Conflict of Interest

Photo by Richard Lee on Unsplash

This is a topic that many of us don’t like to discuss, are in denial of, or just flat out run from = CONFLICT. The funny thing about conflict is that both parties typically think they’re right. Don’t you get frustrated when you feel so strongly about something and the other person just doesn’t “get it?” We have all been there. Have you ever wondered why two people can view the same situation differently? Me too.

Conflict of Interest

One of the many, many things I enjoy about the Enneagram is the layers of discovery it provides the more you study it and the more you interact with other people once you’re made aware of it. Imagine if we could actually endure conflict and come out even better than when we went in… It can happen.

The reason we can get so frustrated at another person who is simply not getting it is because there’s a conflict of interest. And, it’s created by the fact that we both differ in how we are wired. Each Type on the Enneagram views the world differently. Even the exact same Type can view the world through different lenses even though they are so similar. And, knowing how your significant other views conflict can really help move through it!

An Example: an “8” and a “6”

Let’s take an Eight: The Challenger and a Six: The Loyalist as an example. The Eight is much more instinctual and the Six much more analytical and thought out. That alone is a conflict of interest that just being aware of can be beneficial. An 8’s basic fear is being controlled or subject to injustice. So when they are in conflict things can get really heated when they feel an injustice was done to them or the person they love. A Six fears conflict because they are afraid of the ramifications of upsetting the other person. They tend to withdraw and “hide.”

Ok, now do you see how that alone can cause some pretty significant conflict? The interest of the Eight is instinctual and justice. The interest of the Six is logical and safety. Talk about a conflict of interest!

Another Example: two “1’s” with different wings

I mentioned before that even the same Type can have conflict of interest. Especially if they have opposite dominant “wings.” A 1w2 is the Perfectionist/Helper and the 1w9 is the Perfectionist/Peacemaker. The 1w2 is going to be much more outspoken while the 1w9 is probably more introverted. The 1w2 can be a lot more critical and can sometimes be pushy while a 1w9 can be irritable and less likely to speak up. This could lead to a lot of tension and work to come to a good resolution of conflict. Both will need to work to understand the other more and be patient.

Do you see the potential for a conflict of interest? Even within the same Type they are coming at things from different interests. They are both trying to reach perfection but in different ways.

Where do we go from here?

This is why I enjoy the Enneagram. Just this self and social awareness can create a path towards growth in your most intimate relationships. When you work to understand your own wiring and also that of the persons you love, you can move through conflict. Not away from it or around it, but through it. We have to work to understand the conflict of interest and then address that conflict to move through it in a productive way.

What are your thoughts on how the different Types view conflict?


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