Aggressive Stance: Eights

All great models of human persons agree three basic intelligences give us modes of being in the world—thinking, feeling, and doing. All Enneagram types place thinking, feeling, and doing in one of the three categories—preferred/dominant, repressed, and supporting. The Enneagram’s Aggressive Stance is organized around their shared repression of the feeling center. 

Unfortunately, your preferred center recognizes only one third of the human experience, and disregards the other two thirds. As you wear your preferred “lenses,” you neglect, to your own detriment, to see and develop the other two centers. Developing your repressed center is some of the most important and difficult Enneagram work. Therefore, this series of posts will focus on how the Aggressive Stance can nurture their center of feeling intelligence.

            Eights, like all Aggressive Types, you are oriented to your own actions. It is subtle, and you probably think it is the same with all people, but it is not. Dependent Stance numbers (One, Two, and Six) are oriented to the actions of others. Take notice of how you are oriented to your own actions, and look for the presence of feelings in relationships. You must recognize that feelings are not only present, but important. The discarded feelings are attached to real people, who feel rejected when their feelings are ignored. Eights are relentless advocates for weak or defenseless people; but in the painful, ironic and final analysis, those whose feelings have been rejected are now the betrayed, the downtrodden, and the disenfranchised. In other words, they are the very people Eights have vowed to protect. 

Eights' actions are focused on protecting themselves. Given their audacity, it might surprise other numbers to hear that Eights focus on self-protection; but their actions are based on the strategy that the best defense is a good offense. They are strong and willful, and have an expansive view of what is possible in the world. Eights are spontaneous, full of energy, blunt, and firm. They are purposeful, and do what is important to them. With repressed feelings, they remain emotionally guarded; but they have a tender side reserved for the precious few people they trust.

Eights are clear thinkers, impatiently sifting through nonessential data and looking for essential information. When communicating with an Eight, give them the final analysis first. They want all of the information on the table, and they want to deal with questions or problems quickly and directly. 

Eights can be tactless, but they are good tacticians. They are sometimes extravagant, and occasionally excessive. Surprisingly, they generally do not take risks with their money, power, or positions. They trust themselves, and connect with others through thinking and doing.

 Many Eights find that kindness, softness, and generosity emerge when they are with children, animals, or others who do not threaten their power or safety. Consider exploring this secret side of yourself in a safe space, and begin to practice emotional vulnerability with those who might be more threatening, but important to you. Share your personal, vulnerable feelings, but do not confuse your passionate feelings with your vulnerable ones. This practice will help you discover the wonder of emotional connectedness and the joy of reciprocal relationships.