Friday, August 30, 2013

Enneagram Type Eight

A fierce, stubborn determination to be in control (of others and of situations), never to be controlled by them, is what comes to my mind first when I think of Type Eight.  To them, weakness and vulnerability are not cool and are to be avoided at all costs.  They want to be tough, strong, gritty, undefeatable.  The problem, of course, is that this determination -- while it undoubtedly helps them plow through any tasks they choose to take on -- unfortunately compromises their lovableness in the eyes of many, if not most, other people.  Although Eights are soft on the inside and secretly want to be loved, understood, and accepted just as much as the rest of us, the heavy armor they have donned causes them to have a bit more difficulty understanding and relating to others, which naturally in turn makes it harder for others to understand and relate to them.  Even when the Eight tries hard to be there for others and serve them in every possible way, he or she may be baffled by the others' lack of love and appreciation for these contributions.  Eventually the Eight may develop a sort of knee-jerk expectation of rejection or lack of love from others, which is why the Eight is considered a member of the "rejection triad" (2, 5 and 8).  A fighting spirit pervades those of this personality type, a conviction that the world and the people in it are often against the Eight, seeing him or her as either simply unlovable, or misguided and/or dangerous in worse-case scenarios.  A sort of rebel/outcast/outlaw spirit is present -- a rugged individualism, a sense of outraged innocence, and/or the idea that the Eight is on the "mistreated underdog" side of a conflict, the side of right and justice that must prevail at all costs.  The Eight is willing to splinter off from others whenever necessary to protect his or her own freedom, and to defend that freedom to the death in case it is challenged.  Often spoiling for a fight (finding exhilaration in it!), Eights definitely don't tend to be lukewarm fence-sitters.  As a gut-center type (8, 9, 1), Eights feel no need to overthink their decisions; for them, decision-making is a quick, instinctive process.  As soon as all necessary information has been assembled, the answers are just there for them -- which makes them great leaders and strategists, and they generally find positions like this exhilarating and fulfilling, too.  Although it would depend on their instinctual stacking (some more loner-ish Eights could say truly that they don't care what others do as long as it doesn't affect them), I'd at least expect any Eights who aren't social-instinct-last to be driven to pick a side in any conflict they come across, then champion their chosen side relentlessly and gleefully against any opponent they can find.  Eights tend to be either loved or hated by those who know them; it's difficult to have no opinion about them.  They're such intense people that when they do play a social role, it's unlikely to be an insignificant one.  Even if they're homebodies, they'll feel the need to be "king (or queen) of their own castle."  Depending on their mental/emotional health and/or spiritual development, they can be anything from dangerous villains to great heroes, but seldom, if ever, will they be a "nobody." 

Eights are often described as having an "earthy" or "materialistic" quality to them; they're fully in touch with their bodies and the desires thereof, and their so-called "passion" or "deadly sin" is that of lust. 

One way that Eights sometimes repel people (although certainly not all people) is by being crude in their speech and behavior.  They often seem to enjoy shocking others.  As a gut-center type their deepest issues are with rage, and as a reactive type (4, 6, 8), that rage is generally never held inside but always expressed freely and explosively.  Add that trait to their reputation for crudeness and you have a group of people pretty infamous for cursing.  ;)  Although their blow-ups can be traumatic for those who live with them, there are two positive sides of their never holding feelings in.  One is that there's a certain inherent honesty in the reactive types, so you're more likely to truly know where they stand (though if they've got a Three fix, that's certainly not a guarantee).  And two is greater psychological health for them.  If they have an issue with something, they'll deal with it; if they're not bringing it up any more that's because it's genuinely been aired out, solved, and healed.  There's no such thing as emotional repression poisoning an Eight slowly from the inside out.  Their being reactive/explosive allows issues to blow over more quickly and truly be gone, leaving the Eight free to feel cheerful and unburdened the majority of the time.  (Not that they never hold ancient grudges, because they can in fact be really bad about that, but they're not the only ones, and in general they travel with less emotional baggage than many other people).  This frees their energy to be engaged and expressed in multiple ways; their abundant energy is a part of their classification as one of the aggressive/assertive types (3, 7, 8). 

When especially upset, however, Eights will "go to Five" and feel the need to retreat into solitude in order to process and deal with whatever just happened.  They will snap at anyone who tries to disturb or help them during this time.  They just need to be left alone until they are ready to come out and initiate conversation on their own. 

When at their best and happiest, on the other hand, Eights "go to Two" and become extremely loving and caring.  Healthy and happy Eights endear themselves to those they cherish due to offering them an abundance of enthusiastic love and support. 

When Eights have learned all the lessons life has to teach them, they realize that actually the world is not against them, and they don't have to be in control.  They become happy to simply, with childlike joy, play their own part in life and let others play theirs; they're able to just enjoy the ride instead of feeling like they have to steer.  They become very refreshing, exciting, enlivening people to be around -- leaders, heroes, and sometimes even saints filled with zest for life, who can inspire others, achieve vast amounts of good, and be viewed with boundless love and respect by those whose lives they've touched.

The wing types:

Eight with a 7-wing is more talkative, dynamic, and actively fun-loving/thrill-seeking.  This type likes excitement and stimulation (often through things like physical activity, competitive sports, and debate/arguments) and its energy is high, bold, loud, and impossible to ignore.  Eight with a 9-wing is quiet, firm, stoic, and immovable.  This type is inclined to use his or her talents as "the boss" to maintain peace and order.  Of course, as always, a large or small amount of each wing can be present within the same individual, so I don't mean to imply that a 9-winger could never be wild or fun-loving.  ;)