by Michael Roth, C.Ad, SRC
Intimacy anorexia is an all-too-common problem that affects a large number of people throughout the world.
Intimacy anorexia is similar to nutritional anorexia. A nutritional anorexic has a difficult time eating food and often develops nutritional deficiencies, loses weight, and develops mental and physical health problems as a result of depriving themselves of necessary nutrients.
Intimacy anorexia operates in the same way: for many possible reasons, an individual is uncomfortable with intimacy. As such, they will deprive themselves of intimacy by avoiding intimate situations with lovers, friends, or family members. This can lead to emotional and physical health problems.
Fortunately, intimacy anorexia can be corrected with care and dedication. One of the best ways to work through intimacy anorexia is by adopting a process that has been used for thousands of years to address psychological problems: the Enneagram.
What Is the Enneagram?
The enneagram is a very old system of psychological and personality assessment that is still strikingly accurate today.
According to the enneagram, people are divided into one of 9 personality types. Each personality type has their own positive traits, as well as their own flaws.
The enneagram doesn’t simply identify people based on their pros and cons, though. It provides a solution for each personality type to overcome their undesirable traits, as well as providing an outline of which behaviors to avoid to prevent a loss of happiness.
It does this by identifying two separate paths: the path of growth and the path of stress. By following the path of growth, one enneagram type can rectify some of their flaws by practicing some of the desirable traits of another enneagram type.
Each enneagram type is also cautioned against engaging in the behaviors of a different enneagram type. This would be following the path of stress, and could lead an individual into psychological or emotional disarray.
Here’s an example:
Type 3 on the enneagram is known as the Achiever. They are pragmatic, success-oriented, and often do well in business ventures. However, they may often be concerned about what other people think about them and may become incredibly competitive.
The path of growth for a type 3 leads them to type 6: the loyalist. The loyalist is known for being committed, engaged, and responsible – all traits which can help accentuate a type 3’s successes while minimizing their self-conscious behavior.
The path of stress for a type 3 leads them to type 9: the peacemaker. Peacemakers are generally known for being highly agreeable, compromising, and receptive. Many people find these traits admirable, but for a type 3, they could lead to stress by causing them to compromise or sacrifice their successes.
Using the Enneagram for Intimacy Anorexia
The enneagram is unique because it provides different people with different solutions for their problems based on their personality type. This differs from conventional psychology and therapy, which often seeks to break down the problem as if it affected all people in the same way.
By using the enneagram to identify your personality type, you can identify the positive traits that you can focus on. These traits, when they are fully expressed, can help lead you into a state of psychological and emotional well-being.
The enneagram can also help you to identify goals and triggers that can help or hinder your recovery from intimacy anorexia.
By identifying your path of growth, you can learn about which personality traits and emotional skills you should hone in on in order to maximize your well-being. Doing this will help you find the strength within yourself to overcome any emotional issues, including intimacy anorexia.
Conversely, the enneagram can also help you to identify any problematic behaviors that may be in conflict with your base personality type. These behaviors can lead to instability and stress, and can aggravate any problems that you might have.
Many people with emotional issues like intimacy anorexia are actually quite surprised to find that they have been living entirely on their path of stress, embodying traits and behaviors that conflict with their true nature. This can create serious discord in an individual, leading to the development of problems, such as intimacy anorexia.
If you or a loved one are struggling with intimacy anorexia, one of the best things that you could do is learn a bit about your personality type. It’s incredibly important to understand yourself as much as possible before attempting to tackle any emotional or mental health problems. A deep understanding of yourself is key to learning how you can overcome the problem.
The enneagram is one of the most accurate systems of self-understanding that is available today. Learning about your personality type and your paths of growth and success can help lay a framework for overcoming intimacy anorexia.
Contact me today and let me guide you in learning more about your personality type and how we can use that to help you overcome intimacy anorexia or other addictive behaviors.