What personality type do your parents have?
It's an enormous relief when you know.
The enneagram is worth knowing simply because of the relief it provides when we understand our parents. It can heal all sorts of rifts and misunderstandings for both sides.
Children often look to their parents for guidance and this guidance often comes through the filter of their personality type and that's where all the confusion starts. But when we understand how our parents view the world, how they think, what their own expectations are, let alone what they want for us, it can allow us to see them in a new light. We don't have to take their view personally because often they couldn't help it. Too often we've probably taken their criticisms and judgments to heart AND we've also been viewing them through our own personality filters. It's no wonder there are so many family problems.
We can spend a lifetime trying to please or rebel from or even unconsciously try to be the same personality type as a parent and this could well be making not just our own lives worse but also worse for our parents.
(No one type is better or more loving as a parent than the other. We're all deeper and richer than our personality and the enneagram allows us to see that as well as the style of the nine types so we can understand one another with compassion and humor.)
Personality Type One as a Parent
While the parent with the One Personality Type is often fair, kind and loving they will tend to adhere to principles and rules and will want to impart a sense of right and wrong upon their child.
This type sees what needs to be corrected and they may (ever so politely) point out your mistakes regularly. They can be completely unaware that this makes you feel like you'll never get it right in their eyes. And the thing is, you probably never will but just knowing this can bring relief.
When we know the corrections are an unconscious habit, we're no longer a victim. We don't have to take it personally. We can know they're probably being much tougher on themselves. We can understand how difficult it must be to have a super ego in the head who is constantly pointing out what is wrong with the world and everyone in it.
We can (possibly) hear their corrections with a bit more equilibrium because we're no longer taking their preaching as a personal insult. The talking style of this personality is preaching and this will probably not ever change so we don't have to fight it, rebel from it, accept it or try to live up to it. We can just notice it and see what else is present in our parent.
When we can see deeper than the personality type in our parents we can see all sorts of added depth and richness and wisdom and oftentimes we see that love has been present all the time.
Some possible examples of famous personalities are Mahatma Gandhi, Prince Charles, Sidney Poitier and Al Gore.
Personality Type Two as a Parent
Two's as parents often adore their children and will love and support them fully. Since their speaking style is called giving advice they will continue giving you advice no matter how old you are or whether its wanted or not.
This type may also want to baby you forever no matter how old you are.
Some children of the two may feel overwhelmed by the enormous show of love a two can demonstrate. For instance a child with the five personality may find their two parent too intrusive and emotionally needy for them to handle.
The Two parent can feel terribly hurt when their child needs space or distance and can keep moving in on their child's space not realizing that different personalities have different needs. They have no idea they're seeing you through a filter which makes you appear helpless or in need of advice.
They do though, have a natural talent for providing you with an abundance of love and care.
A famous TV character with this personality is Raymond's mother in Everyone Loves Raymond. Some possible examples of famous personalities are Bill Cosby, John Travolta, Elvis Presley and Elizabeth Taylor.
Personality Type Three as a Parent
Like many parents, a three will most likely be juggling the task of raising a family while achieving a host of other work and career activities. But the difference, is that they'll be doing it well while everyone else is wondering how they're managing it so efficiently.
As the three parent charges about the place multi-tasking they may be looking at you, their child, and wondering why you aren't just as busy as they are or why you aren't successful (because in their eyes you should be and they will want you to be successful too.)
This can be hard to live up to as their child, especially since the differing personalities will have their own interpretations of success and their own goals which may have nothing to do with success.
The three personality parent is the parent who can do it all and while you may feel you aren't the centre of their attention they'll still be working extremely hard to be a good parent.
When we realize we may never live up to the successful expectations of our three parent, (most probably because we are not a three ourselves and don't have half the energy or drive of our parent), we can move beyond seeing our lives through their eyes and get on with our own life.
Their speaking style is called propaganda - which means they're very good at making everything sound successful and as children we may see this as either impossible to compete with or live up to or we may see it as phony. When we see it is an unconscious speaking style we don't need to read any of the above mentioned meanings into their conversational style of speaking.
Understanding this personality allows us to broaden our view and see our parent as deeper than just the typing. We can then learn from them and admire their abilities because they really do have an amazing array of talents, without taking any of their behaviors personally.
Some possible examples of famous personalities are Tom Cruise, Donald Trump, Shirley Maclaine and Paul Newman.
Personality Type Four as a Parent
The Four will often be creative as a parent as well as supportive of their children by actively encouraging them to value their unique abilities.
They're often demonstrative with their love and affection but because this personality tends to be moody the children may at times feel adversely affected by the swinging moods and depressions or if their parent becomes too self-absorbed.
It's not personal when this type becomes absorbed or depressed and it's not the child's lifetime task to make their parent happy.
Fortunately, this type is not always feeling low or swinging between up and down but on the contrary are often upbeat and fun and will enjoy creating a deeply shared bond with their children.
The speaking style is called lamentation - they have a tendency to speak sadly about things. You do not have to try and change this or do something about it. It can be a relief to discover that it's not your responsibility to make your four parent happy all the time.
The four type of personality can vary. They may be like Eeyore (The gloomy donkey in Winnie The Pooh) or be a lively personality like Johnny Depp, Michael Jackson or Princess Dianna.
Personality Type Five as a Parent
As a parent the five can seem like an eccentric hermit or an unconventional geek. They can come across as a highbrow intellectual, a shy quiet character or an emotionally remote figure you've never quite managed to get close to or understand.
Of course they can be very loving and kind and demonstrative as well. However a number of people experience relief when they realize their parent is a five.
If the child is needy or emotional the five parent has a tendency to both physically withdraw as well as disapprove of any display of emotions. They rarely express emotions themselves and this can make it hard for those who want to relate more on an emotional level.
They do highly regard data, facts and information though and can judge others (including their children) on how much information they possess. The child can feel judged when they're not a five themselves or don't have a retentive mind like their parent or aren't interested in accumulating facts. They can feel that they're being judged on their intelligence (as if intelligence equals how much data one knows!) There are different types of intelligence - social, aesthetic, physical, intuitive, creative, analytical and many more that have nothing to do with collecting facts.
The fives speaking style is called treatise - this means they deliver a lecture of facts (once you get them speaking.) They admire facts, collect facts, remember facts and regurgitate these facts in conversation.
It's not personal when they view you through their five filter and you come up short on facts! Nor is it a personal rejection when this type withdraws. They need space like we need air. They need solitude and silence to deal with life.
Some possible examples of famous personalities are Stephen Hawking, Jodie Foster, Bob Dylan and Albert Einstein.
Personality Type Six as a Parent
The six parent will be strongly guided by their sense of duty and loyalty and will care for their children with a lot of love. They will though, see their children through the filter of danger and this will make them take every precaution possible to keep their children safe.
One way to keep you safe as their child is to caution you about everything, especially the dangers you may face. They believe that forewarned will help you be prepared. Their speaking style is called setting limits - and this means they will tell you what you can do but they'll put a limit on it. "Yes you can go fishing but don't go swimming in the deep section of the lake."
They are seeing every danger you could possibly encounter and then they try to help you avoid that danger. The intention is positive but it can seem to the child that at times their parent is interfering, untrusting, doubtful of everything and a total fusspot.
They do exude a natural warmth as well and as much as possible provide a safe haven for their children. It's not their fault their mind is running feverishly with doubts and fears. (I wonder if being a six isn't a bit like listening continuously to the Jaws theme when the shark is approaching - and putting their nervous system on constant high alert for any incoming danger!)
Some possible examples of famous personalities are Woody Allen, Billy Crystal, Mel Gibson, Tom Hanks and Madonna (sexual subtype)
Personality Type Seven as a Parent
The seven parent is enthusiastic and adventurous and may want their child to be just the same as them.
They can be a source of entertainment and fun for the child as they often have a wonderful imagination and ability to tell stories.
Sometimes the seven parent is not available to the child because they're off traveling, or having their own adventures or they may not be available in a committed, responsible way that a child needs. It's not personal when they act like this. It's an unconscious drive they have to grasp at all the enticing options available.
Their speaking style is called 'telling stories' and they'll keep the whole family amused with their 'yarns'.
The seven's lively mind runs to the future and foresees all sorts of possibilities and they look upon everything through this filter. Anything that seems like it could be slow or dull or painful is avoided but this response is unconscious. It's not personal if they see their child through this filter, they look upon everything this way.
Some possible examples of famous personalities are Billy Connolly, Robin Williams, Steven Spielburg, Jerry Seinfeld, Cameron Diaz and Michael Palin.
Personality Type Eight as a Parent
The eight personality often adores their children and will be fiercely protective of them as well as generous with their love.
If they have a strong eight filter though, which makes them perceive life as tough they may want to make sure their child is strong enough to cope. Since they hate weakness they may prod and poke at the child's weaknesses as a way to make sure their child toughens up. (This style of parenting is not always appreciated by the child!)
Since this type's first port of call is to see what's wrong (rather than what's right) and blurt this out as what they see as the truth, its inevitable that the child will find this difficult at times. The eight is often blunt and angry and children of this personality type sometimes perceive their parent as scary and hard to please.
The speaking style of this type is called laying trips - which is a verbal way of dominating others. This is an unconscious act as a way to not feel weak. It can come as an enormous relief for the children to know this about their parents and know they don't need to take their eight parent's style of behavior negatively or personally.
Without meaning to this type exudes an enormous power which many react to instinctively as a threat.
On the flip side this type can be sentimental when it comes to their children and will do everything in their power to help them, love them and provide for them.
Some possible examples of famous personalities are Roseanne Barr, Saddam Hussein, Michael Jackson's father Joe Jackson, Lawrence Fishburne, Mike Tyson, Gerard Depardieu, Russell Crowe, Janis Joplin, Pink, Courtney Love, Sean Penn and Brad Pitt.
Personality Type Nine as a Parent
The nine personality is so nice and caring you may think they're the paragon of parenting but every personality has its gifts, its positives, as well as some negative traits as well.
Although they will adore their children and be wonderfully warm and loving, this type may be lax about disciplining their child because as a person they're so easy going and laid back. Without meaning to they may not always offer firm correction or guidance when it may be needed.
The speaking style is called saga - meaning they can turn a conversation into the longest stories ever. Family members may feel they can't get a word in edgeways.
The child may feel their parent isn't present for them, or backing them up enough. The nine wants peace so much they can let things slide that should probably be addressed. This is an unconscious drive that makes them choose peace rather than face anything they perceive as conflict.
Some possible examples of famous personalities are Ronald Reagan, Willie Nelson, John Candy, John Goodman and Dawn French.
(Parenting is not easy and none of the above is to be seen as a judgment or an actuality that's etched in stone. There are such differing degrees of behavior when it comes to the enneagram. While some may only be mildly influenced by their enneagram type some are more so. It pays to remember that beneath each of the personalities is someone doing the best they can with the resources they have.)
On each of the personality type pages One through to Nine you will find quizzes to fill out to find out which enneagram type your parent may have. These quizzes are part of an enneagram fiction story.