "good" side. Sometimes we see our repressed shadow mirrored by someone else and we hate him for it. Hating others keeps us from having to admit to a part of ourselves we don't accept. The shadow is linked to deception, shame, and evil. Sometimes our shadow material is so threatening, we make the person we've projected it on into an evil monster. Evil monsters aren't really human, so we don't mind killing them -- until we think better of it, at least.
Meet Your Own Shadow
When you read these nine stories, notice the relationship between the murderer and the victim. Some of the victims point out something the murderers aren't willing to see in themselves. The victims represent one personality of each Enneagram type -- examples at the unhealthy end of the spectrum. Needless to say, the murderers are even more unhealthy.
If you find your worst enemy here, you might have found someone who has a flaw too close to one of your own. You might have found your shadow. If one of these stories opens your eyes to a side of yourself you've been keeping in the dark, this will be good for your psychological health. Its called assimilating the shadow. You may thank us for introducing you to your shadow before it's too late. Or maybe not. Not everyone enjoys seeing themselves in a mirror.
Ones, perfectionists, try to be "good and right." They think they're doing you a favor when they tell you you're out of line -- by being outright critical or by using the slightly raised eyebrow. Their shadow personalities, which they don't admit to, of course, are resentful, angry, and see things in black and white. This anger and rigidity often makes them wrong about things. It prevents them from seeing the whole picture and being fair, just, and right. They can't see that they are capable of ruining someone's whole life over a petty offense, for example. Could this also be a side of you that you've been unwilling to admit?
Pretend you're a teacher who likes to gamble and has a conflict with this extreme, neurotic version of a One (don't forget that each Enneagram type can be just as likable and healthy as this example is meddling and neurotic). Imagine...
The Witch is a Snitch
It was dark and stormy that night, but that didn't stop you. No, it couldn't, could it? You're a teacher, but you like to gamble too. No big problem, you were reminding yourself as you walked out of the Casino. Next week, you promised yourself. Next week I'll win, win big. And then, you saw her... 0na Onederful, your co-worker. Ona was a teacher too. But even teachers have dirty laundry. And Ona was dropping hers off at the cleaner's... and squinting her narrow eyes at you as you exited the Casino. You knew she was looking to see if anyone was doing anything immoral. And if you weren't certain, she proceeded to tell you. "I saw you," she screeched in that conscience-piercing voice of hers. "Saw you in that den of iniquity. I went there once, just to see what tempted you poor souls. But I lost too much money. You, on the other hand." She smiled benignly. "I'll be able to tell the principal about your filthy habits. For the good of the kids, of course. Unless you reform." She peered up at you expectantly, apparently waiting for you to swear that you would clean up your act, but you had no intention of changing your habits. You live your life to the hilt. You and your devil-may-care attitude. And you remembered... remembered the time your friend had told an off-color joke at a faculty party and Ona had spoken up at the next PTA meeting saying your friend should see a psychologist and not be allowed to work with children anymore... and the sexual harassment charge against your other friend... and -- No, you wouldn't give in, but what to do? You thought you were going to lose your job. No job, no money. No money, no fun. Quickly, you struck a deal. "I saw a couple of other teachers going to a nude beach an hour ago," you told her. Her narrow eyes widened with excitement. "We'll be able to see them from the cliff if we go right now." And amazingly, she went with you in your truck, prattling about her ethics class all the way to the cliff. Once you were out of the truck, at the cliff's edge, the wind lashed you into action. One little push was all it took, and Ona Onederful was on the rocks.
You even called the police. You told them that Ona Onederful had begged you to take her to the cliff and that you hadn't understood why until suddenly she jumped. Being a gambler, you knew how to keep a straight face when they interviewed you. Since there was no evidence of foul play, you were never caught. Not yet, that is.
As long as this happy-go-lucky murderer was doing his job well, and he was, he had nothing to fear from Ona except a little hassling. The Casino he went to was legal, after all. But he was unable to keep his perspective because he was in the grip of his shadow, as mirrored by Ona. Unconsciously, he chose to murder rather than admit the fun-killing, conscience-ridden shadow side of himself that had been buried so long ago.
Twos are "saintly" and helpful. They can be truly altruistic, but their shadows are bossy tyrants that only get in the way. Twos never question that they know more about you than you know about yourself. They can smother you with advice. While their conscious intent is to spread love, harmonious feelings, and generosity, when their shadow side is in charge they are manipulative and overly controlling. If you don't love them enough they can become angry and punitive. Or just helpful.
Helped to Death
You had just bought a beautiful armoire, rosewood with mother of pearl inlay. The artistry of its doors was enough to take your breath away. Not to mention hefting it. The salesman said, "Get at least two people to help you carry it. It's really heavy." But you couldn't wait to see it gleaming in your entry hall. And you didn't want to bother anyone to help you. So there you were, sweating, back aching, having dragged it that far by yourself when Tammy Twoaid got on the elevator with you and your armoire and started giving you advice, her sympathetic eyes blinking with each irritating sentence. "Do you have a small rug you could put under it?" she asked as the elevator ascended. "A rug?" you objected. "A rug couldn't slide on the cement floor. And how would I get it under the armoire?" All you wanted was to muscle the armoire the rest of the way into your apartment and then call an ambulance. But nooo! As the elevator came to your floor. Tammy told you, "I have a dolly in my place. Just wait while I go get it." You almost had it out of the elevator when Tammy arrived with her dolly, blocking your way... and your momentum. "By the way, I have to show you how to fix your hair better," Tammy offered as the armoire grew heavier against your straining body. Physical pain and two years of advice bombardment can do strange things to a person. The six hundred pound armoire broke into hundreds of pieces after you found your superhuman strength and hurled it at her, but it was well worth it. As she died, she whispered to you several places where you could get it repaired. But you will never use them. They won't allow an armoire in your prison cell.
Why didn't the murderer simply tell Tammy he'd rather work alone? Because inside he was overreacting, a sign that his shadow had taken hold of him. Tammy's behavior reminded him, unconsciously, that they shared the deception of being in charge: Tammy was compulsively helping because she really wanted people to help her, while he didn't ask for what he wanted because then people would know he wasn't in charge. He couldn't let his shadow out -- not even a little -- because he feared total meltdown. Come to think of it, keeping it bottled up resulted in total meltdown too.
Achievers, the Threes, seek the house on top of the hill, a prestigious job, and the latest in fashion. When healthy, they're hard working, energetic, constructive members of the community. When their shadow is in charge, they boast and tell lies about themselves in order to look good to others. They may climb to the top by whichever route is most expedient, even if it means doing you great harm. While consciously they want to fit in and be good team workers, their shadow side is mercilessly competitive and narcissistic. You'll be rejected if you try to get between them and their goal.
You'd finally achieved your dream. You'd written a book, the book. But would it be published? It had to be published. You trembled with the possibilities. Six figure deals. Oprah. A new word processor. And you thought you had the key to each and every one of the possibilities. Trixie Triumph was recommended to you as a top New York agent by a friend. And Trixie had agreed to meet with you in New York at a book convention. So you held your breath and got on the airplane, knowing that the ticket cost you your monthly rent. Optimistic smile in place, you waited in the bar where Trixie promised to meet you. But she never showed. You saw her across a crowded hall, in a meeting room, and at a restaurant in the three days that followed, her notebook in hand, but she always was too busy making big deals with "more important" people to acknowledge your frantic waves. Then you realized the convention was almost over. A chill entered your blood. Desperate, you knocked on the door of Trixie's hotel room. And she opened it. Was that the door to your career? You opened your mouth to make your pitch just as Trixie's phone began ringing. Trixie thrust out the palm of her hand in the universal equivalent of "stop" and cooed into her telephone receiver, "Of, course, anything for you. Someone with me? Never mind, she isn't important--" As Trixie turned her back on you, you noticed the rhinestone belt on her bed, part of her newly purchased outfit from Neiman Marcus.
Garroting her was easy. Remembering all the people in your life that wouldn't give you the time of day because you weren't part of the "in-crowd" wasn't easy. And being led away by the police was even harder. But your book is now a bestseller. You are a celebrity.
Why didn't the author make a more substantial attempt to get Trixie's attention early on, or try to locate another agent? It wouldn't have been hard to do at a book convention, after all. When the reaction is disproportionate to the situation, you can be sure a nerve reaching into the shadow has been hit. Trixie's greed reminded the author of her own greed, a greed so feared, so shameful to her, she would kill rather than admit it.
Temperamental artistic-romantic Fours are sensitive, soul-searching, sometimes self-involved. They long for what they don't have and are often melancholy. Something can injure their feelings that wouldn't even be noticed by most people. While Fours consciously honor refinement and compassion, their shadow side can be very unrefined by spreading envy and hatred and by making nearly inhuman demands.
Death of a Hot House Plant
The first time you met your new neighbor, Fiona Fourlourn, you couldn't help but stare. She was a hothouse plant, an artist, burning with desire. Her white skin, ruby lips, and shadowed eyes spoke of an inner fire of suffering. And her flowing, gardenia-scented wardrobe and silken tresses spoke of unknown romance... and tragedy.
Unfortunately, her buttery voice spoke of complaints. Many complaints. She sought your help, and at first you gave it willingly, wondering how this lovely creature had been so wounded. Then she came to your neighborhood meeting and lectured on deer repellents, your area of expertise. Her beauty was overshadowed by her competitive self-important performance. But even as her performance ate at you, you were caught in the drama, as were all your neighbors. You didn't attend the next meeting. And, of course, Fiona asked for your help again, her face so sad, so needy. You knew she needed a love you couldn't possibly give her. Only she could give herself that much love. But still, you fixed the communal fence. How little a thing for an artist like Fiona. Then she asked you to chop off the branches of your oak tree, the tree that had caused her such exquisite misery. You loved the old oak, but you cut the branches. Her suffering was so great. But by the time you'd helped her fix her car, shared your truckload of gravel, and removed your roses because their color offended her sensitive eyes, you were beginning to suffer too. And the demands never ended. Each time, you promised yourself you'd resist, but Fiona sucked you in. You began to imagine her hidden tragedies... with pleasure. And began to plan them, only in your mind. But still... One day, you were burning brush in your front yard, more of the branches Fiona had asked you to cut, when Fiona told you to paint her side wall. It had been touched by the smoke from your branches. It suffered so. And so did Fiona when you grasped a burning spear from your fire barehanded and chucked it over the fence into Fiona's wounded heart. Her inner fire caught and she spontaneously erupted into a glorious, blazing torch. Ah, the drama. Fiona Fourlourn's tragedy is complete. Yours is just beginning.
How did the boundaries between these neighbors become so blurred? Seeing Fiona demand attention and get it time after time became intolerable for our murderer, for she had a desperate but hidden desire for attention herself. She was caught by the shadow -- the shadow of bitter envy.
Fives, observers, tend to be withdrawn. They like searching for knowledge, and avoid being intruded upon. Fives can annoy people, however, when they come out of hiding to deliver treatises on their subject of expertise. While they consciously try to be objective and self-sufficient, their shadow side can express itself as judging, controlling, and arrogant. They can out-know you to death.
Analyzed to Death
Felix Fivacy was one of your oldest friends. You'd known him since high school, as much as you can know a man who lives in a garret, often forgetting to eat, but never to read. In fact, it was in your sophomore year of high school that you both did your science projects on the same subject, DNA modeling. You thought having a father who was a Nobel prize winner for DNA research would take you to the blue ribbon, but Felix read and read, and produced the winning science project. Thirty years later, you were about to reveal your new product, the newest leap in medical technology, a cancer cure that doubled as a wrinkle cream. It was your ticket to fame, wealth, and your own Nobel prize, finally. You had to show it to Felix. Maybe you'd get the approval you never got from your father. You were certain Felix would be interested in your research. Felix was interested in everything from bio-energy to Mozart. You took him to your lab the night before your big presentation. You showed him the research, the molecular breakdown, even the cream itself in the quiet of the night. Felix took it all in, sniffing the cream as you explained. Then you waited for his response. Felix asked you a few more questions, then finally cleared his throat to deliver his shocking verdict. "This could interact paradoxically with certain other medications and make a few people really sick, you know," he told you. And then he got specific. He even drew the molecular sequences on your blackboard. It was amazing. He caught something you missed. How could he know more about pharmaceuticals than you did? He was right. You looked at Felix, whose owl-like eyes were blinking in the enjoyment of sharing his superior knowledge. Did he have any idea he could destroy your career with his self-satisfied, know-it-all judgment? And in all the world, only Felix Fivacy would catch the potential problem, you were sure.
You offered to buy Felix a cup of coffee. You knew he'd accept. He loved anything he didn't have to pay for. You crossed the street to the twenty-four hour takeout deli and ordered two coffees, your heart pounding. "Make those to go," you told the woman behind the counter. Felix was busy explaining his theory about the connection between chakra vibrations and chemical compounds when you added a little something from a bygone experiment to his coffee. A little something that had turned out to be unexpectedly lethal, and difficult to trace. Felix was up to the fifth chakra, before he noticed that the coffee tasted odd. He told you about its flavor, about his growing feeling of nausea, the burning in his throat and his heart irregularities.
You could tell he was fascinated by his own convulsions, only frustrated that he was unable to describe them as he died. "Interesting," he finally gasped and lay still. Still and heavy. Too heavy. You had barely begun to drag his body down the hallway when the night janitor appeared. You're now dealing in a different class of drug, as you begin your sentence in the state penitentiary.
Our arrogant murderer thought he had all the secrets to the universe. He "knew" he was the smartest man in the world. But the shadow knew he wasn't. Inflated ego mirrored and plans smashed, the other had to go.
Questioning everything, this sometimes pessimistic and paranoid type will either appear obviously insecure and fearful or will try to get you before you can get him or her. Sixes can be witty and the most loyal of friends. They tend to belong to groups for protection, sometimes plotting against superiors behind their backs. Their shadow side blames others for the bad things they themselves have thought or done.
She was your baby. Your daughter. As a child, Dolly Dimples had been talkative, friendly, even obedient. Maybe too obedient. Then she'd grown to adulthood and met Sam Sixago. Five years ago, she married him. You had hopes for the marriage... and reservations. Sam was a religious man, deeply involved in his church. Sam liked impressing the minister, but was worried that the minister was plotting behind his back. And Sam was plotting in return. Sometimes, the minister let Sam fill in for him while he was away. He would give his sermons titles like, "Grab Your Power," and "Be a Humble Lamb," "You are Chosen," and "Who Cares about You Anyway?" He worked hard for his computer firm too. But then, he began to rebel. The church was too confining, his work stifling, and they were all out to get him: his fellow churchgoers, his co-employees, even his neighbors. "They all oughta be shot!" he finally raged and pulled up roots once again. Then someone handed him a pamphlet on "Zucchini Watch" cult. "This is it," he proclaimed. "These guys are onto governmental persecution, the cover-up of known UFOs, God's true plan, all of it." You asked Sam for a copy of the pamphlet and were horrified to read its words. The members of "Zucchini Watch" believed that Elijah Socrates, the founding father, was riding in the tail of a comet and was able to communicate with the cult members through the stem end of a zucchini. Sam quickly converted your 32-year-old baby daughter, threatening to kidnap their first child if she didn't agree to come with him. They moved to a desolate compound in Nevada, not far from the site where they had tested atom bombs some decades before, a "power spot." Sam convinced your daughter to follow Father Socrates' plan and produce many, many children intended to populate the cult in the heavens. There, in the compound, they waited for the signal from above that would instruct mass suicide! A spaceship was scheduled to come to get them at the millennium. You had almost given up hope when you got a note from your daughter. It simply said, "help!" So you called Sam, telling him you were thinking of converting, and you visited the compound. You had a plan. You asked him only one thing, to put a zucchini in his pocket as proof of his belief. He did this eagerly. Then you called the FBI. When you got to the compound you convinced Sam, your daughter, and their now two children to take a walk outside the compound. The FBI arrived, with bullhorns. Sam reached for the zucchini in his pants pocket, and in slow motion you watched as he pulled the zucchini halfway out of his pocket, only to be shot by an FBI sharpshooter. As Sam went down, mortally wounded, he whispered, "This is all your fault. I knew I shouldn't have trusted you." He was right.
God's true plan -- suicide? We don't think so. Though Sam professed to be a loyal and religious man, his shadow was running the show. He would project his own anger and bad intentions onto people and accuse them of plotting against him. Then he planned the ultimate disloyalty -- killing himself and the family he "loved."
The shadow issue the father and Sam shared was the need to control another person. Even before Sam showed signs of instability, the father had blamed him for Dolly Dimples' growing up and leaving home. His ego believed he was being a good father by not teaching his daughter to make good decisions because his shadow needed him to dominate.
Sevens, the adventurers, keep moving, looking for newness and fun. They are often charming, outgoing, and like to tell stories.Sevens are gluttons for experiences like eating, traveling, and whatever other good things life has to offer. While consciously wanting everyone to be happy and equal, they can be self-centered and expect everyone to stop whatever they're doing to please them. Though they say they celebrate life, the life their shadow demands we all celebrate -- is theirs.
I've Always Wanted to See the Riviera
You'd met Sean Sevendipity once before, after calligraphy class. But he'd only lasted two months before going on to hang-gliding. You tried to remember what he'd said he'd done for a living then. Was it sales? Or investment counseling? Oh, well, in the long run, it didn't matter. None of it mattered but your grandmother, the woman who'd raised you. She didn't have much, but she had her little house, finally paid off after forty years. The house that always smelled of cinnamon tea and lemony wax polish, the house that always had your favorite chair waiting for you, the house that your grandmother had made you promise to let her die in. You thought you recognized the name "Sevendipity" when she mentioned the handsome young man who had come to her "Adventures for the Elderly" meeting to offer an incredible investment scheme. Twenty percent annual interest and absolutely no risk. It was incredible, but you were too late to stop her from signing the papers to re-mortgage her house and put her life savings in Scan Sevendipity's scheme. The double digit interest never materialized. Not even a single digit. And then the principal began to shrink faster than the Wicked Witch of the West. First, your grandmother's best friend, Elsie, lost her house and then... the unspeakable, your own grandmother, nine months behind in her new mortgage, was set on the street, sitting in your favorite chair on the sidewalk, dazed and homeless. You found Scan's address in the phone book and paid him a visit in his home spa at his new adults only condo, telling him of the tragedy. "Wow," he said, stepping into his hot tub. "I'm glad I didn't actually invest in that thing. I just worked on commission, like I always do. I got a nice chunk of change." "Good," you said. "Then you can help my grandmother get her house back." "Whoa, partner," Sean objected, reaching for the champagne bottle located close to his hand. "Not my problem." "It is your problem!" you shouted. "Sorry, hon, can't talk now," he corrected you. "I'm taking off for Nice, France in an hour. Man, that place is cool. And I'm gonna learn to scuba dive." He splashed in the water playfully. "Got places to go, people to see." "But--" you tried again. "Sorreee," he cut you off. "Stuff happens." You gave a whistle, and two elderly women joined you in Sean's home spa. Sean waved merrily, and the three of you moved into place around the tub. Sean looked at his reflection in the water, so handsome! Then your hands and four more arthritic ones pushed Sean's shoulders down, down, down. Champagne-sodden from pre-celebrating his trip, Sean sank faster than the Titanic. And your years of calligraphy classes paid off in writing Sean's will, leaving his condo and worldly goods to your grandmother and Elsie.
One year later, upon the anniversary of the event, your grandmother set you in your favorite chair in the condo that had been Sean's. She and Elsie were enjoying the spa, the pool and the weight room especially. The whole place shone and smelled of lemon and cinnamon. You placed a flower in the hot tub in Sean's memory, a narcissus, and hoped that you would not be caught until your grandmother and her friend, Elsie, had passed their final days in the luxury provided by their investment in Sean Sevendipity's scheme.
This handsome devil was so concerned about living the good life, he was willing to sacrifice a helpless old lady. If this conniver was smart enough to con her out of her money, why wasn't he smart enough to get out of the country faster? He couldn't admit anything he did could bring him harm because he was under the spell of his shadow. Way under.
Eights are assertive, confident, and decisive. They take the upper hand, make sure no one has power over them, and have lusty appetites. Eights know what they want, want it now, and usually get it. While consciously protective of the underdog, their shadow side can walk all over people weaker than they are.
Making a Killing
You like to win. And up until Elija Eightbrae, you usually did. And not just because you were smart. You worked long and hard. You no longer had a spouse. You had no hobbies. You were working too hard. But it paid off. You built your own business from the ground up, leveraging here, strategizing there. Your business was bigger than it had ever been, employing more than a hundred people, people who knew and respected you. You were respected elsewhere too. You were profiled by the Wall Street Journal. Silicon Valley waiters addressed you by name. Members of the mafia brought you gifts. And then you decided you needed to expand your company exponentially. It wasn't just to supply all the orders that seemed to roll in magically, it was because that's how you lived, always working hard, always expanding your goals. But you needed an infusion of capital to keep your dream growing. And you met Elija Eightbrae. Eightbrae was a legend in his own time. A man who had invested in more businesses than you had employees. A fixer. A man who could take any business and make it grow. Eightbrae had twelve houses, six ex-wives, and a membership in a club so secret only the members knew its name. A man of your caliber. You had lunch with him and listened to his offer of capitalization. And you watched him admiringly. Here was a man who was larger than life. He knew what he wanted and he got it. That day, you imagined you had finally met a man savvy enough to call your mentor. And you accepted his offer. A huge sum of money for forty-nine percent of your business. You told yourself you were still in control. You owned the remaining fifty-one percent. Well, almost. There was the option for a few thousand shares your vice-president was awarded when you started the company. But no matter. You and Elijah were partners. Things began to move quickly. Elijah proposed that you clear out the "deadwood." This worried you for a while. The "deadwood" had been with you from the start. But they seemed happy to retire with excellent severance packages. Then Elijah brought in his own people to replace them. They wanted to change the way business was being done. Shorten the invoice due dates. Sue those who hadn't paid within ninety days. Fire employees with personal problems. "No," you said, meeting with Elijah for another lunch. "No!" Elijah just smiled. "Come to the board meeting," he told you. Board meeting? You and Elijah were the board. But you agreed, and that night you met the third board member, your vice-president who was now exercising his option. A few thousand shares weren't a lot, but they were enough to swing the vote. You were no longer in control. And to your surprise, you found out that your vice-president had always hated you. You sat in shock and listened as they made new policies. Their final policy decision was to fire you as president. You were no longer president of your own company. You left then and found Elijah's car in the parking lot. It was easy to cut the brake lines. You were always mechanical by nature. You watched as he tried to take the first curve and his car plunged off the cliff, exploding into a joyful fireball. "I win!" you screamed, but your ex-vice-president was standing behind you. You are enjoying prison, though. You've started a new gang. The members are pouring in. And you're making money. Just like you always have. You win.
We had two Eights here. Our murderer Eight projected his own idealized image onto Elijah Eightbrae, put his faith in him, and made a foolhardy decision as a result. He should have been aware of the treacherous methods Elijah might employ to get what he wanted -- after all, wouldn't he have done the same to Elijah? But love is blind.
Nines are peacemakers. They want things to stay pleasant and tend to see the world through rose-colored glasses. Nines can be stubborn and passive-aggressive by just seeming to go along, or not following through on a promise. When they finally get angry, they can turn volcanic. While among the most generous of types and consciously wanting peace, their shadow side, anger, can make reaching an agreement with them almost impossible.
You -- a Five, Amy -- a One, and Natalie Ninestein have been friends since third grade. Oh sure, you and Amy argued a lot, but Natalie always stepped in and calmed you down. Sort of. Actually, Natalie got on your nerves sometimes. Was it because she was nicer than you could ever be? Or was it because she always broke up the good arguments, the fun ones, before you and Amy really had time to belt it out? And some thirty years later, you were still friends, despite your differences.
Natalie had become a couples counselor, Amy an environmental lawyer, and you a writer. A writer with health problems. You and Amy and Natalie had all become vegetarians first, and then, vegans, together. Subtracting dairy and eggs from your already meatless diet had been Amy's idea, but Natalie had told you, "What could it hurt to give a little?" So you did. But now your doctor was telling you that animal proteins were necessary to your health, vital in fact. You, Amy and Natalie met that night because you needed to talk about your decision. You had decided to... gasp... eat fish. At least it wasn't beef. But that wasn't good enough for Amy. She started in on you immediately, rising from her seat to confront you. "Do you know how fish die?" she asked. "No, and I don't want to," you answered. "They smother to death." You stood up yourself then, eye to eye with your old friend. "Would you rather I died?" you demanded. Amy paused. "Ethics are ethics," she told you. "How many fish will smother because of your decision?" You felt your hands ball into fists. "Now Amy," Natalie Ninestein protested. Amy flashed her a fierce gaze. "It's true, you are an animal killer," Amy accused. Amy raised her own hands now, in a position you recognized from her martial arts form, carp quan doe. You were ready, more than ready. Your friend Amy would have you die instead of her precious fish. "Now, listen, both of you," Natalie said, her usually soft voice high and sharp now. "You're acting like third graders. "Yeah," you and Amy said together, your hands still raised. "And it's time we really fought," you added. "I never got you back for that time you pushed me down behind the swimming pool." "No, goddamit!" Natalie screamed. Natalie pushed her way between you and Amy. "Can't you see how crazy you're acting?" Simultaneously, both your and Amy's hands rose even higher. Without even thinking, you punched Natalie on one side of the head while Amy carp-chopped her from the other.
To your surprise, Natalie dropped to the floor without another word. She was... no, it couldn't be, but it was... dead. You spent a half hour trying to revive her and then joined forces with Amy to bury her in the backyard, promising eternal silence... and friendship. Natalie would have been proud of your cooperation. At least, you'd like to think so.
For the thirty years they were compelled to act "peacefully," these three friends' anger was trapped in the shadows, especially in the case of Natalie. It was unfortunate that it resulted in her death, but there can also be a healthy side to disrupting the peace. Anger often needs to be expressed if conflicts are to be resolved... without actual homicide.
So, what type are you?
Murderer? Of course not.
"Well, there was one that did remind me a little of myself, I hate to admit," you say. "Perhaps I'll tug a bit and see if I can bring that part of myself into the light. But do I really want to know if I've been making someone miserable with do-gooding, know- it-alling, or controlling, or...?"
Perhaps not. But still...
Only the shadow knows.
Elizabeth Wagele is the author of The Enneagram of Parenting; Are You My Type, Am I Yours?; and The Enneagram Made Easy. She is also the author and performer of the Beethoven Enneagram CD. This article originally appeared in the Enneagram Monthly's Nov. 1999, Dec. 1999, and Jan. 2000 issues.
Article © 1999-2000 by Elizabeth Wagele and Jaqueline Girdner; cartoons © 1999 by Elizabeth Wagele. Web site by interbridge.