“You have to know what you stand for, not just what you stand against.” ― Laurie Halse Anderson, Speak
Today we have a Type Eight in the house! Asia Perrin has graciously allowed me to interview her and ask all kinds of questions about what it’s like to be a Body Triad Eight. Her answers literally put me in the mind, body, and emotions of an Eight and are so helpful! I’m loving these interviews and have a bunch more lined up. It’s great to hear from real people about how the Enneagram is impacting their lives. Thank you, Asia, for sharing your amazing thoughts and experiences!
1. (Asia), when you typed yourself as an Eight did you feel deflated or have a confident sense of, “Oh yeah, that seems all good to me!” I’ve heard that of all the numbers, Eights are the most content with their number.
I was super content, haha. Actually, it was more like I felt known. That’s a big deal for me, feeling known past my “tough” exterior. (Which in my opinion, I don’t feel as tough as people perceive me!)
2. What is the energy flow of an Eight? How does being in the Body Triad impact how you work, play, relax, and interact? Does anything shift your energy, like do you have triggers that might send you into a different space/flow?
I always need to be doing something. I’m a tactile learner, I have to do/play with the lesson I’m learning in order to grasp it. Even relaxing for me is “doing” something. Cooking, cleaning, shopping. I don’t enjoy doing nothing. For me, being in the Body Triad means I physically experience things. Like, when I get really scared/angry, my mouth gets hot. When I experience something physically large in nature (waterfalls, Grand Canyon, mountains, etc), I get lightheaded. I’m also a Christian, so in context of the presence of God, I feel Him… instead of seeing or sensing Him. Everything I experience is very physical.
As far as triggers, it’s when people take away my attention of that moment; distracting or interrupting me from what I’m experiencing. Sometimes, in integration/health, I can feel people emotions. It’s weird, but often that overwhelms me. It’s tiring to process someone else’s emotions when processing your own emotions isn’t natural.
3. What happens to your closest relationships when you are stressed (Arrow to Type Five)? What happens to your closest relationships when you are integrated/in health (Arrow to Type Two)?
Stressed: I’ve made it a point to surround myself with very strong people who aren’t afraid to call me out or put me in my place. I know my personality is intense, so I need people to be strong enough to tell me what I need to hear. But also, people who see past that strength, as well. SO usually in times of stress, they let me throw my fit and can handle the unbridled tongue of an Eight haha! But if something is too vulnerable to talk about, I don’t even share it with them. I handle it on my own, because if I, the juggernaut Eight, can’t fix the problem, how can they?
Health: In health, I’m a very protective, selfless person. It’s really interesting how much of a Type Two I embody in health. I can process and work through feelings. I don’t care about asserting my dominance. I still express anger, though—I’m not afraid to show anger in either stress or health. I think the most important thing is, in health, even if I think someone is trying to control me, I don’t feel scared or defensive because I’m in total control of myself. For me, it’s taking a lot of my energy to consistently function as an integrated Eight. I have a lot of counter-instinctual behaviors to adjust to. When I visualize an Eight in health, I picture a beautiful house, one that was made to be enjoyed by guests to find safety and rest (that’s the Type Two). This house, however, is enclosed by the most impenetrable wall that no one can get in unless I let them.
4. Do you know if you have a Seven or Nine Wing? If so, how do the characteristics of either the Seven or Nine or support/enhance the traits of being an Eight?
I’m a Seven Wing! I definitely embody a Type Seven in most social interactions. My Seven Wing is most shown through my energy. I’m social, outgoing, humorous, fun and love hanging out with people. I overcommit to social activities and am very dramatic in interactions… very loud and boisterous. In fact, for the most part, besides in stress, my Eight nature most comes out when I see someone trying to hurt others, especially those I care about.
5. What do you love about your number? What do you dislike the most?
I love that Eights are so comfortable (and proud) with who they are, that opinions don’t bother us. I also love how we love. Passionately, deliberately, and sincerely. If you have an Eight on your side, you have one hell of a companion. Have you ever seen an Eight walk into a room? As an Eight, even I’M captivated. We’re some of the most authentic and captivating types. The main thing I love about Eights is the authenticity we live in. We truly are ourselves, for better or worse.
What I dislike most, is the Eight’s ability to bully and manipulate. We carry too much intensity and authority to use it carelessly. I also truly dislike how people interpret Type Eight people. For the most part we’re seen as mean and often told to soften our personalities because others can’t be around us. While I agree in part, I don’t think it’s fair to the Eight.
6. What practices have you integrated into your life as an Eight to help you become more self-aware and grow? Are there any spiritual practices you connect to that might tie into your number?
When I get angry about something, I have to take a day or two to feel that anger and identify the root of it. Mostly, I’ll confront the source of my anger, whether that means talking to someone about an issue, processing an emotion I’m uncomfortable with, or asking for help. I always research things or try to find the truth behind a situation before I act out. Lastly, I started counseling, it really helps mirror how my actions come across but also validates the feelings I neglect. As far as spiritual practices, I pray a lot and talk to God about things I’m experiencing.
7. What do you wish people understood about your number? What are some common misconceptions about Eights?
We’re not mean, wild forceful beings that can’t be tamed. Those are aspects to us, yes, but that doesn’t mean that’s all we are. We’re actually super caring and emotional—when you let us be. It just takes some time for us to let down our walls, and if you’re not worth it, you’ll never see that side.
Eights do not mean to be rude, I promise. People can like having Eights around because we will say what they’re afraid to say. But our bluntness isn’t malicious, it’s coming from a sincere place of wanting to be honest. Eights value honesty so much that when we share the truth with you, it’s because we’re trying to do the right thing.
Eights unconsciously fight for those who can’t. It’s almost second-nature. This, however, leads to Eights fighting battles we were never intended to fight. You may have to tell an Eight to back off and let you do it on your own (I know it’s scary, but we need that smack sometimes.) However, Don’t use an Eight to engage in conflict when they’re for you, then “punish” us when that same energy is directed at you. We’re allowed to defend ourselves when other Types finally get the courage to say something to us, especially if it’s a negative interaction.
Lastly, women Eights are just as valuable as male Eights. DON’T FORGET THAT. Women Eights: you are strong and still delicate, protective, yet fragile, hardworking, yet still needing rest. It’s okay. You can do and have it all, and still ask for help. The right people will always be there to help you when you can’t do it anymore (even though we will still try)!
8. As a child, did you feel that somewhere along the line you picked up the message that, “You must always be strong,”? That somehow it would be unsafe to show softness or vulnerability?
I didn’t pick it up, so much as it was specifically said to me. Growing up, the message of not letting people take advantage of you and protecting others was instilled into me. Especially after becoming an older sister, that heightened. Unsafety in showing vulnerability and softness often came when people would tell me to “get over it”, use my vulnerability against me, or when someone would invalidate my feelings as trivial. It was really sad that emotions were regarded as a weakness when in reality, counter to the Eight’s belief, there’s immense strength in acknowledging and processing your emotions.
9. Talk about what the words truth, protect, and thoughtfulness mean to you today.
Those words carry so much weight!! Truth is everything. I have a really hard time when people lie. Mainly about stupid stuff. For me, I don’t understand why someone wouldn’t keep their mouth shut, instead of unnecessarily lying about something. Most of the time, the truth comes out and you look stupid. That’s intense I know, but I hate lying. Moral of the story: If we’re friends, tell me the truth, I can handle it
Protect: This word to me, is almost a command. “Protect those who can’t protect themselves.” I can’t tell you how many battles I fought that weren’t mine to fight. However, as I grow, I know it’s not my place to fight every battle, nor is it smart. It still does feel like a command though, so I definitely look down on people who abuse their power and hurt people they should be protecting.
Thoughtfulness: This is an acquired ability for me. Being thoughtful doesn’t come naturally, so it was a muscle I’ve had to exercise. Now, thoughtfulness is easier. Thoughtfulness is essential as Eights to care for and interact with others. It almost serves as a filter when the Eight overdoes it and tries to control everything. It helps bring my attention back to how my actions are affecting others.
Hi, I’m Asia! (Yep, just like the continent) I live in Orange County, but grew up in San Diego. My life consists of tweeting, getting far too invested in the Enneagram, and watching too much reality TV. Follow me on Twitter @AsiaJaLacie
*Photos by Arisa Chattasa , Annie Spratt , Jyotirmoy Gupta ,Jon Tyson on Unsplash