I have been doing a lot of work around the enneagram lately. It has been an incredibly insightful too for understanding myself and why I do or don’t do things.
Growing up, we learn to cope with the emotional wounds we receive in childhood. In order to protect us from pain, we “place a mask called personality over parts of our authentic self”.
I am also starting to see different types seem to have the same family backgrounds and trauma that caused them to put on the mask in the first place.
My Enneagram type is 2. I seem to know a lot of 2’s and we are all children of self absorbed or narcissistic parent/parents.
The 2 is a helper, it is also the one who is the scapegoat when shit goes wrong in the family. It is the person who calls out the bad behaviour to protect themselves and others and then gets punished for being strong enough to say no. And the only way to deal with it is to leave. You cannot fix them. Trust me on this one.
The life lesson for a type 2 is that you have to learn to do things for your own pride and happiness, not so other people will tell you how clever and brilliant you are. You are so used to trying to create pride and happiness in your parent that you never learned how to do things just so you can feel good about yourself and your achievements.
Being the child of a narcissist is tough. You are either the Golden Child or the Scapegoat. And nothing will ever be good enough for them and part of your healing is accepting that this will never be fixed. You are disappointed you didn’t get the parent you needed but you will be okay. You just have to find it elsewhere.
The only way out of being a constant “helper” is to accept that you are trying to please everyone because you can and won’t ever be able to please your narcissist parent.
BUT! You can do the following to start to deal with the pain.
1) Grieve the loss of your relationship with them. I know it hurts and that’s okay. You can still love them but know they aren’t good for you. Grieve the fact that you got a shit Dad or Mum. That they suck and are a total prick and you wish they were different. You can also hate them and think, “How the fuck are they my parent?!” Either works fine.
2) Choose who you want to be in life. Children of narcissists assume that every person they’re close to will need the same kind of hyper-attention and appeasement that their parent did—and unconsciously begin doing mental backbends to please others. The problem is for children of narcissist is that they were told what they were and who they were expected to be. So imagine you are new to the world, what do you want to be? Do what makes you happy. Really. Do it. Do not do anything you don’t want to do because they wanted you to do it! FUCK THAT NOISE!
3) Know this. You are loved. You are so important. The fact you don’t speak to that parent does not mean you are unloveable. It means you love yourself enough to not want to have that in your life.
4) Choose to not let them have this power anymore. Choose to stand up and claim your own birthright to be in the world without them and their judgement. Choose to help others with this knowledge when they are ready. And more than that, choose yourself above them always. Always.
The only thing I can say to you is that you didn’t cause this. You can’t fix it. And you cannot ruin your own life because they are a shit parent. Decide today is the day you start to heal, and know I with you every step of the way.
If you wish to know your type - do the test here and let me know. I will be exploring the other types over the next few weeks.