The Observer: “I like my privacy. I can do without people.”

"Magnificent Desolation" — Buzz Aldrin
by Mimi Stuart Live the Life you Desire

The Observer/Investigator personality type* likes to live in an isolated, private world to avoid the emotional stress that comes with engaging others. Many have learned to detach themselves from emotional feeling in this way to defend themselves from psychic intrusion or neglect.

Observers find escape by intense involvement in their mental world. Their cerebral skills and competence seem to provide them security through understanding and distance. They can be physically present, yet feel a sense of detachment, watching what’s going on from a distance.

But distance also blocks the ability to deeply feel positive emotions. Thus, Observers often have difficulty feeling love and joy. They also have trouble expressing themselves freely and passionately.

Observers who want to enrich their lives and relationships can make an effort to become aware of their own feelings by trying to pay more attention to them through body work such as dance, massage or yoga, artwork, gestalt therapy or meditation with an emphasis on inner attention rather than detachment.

By delaying the impulse to replace feelings with mental analysis, Observers can learn to accept their feelings with less anxiety.

Observers might also learn to recognize when they feel the urge to withhold or withdraw from others. While it is not safe to open oneself up suddenly or dramatically, Observers can enhance their lives by gradually opening up and reaching out to others.

With patience, the change in the quality of life and relationships can be very rewarding.

by Alison Poulsen, PhD

*Reference: “The Enneagram: Understanding Yourself and the Others in Your Life” by Helen Palmer.

Read “Pursuit and Distancing; Intimacy vs. Needing Space.”

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