This is the video clip of Type 9 from understandingpersonality.com, the last one in the series. Viewing this from my perspective as an 8, I was keenly aware of being impatient at how slowly the keywords appear in the beginning and how many times the people being interviewed pause.
“Oh, get on with it,” my inner voice nearly shouted. Then I stopped and took a deep breath.
While 8s visibly expend their energy, 9s expend their energy internally. If you didn’t know that, you might wonder why they are the ones who are so tired. But I get that being a 9 can be exhausting. And I thought this was the most profound statement:
There’s a moment where you stop adapting.
You can almost feel this woman letting go. Ahhhh.
Before starting this post, I went into the closet in my office in search of three plastic sandwich bags full of folded slips of different colored paper with words typed on them. I’ve used those bags (and words) in my own creative writing exercises as well as in writing workshops. I found one bag full of lime green nouns, one bag full of fuchsia verbs, and one bag full of teal adjectives. I opened the teal bag without recalling what kind of words were inside and pulled out new. New is good—and so apt for the beginning of a post!
I’ve been playing around with individual words and phrases for decades. My Stance Keyword Comparison Checklist was an outgrowth of a long-term fascination with arranging and grouping words that seem to evoke a concept or a mood or an attitude or a way of being. Sometimes it’s easier to gauge your reaction to a list of keywords than it is to read through narrative descriptions. A single word can send you off on a journey, much like the madeleine that sent Marcel Proust off in Remembrance of Things Past.
When I was a substance abuse counselor, I used a two-page handout called “How Do You Feel Today?” It consisted of 140 words that described feeling states, each one illustrated by what was essentially an emoticon (although I’m pretty sure the handout pre-dated emoticons). It wasn’t in color, but it looked a little like this example (without the misspelling). Continue reading
At the opposite end of the spectrum, the Withdrawing types are moving away from all the dust and clamor raised by the Aggressive types. Although they have definite opinions, and some Withdrawing types are successful in leadership roles, most prefer to observe from the sidelines.
Sitting quietly, doing nothing, spring comes and the grass grows by itself.
Is this your stance or the stance of someone you know? Withdrawing types can be very calm and peaceful to be around, but once they do get riled up, you’ll know about it. When that happens, they can be mistaken for Aggressive types. And just like Aggressive types, they are not particularly compliant.
Here are some topics to use for journal writing with a focus on the Withdrawing 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. To use the topics 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; if you get stuck, repeat what you just wrote or write nonsense words until you get back into the flow. Continue reading
The word “stance” usually refers to some kind of motionless or standing posture. So it’s an interesting choice of word to describe three different ways of moving. Instead of stances, we’re actually talking about different approaches. But we’re sort of stuck with the vocabulary at this point—at least I am.
The stance we take—moving against (Aggressive), moving away from (Withdrawing), or moving toward (Compliant)—is basic to who we are and underlies our automatic responses and reactions to the world around us and to the other people in our lives. Although it’s true we access the other two stances occasionally, the stance our type takes is our “go to” stance—the approach we fall back on, especially under pressure or in unfamiliar or uncomfortable situations.
The Aggressive types (3, 7, and 8) generally take a direct approach,
moving against what gets in the way of what they want.
Moving Away From
Keeping to Oneself
The Withdrawing types (4, 5, and 9) turn inward to find fulfillment,
moving away from what disturbs them.
Giving in to Others
The Compliant types (1, 2, and 6) tend to seek a point of reference outside themselves, moving toward what will help them earn what they need. Continue reading
The debate about how we become who we are used to be framed in either/or terms: nature versus nurture. To take the side of nature was to argue that our personalities and behaviors are entirely the result of our genetic inheritance, already fixed in place when we’re born. To take the side of nurture was to argue that nothing of our personalities and behaviors is present at birth; we are totally at the effect of our environment, our relationships, and the myriad of influences we experience growing up.
Both extremes always seemed fairly hopeless to me, each in a different way. Fortunately, there are no longer many people arguing exclusively for either side. It’s pretty commonly accepted that who we are is a result of both nature and nurture.
They’re the opposite ends of a continuum, sort of like the male and female brain I wrote about in my previous post. I don’t know that a formula exists to say this percentage of me (or you) is a result of nature and this percentage is a result of nurture. We all come into the world with some attributes, characteristics, and preferences in place. Depending on what they are and how strong they are, they may even override some aspects of nurture. On the other hand, for someone who’s forced to deal with extremely difficult circumstances (physical, mental, or emotional) as they’re growing up, nurture could have a more powerful effect than it might on someone raised under more favorable conditions. Continue reading
When it comes to the brain, clichés are never true.
Wielding control of the TV remote is one of the most recognizable cliché examples of male (dominance) behavior. But my partner of 30 years, who died in 2005, was a 4w5—a Withdrawing type with a Withdrawing wing—and since I’m an 8w7—an Aggressive type with an Aggressive wing—I was always the one firmly in control of the TV remote.
Our relationship never fit that Mars/Venus stereotyping that’s still popular in some circles. Withdrawing types tend to nurture the past in one way or another, and as a result, RC had much greater and more detailed recall about the events of our relationship than I did. He would wander off on verbal reveries about something or other we once did—or used to do regularly—assuming I shared those memories. But since I often had zero recall, I learned to keep my mouth shut or nod abstractedly. If I strained hard enough, I was sometimes able to bring up a fragment of the past that had been lost to me, which was always a huge surprise and slightly unnerving.
On the domestic front, I’m erratic at best. I enjoy decorating, but I hate cleaning, am indifferent about cooking, and find grocery shopping and doing dishes useless wastes of time. While RC wasn’t crazy about cleaning, either, he pulled his own weight. And he did the lion’s share of all those other tasks. He was an excellent cook, and he really enjoyed it. I’ve never prepared a Thanksgiving dinner in my life. But we had roasted turkey and all the trimmings every year we were together.
He once threatened to get me a T-shirt that said “I am not the nice lady”—and he meant it as a compliment. Continue reading