Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Temper, temper

I rarely get angry. Apparently this is a typical Taurean trait; slow to anger, but when sufficiently provoked, can explode with rage. I suppose that's true, although the number of times I've allowed myself to become furiously angry is very small.

I often don't even know I'm angry until much later. I used to describe my delayed reactions like this: if someone whunked me on the head with a frying pan, it would be 24 hours until I went, "Ow. That hurt."

I've often wondered why I don't get angry more often. It's not that I'm a simmering volcano of suppressed rage - at least, I don't think I am. There are some people I know who are clearly boiling with anger underneath a calm surface; that negative energy suffuses everything they do, and they are hard to be around. Sometimes I have been in situations where I couldn't directly express my anger, and had to swallow it. But at least I was aware of it.

A good friend introduced me to the Enneagram, a system of personality typing. In reading about the nine types described by the Enneagram, I came to the conclusion that I am a Five; the delayed anger reaction is characteristic of Fives, I learned.

Here's a little summary of Type Five, taken from this web page:

Type Five: The Intense, Cerebral Type:
Perceptive, Innovative, Secretive, and Isolated

Basic Fear: Being useless, helpless, or incapable
Basic Desire: To be capable and competent

Healthy: Observe everything with extraordinary perceptiveness and insight. Most mentally alert, curious, searching intelligence: nothing escapes their notice. Foresight and prediction. Able to concentrate: become engrossed in what has caught their attention. / Attain skillful mastery of whatever interests them. Excited by knowledge: often become expert in some field. Innovative and inventive, producing extremely valuable, original works. Highly independent, idiosyncratic, and whimsical. At Their Best: Become visionaries, broadly comprehending the world while penetrating it profoundly. Open-minded, take things in whole, in their true context. Make pioneering discoveries and find entirely new ways of doing and perceiving things.

Average: Begin conceptualizing and fine-tuning everything before acting - working things out in their minds: model building, preparing, practicing, and gathering more resources. Studious, acquiring technique. Become specialized, and often "intellectual," often challenging accepted ways of doing things. / Increasingly detached as they become involved with complicated ideas or imaginary worlds. Become preoccupied with their visions and interpretations rather than reality. Are fascinated by off-beat, esoteric subjects, even those involving dark and disturbing elements. Detached from the practical world, a "disembodied mind," although high-strung and intense. / Begin to take an antagonistic stance toward anything which would interfere with their inner world and personal vision. Become provocative and abrasive, with intentionally extreme and radical views. Cynical and argumentative.

Unhealthy: Become reclusive and isolated from reality, eccentric and nihilistic. Highly unstable and fearful of aggressions: they reject and repulse others and all social attachments. / Get obsessed yet frightened by their threatening ideas, becoming horrified, delirious, and prey to gross distortions and phobias. / Seeking oblivion, they may commit suicide or have a psychotic break with reality. Deranged, explosively self-destructive, with schizophrenic overtones. Generally corresponds to the Schizoid Avoidant and Schizotypal personality disorders.

Key Motivations: Want to possess knowledge, to understand the environment, to have everything figured out as a way of defending the self from threats from the environment.

Examples: Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking, Bill Gates, Georgia O'Keefe, Stanley Kubrick, John Lennon, Lily Tomlin, Gary Larson, Laurie Anderson, Merce Cunningham, Meredith Monk, James Joyce, Bj_rk, Susan Sontag, Emily Dickenson, Agatha Christie, Ursula K. LeGuin, Jane Goodall, Glenn Gould, John Cage, Bobby Fischer, Tim Burton, David Lynch, Stephen King, Clive Barker, Trent Reznor, Friedrich Nietzsche, Vincent Van Gogh, Kurt Cobain, and "Fox Mulder" (X Files).

The Fox Mulder comparison is apt, since I am fascinated by all elements of the paranormal. (There will be more posts on that subject shortly.)

You can take a test to determine your Enneagram type here.

Googling "Enneagram" will bring up a zillion pages, but some favorites are the Enneagram Institute site, Ennea.com, and also this site.

Let me know what you find out. I'll be over here, being intense and cerebral.


Blogger jwer said...

I think you need a post in which you are not so down on negativity and rage... they are why I spend less heating my house than normal people, dontchaknow...

5:27 AM  
Blogger Jen said...

I'm pretty much the same way. I'm very information conscious and have an obsession with knowledge keeping me safe from surprise and uncertainy, especially when people around me are sick. In fact, the first thing I do is study the disease, familiarize myself with it, conquer it, and thus conquer my fears.

I do get angry sometimes when I'm outside my controlled home environment, mostly spouting off at SUV drivers, but I'd like to think I'm mostly harmless. People who are angry a lot, IMO, don't have a stable foundation in themselves--they are angry at others for things only they are in control of. Once they realize that they are the captains of their own ship, I think anger will abate. And I'm off to the ESP seminar now--ta ta.

10:11 AM  
Blogger David said...

In the past when I've done tests, I've been squarely in type 2, the Helper. This time, I'm squarely in Type 1, the Reformer, with the Helper and type 5, the Thinker, running a close second. I have multiple personalities.

12:36 PM  
Blogger jwer said...

Well I could've told you that. I certainly will be from now on...

5:23 AM  
Blogger Zenchick said...

ACK...I took the quiz and came out a 5 in four different types, and a 4 in three of them.
What's to be made of that?
(Jwer: you are ordered NOT to comment on this! :-) )

12:20 PM  
Blogger jwer said...

Zenchick: I believe that means you are certifiable. I cannot account for the fact that David did not test the same way. Perhaps he lied.

4:26 PM  
Blogger Zenchick said...

You do not follow directions very well.
you were ordered NOT to comment on this.
Therefore, your comment is null and void.
(oh my GAWD I'm starting to sound like David!)

10:24 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home