The Games We Play

From Wikipedia: Psychological manipulation is a type of social influence that aims to change the perception or behavior of others through underhanded, deceptive, or even abusive tactics. By advancing the interests of the manipulator, often at the other’s expense, such methods could be considered exploitative, abusive, devious, and deceptive.


Basic Instinct (1992)
Basic Instinct (1992)

Manipulation can be demeaning and frustrating. In extreme cases, it may even be dangerous, as detective Nick Curran of the SFPD found out in Basic Instinct.

There are also times we are manipulated for “our own good”. We’re often grateful for this kind of benevolent leading; e.g. a trusted relation gently swaying us toward a better life decision.

But we should make an effort to distinguish the difference; know when someone is deliberately or otherwise leading us down a wrong path.  Do you recognize the signs?

Manipulation can hide behind numerous disguises; tactics are as varied as the individuals employing them. Our personalities determine the methods we’re prone to use. Do you know your particular brand of control? Let’s find out.

If you don’t already know your Enneagram personality type, take the test at this post, remember your type number and return here.

Look below, find your type and see if you recognize behaviors you’ve enacted toward others. Conversely, peruse the list; unless you’ve lived in a bubble, you should see underhanded ploys tried on you.

And keep in mind… as we observed with Wile E. Coyote and the Roadrunner… who is manipulating whom?

Wile E. Coyote
Wile E. Coyote

Type 1:  The Reformer feels that to be loved he must be good, and to be good he must be right. Whether his argument is correct or not is irrelevant; his method of manipulation is to persuade others to agree with his views in his attempt to satisfy his underlying needs.

Type 2: The Helper feels he must earn others’ love by putting their needs before his. His method of manipulation is to learn and cater to the needs and desires of others hence creating dependencies in his attempt to satisfy his underlying needs.

Type 3: The Achiever feels he is worthy due only to his achievements and performances. Leaving his true self behind to be “successful”, he will manipulate by charming others and by assuming whatever facade seems appropriate in the attempt to satisfy his underlying needs.

Type 4: The Individualist is on a life-long search for his identity. In his insistence that he is unlike anyone else and that he is true to himself, he manipulates through making others very uncomfortable with his moodiness and eccentricities in the attempt to satisfy his underlying needs.

Type 5: The Investigator can only recognize self-worth if he feels a degree of expertise in at least one area; if he has mastered some thing. He will manipulate by staying preoccupied and detaching emotionally from others in the attempt to satisfy this underlying need.


Type 6: The Loyalist longs for support and guidance and the ability to stand on his own. Though it may undermine the support he strives for, he will manipulate by complaining and testing the commitment of others in the attempt to satisfy these underlying needs.

Type 7: The Enthusiast desires to be happy and satisfied, escaping anxiety. He feels OK if he has “all he needs”. In the attempt to maintain these heightened feelings, he will manipulate by distracting others and insisting they meet his demands.

Type 8: The Challenger fears dependency of any kind in his quest for autonomy in this hostile world. Feeling he alone is strong and works hard, he will manipulate by demanding others to do his bidding; becoming domineering in his attempt to satisfy these underlying needs.

Type 9: The Peacemaker desires peace of mind and stability in his inner and exterior world and believes all is OK if those around him are OK. He will manipulate by passively-aggressively resisting others and by disappearing into his daydreams in his attempt to satisfy these underlying needs.

Armed with this knowledge, can you visualize maintaining a more disciplined, forthright mode of interacting? Can you visualize banishing the games and relinquishing control over others’ lives?

– debi

Character Upgrade (add-on 1.0)


add-on (plural add-ons)

  1. Something which can be appended to something else.
  2. (computer) A software extension that provides additional functions or customization for a core application.

If you’ve spent any time online, you’ve been asked if you want an add-on for this or that.  I’m proposing a series of personal add-ons.

Nothing physical: no surgery, no expensive therapies; rather jigsaw pieces of the puzzle of life, allowing us to discover and become our best.  Character add-ons, just like software add-ons, require your permission.  (Ignoring is the same as not granting permission, right?)


Hmmm, is that bulb lit?

ADD-ON 1.0:

Have you ever had a friend or relative (our kids are usually the best source for revelation of unclaimed character flaws) tell you of a habit or tendency that they find unattractive or even down-right nauseating?

Did you feel offended?  Did you respond with rational reasons why they were wrong or exaggerating or just plain lying?  (I’ve been guilty of that reaction on many occasions.)

What if they’re telling the truth?  Ever consider they might be doing us a big favor?  If we will just listen…  Even better, what if we could figure these things out on our own?  Well, we can.

It requires being aware of ourselves; being aware of how we present ourselves to those around us.  That means backing away from the thinking, feeling, movement, intuition and instinct that consume our attention.  Step back from being entrenched in the turmoil that rages in our heads and is consequently spewed forth; step back and observe what is happening in our heads and hearts.  View these happenings as an outsider would – as our kids do.

Once you’ve tackled that – I should rephrase – once you are constantly diligent in your attempts to observe yourself, you need to use those observations to tackle what is unattractive in yourself.

But I’m saving that for another post.

“Awareness is vitally important in the work of transformation because the habits of our personality let go most completely when we see them as they are occurring.” – The Wisdom of the Enneagram

– debi

What Is Your Essence?

Do you see your essence in this list:

  1. The Reformer
  2. The Helper
  3. The Achiever
  4. The Individualist
  5. The Investigator
  6. The Loyalist
  7. The Enthusiast
  8. The Challenger
  9. The Peacemaker

A rare few may be able to immediately recognize themselves.  But most of us need a little help.  Here is an easy way to “Learn what you are and be such.” – Pindar Continue reading

Our Changing Personality – Nationwide

I believe our overall personality as a nation is changing.  Yes, I know that’s been a trend since the first settlers landed on the east coast, but the change I’ve seen in the last couple decades is what I’m focusing on.  I do not intend to imply that all citizens are what I’m about to describe – but rather a segment within that is growing rapidly.  I propose that this tendency is detrimental to our nation as a whole.

Large portions of the populace have shifted their idea of “life destiny” from home, family and job to image, attention and JOB (no, that’s not a typo – JOB becomes even more important, but shun the warm support of home and family – make a note to remember Type 3).

A variety of MBTI researchers through the years (all the way back to Carl Jung’s 1921 publication of Psychological Types) have presented theories of personality that support similar patterns categorizing individual traits.  As the Enneagram philosophy (presented in the late 1960’s and early 70’s by Oscar Ichazo) has become popular, research has soared trying to relate the MBTI to the Enneagram.   Two of the most popular of the researchers – Don Riso and Walter Geldart – believe that the Enneagram Type 3, the Achiever, has no correlation with MBTI types.  (I agree with them.)

My head is spinning!! What does all that mean??  The Achiever Type 3 did not exist in large enough numbers to be recognized as a separate personality until recent times!!  It’s up-n-comin’!  This chart illustrates – hint: look for Type 3 (for further information, refer to this article):

Enneazone Associated MBTI 

Types according

to Riso’s theory

MBTI Prototypes 

identified by Fudjack/

Associated MBTI 

Types according

to Geldart


ative’ types

3 none chosen ESTP, ESFP none chosen ESFJ, ISFJ

So…, you ask me, why should this matter and why should I care?

The Enneagram type 3 Personality at its best is described as: “You will often find Threes at or near the top of successful organizations. In sport, you will find them as charming winners who will bask in the spotlight, enjoying the respect they have earned through their achievement. But not for long – Threes are only as good as their last triumph, and will be on to achieving their next victory! Their strong drive to achieve creates the Three’s blind spot, the need to be respected by others at all times.”

Also: “At their weakest, if the Threes do not feel they are gaining the respect they deserve they can become very competitive, winning at all cost. In excess, they can become deceptive and vindictive. Image is everything and they will seek to protect their image of success even where the reality is different. To be seen to have failed would be their worst nightmare, and they will seek to preserve their image of success.”

Here is the key to my theory and this new phenomenon we are witnessing:  The bullies of this world are unhealthy Type 3s.  Narcissism, arrogance, contempt and jealousy define the characteristics of the degenerating Achiever.  One glaring example of this burgeoning tendency is the suicide on January 14 of  Phoebe Prince.  Such a tragedy – all due to bullying.

Dr. Susan Lipkins, a psychologist for over twenty years, is a leading expert in the field of hazing.  She specializes in campus conflict and violence in high schools and colleges.  “The bullying culture is increasing at warp speed,” says Long Island psychologist Susan Lipkins. “Bullying and cyber-bullying are becoming more violent and more sexualized every day.”

The not-so-long-ago undefined Type 3 Achiever is becoming more and more prevalent – at an alarming rate – in our society.  Too many young persons today believe corporeal achievement to be superior to the traditional values our citizens have embraced through history – character, conduct and conscience.