Welcome back to Enneagram Paths! Thank you for being here during strange and difficult times. I’m sending out love and light to all of you as we collectively deal with the tragedy and hardships of Covid-19. Please feel free to reach out if you need support. Coaching is a deeply intuitive space where, together, we explore places that need healing, embodiment, and self-love.
Today, I’m honored to have April Jordon on the blog to talk about her experiences as an Enneagram Type Eight.
The Enneagram Institute says this about Eights, “Eights are self-confident, strong, and assertive. Protective, resourceful, straight-talking, and decisive, but can also be ego-centric and domineering. Eights feel they must control their environment, especially people, sometimes becoming confrontational and intimidating. Eights typically have problems with their tempers and with allowing themselves to be vulnerable. At their Best: self- mastering, they use their strength to improve others’ lives, becoming heroic, magnanimous, and inspiring. [They] want to be self-reliant, to prove their strength and resist weakness, to be important in their world, to dominate the environment, and to stay in control of their situation.” (Type Eight, The Enneagram Institute)
Thanks, April, for sharing about your experiences as a Type Eight with all of us!
1. In what ways do you use your easy access to anger for good? What are some healthy outlets (when not saving the world or protecting others) for your anger? My anger fuels me in the best way. I love accessing my anger because it drives me to solve problems big and small (why not save the world if you can, right?). I can’t stand inaction, and become quickly frustrated when issues are at a standstill, so I take that anger and channel it into finding solutions that work for everybody. I do my utter best to further the interests of the group (social subtype 8 here!)
2. What do Eights look for in others? What do we have to live up to? Where do we fall short? I look for honesty, honesty, honesty! I have mad respect for anyone who can just “own their shit.” I love it when people know who they are and can ask for their needs to be met, set healthy boundaries and help others while they’re at it.
To live up to that, start by being honest with yourself first. I know it’s hard sometimes and can be an ongoing process, but it’s so worth it when you come out the other side as a powerful, free, generous and self-loving being. Plus the healthy 8s in your life will love you for it.
People tend to fall short, for me, because they avoid pain and discomfort. I really think this is the root of a lot of the seemingly benign dishonesty in the world. People simply don’t want to deal with things, so they tell what seems to be a little white lie. But I firmly believe that telling lies, even small ones, takes the other person’s power away, and that’s not cool with me.
And I should note that, of course, there are some things that are just nobody’s business, you don’t want to get into, or you’re not at liberty to share. I wouldn’t consider hiding that a lie. But if the information involves another person or could affect their life, I so appreciate when people are real about that stuff.
3. What are three things you wished people understood about Eights? Well, I can only really speak for myself, but here are three things I wish people understood about me as an 8:
– I want the factual truth, the whole factual truth, and nothing but the factual truth. Every time. Knowing the cold hard facts helps me feel secure and (again) like you’re being honest and looking out for me, too. Once I know the facts, I normally move to compassion and start looking for those solutions I love so much – even if the solution is just to sit and listen to you tell me about your day.
– I know I can seem intense. I’m working on knowing when and where to let that all hang out – promise! In the meantime, please do me a solid and know that I’m not angry at you. If I’m angry at you specifically, I will say so!
– I act like I have it all together, and most of the time I genuinely do. But if you’re one of my close friends or family it means so much to me if I know I can rely on you for support on the days when I’m feeling run down. And on that vein, please don’t assume I can help you out or pick up the slack on something. I am probably willing and able, but please ask first – haha! This isn’t usually an issue in my life – my family and friends are the bomb. But I’m putting it out there for anyone reading this!
4. Do you have any spiritual practices and does your Enneagram number influence what you’re drawn to spiritually? I grew up Christian, but recently abandoned the faith after years and years of searching for answers to my big questions and coming up dry. I talk about this a lot on a podcast I co-host called the Curiously Strong Podcast. Nowadays, I do yoga – I love the quiet strength it takes to stay in the poses and stay present through the pain. It’s a great release for me. I also do a lot of adult coloring books. I find it somewhat meditative.
5. What happens to your closest relationship when you move in stress to your Arrow of Type Five? What happens to your closest relationships when you move in health/integration to your Arrow of Type Two? Going to Type Five looks like losing sight of my intuition and researching the crap out of everything to feel strong and capable again, which takes up a lot of time. I withdraw to spend time on my projects, distance myself from my spouse, friends and family, and hoard energy and resources. It strains my marriage because there is a clear divide between my normal energetic self and my stressed self. Also, if people reach out, I often don’t reply for fear that they want something from me that I can’t provide. It becomes very, very lonely and stressful.
Going to Type Two looks like building community and spending energy looking after others. I become more willing to bend to meet the needs of my spouse, friends and family and lose a bit of my “edge” (which always makes me a little sad, I have to say). I open up and become a little more comfortable with my feelings. Going to Two is incredibly painful because I realize how isolated I usually am and how protected I usually try to be. It’s worth it, though. The people around me are so kind.
6. Speak about what it’s like to be in the Body Triad. How does your body absorb and process the daily life of your existence? Oh boy. Where to begin! One thing I do is “somatize” everything, which means that everything I experience mentally or emotionally creates a distinct bodily response. For example, stress isn’t experienced as an emotion, rather my neck and jaw will tense up. If someone is upset with me, I don’t respond with emotion and may not even think much of it, but my stomach may become upset. When I accomplish something, I can feel a wave of peace and ease wash over my body. If I’m really happy, I can almost feel electricity coursing through my body, spurring me forward! It’s really hard to describe what this is like, but in short, almost everything happens as a body response first, then a mental response, then an emotional response. I hope that makes sense!
7. What do you love about your number? What is frustrating about your number? Healthy 8s are just the best, haha!! I am proud to be part of a group who shows up 110% to everything and has the strength to affect real change and empower others to do the same. I love my confidence and how much I care about “my people.” If you’re someone I love and trust, I’d give my left arm to keep you healthy and safe! Unhealthy 8s, however, are awful. Having such strength and determination is pretty destructive if we don’t pay attention to others’ needs and where they’re at.
8. What do you think would happen if you were to let the soft, loving, vulnerable side of your heart be known to the world at large? People would take advantage of it. That’s about all there is to it, haha!
9. What is your advice for parents of Type Eight children? (Totally selfish question!) If you strictly enforce a rule, be willing to explain the logic behind it. Nothing made me want to smash through boundaries like the “because I said so” answer. If I was still asking “why?” it was because the adults hadn’t convinced me that what they were telling me to do was a good or efficient or logical idea. 8 kids are smart – give us logic!
10. What do the words yield, affection, and empowerment mean to you these days? Yield – yikes. This one is hard for me, but I’m getting better. I selectively choose people who are clearly better than me at things and try to learn from them. I am willing to take a backseat to someone who can prove their competence and confidence in an area.
Affection – another yikes! This word really gives me the heebie-jeebies. But again, I think I’m getting better. I have a lot of 9s and 2s (or w2s) around me and I appreciate their softness. They give me space to open up slowly and test the waters at my own pace.
Empowerment – HELL YEAH! I love this word. I generally feel so empowered in life – like the world is mine for the taking – and I want that for everyone else. As a social 8, I do my very best to spread the power and help others, especially women, find it within themselves. You’ve got this!
April Jordan is a sustainability and social justice advocate from Vancouver, BC, Canada. By day she slings words as a Communications professional, and by night she slings words some more with her sustainable lifestyle and fashion blog and Instagram – The Honest Root. Other than that, you can usually find April up a mountain, in a coffee shop or thrifting at a local vintage or consignment shop. She would love for you to reach out and connect about any of the afore mentioned topics, or just to say hello.