Ali Wren

whole-hearted living, healthy-minded eating

Type Nine with Karen Luke

My Aunt Karen joined my online Road Back to You book club in August, and has been learning all about the Enneagram! And she’s been able to get my Uncle Jeff (her husband) and my cousins (her children) excited about it.

Aunt Karen is often the one behind the camera at family gatherings–taking the time to notice and see everyone. The candid shots she takes are always better than the staged ones. Aunt Karen is a wife, mom to four adult children, mother-in-law, grandma, and dear aunt to me and my cousins. She is a quiet and behind-the-scenes person, but you can always hear her laugh from another room. I’m excited for you to learn more about her Enneagram journey.

How long have you known about the Enneagram?

Joining the book group in August was the very first time that I heard of the Enneagram.

How long have you known your type?

As soon as I read the chapter on type Nine, I felt it was me. As I read the other types, I became confused, as it seemed I related to a lot of them too. When I went back to the chapter on Nines and re-read it, I was positive. Especially when it stated this confusion could happen, since my personality type tends to merge/take on other types. I did not take the test, but feel confident that I am a Nine.

What do you wish other people knew about my type?

That I am not an initiator. It is hard for me to reach out to people, to get to know them, and to be a part of their lives. I am thrilled when others reach out to me and invite me in. It’s not that I don’t want the relationships; it’s just hard for me to put myself out there.

The majority of my close relationships involve people who are the initiators. They keep the contact going and reach out to me. My insecurity and not wanting to be a bother hold me back from reaching out.

What do you like about being your type?

I seem to have the knack for sensing the needs of others. I am one who notices. I feel I can read when people are hurting or upset. I have a compassion for others, that they not go unnoticed when they are hurting or alone. I am often able to approach them and get them to open up to me. I freely share my own painful experiences or trials and how I worked through them. I am able to offer them the hope and encouragement that I have found and how scripture and a full relationship with Jesus has helped me. It seems to go against what I said about being an initiator, however, when someone is hurting I can be very bold. I know they need what I can give them (encouragement and hope) and I believe God gives me the courage and confidence needed to approach them.

What challenge(s) does being your type bring?

Being that I’m overly aware/overly attuned, or worried about the feelings of others, I think I deal with a lot more anxiety than the average person. At least that’s the way it feels. Always worrying is a real struggle and can be draining.

When things are stressful I definitely fall into the characteristics of my type: hazy trance, absent-minded, less productive, and easily distracted by inessential tasks.

My most stressful times tend to be hosting large gatherings (being in charge; a thing I like to avoid). Large gatherings are a hallmark in my life as a wife and mother of four children (adults now): Graduation open houses, wedding showers, weddings, baby showers…. During these times I find my foot to be heavy in the type Six characteristics:

  • Worst case scenarios
  • Ability to handle all the details on my own
  • Anxious without knowing why
  • Wary of others (Am I doing it right? Is everyone happy?)

It is easier now that I’m older and have more experiences under my belt, but I still struggle. My super organized and confident type Eight husband has been a great help in these areas. Helping me organize with lists and reassuring me that things will be great.

Here are some thoughts on being married to an Eight:

First off, after reading The Road Back to You, I am so surprised at how completely opposite we are in so many ways. Jeff is great example of a strong and healthy Eight. He was raised in a family that has many Eights, and being the youngest helped him learn a lot about controlling aggressiveness.

Our dating years were very interesting when you have him with the thinking of: “In relationships that matter to me I insist on being honest about conflicts and staying in the fight until things are worked out.” Pair that with me–the great avoider of conflicts. He taught me, through much perseverance, to let myself out…he is a very patient man. To that point in my life I rarely dealt with my feelings. It was so hard to open up, but was so freeing when I finally learned how to.

An Eight doesn’t come with a dimmer (over-work, over-committed, etc.)–so true! Dictionary’s Word of the Day once grabbed me with the word “indefatigable”. I immediately told Jeff I had found a word that described him: untiring, determined, energetic, and inexhaustible (especially this). People often say to me, “I don’t know how he does it all.” I have often felt guilty in my restful state or nature, when he works so hard.

The book has shown me that busy and hardworking is what he’s wired to be and restful and laid back is who I’m wired to be. Being opposites, I can see how we’ve helped each other. He challenges me to step out and feel more confident in myself, and I help him relax and realize he doesn’t have to do everything.

Other things that clearly mark him as an Eight are: his ability to confront someone on a hard subject (He goes in with confidence and a well-thought out plan.); his objective is to see the right things happen, not with a selfish motive; and he can easily come up with solutions to most problems. You can see, just by these few descriptions that it was easy for me to meld with and rely on his strong personality.

Thankfully, he insisted on weeding out my thoughts and fears and hopes. I was not lost to him.

He taught me about healthy confrontation and the importance of open communication in a relationship. I love being married to my Eight husband. His confidence is very catchy and his perseverance has helped to bring out the best in me. I’ve done so much more in my life than I ever thought possible due to his encouragement and patience.

This is part of a 31-day series: The Enneagram. To read all posts, head here.

About Ali

I'm Ali. I write about my journey of living a full and healthy life with food allergies, overcoming the comparison trap, and cultivating authenticity.

Don’t Miss A Thing!

To stay in touch, get free tips and recipes for healthy eating with food allergies, as well as future goodies, join my community here.