Confessions of an Enneagram 7 Mom
I’m getting good at these confessions. Covid Confessions was my first post. Then, I was pretty honest about using my son as a body shield when a bee was flying towards me. And now…Confessions of an Enneagram 7 Mom. This one is almost too much for me to share…but I feel I must.
About a year ago I asked my now adult son what it was like growing up with a mom who was an Enneagram type 7. Now let me set the stage a little before I tell you the punch-in-the-gut answer. He is my first born. I gave birth to him when I was 19 and he was (and still is) the sunshine of my existence (a line from a movie we both loved and quote to this day). He grew up listening to my music and watching my movies so we spoke a common language. I was full of energy so we did a lot of playing and, as a type 7 mom, there was never a lack of fun activities. He was a born entertainer which made life very fun! When he was five years old he walked up to a lady I was having a conversation with, tapped her on her leg and once he had her attention, looked up and starting belting out ”Celebrate good times…COME ON!” by 'Kool and The Gang'! When he was about 10 he starting performing magic and would walk up to random strangers in a restaurant and say…”Want to see a magic trick?” Before they had time to respond he had done some slight of hand, taken a bow and walked away. I became his magician’s assistant when he performed in the high school talent show and although I almost got my head cut off when the lock wouldn’t open, his performance got a standing ovation. He went on to be the lead in several plays and won many awards including a college scholarship for acting. I was, and still am, his biggest fan! We had a lot of fun! He continued the path of entertainment and, in fact, is a very accomplished actor, writer, film maker and post-production whiz. So…when I asked him what it was like growing up with me for a mom he said…
”I never knew our family had any problems. So when you and Dad said you were getting divorced I was in shock. My whole world seemed to be a lie.”
I wasn’t a bad mom. In fact, if you ask any of my kids I know they’d say I was a great mom…I have a box full of cards and hand written notes telling me so.
What else had I sugar-coated and silver-lined that kept them from learning how to cope with the difficulties of life? Was my attempt to spare them heartache, by focusing on the positive, actually weakening their ability to handle the inevitable challenges they would one day face? Absolutely. And it breaks my heart to say that.
I wasn’t a bad mom, I often remind myself.
I’m not making this confession to get any sympathy because the truth is, no parent in the history of parents gets it all right. I can blame it on my youth, my naiveté, my shame or a number of other legitimate reasons but the truth is…I just didn’t know.
This is why I am such a proponent of personal development. We cannot change what we do not know. But we can change. And I knew I had to change.
This same son wrote an article several years ago that I keep on my computer and in my heart. The article was called “The 10 Best People I Know”. I was on that list and it’s one of my greatest gifts. I got the honor of being #7 on that list. He wrote:
#7. The people who are willing to have their minds changed
"Times change. People change (now I have Exposé stuck in my head). We evolve but all too often beliefs and opinions stay mired in the past. And there can be a lot of pressure to keep them there, which is why I so admire the people who are strong enough to unstick themselves. People who consciously choose their beliefs after examining several sides of an issue, even if it means saying they were wrong... well those are admirable folk. Rare and admirable."
I still don’t get it right all the time but I can truthfully say I’ve done a lot of changing. I am still changing. The Enneagram has been one of the best tools I've found that has shown me both sides of who I am. Yes, I like seeing the positive side of life but denying the pain and grief weakens me. Learning HOW to address the struggles has allowed me to grow.
Change doesn’t happen all at once. In fact, sometimes change starts with a simple step like changing a light bulb. :-) If confession is good for the soul I should be a saint by now! :-)