Personality is a kind of shield we pick up and hide behind. It is functional, even protective at times, but altogether unnecessary because God made us in His image from the start. However, we cling to this personality like it’s our key to survival, and nothing has proven us wrong so far. It’s the only tool we’ve ever had, and the shield has scratches and dents to prove its worth.
The Enneagram talks about childhood wounds and how we pick up a particular shield as a reaction to these wounds. However, not all siblings have the same Enneagram type even though they heard the same wounding message or had the same harmful experiences growing up. This is because we are born with our own unique outlook on the world, and we filter every- thing through that outlook.
Trauma and abuse of any kind can definitely impact your choice of shield as well. If you think of all these nine shields as being a different color, perhaps you were born predisposed to be more likely to pick blue than red. However, in a moment of early trauma, you might have heard someone shouting, “Pick black! Black is the only option!” Thus, you chose black instead of blue, which would’ve been your own unique reaction to your life circumstances. It’s hard to say how these things happen exactly, especially when trauma is involved. Are you who you are despite trauma or because of it? Only God knows, but there is healing and growth to be found either way.
We’ve all heard the phrase, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” I’d like to propose that when referencing personality, it might be said, “The longer you use your personality, the harder it is to see its ineffectiveness.” It’s not impossible for an older person to drastically change for the better, but it will be harder for them to put down what has worked for them for so long. That’s why, as we age, it can become harder to even see where our personality ends and our true self begins. Even if the unhealthy parts of our personality have been ineffective, they still seem to be the only things that have worked for us.