The Enneagram is the opposite of a personality test. In fact, it exposes just how dangerous these systematic tests can be. Instead of limiting your identity to five categories or four letters, the Enneagram shows nine different ways to transcend the personality traits we love and hate.
The Wilds is honestly the best pop culture representation of the Enneagram. I am not sure if this was on purpose, but all nine stranded characters perfectly illustrate how each of the 9 Enneagram types fails under stress and trauma. This first video explains how Leah is a type 4 Romantic or Individualist.
Our next video will explore how Shelby is a Type 3 Achiever.
The Enneagram Best Explained With The Wilds | Script
What’s so great about the lives we left behind
Yep, typical Leah. You love her or you hate her. But don’t let her teenage angst fool you. Her quote captures the entire theme of this show. Life is hard, and we do screwed up stuff to compensate for it. In fact, there are 9 unique screwed-up ways we all compensate for this, and its called the 9 enneagram types.
It just so happens that Amazon Prime Video’s, The Wilds is about 9 young women who are forced to work through their trauma on a deserted island. The series shows how the stress of surviving reveals the failure of these coping mechanisms. And today we are exploring how Leah’s coping mechanisms are a type 4 Romantic.
You are probably thinking, wait I thought my enneagram type was my amazing personality? Or you’re thinking, what the hell is the Enneagram? Many mistakenly interpret the enneagram as a run-of-the-mill personality test that tells you who you are.
It’s the exact opposite. And The Wilds characters will explain how.
Take Leah for example. Many would type her as a 4 or the romantic because she is expressive, dramatic, and temperamental. But the enneagram isn’t about traits.
Each type represents a fundamental strength and motivation that shapes the coping mechanisms for your life. These coping mechanisms are what many call a personality. The enneagram calls this the false self. So when you hear false self, imagine everything you think you are good at.
The fundamental desire and strength of type 4 is to understand the nature of reality and one’s own place in it. In other words: Individuality
The writers reveal Leah’s individuality at the very beginning of her back story. Its no accident that she is the only qoute un qoute normal person in her class. 4s are instinctively skeptical of the crowd and are very hesitant to adopt trends.
The writers reveal her motivation to understand reality in her ability to perceive the deeper meaning of a passage in Jeff’s book. These two fundamental motivations make 4s the most imaginative type. Leah was able to use her imagination to draw connections in Jeff’s book that Ian wasn’t able to see.
Since they are naturally good at it, 4s will use their imagination and creativity to express their individuality and make themselves attractive. But as you will see, it is also a source of toxicity
Because of the 4’s yearning to understand their place in this world, they can easily lose themselves in a relationship. And Leah’s relationship with Jeff is a prime example.
There are two fundamental things that attract Leah’s false self to this relationship; she thinks that Jeff understands her and he affirms her uniqueness.
And Jeff, the scumbag creep that he is, takes advantage of this. but the seeds of this trauma actually begins with her fascination with his book. Leah’s attraction to Jeff began before she even met him. Her imagination crafted a man that understood her in ways only she could know
It’s a classic trope: The office (I don’t know if im in love with her or the idea of her)
Leah was in love with the idea of Jeff. But any idea is really just an extension of the ego. Predators like Jeff instinctively know how to mirror the 4s imagination and play along. This quickly cycles into a black hole of toxicity. Where jeff in this case feeds Leah’s ego by manifesting the imaginary world she crafted. And Leah feeds Jeffs ego through her all-consuming obsession for him.
Leah’s talent for creating worlds is what she leans on most in life, so when her fantasy comes crashing down, she resorts to more world making to cope.
She needs her understanding of reality to be validated. Even if her suspicions are the worst case scenario. And the more her versions of reality remain unproven, the more obsessed she becomes with being proven right.
It is because her unique view of the world is at the core of her identity. The reason she is spiraling is that her identity is in crisis and she is desperately trying to reaffirm it.
This is why the enneagram calls your type the false self, or incomplete self. Leah’s crisis is painfully showing that her natural creative talents are not the basis for her identity. The more attached she is to this identity, the more painful the crisis is.
So if you are like me, you are probably wondering if im not what i’m good at
Who am I?
The enneagram pulls from all the major religions and forms of spirituality to say that your identity is hidden in the love and affirmation of something bigger than yourself. This bigger identity absorbs the good and the bad . Including the parts that you bury in shame.
But the power of the enneagram is its ability to reveal the things we don’t want to see. The past we are trying to avoid and a relationship that failed our expectations. Its all a part of the false self. Leah needs to see that her imagination failed her and forgive herself for it. The take away in all of this is – loving your personality, is not loving your self.
Loving your self is believing that your beauty and strength is a gift. No debt collectors are coming for it. no person can steal it. It is something that the gift giver gives with no conditions, no questions.
All 9 characters in the wilds have a false self they need to forgive. And like Simba, they are all in the wilderness literally and spiritually.