#2: “I am not enough”

Basic Ego Fear | Compensation Mechanisms

The Enneagram is a tool of self-discovery that identifies nine types and perspectives of being in the world. Each Enneagram type experiences a different  flavor of the basic ego fear “I am not enough”.  And, each type uses a specific compensation mechanism to disguise their imperfections. Because of a difference of perspective, type specific fears and their associated compensation mechanisms can be expressed as follows:

# 1 Fear of being bad Desire to be perfect
# 2 Fear of being unlovable Desire to be needed by others
# 3 Fear of being worthless Desire to chase success
# 4 Fear of being unimportant Desire to be special and different
# 5 Fear of being incapable Desire to be an expert
# 6 Fear of being unsafe Desire to understand everything
# 7 Fear of being trapped Desire to stay uncommitted
# 8 Fear of being harmed Desire to control others and life
# 9 Fear of being lost Desire to numb out

How we use compensation mechanisms

We are all inflicted with the basic ego fear “I am not enough” because all of us advance through the same developmental stages from embryo to adulthood. This basic ego fear is an unavoidable aspect of our identity as an individual.

Our mind is relentless in claiming and attaching attributes, behaviors, emotions, thoughts, beliefs and material possessions to build up a sense of identity and sense of self-worth.

When feeling successful, we might think that we no longer are vulnerable to this basic ego fear.  But, when things are not going according to plan we assert that somebody is at fault… ME.

During our most challenging times in life (when a loved one dies, we are in an accident, or a longtime friend rejects us) we are confronted with the fact that we are not in control, we are vulnerable, and we have to turn to others for support.

Most people are too embarrassed to admit that they sometimes feel inadequate and flawed. Trying to hide our vulnerabilities, we develop compensation strategies to cover up the fact that we are not perfect.  

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