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How The Personality Traits In Your Enneagram Type Might Be Attracting Toxic Relationships (& How To Stop It)

How The Personality Traits In Your Enneagram Type Might Be Attracting Toxic Relationships via Michelle Thompson at LiveInRadiance.com

Don’t sabotage yourself when it comes to love.

The Enneagram test can give you a ton of insight into your personality type and what this could mean for you from everything to romantic relationships to how you react to problems big and small.

But your Enneagram type can also give you a list of incredible personality traits that you never realized might leave you dealing with toxic people or falling into a toxic relationship with someone.

There are nine basic Enneagram types, and each of them comes with their own unique personality traits list.

If you struggle to find a lasting relationship or wonder why your relationships seem to become toxic at some point, then you may want to look to the personality traits of your Enneagram type which you can determine by taking an Enneagram test.

There is a “healthy” and “unhealthy” version of yourself that impacts the type of partners you attract and the type of relationships you create, which you can determine by taking an Enneagram test.

When fear is the driving force behind what you think, say, and do, you show up in the world from that fear and you slip into unhealthy use of your personality traits.

When love leads the way, you employ the highest version of those same personality traits. Knowing the difference between how your personality shows up in fear or love is the key to stop attracting toxic relationships.

This is because you’re attracting fear into your life. You attract what you’re looking for, so if you’re looking out for threats or toxic relationships — yes, even to protect yourself against them — that’s what you’re going to find.

Depending on your Enneagram personality type, there are traits that you distort into unhealthy expressions when you’re in a state of fear. Each personality type will do it differently.

Here are the 9 personality types of the Enneagram and how the associated traits that arise from fear might attract toxic relationships into your life:

Enneagram type 1: The Perfectionist
Perfectionists have a driving need for integrity and to do things right. You fear being bad, corrupt, evil, or defective.

You constantly need to know what the “right” thing to think and do is or to fix whatever isn’t “right” in yourself and others. This need-to-fix trait requires something or someone to fix, thus attracting people who appear to be broken/not perfect.

Though these people may also believe they’re damaged, they resist being “fixed.” Instead of feeling grateful for your help, they feel controlled. Their resistance and negative reactions threaten your need to be seen as being good for your efforts.

Because you’re trying to fix someone who doesn’t want to be fixed, a battle for control arises and the relationship becomes toxic. You can stop creating toxic entanglements when you let go of having to be “perfect” and instead question your own assertions of what is “right.”

Naturally, you’ll begin to accept the perfection of differences and realize the “right thing to do” is you being you. As you accept and honor yourself and your partner in this way, you’ll drop the need to control everything. This means you’ll stop looking for/attracting people who need to be “fixed.”

Enneagram type 2: The Helper
The Helper has a driving need to be loved because of an underlying fear of being unworthy of love.

If you are a Helper, you need to be needed; it proves you’re worthy of love; it requires people who need you. Helping people who need help is not a problem in and of itself, and can be healthy. But when you don’t feel worthy unless you’re needed, it’s not.

From this unhealthy version of the Helper trait, you attract people who show up as needy, demanding, and never satisfied.

This creates a toxic, never-ending cycle of your unworthiness as you attempt to prove yourself by satisfying the needs of someone who never will be.

In contrast, a healthy expression of the Helper trait is to give from a space of “wholeness,” where a genuine desire to help is activated without any stipulations of worth getting attached.

You help because it feels fulfilling — not because it proves your worthiness.

Enneagram type 3: The Achiever
The Achiever needs to be valuable. If this is your type, your basic fear is of being “without value,” which activates the need to achieve and be seen as successful.

When your value is dependent upon others’ recognition of your achievements, you require people who are never quite satisfied with your success.

If they were satisfied, then you could stop achieving, but if you stopped achieving, then you would no longer be successful and no longer have value.

You need someone who’s perpetually underwhelmed or dissatisfied with your achievements so you can keep proving yourself to them. They will never be satisfied, but you struggle to believe you’re valuable if other people don’t validate you.

A healthy version of the Achiever trait can be activated by succeeding om doing what you want to do for your own sense of satisfaction — not for someone else.

Enneagram type 4: The Individualist
Individualists need to be themselves. You fear being without identity or personal significance.

When you fear insignificance, you need to be seen by others as special and unique. You’re afraid you don’t “exist” as an individual, and consequently, are insignificant. This means you attract people who prove your point.

You fuel this unhealthy version of the individualist perspective with self-absorbed, busy people who are indifferent to your uniqueness. Then, you waste your time and energy trying to get them to see you and resenting them when they do exactly what you believed they would do, which is not see you.

They turn away from your need to be seen and it becomes a perpetual game of chase.

The desire to be “seen” can be healthy; when you decide to see yourself as a unique individual. You appreciate your own significance and shine from that space.

You embrace yourself and attract others who see and embrace what shines in you and don’t waste your time with people who can’t be bothered.

Enneagram type 5: The Investigator
The Investigator wants to be seen as competent. You fear being considered useless, incapable, or unable.

Your competence trait becomes unhealthy when you hyper-focus on useless specializations to the point where you ignore connections and necessary work.

You are grasping at the unattainable: Knowing all there is to know about a given topic. You know, however, that you can never really know all there is to know, and that is why you’ll never be satisfied.

When you engage the world from this desperate place of being considered “competent,” you require people who support your perspective that you can never really be truly competent.

You surround yourself with people that don’t recognize your capabilities and expertise. You focus your attention on their lack of recognition, and drive even deeper into attaining competency.

As you try to prove yourself to them, they doubt you at every turn, which makes you redouble your efforts.

The cycle goes on and on, until you decide to see yourself as competent; despite not knowing everything and despite others doubting you.

When you acknowledge your own competency, not in attainment of all there is to know, but in knowing that you can educate and train yourself on anything you want, you’ll see your true competency.

This healthy acceptance of what you’ve already learned inspires the desire to teach yourself more.

You become the driving force behind your need to learn, rather than what others believe about your expertise.

Enneagram type 6: The Loyalist
The Loyalist wants to feel secure by having support and guidance. If a Loyalist doesn’t feel secure, they wind up setting lots of rules and attaching to beliefs to feel safe and protect themselves from pain.

This means you’ll establish a belief that if you let your guard down, you’ll get hurt. This requires that you keep your guard up at all times and remain somewhat closed off. You’ll attract people who are untrustworthy, unreliable, and unsupportive.

Instead of trusting that you can handle pain, you try to avoid it. Despite your belief that you need to keep your guard up, you would really like to feel safe enough to let it down.

Since you don’t trust yourself, you want the other person to be trustworthy, but they’re not … Because you attracted them from a place of fear.

When you begin to trust yourself, you assert a healthier version of the self-protecting trait that’s rooted in the belief that you’ll know when you truly need to put up your guard rather than being perpetually closed off.

With your walls appropriately down, you’re open to relationships with trustworthy, reliable people.

Enneagram type 7: The Enthusiast
The Enthusiast wants to see the bright side of things and chase fun. Your basic desire is to be happy, and you fear what would disturb that happiness: Particular the feeling of being deprived, or the experience of being trapped.

To avoid those experiences, you cultivate a trait of escapism — being constantly in motion to avoid dealing with difficult things.

When you avoid discomfort by running from it, you need to be evasive so your forward motion cannot be impeded. If you are perpetually in fear of being impeded and limited in your options, you’re going to attract people that are untrusting and suspicious of you. They’ll watch you like a hawk or keep you close, within eyesight and arms reach, afraid that you’ll run away again.

You’ll feel trapped and become more elusive, and they’ll crack down and reel you in.

Your trait of looking for the bright side and moving forward, when healthy, shifts from a desperate evading of pain to choosing to move toward the positive experience that feels good after you’ve processed the pain that seemed so daunting.

You face the music, have a tough conversation, and then go have fun with people who appreciate your zest for life and spontaneity.

Enneagram type 8: The Boss/Challenger
The Boss or “Challenger” sees themselves as the smartest and most capable in the room at any time.

Because you’re the smartest and most capable — in your mind — you need to assert your superiority … especially since your driving need is to protect yourself.

You fear being harmed or controlled by others, and your protective trait goes into overdrive. In relationships, you assert and fight to protect yourself to be the one in charge.

When unhealthy, your protective trait presents as defensive and combative and requires a habit of acute awareness of threat, potential attack, or suspicious behaviors.

Seeking to eliminate all threat of harm or control, you look for threats everywhere and assert your findings as absolute truth when you detect something you perceive as a threat. You fear that people are trying to control you.

Of course, you then attract people who directly present a threat (hurtful, duplicitous people) or people who indirectly present a threat by having a negative and controlling reaction to you.

When you drop the fear and realize there’s no actual harm being done to you and that no one can actually control you, your protective trait can be redirected to areas that can benefit from your insight.

For instance, you could see the flaws in a physical structure, business plan, or financial savings strategy that would protect people from harm or losing money.

When your trait is aligned to protect where protection is actually needed, you attract people who appreciate and trust your wisdom and foresight and encourage your assertive approach.

Enneagram type 9: The Peacemaker:
The Peacemaker is focused on harmony both internally and externally. If you’re this Enneagram type, you fear the loss of connection with yourself. Without harmony outside of yourself, you fear the loss of connection with those important to you, as well.

As a Peacemaker, when fearing any form of disconnection, you can distort your natural search for peace and harmony into a desperate grasping for it, needing to control your environment to make it seem peaceful so you can relax.

When you lead with fear of a loss of connection, you attract people who create disharmony and disconnection.

The more they argue and disturb your peace, the more you try to get them to stop, and the more you try to appease them and get the disturbance to stop.

The problem is, however, though it temporarily appears calm and you feel peaceful for the moment, you actually severed connection with yourself and what you want in order to feel calm.

That disconnection eventually disturbs your inner peace and you resent them for “making you do it.” Then you want them to stop, and the cycle starts over again.

When you move into the “healthy” zone, your traits of peace and harmony are rooted in you being in alignment with who you are and what you want. You don’t require other people to give you peace and harmony to feel it inside.

Do you recognize yourself in the personality types and the unhealthy version of personality traits they display? Do you and your partner battle for control?

If you notice that fear leads you to look out and see a threat outside yourself, take the awareness of your fear trait and choose a healthier expression of yourself from a place of love instead. You are never locked into the unhealthy version of your Enneagram type’s personality traits. You always have the option to lead with love instead of fear by being your own source of what you need.

When you understand that you have everything you need, you have an endless supply and can refill any time you want. Approaching life from wholeness, you attract others that are also their own source and you get to delight in each other rather than create toxic entanglements.

Kindly note: this post was originally posted on YourTango.com where I’m a contributing author.

About Michelle Thompson

I'm Michelle Thompson. As a child growing up in a small town on in New England, my life was peaceful and happy - filled with love, respect and room to develop into who I wanted to be. With this foundation, I was set on creating the same thing for my own family one day. 25 Years and five children later, the road to my dream was A LOT bumpier than I had anticipated and there was a time in my life when I felt like I was powerless to change my experience until one day I “woke up” and decided something had to change. I use my own personal journey to help my clients thrive as individuals and help create happy families.