Trump’s type is Eight – the Challenger. Eights are tough, decisive and confrontational. A healthy Eight is a warm, generous, big hearted, magnanimous, courageous, a leader who cares for others, and protects them. (See the profiles of James Hetfield and Margaret Cho as examples)
Over the course of Donald Trump’s campaign he’s displayed a laundry list of unhealthy Eight characteristics: savage mockery of others, crude sense of humour, relentless self-aggrandizement, inability to prevent himself from counter-attacking when provoked, and a desire for revenge on his enemies – including wanting to imprison Hilary Clinton, sue the women who’ve accused him of sexual harassment, and his Tweeted description of Paul Ryan as ineffective and (a particularly vile insult to an unhealthy Eight) weak.
Inside every tough, loud, power-asserting Eight, there’s a sensitive tender child. A healthy Eight can access this softness. An unhealthy Eight buries their vulnerability and denies it, closing off their heart.
It can be hard to sympathize with a low functioning Eight. They’re crass bullies. But this is what their suffering looks like. A chronically unhealthy Eight tries to cover their pain with intense activity and over the top behaviour, piling on work and pleasures, with none of it really impacting them for more than a moment. They end up alienating people, and feel less safe and more unloved than before.
The infamous recording of Trump bragging of kissing women and grabbing them by the genitals happened a month into his third wife’s pregnancy. Marriage to a supermodel and the tremendous event of an impending birth did so little to alleviate Trump’s loneliness and pain, he was already on the prowl, smirking and bragging like a frat boy as he covered up his sensitivity from himself. This strikes me as the sign of someone profoundly unable to feel happiness.
After he loses the election – by a landslide – I predict Trump will retreat and hibernate. In Enneagram terms, this corresponds with the movement from Eight to Five under stress. There’s been talk of him starting a news network of his own. He might. But running a presidential campaign is a colossal expenditure of energy. I think he’ll be cut to his heart by the humiliation of such a dire loss that he’ll disappear and lick his wounds, much like the Eight character Hank Schrader on Breaking Bad after being shot, or George Foreman, after losing to Muhammad Ali in Zaire.
What Trump does is, of course, his business. I don’t know him, and I don’t imagine anyone reading this does either. An analysis of his inner life is relevant to us inasmuch as each of us can look into our hearts, and spend time looking at our own relationship with our vulnerability. Have we been wounded? Have we closed ourselves off from our sensitivity? Do we mistake chest-pounding for strength? Do we dare to actually feel our feelings, to let the world touch us, to take quiet time with ourselves, to cherish and respect the dignity of all people and all creatures, and to take action for their protection?