Why Is Internal Dialog So Persistent? (Part 4 of 4): The reason underlying my persistent internal dialog.
I found out the answer to my question a few days ago. A friend of mine said he had some tapes, which covered the Enneagram and asked if I might be interested to listen to them. I thought why not, and sat down. The first tape gave a briefing of the background of the where the information came from and made general statements about the structure of the personality. After that we listened to the tapes covering each of the personality types. The first in the series was #1, The Perfectionist (to perfectionists, it makes sense it’s number one…). When I listened to it, it felt like somebody was intimately telling my story, was telling exactly how I ticked. I have spent years studying my behavior, and when I heard it on the tape, it was like somebody got into my head and was revealing my life story to the world. Even typing this I have some apprehension to tell the world how much ‘I am’ subject to a program of survival… I was talking to the tape as they told my story, saying yes, they should understand that, of course you can’t do that, what do you expect?, exactly, etc.
After I heard the tape then I realized why I have this problem with internal persistent dialogs. It is an aspect of my personality type, not more and not less. Only people with type one personality have this specific problem. With this type, the survival mechanism IS the ‘internal critic’ as they call it on the tape. When I heard this, I said: What do you mean, not everybody has this critic inside of them? This critic inside me, is the unique way that I’ve developed to defend my worldview. Yes, everyone has an internal voice … but in perfectionists one is perfecting this ‘all knowing’ voice over one’s lifetime. There is a lot invested in it, one has come to rely on it, one’s black and white view of the world, one’s tendency to compare and judge, comes out of that critical voice, because that is the way that one develops perfectionism. One needs single pointed focus reducing the possibility of mistakes, with logical comparison type of thinking. One’s whole sense of knowing feels like it comes from that voice, and of course this ‘false belief’ is what keeps the personality energized.
I have seen that this critic arises within me, when I have anger coming out of daily happenings – this is my defense, to fight this way with the internal voice – so also the result is that anger remains unexpressed. The more I engage in this kind of internal talking, then the more the tension builds and the stronger the personality becomes entrenched. If I were to let it go too long undetected, then it might take days to calm down the built up tension. In the last article I realized that the arising of the critical voice was also telling me that I needed to take action on something. I saw that my energy was getting trapped in the dialog, and that whatever was happening in my life which was the source of the tension was not getting resolved by engaging in this kind of action. This is all still true, and now with the deeper understanding that came from the enneagram regarding my personality type, I see how to go beyond the problem in a creative way. I have a new phrase which I tell myself: “The critic is not your friend”, which is helping to set it aside.
The tapes by Helen Palmer are fantastic. I don’t need to look further that this. She lays it out very precise and also gives information about how to deal with each personality type in daily life as well as what challenges each personality has to transform their negative aspect into a higher level. She gives very good information that one can use in their meditation and spiritual practices to do the work to redirect your energy out of the negative personality type (pain body) and redirect it towards one’s positive personality type (happy body). (Besides giving your type, the enneagram also shows you your wings: the personality types which you have overlaps and parts of, as well as the two personality types you go to under stress and good times. All these aspects are in our neurological response and it has to do with the laws of nature and survival of living systems.) This information is probably the best on the tapes. I can understand why when this information was completed to such an extent, that they kept it secret. The information given in the enneagram is coming from the collective information of many experts such as Freud and Gurdjeff, and very precisely gives the survival method of all human beings. I would go so far to say that I feel every person on this earth will fit exactly into one of the 9 types, and will have this method of survival existing at the core of the personality, underneath all the layers of individuality. As such, I see this as the most important factor in our unconscious behavior and thusly the most important to find out about if we want to go beyond it.
As I listened to the other types, I recognized people I knew exactly mapped as well. What took me years to find out about them was instantly revealed, more precise than I could have ever stated it. Afterwards, I immediately realized the profound nature of this work and how valuable it was. Probably this is the best work ever done on the personality, and anyone who is serious about uncovering his or her inner workings will deeply interested in looking into this. Yes, this work can easily be misused but that is also true of everything being consumed by ‘personalities’, who are primarily interested in keeping their own game going. There is nothing that can be done about it. It will be most useful for those who are questioning themselves to gain self-knowledge, which will allow them to go beyond their conditioned behavior. The only real use that will come from it is via one’s meditation to observe in oneself, exactly that which is described therein. When you have clearly ‘observed’ your type (not intellectually seen it), then you will have done the most you can with this tool, and will also then see clearly how this is affecting everyone. Seeing this root within oneself is necessary to take further steps, and having this work as a guide can assist people in this aspect. It can also be very useful to understand where other people are coming from, to find out what motivates them, how to work best with them, etc.
Seeing this information, I realize just how much we are trapped in unconscious behavior, and also how this programming is simply that which we adopted at an early age to be able to survive in this world. What we adopted had mostly to do with the situation we found ourselves in, our position in the family, our environment and social situation, probably also the history we were present with when we were born. We did it in an instinctual way and because it was learned so early and reused so many times, it has become part of our neurological response system. Our way to react is at a very low level and the most we can do is see it and then not react out of it, giving us the space to change or transmute the old way we behaved.
I noticed some other general things about the nine types, which helped me see my own position in things. One is that if there is a happening and a group with all 9 types observed it, then each would have a different view of it across the 9 types. I also saw that you could take the same happening, find 9 other people with the types and have them view it and these nine people would report nearly the same as the previous group of nine people, at least regarding certain aspects. Each being essentially matched with their viewpoint to the same personality type in the other group. Hah! And then I asked: ‘What can be known about these viewpoints?’ The answer came: None of these viewpoints is reality. The viewpoint comes totally out of the personal way of seeing things, which has the most to do with one’s adapted survival technique, and this is hard-wired.
Seeing this aspect I realized that my great view of perfection was not what it seemed, and I became quite willing to let it go, seeing how I was being fooled. The next question might be: Can we go beyond this? The answer: Yes, but only after we have observed our behavior close enough to have seen our typing exact, in a first hand way. The second thing I realized is that there are three ways for humans to survive, where before I had only considered there were two ways of fight or flight. The enneagram has 9 types and it is split into 3 groups. Numbers 8,9,1 are the anger types, which means they have adapted to use their body in some way with force behind, to fight or confront situations (fight response), which they have felt threatening to them in some way. Numbers 5,6,7 are the fear types, which means they have chosen to run from situations (flight response) that they have felt threatening, so finding a way that isn’t confrontational. Numbers 2,3,4 are the heart/feeling types, which means they have learned to adapt themselves to situations (adaptation), which they have felt threatening. In adaptation, the emotions are giving fight or flight information, and then the human is tuning into the feelings and adapting according to the information given, similar to the chameleon in nature.