The Intimate (Sexual) Seven
They Idealize and Reframe
Walt Whitman, an intimate subtype Seven wrote in that same spirit:
"Beginning my studies the first step pleas'd me so much,
The mere fact consciousness, these forms, the power of motion,
The least insect or animal, the senses, eyesight, love,
The first step I say awed me and pleas'd me so much,
I have hardly gone and hardly wish'd to go any farther,
But stop and loiter all the time to sing it in ecstatic songs."
Sevens love beginnings, they seem like first steps into the rest of their life. The lure of the dreams is intoxicating and if you're not careful, you'll fall under their spell. In the beginning they see all the possibilities while brushing the inevitable little problems aside, usually with a quip or a grand gesture. It is the intimate Seven who invented rose-colored glasses, and then invited you to put them on, too. If you've ever bought snake oil, you possibly bought it from a Seven.
What makes them so dangerous is that they don't ask you to do anything they wouldn't invest in themselves. They are not conscious frauds, they are in an optimistic trance and so they expect you to see things the way they see them.
All Sevens prefer new experiences and an intimate Seven prefers to share these new experiences with someone else - not necessarily sexual at all. Any new, unusual, exotic, intense experience - from hang-gliding to adventures in the apothecary to the study of Arabian love poetry - will energize the intimate Seven. And as they energize, they "share." So they want to share with you. All their charm and energy is focused on the partner so the partner must go along.
The self-referential character of the Seven manifests in their attitude that says even though they make constant attractive efforts to get you to go along with them, they are put off by having to go along with someone else's idea of excitement.
Intimate Sevens really get into magical thinking. The New Age Movement is permeated with Seven energy and their love of magical thinking (creating just by thinking) shows up everywhere.
Sevens have a fear of criticism. Sevens are working hard (remember, our Enneagram style is something we do, not who we are) to see only the possibilities and if someone starts picking and pecking (that's how it feels to a Seven), they are not just making observations, they are challenging the Seven's whole world view. Sevens will often drop the charm and flash anger, usually only briefly, when negatives are brought up, especially in the form of criticism.
This seeing only the good in things is called idealization. Because they focus on their partner, they can often idealize their partner. The technique they use to keep the idealization working is reframing. "All right, she burned the dinner, that's because she's so sensitive to the children's needs that she couldn't pay attention to anything else." The instant reframe can keep the idealization alive for longer than most types and can easily lead them to stay in negative relationships much longer than you'd expect from people who are known as escape artists. They don't always physically escape, they escape through the reframe.
The opposite of fascination is boredom. Bored to tears and bored to death are powerful metaphors for the Seven. The intimate Seven runs the risk of becoming bored with the partner. Idealization is one way of not being bored, but romanticizing works, too. "Here we are huddled in this one room flat. When we're old and rich, just think of the stories of rags to riches we'll tell our children."
Their imaginations are not only powerful, but they are focused on the future because in the future all these loose ends will somehow magically come together and we will all be wonderfully happy. Sevens believe in a premature heaven. What is seductive about the intimate Sevens is that because fantasy is more powerful than fact, they can talk their partners into living a future dream while not facing the wretched current conditions.
Intimate Sevens, when they seduce, (especially but not exclusively sexually) they don't tell lies. They are not phony, they are successively sincere. Today she really loves Brad but tomorrow she will really love Brian. Today she desperately wants to go to the symphony, but tomorrow she much prefers light opera. The appetite is for variety. Now that's fine in many areas. No harm in eating from different ethnic traditions every night of the week. But if you are putting moves on solid Susan today and tomorrow you are equally enamored of Brigid, you may have a big problem.
Remember, this is fear-based. The fascination is rooted in a fear of boredom. The fast pace is rooted in a deeper unacknowledged fear that life is dull, slow and insipid. The penalty in every style is that the more we flee, the sooner we run up against what we are running from. So with an initial fascination, if the Seven doesn't persevere, she finds little satisfaction, because of lack of depth. Without depth, life is boring. Imagine being sentenced to be on a desert island with nothing to read except Reader's Digest! (Like a doctor's waiting room.)
Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass; One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest; Genius (The life story of physicist Richard Feynman) by James Gleick
Exercises: Read an issue of New Age Journal and ask the following questions:
- Are any of the offerings in the ad a lot of hard work?
- Do all of them offer extra-ordinary experiences?
- What kind of environment are all the workshops offered in?
- Are there any prerequisites? Or can you start where ever you are?
Do you understand what reframing is? Watch some sitcoms and notice how often the phrase, "look at it this way" occurs. That's because a high percentage of sitcom writers are Sevens and they use reframing as part of the way they write as well as the way they see the world.