Mad Men Enneagram

This EnneaBit explores the Personality Enneagram in the series finale of Mad Men, entitled "Person To Person."

Don Draper runs the classic Type 3 personality style. The series finale tracks his journey from a dark cavern of shame and sadness into the bright light of magnanimity, the full meeting of humanity's suffering in person-to-person contact. Don emerges in the end radiating the Holy Idea of Hope.

The finale also shows the patterns of the Type 6 in Peggy Olsen and the Type 9 in Stan and Leonard. In three pinnacle scenes, the episode flows through the Enneagram's inner triangle: 3 - 6 - 9.

 

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Type 3 contends with sadness & shame from deceptively doing whatever is necessary to win approval, success and recognition; yet, failing to find fulfillment in the end. When unmasked, the Type 3 pattern disintegrates into the lower levels of Type 9: an apathetic paralysis. When moving towards integration, the Type 3 takes on characteristics of Type 6: genuine self-inquiry and bonding over humanity's shared frailties.

Don Draper displays the Type 3 Enneagram style. The finale opens with Don driving the car that set the land speed record across a barren desert (racing across the emptiness of his life, his inner world). Speeding through life and the desire for acclaim are prominent Three characteristics.

Like the Three in all of us, Don wears many masks. And, like the Type 3 personality pattern, Don identifies with the masks he wears. Indeed, his real name is Richard (Dick) Whitman. He somewhat shamefully assumed the Draper name after he accidentally blew up the real Don Draper while serving in the Korean War. After switching dog tags with the charred Draper, Whitman was sent home with a new name and a Purple Heart.

Like the slick marketing of Madison Avenue -- and the Type 3 style -- the persona 'Don Draper' is a deceptive commodity. The real Dick Whitman had (for this period in history) an ignominious past: born from a prostitute and alcoholic father, suffering childhood emotional abuse and rape, dropping out of high school, and so on. Don Draper, however, is a quick witted, intelligent, handsome success story. All made possible because Draper deceived a drunk ad exec, Roger Sterling (Type 7), into believing he offered Draper a job at his fancy advertising firm. The rest is history.

In the first clip, we see Don moving into the depths of sadness & shame. The clip is set up by two prior "person to person" phone calls reminding him of his many deceptions and shame:  one with his daughter Sally (Type 4) and another with his ex-wife Betty (Type 1).

In the primary clip, Don calls Peggy, who represents a move to Point 6. While she offers some helpful qualities -- particularly by truth-testing his pity party -- Don must spiral all the way down into what lies beneath the masks of "Don Draper"... and "Dick Whitman."

Type 6 contends with anxiety & fear from not trusting inner intuition and doubting the capacity to know and meet the world with confidence. When rattled, the Type 6 pattern disintegrates into the lower levels of Type 3: achieving to prove worth (find safety in pseudo-authority). When moving towards integration, the Type 6 takes on characteristics of Type 9: openness and acceptance of everyone, including oneself, as is.

Peggy Olsen displays the Type 6 Enneagram style. The finale involves Peggy considering an offer by Joan (Type 2) to start a production company. Like many people running the Two pattern, Joan has spotted some unrealized potential in Peggy worth cultivating and encouraging.

Like many running the Six pattern, Peggy especially has difficulty making decisions around work. Sixes like to work in environments where they feel supported by people in order to safely bring out their fullest potential. Work decisions -- indeed all major life decisions -- can spiral a Six into prolonged hesitation, doubt, and second-guessing.

Peggy turns to Stan (Type 9) for advice. Seeking the opinion of a committee of trusted intimates is another Six characteristic. Stan points out Peggy is not really the kind of person, at heart, who is looking for status (like her Type 3 mentor, Don Draper). And she need not simply be excited for the title, the authority.

In the end, Peggy agrees with Stan. Her openness and vulnerable courage -- the Six virtue -- inspires Stan to bring forward his true romantic preference, manifesting the Nine virtue of Right Action. This subplot is the subject of the second clip, further explored in the above video.

 

 

Type 9 contends with sloth & passivity born from wanting to remain comfortably undisturbed in familiar routines and relationships. When highly irritated, the Type 9 pattern disintegrates into the lower levels of Type 6: self-doubt and projection of responsibility ("others" cause conflict, not my non-communication). When moving towards integration, the Type 9 takes on the higher characteristics of Type 3: decisively acting on what calls to one's heart.

Stan Rizzo displays the Type 9 Enneagram style. Stan grows from an immature chauvinist into a progressive stoner. (Narcoticization is the Nine defense mechanism.) He becomes Peggy's friend and confidant, though the two frustrate each other in the throes of unspoken sexual tension.

When Stan finally comes forward with his heart's true desire -- his love for Peggy -- Peggy is baffled and surprised. Sixes genuinely can wonder why intimates do not state intentions directly and clearly more often, as this is the basis for trust. Yet, Nines -- a self-forgetting body type -- often do not know their true preferences well enough to state them in the first place.

Leonard is also a Type 9. Don meets Leonard at the Esalen retreat center. Leonard shares a rich metaphor for the inner life of the Nine in all of us:  feeling like an unchosen, overlooked product on a refrigerator shelf.

Don displays genuine magnanimity when embracing Leonard in his pain. We get the feeling this may be the first time in his entire life that Leonard feels really seen. This third clip rounds out the movement of 3 - 6 - 9.

 

 

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