Feel Better

Facing Your Type 9 Shadow

The Type 9 shadow can perhaps be formulated through the idea of passive-aggression.

Passive-aggressive behaviour is a pattern of indirectly expressing negative feelings instead of openly addressing them. This can sometimes emerge in the following ways:

  • Resentment and opposition to the demands of others, especially the demands of people in positions of authority, or who are perceived as having some “power” over us (including loved ones)
  • Resistance to cooperation, procrastination and intentional mistakes in response to others’ demands or needs.
  • Showing up in communication (either virtual or face-to-face), in a sullen or hostile way, but without actually voicing why you are feeling this way openly and directly.
  • Frequent complaints about feeling under-appreciated or cheated, or let-down by others.

Part of your Type 9 growth journey might involve acknowledging, accepting, and integrating this tendency of your personality type to be passive-aggressive. By making their anger more conscious, 9s can learn that true connection happens only when we take the risk to know and express ourselves even if that means learning to tolerate the fear of separation and rupture.

We may even start to realize that the Type 9 focus on adapting to and supporting others (which we’ve always thought was a good thing) also comes with certain drawbacks. When we lack self-awareness of how we are functioning within our personality type, we can become indecisive, overly passive, and passive-aggressive, even while we consciously believe that we are being nice, friendly, and inoffensive.

When they fail to see our blind spots in this way, this can often lead a Type 9 personality to becoming stubborn and disengaged. When a Type 9 doesn’t like what’s happening, they tend to avoid expressing their dissatisfaction directly. But this leads them to engage in passive-aggressive behaviour, as our emotions will surface in some way, usually as  unacknowledged anger leaking out in passive forms. For instance, we may disappear from a situation, or another person’s life, when we are most needed and not do what we said or intimated that we were willing to do in order to show up in the world in a way that is true to our values.


If you identify as a Type 9, here are some actions we might want to talk about in session that could help you to bring to the surface your frustrations and disappointments, becoming more aware of, and starting to counteract the key unconscious patterns, blind spots, and pain points of your personality type:

  • Bring your attention to what feels uncomfortable. Do things that bring discomfort, knowing that this is your path of growth. Notice how you tend to resist leaving your comfort zone. Start to step outside it in small ways, then in larger ways.
  • Allow yourself to get more in touch with anger. Be more aware of whatever makes you upset and how you put your anger to sleep. Start noticing repressed or passive forms of anger like irritation, frustration, and stubbornness. Welcome anger as a way to reconnect to what is important to you. Take the risk to communicate anger more directly.
  • Notice all the ways you are passive, passively resistant, and passive- aggressive (including being stubborn). Ask for feedback from people you trust about any ways they experience these tendencies in you.
  • Recall an incident in which you felt dissatisfied, upset, or unhappy. Take notes about how you felt; consider what you said and what you didn’t say but might have said.
  • Use your capacity to sense your body to increase your energy level. Move more—walk, do yoga, or engage in any form of exercise. Let your increased body awareness help you become more active and invigorated.
  • Think about and sense all the energy that you have given away and reclaim it by inhaling, focusing inside yourself, and feeling your strength.
  • Take action to establish boundaries with others. Say “no” more. Stop saying “yes” when you mean “no.” Be less nice, friendly, and smiley.

REFLECTION: In what way might you start doing some of the following, in small but significant ways in your life? Which people or situations in your life might you want to start practising with when it comes to acknowledging and being more authentic with regard to your Type 9 shadow?