Palmer - The Enneagram in Love & Work

Point Eight: The Boss

Eight in Love
Living with Eights:

  • Eights like partners who are independent and strong, and they enjoy fighting, sex, and adventure as ways of making contact. Because Eights experience deep joy in sexuality, they are willing to match the partner's intensity.
  • Their lust for life and desire for stimulation mean late hours, heavy entertainment, and binges. Too much, too loud, too many. If something's good then they want more of it.
  • Eights' tendency toward excess, all or nothing, all work and no play, or all play and nothing gets done, may burden the partner with the task of keeping the different areas of life in balance.
  • Episodes of strict control followed by disobedience are Eights' demonstrations of power. First they make the rules, then they break them to stimulate interest when boredom sets in.
  • Eights need control and will therefore want to predict your intentions.
  • Their fear of being controlled displaces into the territorial control of schedules, personal objects, and physical space.
  • Because Eights cannot tolerate ambiguity or lack of information, your small oversights may be perceived as a betrayal of trust. They may feel that you've overlooked their options or left them out of a decision.
  • When affected by softer emotions, can deny feelings by withdrawal, by claiming boredom, or by beginning a process of self-blame for past misdeeds.
  • Eights rarely allow themselves to be hurt by others. If you hurt them emotionally, they will want to manipulate circumstances in order to get back. Thoughts of revenge will forestall their feelings of vulnerability.
  • Partners will find Eights to be rallying points during difficulty, towers of strength in dangerous times.

Eight at Work
In the Workplace:

  • Controls the office hierarchy. Sets limits to ensure self-protection. Who's in charge? Is the leadership fair?
  • May see compromise as weakness.
  • Will assume leadership. The focus of attention goes to others who are strong contenders for control of the project, the firm, the loyalty of followers. Respects honest leadership. Likes a worthy opponent.
  • Unwittingly polarizes people into factions. Wants to know where everyone stands. Will provoke to get clear answers.
  • Concerned about justice and protection.
  • Anger is direct. No hidden agenda. Holds no grudges if anger is expressed.
  • "My way or the highway." Sees own opinion as the correct approach.
  • Enforces rules that support personal advantage. Bends the rules that don't.
  • Demands to be fully informed. Changes in details can stimulate concern about being manipulated.

Helen Palmer

The Enneagram in Love & Work:
Understanding Your Intimate & Business Relationships
HarperSanFrancisco, 1995, 417 pages