How I’m Going to Self-Destruct

I’ve never been big on personality tests. The Myers-Briggs, for instance, has always made me feel adrift in a sea of letters.

My roommate, on the other hand, has invested a significant amount of time in online questionnaires.

Recently she introduced me to the Enneagram, which categorizes people based on their basic desires and fears. Apparently I’m a type six, a.k.a. “The Loyalist.” I found the description eerily fitting:

“We have named personality type Six The Loyalist because, of all the personality types, Sixes are the most loyal to their friends and to their beliefs. They will ‘go down with the ship’ and hang on to relationships of all kinds far longer than most other types.”

“Excellent ‘troubleshooters,’ they foresee problems and foster cooperation, but can also become defensive, evasive, and anxious—running on stress while complaining about it.

At my best, I’m “self-affirming, trusting of self and others, independent yet symbiotically interdependent and cooperative as an equal. Belief in self leads to true courage, positive thinking, leadership, and rich self-expression.”

My favorite part of the Enneagram, however, is that it describes not only positive traits but negative ones as well. The test identifies nine levels of stability, ranking from awesome to deranged.

For every Link there is a Dark Link. For every Spiderman there is a Venom. For every Lori... there is a Shadow Lori.

“Shadow Lori” is what will happen if I ever go completely off the deep end. It’s kind of like Ragnarok – I know in advance exactly how my world will end. In a way, I find this oddly comforting.

Levels 1-4 are boring. Let’s start with what will happen when I reach Level 5.

“Level 5:
To resist having more demands made on them, they react against others passive-aggressively. Become evasive, indecisive, cautious, procrastinating, and ambivalent. Are highly reactive, anxious, and negative, giving contradictory, "mixed signals." Internal confusion makes them react unpredictably.”

“Level 6: To compensate for insecurities, they become sarcastic and belligerent, blaming others for their problems, taking a tough stance toward "outsiders." Highly reactive and defensive, dividing people into friends and enemies, while looking for threats to their own security. Authoritarian while fearful of authority, highly suspicious, yet, conspiratorial, and fear-instilling to silence their own fears.”

“Level 7: Fearing that they have ruined their security, they become panicky, volatile, and self-disparaging with acute inferiority feelings. Seeing themselves as defenseless, they seek out a stronger authority or belief to resolve all problems. Highly divisive, disparaging and berating others”

“Level 8: Feeling persecuted, that others are "out to get them," they lash-out and act irrationally, bringing about what they fear. Fanaticism, violence.”

“Level 9: Hysterical, and seeking to escape punishment, they become self-destructive and suicidal. Alcoholism, drug overdoses, "skid row," self-abasing behavior. Generally corresponds to the Passive-Aggressive and Paranoid personality disorders.”

There you have it. Watch for the signs, people. If you notice me going into this downward spiral, you have a limited amount of time to grab a recording device so you can post the ensuing hilarity on Youtube.

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