Confessions of a TWO Parenting a SEVEN: He Got Me Chick-fil-A

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I hope that I can get out what’s in my brain right now because it is honestly blowing my mind! I’ve realized that for the past 40 years, I have been believing so many lies that have formed a very jagged belief system. This belief system has been the basis of how I make decisions, establish values and priorities, and form identity and some of it has been dangerously wrong.


Pole vaulting: the only sport where my SEVEN daughter feels like she’s flying!

Here are a couple examples and what my plan is to remedy my belief system. My 15-year old, McKenna, and a SEVEN is doing track this year. She is a pole vaulter and if you have ever watched the sport, you can see why she loves it so much. Due to Texas rains, then Texas snow (that was a first) and then multiple grade issues that were of no fault of her own, she missed the first several meets. The first one she was able to attend was on a Saturday and she needed to be at the school early for the 6 am bus departure. I am not a morning person so my husband was in charge of taking her that morning. He said to wake him up when she was ready. She come rushing in the room at 5:55 am frantic that she had lost track of time. He hurries and gets in the truck but they soon realize that there is no way she will make it and the bus did not wait. He quickly makes the decision to drive her to the meet instead. However, this meet is 1.5 hours away! He’s frustrated and angry at her and she is probably beating herself up. Sam calls me on his way home at 7:30 after dropping her off.

“Where are you?” I ask. He tells me the story of the morning. In a moment I felt sorry for McKenna and proud of Sam that he drove her all the way there. ‘I hoped they made the best of the time and he used it to encourage her after a very hard week!’ I thought. “Well did you at least have good conversation?”

“Nope! I didn’t say a single word to her all the way there!”

“What??” I asked, flabbergasted! He probably made her feel so much worse and now it’s going to get in her head and she isn’t going to jump well! But I tried to remain calm.

“I was so tired and honestly pissed that she missed the bus and I had to take her. She didn’t say a word either.”

My heart hurt! I was filled with dread and anxiety and felt this panic to text McKenna to encourage her while choosing to end the conversation with Sam. I got one word answers from McKenna all day when I would reach out and ask her if she was okay. She returned home 12 hours later and I practically jumped on her to hug her and ask if she was okay.

“Yeah, mom. I am fine,” she says while shrugging me off of her.

“Was it so awkward that dad didn’t talk to you all the way down there? Are you okay?”


Sometimes all a person needs is Chick-fil-A

“Yeah, I’m fine. Dad got me Chick-fil-A!” she stated, genuinely smiling from ear to ear!

“What? I’m sorry that dad made you feel bad about missing the bus and not talking to you!”

“He didn’t want to talk to me, and that was okay with me. I didn’t want to talk to him. But he got me Chick-fil-A and that’s all I wanted. Well that and a ride to the meet.”

I asked her a couple different ways to make sure that what I was hearing was correct. She assured me with genuine smiles that all was well. So I let it go. I went back to my room stunned! She did not experience Sam’s silent the same way I did. It didn’t wound her the same way it would have wounded me. In fact, it didn’t affect her negatively at all! How many times have I projected on other people, especially on my children and husband, the emotions that a TWO would experience in a similar situation? I could have listed half a dozen times right then and there.

Taking it a step farther, I asked myself why I would do that and the answer lies in the weakness of the TWO. PRIDE, and not the good connotation of pride. The kind of pride that says, “I can feel your feelings for you and then I can help you the way I would want to be helped (love me, please)!” Oh dear, that’s not good. I know that each type experiences every situation differently. Well, I know that in my head, but my heart hurt for McKenna. The difference in types was that McKenna didn’t hurt at all. By projecting on her, I almost tried to manipulate Sam to feel bad and McKenna to feel bad, when neither of them felt bad about their behavior.

And guess what? It works the other way around as well. Without going into detail (because I honestly don’t have enough space here for it all) my parents have had a very rocky marriage for over 45 years. Codependency, manipulation, addictions…it has been excruciating to watch. I would see things my dad would do and ways my mom would react to him and then also see similarities between Sam and me in my own marriage. I actually have on many occasions thought, ‘This is my life too. My marriage is going to turn out exactly like this and who wants to do that for 45+ years!’

Then I would react the same way to my husband and he would push back completely differently. In a way, I was punishing him for something he didn’t even do! Why should Sam have to pay or be punished for my mom and dad’s mistakes? I am not my mom (although I have and can see the wonderful qualities I inherited from her) and Sam is NOT my dad! I had similar thoughts in Sam successes too. When Sam succeeds at work, I get fearful that he is going to have a downfall and we will end up losing everything. Thank goodness for a little self-discovery and I can now see my reactions as projected lies on my own marriage!

According to Psychology Today, projection is the process of displacing one’s feelings onto a different person, animal, or object. The term is most commonly used to describe defensive projection—attributing one’s own unacceptable urges to another” in order to defend your own subconscious negative emotions and actions. Karen R. Koenig, M. Ed, LCSW says that “the most prone to projecting are those who don’t know themselves very well, even if they think they do.” When I didn’t or don’t know my subconscious motivations then I am powerless to stop or change them.

So the answer to this semi-complicated problem is simple yet difficult. Sometimes, in McKenna’s case, we need to ask more questions to get the other person’s point of view when we feel the need to project our own behavior and feelings on someone else. And then, if it is beneficial to them, take their perspective as their own belief system and leave it at that. Then go back and do your own soul-searching. Be sure to apologize and make amends as well if your projected has in some way damaged your relationships. And if I am projecting someone else’s feelings and actions onto my own life in order to deflect similar patterns, then I need to ask myself more questions about what I am believing. In my parent’s situation, I recognize that as a TWO, I can be manipulative. In a sense, by projecting onto Sam, I am trying to manipulate his behavior in order to not turn out like my parents (and I really do love and honor my parents for all of their dedication and commitment to stay together through years and years of hardship!)

I’ll sum all of that up in two words-know thyself! As ugly as it may be, get to know your subconscious motivations. Get to know why you get triggered in certain ways. Get to know why your body feels tense and where it feels tense when you react the same way repeatedly. There are answers in the why and the what! Face them and I promise you will have the same eye-opening, mind-blowing realization that I had! And when you know those things you can start to chip away and old defenses, lies and unhealthy belief systems. In some cases, the whole wall can come crashing down! Also, if you made it to the end of the blog and you want to know more about self-discovery using the Enneagram, please email me at and I would love to be on this journey with you. And if you have had a similar experience with projecting, then comment below!

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Britt is a licensed Enneagram coach and is in the process of pursuing her Master’s degree in Counseling. Through the pain of self-discovery, she has found healing from the chains and shame that held her captive for decades!