How Enneagram Nines Handle Anger

Explosive isn’t really a word you would use to describe enneagram Nines. These types crave a peaceful co-existence with the world around them. Optimistic and contemplative, they enjoy seeing the good over the bad and becoming at one with the beauty in everything.

At their best, Nines are self-aware, creative, insightful, and connecting. They have a way of seeing many disparate viewpoints and finding a common tie between them. It’s in their nature to promote harmony and a sense of unity in their world. They have peace of mind because they know they are living with dignity and respecting themselves and others.

At their worst, Nines can be passive-aggressive, spiteful, and disconnected from their true nature. If they can’t find peace in their outer world, they’ll disconnect themselves from reality, living in a numbed out, oblivious existence.

Kind of like this doggy right here:

The Healthy Nine and Anger:

The healthy Nine identifies their anger and tries to see the underlying reason for the anger. They stop feeling like their anger is a dangerous or innately terrible thing. They can speak up for themselves, and respect themselves enough to establish healthy boundaries and express what they want or need.

Here Are a few Examples:

Person: “Where do you want to go for dinner?”
Healthy Nine: “I’d love Red Lobster. Does that sound good to you?”

Person: *Unfairly insults Nine*
Healthy Nine: “I don’t deserve to be spoken to like that. Until you can speak calmly and without hurling insults, this conversation is over.”

Person: “Hey! Could you come over and help me move this weekend?”
Healthy Nine (who has other plans): “Hey! I can’t this weekend because I’m spending time with my daughter. Let me know if I can help you Monday night!”

Healthy Nines are aware of their anger without being alarmed or distressed by it. They are in touch with their feelings, needs, and thoughts. This self-awareness helps them to empathize more deeply with others and tune into the real world more fully. Healthy Nines are indomitable, comforting, and present.

The Average Nine and Anger:

Average Nines feel that they must repress their anger. In fact, they may do this so frequently that they are unaware of their feelings even when they are obvious on the outside. An onlooker might notice their anger before they do. The Nine might be clenching their fists and speaking loudly only to be shocked when someone asks them if they are angry. “No!” they would retort, “Why would you think that?!”

Average Nines are afraid of their anger. They want to keep their internal world in a constant state of harmonious, peaceful equilibrium. They fear that if they voice their anger they will face inner conflict and turmoil that could fragment them and their relationships.

In childhood, many Nines felt that the best way to support both their parents was to adjust to them rather than standing out. They would repress their anger so as not to cause a stir or provoke any unrest. They learned to repress their feelings, numb them, and, as a result, many struggle to actualize themselves independently as they get older.

The average Nine will find ways to placate their anger or the anger of other people. Sometimes they will use belief systems or proverbs to numb their pain.  I’m not sure if Mark Twain was a Nine, but his quote is one that many Nines would agree with wholeheartedly:

“Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.”Mark Twain

The average to unhealthy Nine fears that anger will destroy them, so they turn their minds to happier thoughts when they start to feel rage erupting within them. Of course, sometimes even their efforts fail, and they may unexpectedly explode – startling everyone (including themselves).

My mom once told me about suddenly becoming angry and throwing her shoe at the wall. She was so surprised by her reaction that it felt almost like an out-of-body experience.

Average Nines can repress their anger for so long that when it does erupt, they are often as shocked by it as others are.

Examples of the Average Nine:

Person: “Where do you want to go for dinner?”
Nine: (wants Red Lobster) “I don’t care, you pick!”

Person: *Unfairly insults Nine*
Healthy Nine: Makes self-deprecating joke or changes the subject, with noted tension in their voice

Person: “Hey! Could you come over and help me move this weekend?”
Healthy Nine (who has other plans!): “Maybe! I have some things I need to check first!” (Completely ignores the request)

The Unhealthy Nine and Anger:

Unhealthy Nines are so disconnected from their feelings that they seem totally oblivious to what’s going on around them or inside of them. They placate themselves with fantasies and dreams to avoid facing the emptiness inside. They vigilantly guard the illusion that everything is okay – resisting any efforts from others to change them.

The anger of the unhealthy Nine is repressed so deeply that they become dissociated from themselves. They disconnect themselves from reality, and may become unresponsive, distracted, and incapable of finishing anything they start. Because they have to exert so much energy repressing their true feelings and distancing themselves from themselves, tasks seem insurmountable. Facing the real world feels like swimming through molasses.

At this level, the Nine’s anger shows up in passive-aggressive reactions like agreeing to do something and then not doing it or failing to take care of their families or people who depend on them. They often use the “silent treatment” to get back at people who are bothering them or disrupting their inner peace.

As an example, an extremely unhealthy Nine might live in squalor, eating poorly and letting their children fend for themselves. At this point they’ve become lost in their fantasy world and completely disconnected from the real world and what’s happening around them. Their obliviousness and dissociation hurts them and the people they love most.

How Can Enneagram Nine’s Learn to Express Their Anger in a Healthy Way?

  • Realize that it’s okay to feel angry and tell others that you are angry with them. Stay with your anger for a moment, and become familiar with how it feels in your body. Remember that anger can be a catalyst for growth and positive change.
  • Take some time to write down five things that you really want out of life. Don’t worry about what other people want or need, think about what YOU want. How are you tailoring your life to achieve the things you need?
  • Practice saying no. Role-play it if you need to. Learn the value and importance of this word. Realize that you’ll do more harm to relationships by agreeing to do something only to resent it later than if you stand up for yourself and what you want.
  • Notice when you are idealizing someone rather than seeing them for who they really are. Idealizing someone can set you up for anger when they continually fail to meet your idealizations.
  • When you do bring an offense up to someone, use “I feel” statements to avoid sounding accusatory. Having a confrontation that’s too fiery right away can make you feel anxious and retreat. Start small if you have to, with the goal being to be more honest about your true feelings.
  • Take time each day to tune into the real world. Notice your breathing, your heart rate, the sounds of the breeze, the colors around you. Stay connected to that reality.
  • Focus on negotiation without fighting. Keep your mind focused on the outcome you want, and try not to get distracted by related arguments and further accusations. Don’t get pulled into an endless back-and-forth list of accusations.
  • If the person you are speaking with is being insulting, emotionally abusive, or violent in any way, take moves to keep yourself safe and get a healthy distance away. There’s a domestic abuse hotline if you need it at: 1-800-799-SAFE
  • Remember that you are worth defending. But you’re not going to be able to do it by denying your feelings and your instincts. Tune into your true feelings and allow yourself to have a real voice.

What Are Your Thoughts?

Do you have any insights or experiences to share? Let us know in the comments! Find out more about your personality type in our eBooks, Discovering You: Unlocking the Power of Personality Type,  The INFJ – Understanding the Mystic, and The INFP – Understanding the Dreamer. You can also connect with me via Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter!

Other Articles You Might Enjoy:

Enneagram Type Nine – the Peacemaker

The Childhood Wounds of Every Enneagram Type

Here’s What You Desperately Crave in Life, Based On Your Enneagram Type

Get an in-depth look at how #enneatype Nines handle anger at different levels of development and maturity. #Enneagram #Nines

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Susan Storm is a certified MBTI® practitioner and lover of all things psychology-related. She is the mom of five beautiful children and loves using her knowledge of personality type to understand them and others better! Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest to learn more about type!
Get an in-depth look at how #enneatype nines process anger. #Enneagram #nine