The Enneagram and “Lord of the Rings,” Part II: Types 6, 5, and 8. By guest blogger, Kelly Gomez.

3-GaladIf Frodo’s personality type in Lord of the Rings (Enneagram 6, the Questioner) interests you, you might also be interested in checking out these quotes from the book series. Often dialogue helps us to understand a character’s motives, as they express their opinion to another character.


In the following passage, Frodo is speaking with Galadriel, the Elven co-ruler of Lothlorien. Originally rings were made and given to the Elves. Galadriel was the keeper of a ring called Nenya, and she used it to keep her kingdom safe. Sauron is the keeper of a ring, too, but he uses it for very evil purposes. The ring Sauron wears ends up getting lost in a battle and comes into the hands of Frodo. Galadriel tells Frodo to look into a magic mirror, where he can see glimpses of the future. Galadriel is aware of what might happen if she uses Frodo’s ring. She believes the ring might corrupt her, as it will corrupt anyone else who wears it. The ring is a source of great power, which is why Sauron wants it so badly.


Frodo: If you ask it of me, I will give you the One Ring.


Galadriel: You offer it to me freely? I do not deny that my heart has greatly desired this.


[Galadriel is now tempted by the ring’s power and starts to describe her possible future.]


Galadriel: In the place of a Dark Lord you would have a Queen! Not dark but beautiful and terrible as the Morn! Treacherous as the Seas! Stronger than the foundations of the Earth! All shall love me and despair!


Galadriel: I have passed the test. I will diminish, and go into the West, and remain Galadriel.


Frodo: I cannot do this alone.


Galadriel: You are a Ring-bearer, Frodo. To bear a Ring of Power is to be alone.


Galadriel: This is Nenya, the Ring of Adament. And I am its keeper. This task was appointed to you, and if you do not find a way, no one will.


Frodo: I know what I must do, it’s just that… I’m afraid to do it.


Galadriel: Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.  


                    The power of the ring is so great that it has become the object of Frodo’s obsession. He would like nothing more to give the ring up for good, where he would not have to fight against the evil temptations it puts on him. Knowing that Galadriel would readily take the ring eases his burden, however, and he offers it up. But Galadriel decides not to take the ring, reminding Frodo that he alone must carry it. Galadriel’s response is typical of a type 5, the Observer, to suggest that a burden must be carried alone.


                  When type 6’s are afraid, they may either respond recklessly or look to those who might be able to eliminate their anxieties for them. Remember, they are team players? Even though 6’s are dutiful with their responsibilities, they often rely on their team to help them out when they feel anxious. Frodo believes if he gives the ring to someone else, he will have escaped the anxiety caused by his responsibility, which is to destroy it in the fires of Mount Doom.






                   It is perfectly normal for anybody to be afraid of the ring’s power at this point. However, different personality types react differently when they are afraid. A Type 8 person would be more likely to charge ahead because to be afraid shows weakness. Being afraid is something a type 8 must conquer, because fear is manipulative, and manipulation is something 8’s despise. Sauron is an example of a type 8 at its worst. When Galadriel first knew Sauron, his name was Annatar. She knew him well, and mistrusted his thoughts and motives, yet never took action against him. Later his name was changed to Sauron, when he became evil with the forces of the One Ring and his personality changed to combative, possessive, and arrogant.


Because she is “Conscious of Sauron’s power, and wish[es] to thwart it, she [does] not openly use the powers of her ring as long as the One Ring [is] in Sauron’s hands. However, during the Third Age, when the One Ring [is] lost, she [puts her ring, Nenya,] to good use protecting the borders of her realm. For the powers of her ring [are] protection, preservation, and concealment from evil.”(


Galadriel is similar to a type 5 because she takes precautionary measures to secure her kingdom in a non-confronting manner. She does not make accusations against Sauron until he uses his ring to control the nations and keepers of their rings. Galadriel simply waits until he loses the one ring (now in Frodo’s possession) and does what she can to keep herself safe. She believes that whatever battle over the one ring is to take place will be between Sauron and Frodo.


The introduction to the movie, which explains the origin of the rings, can be found here:


While listening, notice the pattern in the background music that was created to represent Sauron’s character. Its intensity closely resembles type 8, the Asserter, in the Enneagram.


 Kelly Gomez is a student at the University of California, Berkeley, majoring in English. She was an extern for Elizabeth for two weeks during winter break, 2014.


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See Elizabeth’s appearance on TV talking about “The Enneagram of Death.”




Young People Talk about the Enneagram and Death, Part II

The Reaper and the 3-Achiever from "The Enneagram of Death"

The Reaper and the 3-Achiever from “The Enneagram of Death”

Richard, the 3-Achiever (an older member of the panel of mostly 30-year-olds speaking about death at the International Enneagram Conference in Denver this summer) still mourns the deaths of his parents. “When I was young I was afraid of death. I’m not any longer. My parents modeled how to die for me. My father had heart disease. He said, ‘I’m done’ and slowly slipped away. My mother had a stroke and lived with a caretaker. I called her every day. Every month my brother or I went to spend a week with her. One morning at 7:00 I called and asked if she was okay. I heard something in her voice. I called my brother and said mom is dying today. Again at lunchtime and dinnertime, I told her I loved her. The call came at 1:00 am that she had died. I have no idea how I knew. I had had a troubled relationship with her; on my last visit she asked me if I had forgiven her and I had. It was peaceful.”


NY Times author Mark Epstein says, “Mourning has no timetable. Grief is not the same for everyone. And it does not always go away. [Therapists seem to agree that] the healthiest way to deal with trauma is to lean into it, rather than try to keep it at bay.”


Richard went on, “I never liked the idea of death. When I was faced with a coronary artery bypass I wasn’t frightened at all. I asked my family if they had any questions for me. My daughter asked, “Do you love my brother more than me?” I answered I love them differently and I couldn’t say I love one more than the other. If I died, I’d die. My son asked me if there was anything I wanted. I had heard a French pianist playing a Chopin nocturne and he got that CD for me, which I played over and over in my room. I woke up the next day with 5 stents and haven’t had any trouble since. I had done what I needed to do. I was surprised at how tranquil I was because I go to the 6-Questioner. I had gotten to the point in my life where I was okay with it. I don’t know where we go after we die but I’m not scared.”


The Reaper and the 4-Romantic from "The Enneagram of Death"

The Reaper and the 4-Romantic from “The Enneagram of Death”


Gail, the 4-Romantic, said, “I’ve had a lot of suffering because my brother was diagnosed with cancer a few months ago. The possibility of losing him was so horrible, I just had to believe he’d be okay. I call my mother every day now; you’ve got to appreciate the people you’ve got while they’re still alive. I’m trying to balance the real possibility of my brother’s death with trying to not think about it. If anything happened to him or my nephews I don’t think I could survive. I don’t believe in god, but when this happened I wished I had something spiritual to help me.”


Kacie, the 5-Observer, said, “I worry the most about sudden death. I’m always aware I or my loved ones could die any time. When I see someone I care about, I tell them I love them in case we never see each other again. I feel we really don’t know what happens after we die. We have to live right now.”


Death speaks to an introvert and possibly an Observer. From “The Happy Introvert.”

Death speaks to an introvert and possibly a 5-Observer. From “The Happy Introvert.”


See Part I (types 1, 2, and 3) of this blog Sept. 24.

See Part III (types 6, 7, and 8) on Oct. 22.


Read my blog about healing PSTD in Psychology Today Oct. 1.


Visit “The Enneagram of Parenting” on FaceBook.

Check out my work on  



Charlotte Melleno Guest Blog: “If you cry, I will never tell you how I feel.” Part IV

Charlotte Melleno

Charlotte Melleno

This is the last in a series. The story about an Enneagram 5-Observer type from The Enneagram of Death – Helpful Insights by the 9 Types of People on Grief, Fear, and Dying is infused by the feelings and style of its Enneagram 4-Romantic author.

Thirty-six years ago, Frank somersaulted from a seated position into the middle of the circle after a month of silence in our encounter group. He had previously avoided contact with any of us. He took a small bow and extended his arms to take us all in and said, “The ice has thawed.” By that time, I was convinced I’d never get to know him, although, just like everyone else in the group, I was drawn to him. He was like Brando—magnetic in his nonchalance. His pose was one of passionate disinterest. A one-to-one subtype, while sitting in the outermost part of the room, he’d pull the attention of others towards him as if his silence was a rope.

Years later, he told me that, from his earliest memories, when his father was displeased with him, he would withdraw and freeze him out. They would sit in their living rooms on numerous Air Force bases, the tension thick as quicksand, while his father played a game of power designed to humiliate him. His father continually demonstrated his strength and invulnerability in contrast to Frank’s feelings and dependency. He learned to hide his emotions as soon as he was capable. During our marriage, I discovered that Frank had learned from a master. When he wanted to win or control, he became a refrigerator, capable of sitting out any argument or debate in unfeeling silence. When he wanted to hurt me, he became emotionally cruel, signaling displeasure and occasionally the kind of contempt his father had demonstrated towards him. As my own therapy helped me to grow and stop taking his behavior so personally, I became intimately aware of how it felt to be Frank when he was a child. Psychotherapy threatened him. The idea that he would have to reveal parts of himself he’d kept secret since childhood made him feel too exposed—open to the kind of invasive abuse his father had casually dealt out as if he were interacting with an object rather than a person.

A year before, he’d shared a novel with me, Something to Tell You, about a psychoanalyst who had experienced a similar childhood to his and felt like an outsider. “I wish I’d read this sooner,” he said with some regret. “It’s the first book I’ve ever read about therapy that made me wish I’d done it.” I was sad, too, because I knew what Frank had lost by keeping himself at such a distance from others, including me.


Less than a week before his death, we shared dinner in his apartment. I had brought a video, Sweet and Lowdown, and we stretched out on his bed, facing the large screen TV, which loomed over us on the opposite wall. We smoked a joint, laughed and ate, took our pain pills, and occasionally stopped the movie to talk about our lives. We agreed that, although our marriage and divorce had been hard, we had no regrets because, somehow, our relationship seemed meant to be. Our son, Daniel, had been the joy of Frank’s life from the moment of his birth, which he had experienced as a golden glow. I have never known a father, or any parent for that matter, to love a child as much as Frank loved Daniel—his face open and beaming, laughing and attuned, his posture relaxed and easy, where, with most people, he carried a kind of alert tension. That night, I asked how he’d been able to love our Daniel so openly when he was so guarded with others. He responded without hesitation, “Daniel was a chance for a completely new beginning—a blank slate, someone without judgment or preconditions. Loving him was the easiest thing I’ve ever done.”

When we parted that night, I had no idea it would be our last time together, although I looked back just before he closed the door, to hold him in my eyes and my memory. The following Friday, he completed two weeks of radiation to reduce the pain. We had a tentative date to get together and had spoken in the afternoon, but we were both too exhausted and promised to reschedule soon. That night, he spiked a fever and became delirious. At Kaiser Hospital, he told Don that his cousin, Brenda, who died twenty-five years ago, was in the next room and that they were coming to take him. Those were his last words. He died the following evening, after receiving extreme unction (last rites) and surrounded by many people who loved him, five weeks after his initial phone call on that stormy afternoon. He never had enough time to meditate on his dying—to light the candles and incense, or throw the I-Ching, as he had wanted to do—but he was changed and finally at peace.

Charlotte Melleno is a Marriage and Family Therapist living in San Francisco CA.

Visit Elizabeth’s updated web site to check out her books, CD, articles on Beethoven and introverts, her cartoons  and videos, and her Famous Types page.

Next week, January 1, see Elizabeth’s Psychology Today blog for an article on recovering from the loss of a child.  Blogs there now include Cell Phones and the Rising Tide of Noise and The Enneagram as a Standard for the DSM.

Guest blog by Charlotte Melleno: “If you cry, I will never tell you how I feel.” Part III



This story about an Enneagram 5-Observer type from The Enneagram of Death – Helpful Insights by the 9 Types of People on Grief, Fear, and Dying  is infused by the feelings and style if its Enneagram 4-Romantic author.

When Frank was first diagnosed, I asked if Don could help him. He said, “Don has to take care of his mother, and besides, we don’t love each other.” I said, “That’s baloney. He loves you and I think your willingness to spend ten years of Saturday nights with anyone is, in some way, a love connection for you.” He never really admitted that, but the week before his death he told me how grateful he felt to Don for all his support and how surprised he was at Don’s generosity. Frank was so fearful of being encroached on by anyone and was so suspicious of people’s love for him, he barely gave it credence. He found rejection and struggle a headier and more exciting, albeit painful, experience.

He talked with us about his funeral arrangements and intended to look into Hospice and make a will. All of this was normal Frank, tried and true.

What surprised me was the person who emerged after he was given the news—an open and unguarded man—one I had rarely seen since we first met him thirty-six years prior in an encounter group at San Francisco State. His father, a high-ranking officer, who didn’t meet Frank until his second birthday, had denigrated his early, loving relationship to his mother, and called him a sissy when Frank showed more interest in books and music than sports. Since his father put down self-expression and his mother took any expression of negative feelings personally, he had developed a poker face by the time he was six. Then, the fledgling human potential movement opened Frank briefly to a beautiful vulnerability that I fell in love with. Now, these two Franks braided together in an unusual manner. Once unwilling to express his needs for fear of indicating weakness, he now drew up a list of simple house rules for visitors, beginning with a brief explanation of his illness. He asked for help in an assertive and direct manner:

Please put food back in the refrigerator exactly where you found it.

Please hang up any clothes, books, or items you may have moved during your visit.

Please take down the trash when you leave.


At the time, I’d been ill for almost four years and many household chores had become difficult, but I never thought to hand out a list to my friends asking them to be mindful in order to ease my physical suffering. He was teaching me something about being entitled to ask for help.

More surprising was how the news shook the starch out of him and loosened his tongue. He began to talk with other people in an easy, eager, and comfortable manner. Our mutual friends had never seen him so easy-going nor heard him disclose his feelings in such a vulnerable manner, accompanied by dark humor.

He had never cared much about money nor saved for retirement and only began to make more than a living wage in the last ten years of his life. His main ride at sixty-six was still a motorcycle. He didn’t own property and had feared that once he grew old he’d have to depend on the kindness of friends or move into a senior residence like the one he had managed as a facilities director in his early forties. It would take more than his social security to feed his love of travel, learning, and adventure. He had retired as a young man—having adventures, visiting exotic countries—and only buckled down when our son was born shortly before his fortieth birthday. “There’s a certain relief in going out before I have to worry about how I’ll support my old age.”

I realized I had passed his test when I didn’t cry after he told me his diagnosis. Over the next month, he called me more often than he had in the previous six. Sometimes, just to give me the news of the day; the family member he had told, how different it felt to connect with other people, the internal freedom he had never known. The watchfulness deep in the back of his skull was gone.

“I spoke to Mary Lou yesterday,” he said, referring to his closest Aunt, who had, herself, been living and dying with lung cancer over the past year. “After she got sick, I began to call less and less. I didn’t know what to say. Poor Mary Lou.” They had been so close when he was small. She was only twelve years older, his father’s little sister. “Now, we’re like Chatty Kathy,” a talking doll from the nineteen-fifties, “We don’t want to stop.”

I heard the pleasure in his voice and realized he was also talking about us. “No one else knows what to do with me,” he said. “They’re all giving me advice. I’m just delighted with you.” Shortly after, I received a text, “…a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck.” These acts of tender openness meant the world to me. It was as if his dying had opened a vault, a safety deposit box.


Charlotte Melleno is a Marriage and Family Therapist living in San Francisco CA.

Read Part IV of on this blog, the last installment, on December 25.

Visit Elizabeth’s updated web site to check out her books, CD, articles on Beethoven and introverts, cartoons  and videos, and Famous Types page.

Read What I Learned about Prisons at My School Reunion and “The Enneagram as a Standard for the DSM” in Elizabeth’s recent Psychology Today blogs.

Save the date for  FINDING OUR WAY HOME February 9, 2013 in Chicago with Elizabeth and Ruthie Landis. A day long workshop. Please see

On May 25, Memorial Day weekend, Saturday at 7:30, Elizabeth will speak in the South Bay Area in California. Save that date too.

Guest blog by Charlotte Melleno: “If You Cry, I Will Never Tell You How I Feel.” Part II

Death Quote 21

This story about an Enneagram 5-Observer type from The Enneagram of Death – Helpful Insights by the 9 Types of People on Grief, Fear, and Dying, is infused by the feelings and style if its Enneagram 4-Romantic author.

I watched him approach the car door, his grimace expressing the awful effort of each step. He looked like both a baby and a very old man, his face almost skeletal, his skull completely bald. This man once reveled in his muscles, his forearms strong and furred with blond hair, the blue veins roping them like a package. More than once he’d said, I am short but I carry myself like a big man. Frank was the most alive and vital man I’d ever known. Now he sat in the passenger seat and lifted his right leg into the car with both hands. Then he leaned out and pulled the door closed.

A week later, carrying a shopping bag with the ingredients for dinner in one hand and holding the banister in the other, I climbed the two steep flights to Frank’s apartment with difficulty. When he answered the door, Frank ‘s hug was more affectionate than usual—a two-armed embrace rather than the one-armed casual lean-in. He hobbled through his narrow hall, its walls covered with religious art and artifacts—a crown of thorns, paintings of Mary holding the infant Jesus and the Sacred Heart of Christ. After he reached his kitchen chair, I began taking dinner out of the bag—comfort food from New York, where I grew up—fixin’s for a Reuben sandwich and knishes imported from Coney Island -and looked around for cooking utensils. He began to stand, to try and help, but I recognized the grimace around his mouth and forehead. He was in bad pain. My usual dose of morphine was doing its job of blunting my own and I could manage without him.

“Sit, just sit.  It’s okay.  You don’t have to do anything,” I said, looking into his eyes.

I felt as though he was looking at a stranger. He sank back in his chair. “I was thinking today,” he began slowly, “I bite my tongue for every evil thought I ever had about your illness.”

I felt stunned and allowed myself a moment to take it in. “I have lived to hear those words,” I laughed. He did, too.

Death Quote 20

Bending hurts my trunk and makes the nerves in my ribs and abs fire like an AK47 ripping through the center of my body. I remembered how, two months ago at Christmas, he had rolled his eyes when I asked him to fetch a platter for me from a low shelf. I had flared, “I pray to God you never have to know the strength it takes to live with a chronic illness.” Now, I understood that my prayer was half a curse, which both failed and succeeded. I don’t remember what he said next, but it was strange enough that I asked him to stop and repeat it.

“Oh, didn’t I tell you?  These drugs make me forget. I have lung cancer,” he said, with a casualness that telegraphed exactly the kind of response he wanted. My eyes filled as a thousand cars collided in a tiny part of my brain, but his message was as clear as if he’d spoken, “Don’t cry. If you cry, I will never tell you how I feel.”

A few days later, his doctor diagnosed his cancer at stage 4 and told him it had metastasized to the bone and was inoperable. He gave him three to six months to live. An Air-force brat, and later, Captain in Viet Nam, Frank’s first tendency in any crisis was to make lists centered on details and delegation. He focused on issues like whether he’d stay in his apartment and, if so, how, during daily radiation treatments, he’d manage the stairs. An experienced manager, he immediately created several support networks to deal with issues of daily living, i.e., grocery shopping, cooking and housekeeping. Beside myself, two people were his closest support system; our son, Daniel, and Frank’s lover, Don.

Charlotte Melleno is a Marriage and Family Therapist living in San Francisco CA.

Visit Elizabeth’s updated web site to check out her books, CD, articles on Beethoven and introverts, her cartoons  and videos, and her Famous Types page. See the new review of THE ENNEAGRAM OF DEATH in the recent Enneagram Monthy by Courtney Behm!

Read about Petreus’ and Broadwells’ types, Problems with our prisons, Genes and Achiever types, the Helper type and more in Elizabeth’s recent blogs on Psychology Today.

“If You Cry, I Will Never Tell You How I Feel.” Guest blog by Charlotte Melleno, Part I

Frank and House have something in common.

This story about an Enneagram 5-Observer type from The Enneagram of Death – Helpful Insights by the 9 Types of People on Grief, Fear, and Dying,  is infused by the feelings and style if its Enneagram 4-Romantic author.


Three years ago, when I got a rare lung disease, we bought a glass-faced niche large enough to hold two urns in the San Francisco Columbarium, a copper-domed masterpiece of neo-classical architecture. We wrangled over whose ashes would go on the top and whose would go on the bottom—a classic power struggle in the history of our thirty-seven year old relationship, including a thirteen-year marriage in the middle. Finally, another niche became available in a sunlit room where our urns could sit side by side, so, to Frank’s displeasure, we traded up. He let me know if only I knew my place and would stay on the bottom, everything would be fine. I never thought he’d die first. A portion of the life insurance policy he left our son paid for the balance of the niche and I’m sure he would have been relieved that he, at least, didn’t have to spend money on something he found so unreasonable.

San Francisco Columbarium

One year ago Saturday, while a January storm thundered outside my window, I reclined in bed, reading a New Yorker about Haiti’s earthquake and a young woman who became an uncommon leader. After a lifetime of loss and failure, she had found the courage to fight and bring relief to her community. She foraged bags of rice and beans, drums of clean water, medical supplies, and bedding and trucked them back to the rock-strewn ravine where a few hundred residents of her town lived under tin roofs, cooking and sleeping among the devastation and the dead. Suddenly, I felt so grateful for my life and prayed, Thank you God for keeping me safe, for keeping the storm outside, and easing the pain when I lie down, for helping me to see that I am surrounded by love and friendship.

Slowing my breathing, I relaxed and, still holding the magazine in my hand, I fell asleep to the sound of the rain and a feeling of peace in my breast. The phone woke me an hour later.

“Hi, little lady,” Frank said.

“Frank, how are you?” I asked, glad to hear from him.

“Not so good.”

I caught my breath.  Frank doesn’t say things like this.

“Tell me.”

“You know the doctor took a CT scan on Tuesday? He called yesterday to tell me it’s not degenerative arthritis, as he thought. It’s in my pelvis and my ribs. He’s saying things like cancer and lymphoma, maybe a bad infection. I can’t remember everything he said. I wrote it down somewhere. I have to have a pelvic biopsy next Tuesday.”

Time stretched and tumbled.  I felt a dark sadness in my throat and behind my eyes. I told him so, but mostly, we talked facts and logistics, which we do well together. During our marriage, Frank told me that my strong feelings overwhelmed him so he couldn’t find his own. While a quiet standoff prolonged the marriage, our connection shriveled because I kept myself apart from him. He is the strong, silent type whose mantra goes, “I can handle it.” Over the years, I had learned to hold my feelings close and keep them to myself or suffer. And ultimately I found closeness elsewhere.

I picked Frank up from his apartment to take him to a pelvic biopsy at Kaiser on my way to my own therapy appointment. I called a block from his house to give him a heads up. He said it might take a while to get downstairs. When he walked through the front door, leaning on his cane (which strengthened his identification with the irascible Dr. House, his TV hero), my throat closed.

Read Part II November 27.

Charlotte Melleno is a Marriage and Family Therapist living in San Francisco CA.

Visit Elizabeth’s updated web site to check out her books, CD, articles on Beethoven and introverts, her cartoons  and videos, and her Famous Types page.

Read What I Learned about Prisons at My School Reunion in Elizabeth’s recent Psychology Today blog.