Have you ever felt the sensation of frustration raging through your body that quickly transformed into resentment toward another person?

Recently, I’ve found myself teetering on this edge where I’m at odds with my desires, but I’m supporting the feeling that I should be grateful for the work. This internal contradiction is a rollercoaster of emotions. Knowing that my Enneagram Type prioritizes others, I observed my inner conflict with trepidation.

I was embarking on a familiar path.

Harboring this awareness was an in-your-face reminder and reality-check. I was at a crossroads. Continue on a familiar path or face my fear head-on, accept it, process it, and move past it. Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand and manage your emotions in a constructive way. Whereas social intelligence is the ability to get along with people. Both of these are key to knowing what to say and how to act when triggered.

Your triggers are warning signs to make a change.

A trigger is an event or experience that activates our sensitivities or avoidance of our blind spots, aspects of ourselves that we discard or overlook because they don’t fit with who we want to be or think we are.

Each Enneagram Type has its triggers. Furthermore, I’d suggest that the associated way we “think, feel, and act,” which are also determined when taking the Enneagram assessment, align with the corresponding triggers. An experience becomes a trigger if it activates something you usually avoid, and your defense mechanism kicks-in instead of addressing it.

By uncovering your triggers, you’re able to witness them and manage how you react.

Even if you don’t know your Type, some of the triggers below will most likely resonate. High-level triggers for the Enneagram Core Types are as follows:

  • Ones: Being criticized, others’ lack of follow-through or timeliness, and non-collaborative changes to plans.
  • Twos: Being taken for granted, not being heard, and being excluded.
  • Threes: Being set up for failure, not looking good professionally, and not receiving credit for their work.
  • Fours: Being ignored or snubbed, being asked to do something contrary to their values, and not receiving credit for their work.
  • Fives: Being overwhelmed or surprised, private information being shared, and being prompted for an instant emotional response.
  • Sixes: Lack of commitment from others, dishonesty, and misuse of authority.
  • Sevens: Being restricted, expected to do tedious tasks, and being dismissed.
  • Eights: Being controlled or blindsided, others not being direct, or underestimating their strength and unfairness.
  • Nines: Receiving too many demands, rudeness of others, feeling taken advantage of, and not feeling connected.

As a Type Two who feels like a Two, thinks like a Type Five, and acts as a Type Nine, I was on fire. Not being heard, receiving too many demands, while being prompted for an instant emotional response. Egad! I won the trifecta of triggers and wanted to jump ship. My defense mechanism of repression automatically kicked in, and I let it fester inside.

Rising above my pride and ego.

The pulsation running through my veins was a blatant reminder that I was putting myself back into an environment that I no longer wanted. I needed to face my fears of potentially losing business and know that I would be okay. Otherwise, I’d find myself arriving at this juncture again and again. It’s a difficult choice to make. On the one hand, I’m tired of having this reoccurrence happen, and I’ve come too far in my learning not to do something different. On the other hand, I know that I might let some people down, knowing I’m not playing the role they want me to. I know there’s a middle ground where I can be straightforward and honest about my expectations, prioritizing my well-being.

Sometimes what truly bothers us is hidden. If you see a trigger that resonates with you, view it as a sign to process what you’re feeling and take an objective view of the cause and situation.

To learn more about the Enneagram

Watch this five-minute overview and register to learn about your Type through my customized “Determining Your Growth Path” program. If you’re interested in more free tips and best practices, sign up to receive my Activate Your Best monthly newsletter that includes actionable insights you can put into practice now.

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