Expressing desires

Eilis Dunne
4 min readNov 22, 2020


Photo by Christian Lue on Unsplash

I recently took the Enneagram test after much fan fare from my Aunt and Boss’ boss.

The results came back that I’m an Ennea 4 with an SO Instinct. What does that mean? Well a number 4 is an Intense Creative and an SO is a Social instinct.

My Enneagram facilitator who worked with me to understand the results said it like this: There are 3 types of people who go to a party. The first have the Preservation Instinct which means that they will leave first because they may have a big presentation the next day, need to get some sleep or take care of other matters at home. The Social Instinct type will be the second group to leave — they know who the most important people at the party are that they need to say hi to before they leave. The One-to-One Instinct is the last to leave, they focus on creating close connections with individuals and are the ones to hole up in a corner with another person and realize that it’s 2am and everyone else has already left the party.

As an Intense Creative with an SO Instinct I feel deeply, am very creative, and capable yet can be very hard on myself and frequently experience shame and self doubt. That’s pretty darn accurate.

A development exercise the results recommended for me is to work on my confidence in sharing my wants and desires. Embrace my wants as a legitimate part of who I am rather than feeling guilty or shameful about them.

Recently, my boyfriend has been asking me in a lovingly and jokingly, but serious way, to figure out my life and what I want from our relationship. He’s already said he’s down for just about anything I want, I just need to sort it out and tell him.

This sounds like a classic Intense Creative issue of not expressing her wants.

The enneagram for me has been deeply validating. Throughout my 30 years on this planet, I’ve wondered why I feel so deeply. It feels wrong and like I shouldn’t be this way. While I’ve known and am friends with others who also feel deeply, I still haven’t feel like it was legitimate way to be in life. The Enneagram is based on the premise that people have one of nine primary motivations in life. An Intense Creative is one of those nine, meaning that this is a totally legitimate way to be in the world. Sometimes I need other people or theories to validate me so I can validate myself.

In doing this Development Exercise of expressing my wants, here’s what I wrote about my relationship desires:

I need the freedom to go and explore. If intense emotions arise for another person, I need the freedom to go and explore them even. Everything from my history suggests that the intensity of my emotions is fleeting. It may be a day, a week, a few months or a year, but it’s fleeting.

To those I feel this intensity with, I can say that I am unavailable to be their rock. I am unavailable to partner with them in life. But I am available to experience the deepness of connection and love and excitement that we both feel now. The heartache and longing and lust. The intensity for however long it lives.

I have intense emotions and I need the freedom to explore them. But I want my rock too. I want my boyfriend and I want to come back to him. I want he and I to be the ones to have each others’ backs, have children together, be a team. I want to foster and be a steward of his goals and him to be of mine.

From being with him, I’m beginning to learn that real love, the kind of love he gives me is solid. He said he wanted to be my rock, and he is. That’s a kind of love I’ve never known before. It’s kind. It’s giving. It’s caring. It’s nurturing. It’s healing.

It’s taking me a bit of time to unlearn and let go the types of love I’ve known from the past and learn his kind of love. Get rid of some old, to let his love in. It’s a process. It takes time.

He’s quite patient with me. There’s this nagging feeling I have that I shouldn’t let him go. He’s too wonderful to discard.

Maybe it’s ok to feel intensely about another person if I am able to communicate clear boundaries to everyone involved.

I suppose I’ve always felt shamed — shamed that in a long-term committed relationship, even an open one, I shouldn’t feel so intensely about another person. After the Enneagram, I don’t think I can deny that this is a part of me. I can’t pretend it isn’t there. I can’t slide it under the rug hoping it will never come out again.

I suppose that I’ve been scared of commitment because I worried that if I committed myself to another, I wouldn’t allow myself to feel these intense emotions for other people. I didn’t want to deny myself part of the beauty I see in the world. In a relationship with G though, I might be able to have it all.



Eilis Dunne

An anxious girl’s mindful way through love, sex, and life.