Ordinary People (sneak preview from The Nine Keys)

Anita, Achiever (3), formerly in a 30-year relationship with Donald, Peacemaker (9)


“The traits which attracted me to Donald were his wonderful sense of humor, his intelligence, his unflappable sense of calm, his ability to  “not sweat the small stuff”, his support and his stability.  I met Donald very young–we went to the same elementary school and were about one year apart academically.  We began dating when he was in high school.  


Energetically, we were opposites. The notation under my picture as student body president in our school’s yearbook read, “Rushing madly and incessantly about, she is always doing something for someone sometime.”  Donald was the oasis of calm in this caldron of frenzied activity. He was the voice of reason, the unflappable companion who could help me put things in perspective, my anchor in a turbulent sea.


I could count on his support. When I had been in the professional world for four years and  discovered that the company was paying me less than my male co-workers for the same position, with the same responsibilities, I wrote a letter stating that I would resign my position rather than accept this inequality. This was in the 1960s when it was less common for a woman to stand her ground. My husband was very supportive of this decision and encouraged me to be assertive with management. He was the wind beneath my wings.


In our relationship, I brought drive and sense of adventure to the dynamic. We moved to Germany for four years and traveled extensively during that time. My happy-to-stay-home husband said if it hadn’t been for me, we would never have left the United States and that if he had accepted the job in Germany without me, he would have done little traveling.  But in the end, he admitted he appreciated all the travel we did and all the experiences we had together. Donald was a loving and caring dad, a good provider who ensured his children had a stable home. We both agreed on child rearing, so when the children tried to play the one-parent-against-the-other game, we were a united team.    


However, communication around sensitive topics was not a strong point in our relationship. When Donald had problems that annoyed him or made him angry, he would simply clam up. He felt little was worth arguing about and would say “if I’m still angry in three days, we can talk about it.” Of course, we never did.  This stonewalling led to a wall of undiscussed hurts, wounds and resentments.  


During the relationship, our different energy levels also became an issue. After our three children were born, we decided to build our own house on several acres of land. This was a huge undertaking and introduced an unprecedented amount of stress, both emotional and financial, into our relationship. When we moved into the house, we still had many tasks to complete. With my Type A drive, I wanted to aggressively attack the list of tasks.  My lower energy husband was intimidated by the breadth of the work and would often take time out to relax in his familiar reclining chair, beer in hand, watching sports.  He once said “I used to feel guilty when I wanted to watch a game, and you were working, but I don’t anymore. I don’t have your energy and can’t keep up with you.”


The marriage never recovered from this period but as we weren’t good at openly discussing our issues, many years passed quietly as the relationship deteriorated. We both avoided the situation and crafted independent lives for ourselves. To the outside world, the marriage looked intact, but this was not in fact the case. During this period, my husband’s occasional drink developed into full blown alcoholism. Eventually, a medical issue, exacerbated by Donald’s alcoholism, brought the entire reality into light and shortly there after we divorced.“


The Theory: Achiever (3) with Peacemaker (9)


Achiever (3)s and Peacemaker (9)s are often found together, and this can be a very balancing, successful couple.

Peacemaker (9)s bring support, acceptance, encouragement and a sense of pride and appreciation in their Achiever (3) partner’s accomplishments. Because Peacemaker (9)s are less image conscious and not as insecure about the opinion of others, they offer the Achiever (3) a firm base from which to jump. The Achiever (3) correctly senses the Peacemaker (9) will support them through thick and thin, and this emboldens the Achiever (3) to want to pursue great things. They are a steady, unwavering cheerleader giving the Achiever (3) confidence which allows them to focus on exploring their own potential and becoming the “best” at whatever category they are focusing on. Peacemaker (9) enjoys the simple things in life and can help remind their Achiever (3) to slow down and smell the roses.

To the dynamic, Achiever (3)s help to wake the Peacemaker (9) up to all that life has to offer.  Achiever (3)s bring a high energy, drive, ambition and a fast-paced, “can do” attitude that helps motivate and focus the Peacemaker.  With their Achiever (3) at their side, Peacemaker (9)s may stretch themselves to try new things, go places they haven’t been and to break out of their comfortable routine. They sparkle in the face of their new experiences and enjoy a broader worldview.

Energetically, this couple has the potential to be balancing. The Peacemaker (9) gives the Achiever (3) permission to relax, and the Achiever (3) helps the Peacemaker (9) to get going. Both present a positive attitude and are conflict avoidant, though in different ways. Achiever (3)s focus on the positive and maintaining an attractive image to the outside world. Peacemaker (9)s are typically predisposed to be optimistic so it comes naturally for them to see the positive. Peacemaker (9)s feel threatened by conflict, and Achiever (3)s feel threatened by a negative image so both people tend to sweep issues under the rug. Both want to be comfortable and to be in the position to support those who are important to them, and they are willing to work hard towards their goals.

The easy acceptance of the Peacemaker (9) and the enthusiastic drive of the Achiever (3) can be healing for both partners. This can be a couple characterized by a strong physical attraction.  Central values of security and comfort are foundation for this pair and can be the basis for a sense of shared attachment and goals.


Challenges and Potential Issues

This couple can run into trouble by being too conflict avoidant. They both prefer to stay focused on the positive and avoid conflict. They can become overly attached to the comfortable and secure aspects of their life making it difficult to address thorny issues that might involve disruption.  Peacemaker (9)s feel extreme anxiety in the face of conflict and will often stonewall or shut down to avoid the related stress they feel from a loss of harmony.  They prefer to wait, hoping that time passing will somehow resolve the issue. Achiever (3)s are very interested in maintaining a positive image and often have a subconscious insecurity about themselves and the relationship. On some level, they are aware they have let appearances dictate reality and may fear shame at having this exposed. They want the image of the “perfect marriage” and to honestly deal with an issue might shatter that image. As both people polarize into their corner of denial, the relationship weakens.  Because both have vested interests in avoiding an outward conflict, the relationship may continue for a while as if nothing is wrong despite the fact the relationship is essentially over. Dinner parties continue, holidays appear bright and happy, school functions have both parents in attendance but behind closed doors, the relationship is cold and distant. Both partners are unhappy but unwilling to face the reality. The Peacemaker (9) has checked out at this point, the Achiever (3) is focused on their image, and both partners are living fairly separate lives


At some point, the Achiever (3) will have too many unmet needs of being admired and appreciated.They may begin to resent the emotional unavailability of the Peacemaker, even though the Peacemaker (9) may be an excellent provider of material needs. The Achiever (3) may fall into a depression without even realizing it since they are also out of touch with their emotions. Or they may go outside of the relationship to get their needs met.


The Peacemaker (9) may start to resent the falseness of the Achiever (3), and the mask that is presented to the outside world.  They experience the Achiever (3) as attention seeking, self-centered and phony. The lives may continue to drift apart as the couple becomes like distant housemates.  Alternatively, some life crisis such as an affair or or a major health challenge brings the deterioration of the relationship into awareness. If the core issues remain unaddressed and unresolved, the relationship eventually collapses.


The Kundalini Yoga connection:

Issue avoidance is the root of the downward spiral for this couple. Avoidance is triggered by feelings of shame and anxiety so dealing with these two issues on a somatic level can help break the momentum of the downward crash.


Feelings of shame result in the Achiever (3) sacrificing reality for an image. Achiever (3) are able to cut off from their emotions, leaving them often with a polished external world but a sad and unfulfilling inner world.  Kundalini Yoga kriyas and meditations that cultivate heart opening, self-acceptance and self-love are beneficial for Achiever (3)s.


Peacemaker (9)s need to strengthen  their nervous system and their navel center/third chakra to activate the their power center. The anxiety of conflict feels less overwhelming with a strong nervous system. A strong navel center gets the Peacemaker (9) in touch with their needs allowing them to advocate for themselves better.  Kundalini Yoga kriyas and meditations to build the nervous system and the navel center are highly beneficial for Peacemaker (9)s.

For more information about Enneagram Type compatibility, please go to the Enneagram Institute’s Type Combinations.

If you know your Enneagram type and the type of your partner (or ex-partner), please consider participating in my relationship survey!  Message me at lynn@lynnroulo.com.  These type combinations are particularly helpful to the survey.

The book, The Nine Keys, will be out in 2018! This book contains 81 testimonials similar to the one above along with four Kundalini Yoga kriyas and meditations.  To get on the pre-order listing, please email me at lynn@lynnroulo.com.

Thank you for reading!