Ennea-Journaling the Compliant Stance

Thank goodness for the Compliant types! They may have a tough row to hoe trying to cajole the Aggressive and the Withdrawing types into getting with the program—which must be a lot like herding cats—but at least they’re aware there’s a program everyone needs to get with. If the rest of us would just cooperate a little more, it would take a lot of the pressure off them, and they’d be able to loosen the reins on their hypervigilance.

It’s hard to face that open space.

— Neil Young

Is this your stance or the stance of someone you know? Compliant types often present a calm, capable, pleasant persona to the rest of the world, while inside they may be filled with anxiety and apprehension. In spite of their inner turmoil, they tend to be loyal and responsible individuals who do what they say they will do—personally and professionally.

Here are some topics to use for journal writing with a focus on the Compliant stance. If this isn’t your stance, but is the stance of someone close to you, try writing one of the following exercises from that person’s perspective. For flow-writing, set a timer, write a topic sentence at the top of a page, and then begin writing. Keep your pen moving across the page, even if you can’t think of what to write next. Write “blah, blah, blah,” if you have to. Trust that you’ll get back into the flow.

  • Describe the “spin cycle” of unproductive thinking.
  • Write about following the rules and about questioning authority.
  • Describe what creates a sense of safety and security for you.
  • Describe a time when you were singled out, whether for positive or for negative reasons.
  • Write about the tug of responsibilities.
  • Describe being tyrannized by the immediate moment (either a specific situation or in general).
  • Write about your social connections and networks. What do they mean to you, and what roles do they play in your life?
  • Write about placating and/or cooperating and the value of being able to give in.

If you have a strong reaction, either positive or negative to any of the topics, those are probably the best ones to start with, although you probably don’t want to go there.

NOTE: If you don’t know what your Enneagram stance is and want to find out, you can complete the Stance Keyword Comparison Checklist. There’s some information about stances under the “Interpreting the Results” section and also in this post.


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