We are wired to try to make sense of the world, but when it comes to the MBTI – it simply does not explain everything.

When something isn’t working about the behaviour of someone else, it is tempting to develop theories to explain what is happening. If people know the MBTI they may use type or preference differences as their rationale. When the statements they make take the form of sweeping generalizations “I don’t like Extraverts they always yell instead of talking and I can’t hear myself think.” there is the possibility of creating much more harm than good.

So before we go painting everyone of a certain preference with the same paint brush let’s take a breath. Perhaps this person’s behaviour is objectionable because of their level of development. There might also be several other possible explanations that aren’t about personality type.

The Enneagram addresses this issue in a direct manner. The way the Enneagram is presented by Riso and Hudson adds levels of development to their look at type. At higher levels a person tends toward being open and expansive as opposed to restricting and reacting at the lower levels. It is very helpful to see behaviours that are healthy and how type may function in an unhealthy way. This saves labeling a certain negative behaviour as being a characteristic of the type as a whole. The individual in question may simply be less developed and have behaviour that reflects this.

HINT: Words like “always, never, everyone, everywhere” mark out something that needs to be examined a little closer to find the truth.

HINT #2: Consider this quote from Jung himself

Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.

Category: Other Assessments / Relationships
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