As soon as he tore the Christmas tree apart in a heated rage, remorse, that cold empty feeling he always tried hard too suppress, ran through his blood. Even before. Perhaps just as he lifted the tree he noticed it emerging. After all the intensity of that rage was short lived. But could he ever learn to hold it, rather than express it fiercely?
There was always a trigger, a minor disagreement, a comment or a feedback, sometimes even a gentle request that would initiate the eruption. It would tug at his heart, stripping him off the feeling of power and strength that he forcefully created for himself since childhood. He made sure he carried this intensity to every relationship, every connection. I am willful and confidant. And I don’t mind being confrontational if my aliveness is threatened.
It was exhausting. Constantly, at every breath portraying an image: I am Powerful!
The truth was that he was so deeply afraid of feeling empty and deprived of life that he couldn’t even imagine living without intensity. Losing power to him translated into being weak, being vulnerable, being dependent. Something he could not accept for himself. He had proved this to his adopted parents when he joined the marine at the age of seventeen. He made it clear at each construction job site. He left no room for his late wife to doubt it. And now, it was her. This woman who challenged him with her peaceful joy. Forcing his selfimage onto her was not easy. She could see beyond his actions. Right into his mind, heart and his body.
The wake up call
He had already pushed his luck far. Something in his heart told him that she would not take it any more. His need for intensity, his constant push was getting out of hand. He was facing the truth that she was not the only one who couldn’t take it anymore. His own kids had given up on him. As soon as they were legally allowed to make a decision they abandoned him. This constant struggle to push was tearing him apart from inside. Was this train ever coming to a halt? Wasn’t it time? Hadn’t he lost enough to his pseudo power?
No one said it would come easy. But it was possible. He could see the light at the end of the tunnel. It didn't have to be this way. It was time to look inside and ask:
Can I let down my guard a little bit?
Can I allow my heart to be touched?
What if I can find true confidence and strength?
This is a story of a rather unhealthy type Eight I had the privilege of knowing. Watching him struggle was truly painful. Noticing the wake up call was life changing.
Type Eight of the Enneagram, the Challenger, brings courage and confidence to our lives. At a healthy level, these individuals have learned to stand up for themselves, their right sand their beliefs and have a “ can do” attitude in life.
The question is, how can I develop myself to have access to the Eight in me? How can I develop the healthy qualities of Eight in my life and take advantage of the magnanimous heart of an Eight? What would be possible if I am more present to the strong energy of the Eight?
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A joyful Curious Type 7, who is constantly working on finding " contentment" in the moment