Eights and Relationships
Eights came out of childhood believing it’s not okay to be vulnerable or to trust anybody. Eights don’t know the difference between weakness and vulnerability, and they despise weakness, so they refuse to be vulnerable. It’s hard to be in a close relationship with someone who is not willing to be vulnerable. Initiate sharing moments and be vulnerable with an eight if you are in a close relationship. This will set the table for them to share their feelings with you.
Eights must make vulnerability a spiritual practice. This is the last thing an eight wants to hear, but that strong reaction points to the importance of the practice. This is an especially hard practice for eights, so start small and be gentle with yourself. Almost all classical spiritual practices involve a degree of vulnerability and those are excellent disciplines. An eight might start by asking themselves, What secret or tender emotion would I be willing to share with someone I already trust? Do not confuse tender emotions with passionate emotions. Passion comes naturally for eights, but tenderness makes you vulnerable. Eights might also consider letting go of a part of their life and giving it over to another. Allow someone else to choose where you go to dinner, or let your partner manage the budget for a month. Whatever you choose, it should strike a balance between being challenging but manageable. Whatever practice you choose, observe yourself and watch for signs of anger. Name this feeling, accept it, soften to it, and see if anger converts to sadness. Be sad until the sadness fades away.
Eights are concerned that they will be betrayed, harmed, or controlled in relationships. Because eights are so strong, people try to control them in manipulative ways. Never try to control an eight; it won’t work. They are located in the gut triad, and gut people have sharp instincts. Eights are gut people who intuit manipulation. Their fear of betrayal has given them a finely-tuned radar for manipulation and betrayal.
Give eights all the facts up front. Withholding facts from an eight will be viewed as a betrayal. An eight can handle bad news better than most people if you give them an upfront, honest account of what happened. Never talk about an eight behind their back. They are perhaps the one number that can take and even prefer that you tell them exactly what you think of them; they don’t take things personally. If you wrong an eight, go to them immediately and tell them what happened. If they find out later from someone else, your relationship (if you manage to salvage it at all) will never be the same.
Eights avoid helplessness, weakness, and subordination. This can lead them to be overbearing and argumentative, but you must stand your ground with an eight in any confrontation. Go toe to toe with eights, bring all your passion and energy, and give 100%. Have your own ideas about what’s right and the way things are, and don’t back down because they challenge you. If you are not forthcoming, upfront, and assertive with an eight, then they won’t see you. Speak directly and honestly and bring your own energy when you are in a relationship with an eight.
Eights are not afraid to fight; they like intense conversation where differences are heatedly discussed. They believe that the best defense is a good offense. If you are going to be in a relationship with an Eight you have to be comfortable fighting with them and seeing them fight with others. You have to live with their oppositional energy; it’s not going away. Don’t assume that the aggression is personal and accept and value their aggression. However, Eights, remember that most people want to avoid conflict in their relationships.
Appreciate an Eights tremendous strength and a beautiful sense of justice. There is no need to fear Eights because they are powerful. Richard Rohr says those who have not experienced powerlessness will abuse power. We need to fear people in power who have never experienced powerlessness. Eights understand powerlessness because they fear it more than anything else and that fear gives them their beautiful sense of justice.
Eights do not have a lot of patience in relationships. They struggle to be patient with the questions of Sixes or the moods of Fours or the rules of a One (just to name a few examples). Eights struggle to find the patience to listen to the perspectives of others. Once they have made up their mind they see other arguments as a waste of time, which can lead them to deny the opinions of others. Eights must affirm the dignity of others by showing them the same respect that they have for themselves.
Eights offer great energy, strength; loyalty and honesty in their relationships and these are great gifts. Their call to grow spiritually and relationally involves seeking vulnerability, patience and respect in their own relational lives.