Dominant Affect Groups are critical for work that is transformational in nature as it shows the typical emotional chatter that we bring into our lives. Technically speaking, these can be defined on the basis of the “object relations theory”. This theory defines three “affects” that are fundamental in nature which can be thought of as being the building blocks of our personalities. These three dominant affect groups are Rejection, Frustration and Attachment.
Every single person on the planet will be in one of these affect states at any point of type, and this is irrespective of their basic personality type. These three affects are mutually inclusive, that is, to have one is to have all of them. When considering the affects in the light of the Enneagram, each type operates mainly on one of the affects.
Let us look at these three dominant affect groups in detail.
Attachment is basically us trying to grab on to something that is going well for us - be it relationships, a job, a state of feeling or something material like our beds. We want to have a stable relationship with these things so that we can feel comfortable in them.
In this Attachment based dominant affect group, types three, six and nine are represented.
These types have an great affinity to people, states, things and situations that are going good for them. Threes are looking to be valued by other people and brought into a state of acceptance. Because of this, they tend to become attached. Sixes are looking at relationships as a source of security and safety. They will stay even in poisonous relationships just for the point of attachment. Nines are attached to their emotional well-being and with a mental zone that they feel will bring them freedom and escape. They do not want that zone to be changed at all. This is their attachment.
The next affect, Frustration has to do with our emotional response when things are not going our way.
Our body and mind is restless, dissatisfied and needy in this affect. Type ones are frustrated because they feel that they are more honourable and have more integrity than other people in the world. They hold standards that are impossibly high and which cannot be maintained. Type fours are frustrated with their past, which stems from the fact that they feel that they did not receive the love and care that they deserved. Sevens are frustrated because they are looking to experiences and events to satisfy and make them happy.
The last affect, Rejection is comprised of types two, five and eight.
People feel rejection because they think that they are victims and that everyone is out to get them. Because of this feeling, they shut themselves in and repress their emotions to make sure that they don’t get rejected again. For twos, they think they need to be good so that they will not get rejected by other people. For Eights, they try to deliberately go against society and blaze through the rejection without any thought. Fives put all of their efforts into learning something different from society so that they will not be rejected by it.
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