The Path Between Us by Suzanne Stabile, is a follow up to The Road Back to You (my review here). This book again looks at the Enneagram but this time from the point of view of how we relate to others. Stabile covers all the different types and makes some useful insights when relating to others who are the same or a different type to ourselves.
The Enneagram is based on the concept that we are to grow away from our natural tendencies and become a more balanced person. Yet Stabile focusses more on awareness than growth. I’ve been aware of the Enneagram for a long time, so my interest these days is on how to grow. When I read about my type, I found much of it no longer applied to me, which is encouraging, but made it harder for me to relate.
I understand Stabile to be a Christian, so I was disappointed that she lacked confidence in God’s grace to help people grow. Stabile’s expectation was that people would always struggle with the basic aspects of their type. This hasn’t been true for me, as a type 1, I no longer struggle with my inner critic. At one point Stabile makes this comment, “However, because of grace, I suppose, sometimes personal experience causes Threes to reexamine their values and what they give themselves to” (page 103). I wondered why she included, “I suppose.” As Christians, we believe in the availability of God’s grace to help us grow. I can only imagine she was trying to embrace a larger audience than Christians.
The book is again set out with each chapter being about a particular type so the temptation is to only read about your own type, that of your partner and children and skip over the others. However, I did find it helpful to read the whole book as the insights are useful when you are working or interacting with others.
Overall an interesting read.
PS On page 11 Stabile writes about ‘stance.’ She has listed type 7 as those who move against people and type 1 as those who move towards people. In other material I’ve read about the Enneagram these two types are listed the other way around, that is type 1 move against people and type 7 move towards people. I understand that 7’s can be passive/aggressive but I think it’s too much of a stretch to list them as regularly moving against people. 7’s are always looking for fun so they more naturally move towards people. 1’s seek perfection, sometimes at the expense of others, so they more naturally move against people. Fortunately, this topic didn’t come up again in the book.