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Donald Trump and the enneagram | what would make The Donald stop?

My last blog, “What makes The Donald run,” has received so many “shares” and comments on Facebook that I’ve decided on what might make The Donald stop based on information and observations of moderately low to very low-functioning 8s. Here’s the simple answer to that question, “What would make the Donald stop?” “Not much!”

In other words, Donald Trump is on a roll or has a certain self-propelling momentum that by himself, he will not stop based on sweet reason, emotional remorse, or environment blockages. So what then could stop The Donald?

Again, let me describe Enneagram 8s, particularly as it relates to Donald Trump.

Eights pursue the truth and justice, like to keep situations under control, want to make important things happen, and try to hide their vulnerability.
Strengths | direct | strategic | protective | big action oriented
Development | controlling | demanding | disdain weakness | intimidating

Description of low self-mastery 8s (Lapid-Bogda) | the bully
Direct to the point of cruelty, with floods of anger and destructive punitive behavior | power oriented in most circumstances and at whatever cost | deteriorates into anti-social or violent behavior because they cannot contain or control their explosive anger

Unhealthy Level 8 (Riso and Hudson) | megalomaniacal terrorizing
Desperate to protect themselves and so fearful of retaliation, they begin to attack potential rivals before they can threaten them, respecting no boundaries and overreaching themselves, with delusions of invulnerability

Possible Trump stopper # 1 | health issues
Trump could fall ill and no longer be able to run for president. I want to be clear that I do not in any way wish him ill health. That said, most 8s run themselves into the ground, going into serious denial that anything related to their physical health is occurring or can stop them. Without enough sleep, exercise or healthy eating, ¬most 8s eventually get sick, sometimes life-threateningly so, and their denial of their own physical limitations often has them seeing a doctor when it is too little too late. My experience with 8s is that most of them get insufficient sleep because they stay up very late when they can have total alone time. However, 8s get up in the morning at the same hour as others who work, and over time, they can become chronically sleep deprived. Add to this that the excessiveness with 8s may manifest as over- or under-eating or irregular exercise – for example, exercising intensely for a few weeks, then becoming an over-working couch potato at others. Again, no wishes for Trump to experience health issues; I’m just describing the 8’s tendencies that could severely limit his forward momentum. Health issues could be the big stopper.

Possible Trump stopper # 2 | paranoia
Helen Palmer, Enneagram author and teacher as well as my good friend and remarkable colleague, once told me this: 8s who are grandiose – and not all 8s are grandiose – have an equal level of paranoia. Given that Donald Trump appears, at least to me, highly grandiose, he is likely equally paranoid. If this is accurate, his disaster rhetoric may actually be a reflection of his real beliefs, ones that arise from his paranoia. And the more he bullies other individuals and groups, attributing to them malevolent motives (which might in fact be his motives projected onto others), his paranoia may actually create his future reality. People he attacks, as well as group and individuals who perceive him as a danger to them or to the Republican party, may start plotting how to create his political demise. This may have already begun. They will be out to get him, thereby increasing his paranoia.

Paranoid individuals do not perceive themselves as paranoid, yet their behavioral moves are defensive ones, even if these appear to be offensive measures. According to PsychCentral, a person with excessive suspiciousness (paranoia) can exhibit aberrant behavior in “two or more of the following areas: cognition; affect; interpersonal functioning; or impulse control.”

If and when The Donald’s paranoia – and this assumes Palmer is correct, although we’ve already seen expressions of paranoia in his attack rhetoric – increases and his erratic or impulsive behavior accelerates, he is likely to become so extreme in his views and verbal expression that even those who support him may be taken aback. And if and when he loses support, he might well also attack those who currently support him. To say this in type 8 language, those who currently “have his back” will no longer do so. And without support, The Donald, can no longer run for long.

Possible Trump stopper # 3 | resources
Resources come in a variety of forms: money, time, energy, support, and in the case of running for president, average polling number percentage. Average polling number percentage – the candidates standing in an average of all key public polling – is key to free media coverage because higher polling candidates get a free platform in presidential primary debates.

It’s not clear how much money Trump actually has or how much of his fortune he is willing to spend on his run for the presidency. Likely, he has the time, and thus far, he seems to be enjoying his run. His energy level seems to be high enough at this point, although he could run out of steam after a while. That is to be seen.

But, if his polling numbers – his average level of support among Republicans, which is currently at 25% – drop below the percentage required to entitle him to be on the stage at Republican primary debates, Trump will have to pay for much of his media exposure. And this is very expensive. Trump says he is a shrewd businessman, but we shall see if he really has to spend his own money on media coverage, which is extraordinarily expensive.

Possible Trump stopper # 4 | his children
Although 8s like to show and amp up their “bigness” as a way of hiding their vulnerability, most 8s have an emotional soft spot for their children. I don’t know Trump’s real relationship with his children, yet he seems close enough publically with his two older sons and his daughter, Ivanka. All three of them, in some way, are in business with him and appear to appreciate their father’s business savvy. It is rare to hear or read anything negative about Trump from these three adult children.

But here’s what could cause Trump to stop in his tracks if he goes too far in his anti-everyone and everything rhetoric. Thus far, Trump has not made too many egregious comments about people who are Jewish, though he has made some disguised remarks, known as “micro-aggressions.”

Here’s one about Jon Stewart, the now-retired host of a popular comedy show that often carries more accurate and timely news than most TV news programs. When someone suggested that Trump needed to be careful of a presidential run because Jon Stewart would decimate him, Trump tweeted that he was “much smarter than Jonathon Leibowitz – I mean Jon Stewart.”

Referring to Stewart as “Leibowitz” may seem odd or “off,” but if you are Jewish or sensitive to these “micro-aggressions,” it is code for referring to Stewart as being Jewish. But why would Trump say this, except to call out something about Stewart as a way to diminish Stewart and elevate Trump? Here are some possible reasons Trump made such a comment: (a) to call out Stewart’s Jewishness, as if this is a negative in some way, (b) to call out Stewart’s having changed his name, thereby implying Stewart is fake or dishonest or something not good, or (c) to imply that Stewart is Jewish and by stereotypical implication, smart, Trump is smarter?

But here’s the rub. Trump’s daughter Ivanka is Jewish, having converted in 2009 before she married her husband Jared Kushner, in an Orthodox Jewish ceremony. Conversion to Judaism requires a deliberate decision and a rigorous process of study. Best guess is they plan to raise their children and any future children in the Jewish faith.

Should Donald Trump cross the anti-Semitic line too many times – that is, too many veiled ambiguous or offensive comments – it will become personal for Trump because it will be highly personal for Ivanka and her family. 8s usually have a special soft and tender spot for their children, a place where their vulnerability is most often experienced. And fathers often have a soft spot for daughters, generally speaking. Ivanka would not be able to ignore her father’s Jewish comments for very long.

Could and would Ivanka bring The Donald down on this? Publically, likely she would not. But Jewish groups and other groups offended by The Donald would come out against him. Privately, I would put my money on Ivanka’s being quite stern with her father. The love for a father is rarely as great as a mother’s love for her children.

Ivanka’s pushback on her father would be unlikely to stop The Donald run by itself. However, were Trump to reveal either blatant or a series of “micro-aggressions” against people who are Jewish, there are countless organizations across the country, Jewish and otherwise, that would launch a full-throttle campaign against a Trump candidacy. Trump would have a big problem from inside his insular world as well as from the external environment.

Trump, at this point, cannot easily be stopped. However, the first two stoppers above – health issues and paranoia – are likely to be the most likely factors to stop Trump. And if the other two stoppers – resources and his children – followed soon after, the rest of us would be, in Trump’s own vocabulary, “WINNER!”

Ginger Lapid-Bogda PhD, the author of four best-selling Enneagram-business books, is a speaker, consultant, trainer, and coach. She provides certification programs for professionals around the world who want to bring the Enneagram into organizations with high-impact business applications, and is past-president of the International Enneagram Association. Visit her website: The Enneagram in Business.com. ginger@theenneagraminbusiness.com

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