I Am Groot – the Loveable and Angry Nature of Enneagram Nines

Guardians of the Galaxy swooped in from space and became the top grossing movie of 2014. And everyone particularly loved Groot – the tall, anthropomorphic tree, who I see as an Enneagram Nine.

Type Nine is the Peacemaker. Nines are humble and self-effacing. They consider themselves to be nobody special, and act like it. They’re likeable, and usually very well-liked.

Groot-flowerEarly in the movie, a group of ragged orphans on a space station approach the Guardians. Groot grows a flower on his hand, plucks it, and gives it to a little girl. How can you not love him?

The only line he says is “I am Groot,” which carries a variety of meanings. He mostly stays silent. Nines are often content to keep quiet, and go along with whatever’s happening. Groot smiles pleasantly as a galaxy spanning adventure unfurls around him.

Nines can be very easy-going, forgiving and accepting.  In an early fight Groot regrows a limb that gets severed by Gamora – a green skinned assassin woman. He doesn’t hold any grudge against her when they become allies.

Near the movie’s climax Groot grows his body into a protective wooden shell, absorbing the impact of a spaceship crash, saving his friends, seemingly at the cost of his own life. He breaks his usual speech pattern to say “We are Groot.” Nines often make very good team players and leaders because they’re genuinely in it for the good of everyone, not just themselves.

Groot gifNines practically never suffer from the tendency to take themselves too seriously. Groot regrows at the end of the movie. As the credits roll we see a mini-Groot in a flower pot dancing to a Jackson 5 song. How can you not love him?

Another stand-out moment involves Groot fighting off invading soldiers. He grows one arm to a great length, spearing through a number of bodies. He smashes them against the walls, repeatedly, and whams them against other soldiers, roaring mightily all the while. The other Guardians pause to watch the spectacle, marvelling at Groot’s display of magnificent and unexpected ferocity, after which he turns, and offers a shy smile.

This moment brings up an important aspect of Type Nine: buried anger. Nines usually have such a calm and peaceful demeanour, it’s hard to associate them with anger. Nines themselves will probably deny they’re holding any anger inside at all. Who, me? I’m not angry. I’m okay. Everything’s good.

A Nine’s inner script tells her that she’s okay as long as she’s at peace and the people around her are as well. Nines’ denial of anger and negativity in general works as a short term solution. But buried anger doesn’t disappear.

Anyone who knows a Nine well will eventually see that anger blow out, like a volcanic eruption, both surprising and disturbing – and disturbing to the Nine herself most of all. Where did that come from? That’s not me!

Nines benefit from engaging in practices that let them blow off steam. Chopping wood. Drumming. Smashing tennis balls. Swimming. Hiking. Running. Lifting weights. Dancing. Let that instinctual gut energy blast into the sky!

Nines benefit most of all from engaging in personal work which puts them in touch with the swells of emotion they lock up inside – especially their swallowed anger.

And we all benefit from looking into what we’re suppressing – anger, jealousy, vulnerability, shame, fear, sadness – and figuring out ways to come into tune with its source.

Nines might avoid this, because hey, it’s only me. I’m nobody special. Why bother? Each type has an equivalent reason to avoid personal work. I’m too busy. I live in the real world. I’m too damaged. There are more important things that need to be done.

But we are important enough. And contrary to what our inner script tells us, we won’t collapse, and neither will the world around us. We won’t lose the love and companionship of those close to us. We’ll regrow our damaged parts. We’ll sprout flowers. We’ll generate and release fireflies that light up the night and delight everyone. How can you not love thaGroot and the fireflies - 2t?

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