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Enneagram Part One: Body Center
Enneagram Part One: Body Center

Type Eight: The Need to Be Against

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Enneagram Part One: Body Center

Type Eight: The Need to Be Against
Wednesday, February 26, 2020
(Ash Wednesday)

Holy Idea: Holy Truth

Virtue: Innocence

Passion: Lust [1]

My friend Chris Heuertz has a type Eight personality. Here’s how he describes Eights in his book, The Sacred Enneagram: Finding Your Unique Path to Spiritual Growth:

Eights are a source of strength and determination, an initiating and intimidating force of vitality in the world. . . .

You’ll observe Eights being rude or offensive, trying to get a reaction out of people to see what they’re made of. This behavior is partly due to their Childhood Wound, an acceleration of maturity as a result of conflict or harsh environments where they felt they needed to be strong in order to survive.

The self-survival instinct of Eights informs their Basic Fear of being destroyed—though I think more accurately it is the fear of not being in control. . . .

Eights are intense. Eights hate bullies but are the biggest bullies. Though Eights use their force of personality to try to convince people of their strongly held opinions, they are not so much emotional as they are impassioned. Passionate and forceful, Eights are extremists in the positions they hold, the vocations they’re called to, and the causes they champion.

The traditional passion of the Eight is lust, not necessarily sexual lust but more like a lust for intensity, which is aimed toward everything. . . . Because Eights fear that they will be destroyed, they overdo everything to make themselves feel alive—even overdoing things that are harmful to themselves. This often leads to tremendous pain for themselves and those they love.

Traditionally, the Fixation of the Eight is vengeance, which is first aimed at themselves. No one can be harder on Eights than themselves, and in turn Eights can be extremely hard on others—demanding more than is fair or realistic and making people pay for the ways Eights feel betrayed by them.

They are intimidating and they know it, but it surprises even them because inside they know they are using their strength to protect the vulnerable child within them who never seemed safe enough to grow up. [2]

Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson describe the emergence of Essence in the Eight:

When Eights give up their own willfulness, they discover the Divine Will. Instead of trying to have power through the assertion of their egos, they align themselves with Divine Power. . . .

Eights also remember the omnipotence and strength that comes from being a part of the Divine reality. The Divine will is not the same as willfulness. As Eights understand this, they end their war with the world and discover that the solidity, power, and independence that they have been seeking are already here. [3]

Richard again: Because of their passion for justice and truth, healthy Eights often take the side of the weak and defenseless. For the sake of justice, Eights are willing to fight the powers that be with every available weapon, and our world is a better place for it.

[1] Christopher L. Heuertz, The Sacred Enneagram: Finding Your Unique Path to Spiritual Growth (Zondervan: 2017), 133. Chris defines these terms as follows (see pages 246-248):

Holy Ideas: The unique state of mental well-being, specific to each of the nine types, in which the mind is centered and connected with the True Self.

Virtues: Like the nine fruits of the Spirit [see Galatians 5:22-23] the Virtues are . . . gifts of a centered heart that is present, nonreactive, and at rest in the True Self.

Passions: The inverse of the Virtues are the Passions . . . [which] emerge as the heart indulges the Basic Fear that it will never return to its essence and therefore seeks out coping mechanisms that ultimately compound each type’s state of emotional imbalance.

Watch for Chris’ podcast, Enneagram Mapmakers: Exploring the Interior Landscapes of the Ego (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2020), coming March 24, 2020!

[2] Heuertz, The Sacred Enneagram, 134-135.

[3] Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson, The Wisdom of the Enneagram: The Complete Guide to Psychological and Spiritual Growth for the Nine Personality Types (Bantam Books: 1999), 313.

Image credit: Last Supper Study (detail), Andrea del Sarto, 1520-1525, Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy.
Inspiration for this week’s banner image: Our Intelligence Centers help us hear and invite us to greater discernment. . . . Discernment is our ability to judge what is good, true, and beautiful. Discernment is also the inner knowledge of how to act on that which we perceive. Our use of discernment relies on the clarity of our centered minds, the objectivity of peace-filled hearts, and the unobstructed impulses or instincts of our bodies. —Chris Heuertz
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