The Truth About Dreaming

My Asserter Friend

Yesterday I attended a dream workshop given by Victoria Rabinowe and Naomi Epel. The dream I presented featured an Asserter type friend of mine who creates fireworks wherever she goes. Another character was a sulky woman who may have represented a part of myself (I’m an Observer type) that wants more attention and feels misunderstood. Is the message of the dream: 1) to pay attention to my behavior when I feel ignored? Or 2) to be more assertive and tell people what I’m thinking so they can’t misunderstand me? I choose #2.  I can go out and interact more in the world if I need more attention, like my friend in the dream does—instead of passively accepting being ignored. The Truth is that I can create my own kind of positive fireworks. My dreams will probably remind me if I forget. Now I have this assertive friend to guide me in my dreams. She’s been in several lately but I didn’t know why. I’ll go back and check them out.

Yesterday we were expecting a small rainstorm and the wind was blowing. This unusual weather for this time of year inspired me to think about things… like what is the Truth? My son had phoned me a little while before about an article he was writing about our criminal justice system and how it doesn’t compensates the victim. In his plan the criminal would work to pay the victim back. That would both help restore what he took and teach him what havoc he had created by his behavior.

It’s the same principle as having your kids work to pay for the window they break and help install a new one, for example. If they fix the damage, they’ll be more careful next time. It will help them be honest about what can happen when they throw rocks or play with balls too close to the house.

Bernie Madoff’s clients should have suspected his Ponzi scheme when he promised them such huge profits, way out of line compared to everyone else’s. Greed can turn our heads away from seeing the Truth of the investments we make.

When the subject of dreams comes up, it surprises me how many people dismiss them as having no meaning. My own experience of writing down and drawing over 1750 dreams tells me this is not true. I have also seen the intelligence behind the dreams presented by other people in hundreds of dream classes and groups I’ve attended, the best way I’ve found to work on dreams. Sometimes dreams give us models to follow or tell us to pay attention to something important. When people dismiss the validity of dreams, I feel they’re ignoring a potentially important part of their lives.

Among other gifts, my nighttime dreams were directly responsible for creating a new career for me 15 years ago.

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What People Do to Feel Superior

Dr. Laura

Dr. Laura

I’m trying to remain stable these days while some nutty things are happening.

Redheads used to be thought of as witches in a certain part of Europe and in the USA. I guess that’s how we humans are – we go to illogical extremes sometimes, like spreading rumors that our president belongs to a religion that he doesn’t belong to. And the newspapers and TV stations often don’t report this as incorrect. They just let uninformed people believe it is true. And if President Obama were a Muslim it shouldn’t turn anyone against him anyway.

Obviously, politicians shouldn’t interfere with Mosques. I can hardly believe that anyone cares about the one in New York City near the Trade Center. Emotionalism over that issue has gone amok. When I was a kid I thought I would grow up to find the principle of responsibility to the truth reigning, but alas, I found a world just as crazy as it was when I was trying to figure out grownups. Did you have the same illusion I had – that there would be a rational world waiting for you when you reached maturity?

Acceptance is also a long way from happening. Bigotry lives. Have you noticed that people who are against gays are often also racists? Like Laura Schlessinger, they are trying to pretend they are better than somebody.

It’s nutty, but it’s also sad, bad, stupid, and frustrating. What can we do about it? We don’t want negative people to make life miserable for us all. I feel like name-calling but that makes things worse. Using Laura as an example, I think I heard she had an unfortunate childhood. That can make a person feel insecure and want to prop oneself up by putting someone else down. She’s probably a lost cause, but we can at least try to encourage better education and parenting classes, etc., to prevent others from turning out like she did.

When I was in Jr. High School and High School a girl who rode my school bus was different from the rest of us. She may have been autistic. I bent to social pressure and teased her a couple of times and now I regret it terribly. I wasn’t conscious of wanting to feel superior, but looking back I can see that unconsciously that’s what I was doing. I couldn’t be the lowest on the totem pole—she was.

When I was first married, decades ago, we visited a rancher, my husband’s distant relative. During the visit, the rancher called me a “Jew girl.” This guy didn’t know me at all. I had never been in a synagogue and didn’t know anything about the Jewish religion, but our wedding announcement had my Jewish last name on it. I recognized I was “supposed to” feel insulted, but since I had never heard those words before, it took a minute for me to realize it. This guy’s been dead ten or fifteen years and left some terrible memories of himself behind. He was the closest thing to a Dr. Laura I’ve known personally.

Praying on people’s fears via TV and radio talk shows is one way to make a lot of money. The broadcasters who try to spread racism and fear may or may not believe what they say. They state illogical things as though they make sense and tell lies as though they are true, which causes anxiety because their audiences know they don’t really hold water. If they would be honest with themselves, they would admit that racism and homophobia are as ridiculous as to believe that redheads are witches or that kittens are elephants.

Does the Beloved MBTI Mix with the Enneagram?

When Renee Baron and I were doing research for “The Enneagram Made Easy,” we asked an esteemed therapist who knew both the MBTITM and the Enneagram if she would tell us her ideas about using the two systems together. She essentially said that they are both so precious that it would be blasphemy to combine them. I didn’t agree with her then, and now, 18 years later, I love both systems even more and continue to use them separately and combined, in my private life and in my writing.

In editing the chapters of “The Career Within You,” Ingrid Stabb and I used the MBTITM as to check the accuracy of the distribution of Enneagram traits, just as Renee and I had done in “The Enneagram Made Easy” and “Are You My Type, Am I Yours?” and I had done in “The Enneagram of Parenting” and “Finding the Birthday Cake.” This was especially important, because the traditional Enneagram literature and Enneagram lore has the nine types skewed toward a preponderance of intuitives or visionary personalities. The reason for this is that those interested in systems, such as the Enneagram and the MBTITM, are mostly intuitive types. Therefore, the subjects most Enneagram authors base their conclusions on (themselves, their students, and their friends) are also mostly intuitives. People of the opposite type, sensate, are rarely found studying systems like the Enneagram and the MBTITM. The MBTITM is also a valuable resource because it has statistics of how many of each type occur in the population:

Distribution of MBTITM Types in the US population

Source of General Population Data: Myers et al, 1998

51% Extraverted, 49% Introverted

73% Sensing (down to earth), 27% intuitive (visionary)

Thinking 40%, Feeling 60%

54% Judging (wanting closure), 46% Perceiving (keeping options open)

Based on the MBTITM statistics, then, Perfectionists, are made up of about half and half introverts and extraverts. Almost three quarters of them are sensing, and 60% feeling. Knowing what we know about Perfectionists, we might change the percentage of feelers (60%) and thinkers (40%)—there may be more thinking type Perfectionists than 40%. The U.S population is 54% judging. Judging is one of their basic traits so that should be raised to much more than 54%. Asserters probably reflect the statistics above, so there might be, for example, 27 intuitive types to 73 sensate types. Romantics will have fewer than 40% thinkers, however, because feeling is a common trait of theirs, and Observers will have more than 40% thinkers, because thinking is something they are known for. Still, there are thinking type Romantics and feeling type Observers (I’m a feeling type Observer myself).

I think the most misunderstood number by Enneagram writers is the Adventurer. They are almost always portrayed as intuitive types but I don’t believe it! My Adventurer son is a sensate type and I believe he’s one of 73% of Adventurers of the population that are sensate. It may be a mistake to portray more than 27% of Adventurers as visionaries.

In conclusion, I wish more people would apply the beloved MBTITM to the Enneagram in order to reflect the population more accurately. It’s inaccurate to present a picture of the kind of people who want to read about the personality system instead of a picture of the real population of the country.

Reminder: please send me a story of an interesting or uplifting dying or near-death experience along with the subject’s Enneagram type for my current book project. See my post of August 10, 2010 on Psychology Today for more details.

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