It’s been too many days since my last post. But that only goes to show how scared I am to venture into these depths on my own, let alone to share with you a glimpse of my darkness. It’s tough as an Enneagram type 2 to dive into these murky waters, because I want to tell myself they do not exist, that the ocean of shame and fear is a mirage and that my drowning in them is a figment of the imagination. But the term scarcity really begins to explain some of what I find down there.
As a means of background, type 2s such as myself are motivated to show others love and compassion through helping in various ways — basically any way we percieve the other person will receive help. We are essentially the “moms” of the world. This is hard for me to embrace as a male, having grown up in a household where masculinity was far from any working definition I had and still have of a mom. Yes, there has been quite the dissonance that I’m still working through. But understanding myself in the context of the Enneagram helped me unearth the deepest fear from which I’ve been running from before I could even form memories: I am mortally fearful of being unlovable and worthless on my own.
I am mortally fearful of being unlovable and worthless on my own
I hate those words. They are my hell. But they are also very much my reality. Damn, those words scare the shit out of me! And they hurt. Oh, do they hurt. In them are wrapped up more than thirty years of shame, neglect, abuse, confusion, frustration, despair, and rage. In them is encapsulated the great battle being waged in and for my soul this very moment. I cannot overstate the heft of these simple words.
At the core of this fear is the thought that love is scarce. There is not enough love in the world, in the universe, for someone such as myself — that is, someone so broken and defective. Therefore, I must do and perform so that I might be able to earn the love I know in my innermost that I need to survive. Put differently, Jesus loves everyone but me — he doesn’t have enough love to go around — and so I have to frantically jump from person to person “serving” them so that I can receive another hit of the affirmation which I mislabel love.
I hope you’ve seen this by now, but the premise that Love — pure love, the love that God is, the love that comes from God — is experiencing scarcity is a false premise. Even the premise itself is false; it is pure, unadulterated Lie. But why, knowing this, is it so hard to not live in light of that understanding?
I am working through this question, but one aspect that rings true is that the home in which I grew up taught me — as I think nearly every home does in one way or another — at a very young age that love was scarce. As a young child I reasoned that being lovable meant suppressing needs which was putting others first and acceptable. I saw that providing for my mom’s happiness bought me more love from her and the love of my dad. Similarly, giving up prized possessions to my sister was also rewarded with adoration and praise.
I’m trying this out on myself, but I think there might be something to the fact that I’ve lived my entire life believing God as only Father, that is being only male. I have a lot of baggage there. I love my dad, but I have had to do a lot of work to repair my relationship with him in the last few years. Dominating my perception of fatherhood and my dad is a body of unhappy and shame-inducing memories and experiences.
It’s important for me to note that I believe that my dad has always tried to give me what he felt was best at the time; I do not view my dad as a malevolent figure. Moreover, I have forgiven this man who bears the image of God — even though he does not love Jesus as I do — for any perceived shortcoming and that forgiveness is indeed genuine.
Finally, I have self-deception to thank. I have willingly told myself this darkness is not that dark, perhaps it doesn’t exist at times, or that the rewards of confronting this lie are not worth the perceived pain I will endure. The former two are something I am understanding that I and my type need to be particularly aware of. While I am more than willing to dive in to help others with their own darkness, I am not so gung-ho with exploring the darkness — though I’m typically aware of its existence — in myself. But I can deny its existence altogether, desiring to see myself as altruistic particularly when I am delving into the unhealthy emotionally and mentally. And the perception of pain in the endeavor is justification enough for me, even if I’ve gotten past the first two objections, to turn back before I’ve begun. What a powerful motivator that fear is.
I don’t know how to end this — for you, for me. Perhaps Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection was truly enough. Perhaps Love on the third day awoke holding forever the keys to hell and death. Maybe Love came to bring Home this son — and you, daughter or son — once and for all. And maybe, just maybe, his love — the Love given before the beginning of time, the Love offered to us moment by moment in Mother Spirit — is not scarce, but enough. Won’t you entertain this with me, friend?