Since August 2015, I have written four blogs about Donald Trump, not so much questioning what his type is – this due to the fact that for many years I have perceived him as a type 8 – but in order to predict what he might do in the future and what would be his motivation for doing so. These four blogs can be accessed on the links at the bottom of this blog.
In the last month, some Enneagram Facebook forums have been abuzz with strong opinions and even arguments – or at least what I read as arguments; I’ve just observed to some degree but not engaged – about Trump as an Enneagram type 8 or a 3.
I want to state that, from my perspective, trying to figure out whether he is an 8 or a 3 is not so useful by itself and not something to argue about since we don’t know him personally. So our take on Trump’s type is speculative. Type as a predictor of behavior, on the other hand, does matter when the stakes are so high such as in a presidential election.
That said, I started to wonder more about the type 8 versus type 3, since there was such strength of opinion on both sides. As a result, I went to a process I thought might shed a little more light on this.
I asked two people who are 8s and two who are 3s to answer this question: Do you think Donald Trump is an 8? (for the two 8s), or Do you think Donald Trump is a 3? (for the two 3s). The thinking behind this methodology is that we often recognize people of our own type more readily than we recognize people of other types. You may agree or disagree with this approach; perhaps two people are not enough to gain enough insight. But read on; I hope you find it interesting. All four people are typed correctly themselves, know the Enneagram well, and teach the Enneagram to others professionally.
From Lisa Alessi, an Enneagram 3 herself
If Trump were truly a 3, he would more than likely identify with successful political leaders, working hard to project an attractive image something more presidential in demeanor, which we have not seen. When 3s are feeling threatened, they usually go into overdrive to prove themselves, so you’d also expect him to try to prove his competency and be more prepared for the debates. Instead, we’ve seen more impulsive behavior in the form of retaliation, threats or oppression of his opponents or denial, not letting things roll off his shoulders, which are more typical reactive tendencies for 8s.
From Monirah Womack, an Enneagram 3 herself
Watching the last presidential debate confirmed for me once again that Trump is not part of the 3 tribe, my tribe. In my experience of the 3 patterns, we usually “color inside the lines,” aligning with rules, standards or processes in service of succeeding and being esteemed and admired for our accomplishments. Trump’s pattern seems to be that of rule-bender or rule-breaker — his “wait and see” remark about potentially not accepting the outcome of the election is clearly “coloring outside the lines,” from my 3 point of view. Unlike many 3s, his debate rhetoric sounded more like the exercise of power or control as a means to an end, rather than speaking of doing/goals/achieving. I was also struck by his lack of eye contact with the camera when he wasn’t speaking — it was as if there was a hood over his eyes. Most 3s seek eye contact as a means of connecting and winning others over to their point of view. When I take it all in, I don’t “read” Trump as an “other-referencing” character type; 2s, 3s, and 4s are all other-referencing, defining who they are in relation to how others perceive them.
From Jim Grant, an Enneagram 8 himself
Thoughts about Donald Trump:
Level of development
Red level of consciousness – opportunistic, power hungry, focused on impulsive self, egocentric, motivated by personal desires
Worldview and experience
Red, self-defensive, a bully, the way he is in life: “be what you are and do want you want regardless”
Degree of freedom in life experience
Narrow and specific (himself period!)
Scope of view
Insists only on his point of view, yours and mine don’t matter
Stage of identity
I want to be immortal, creating a permanent separate self
– There are those that have and those that don’t – I have more than any of you
– Gratify impulses and senses immediately
– Fight without guilt or remorse
– World is seen as and experienced as: me and them with a very narrow view – mine!
– Self is synonymous with my will, ideas and wishes
– Follow rules only if it’s in my best interest
– Others are seen as barriers to getting what I want
– Limits are to be tested
– People and things out there are a source of blame for things not going the way I want
– I can manipulate the world
– Speaks in concrete, direct, straight forward way, simple dichotomies
– Expresses feelings as angry, sad, happy
– Tends to polarize arguments and show prejudices
– Uses crass and lewd humour to taunt and tease on another’s weakness
– High emphasis unspeaking to his own views and low emphasis on listening to others’ views, especially if different
My vote – very low functioning unhealthy 8
From Lindy Amos, an Enneagram 8 herself
Trump is an 8 because:
Whether we like it or not, Trump cuts a powerful figure on the stage, filling up the space physically, energetically and with his combative verbal style. As Jonathon Norcoss states, “Trump has the ability [and I would add audacity] to convey his authority and expertise, while having little of either.”
Whilst many in the media accuse him of intentional intimidation, like many 8’s, however, he may genuinely be unaware of the power of his presence, (an alternative, of course, is that he is aware, and does not care – 8-like unhealthy behaviour at its worst).
Fashioning himself as a politically incorrect saviour holds appeal for him I propose, because in an 8-like manner, this justifies his recklessness (in word and deed) and his defensiveness. His hubris is communicated through his bluster, his denial and his refusal to take responsibility for his actions. When he is proven wrong, his reflex is to blame others, deny responsibility and rewrite history (a classic 8-like smokescreen).
He has the unique 8-like talent of speaking with such force, convinced his opinion about the world is the right one, and this, I believe, instills confidence in others (particularly those yearning for the traditional masculine heroic leader). He appears to operate from a black and white view of the world. Proposing simple answers to complex and nuanced problems, Trump favours domination as a means of attack, whereas wisdom, discretion, compassion and collaboration would be more appropriate.
I offer this commentary as an outsider who has watched both debates in full and have been following the press on this. I also offer this commentary with a bit of discomfort mostly because I think the best use of the Enneagram is to focus on how we can each identify and develop healthy ways of being in the world, so my hope is that the pre-election blog would have some balance in it. We wouldn’t want our audience to think that all 3s or 8s are like Donald Trump, or any public figure for that matter, (if you catch my drift).
As you can read, the 3s do not think Trump is a 3; the 8s are certain he is an 8. Food for thought!
Prior Trump Blogs
Donald Trump and the enneagram | what makes The Donald run?
Donald Trump and the enneagram | what would make The Donald stop?
Donald Trump | in lust we trust
What’s next with Trump | where grandiosity and paranoia intersect
Ginger Lapid-Bogda PhD, the author of six 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: TheEnneagramInBusiness.com. email@example.com
Agree totally, he’s a gut reactor, lustful boasting, revenge tactics, way over the top non conformist…
Very enlightening. Very objective. Thanks to all you.
This is very educational, dear. Cheers and whistles !!!
Great post. Cheers ans whistles !!!
Thanks for this post! I appreciate all of the thoughtful insight. Trump doesn’t seem to care one iota about other people think about him. As a 3, that’s one of the reasons I think he’s an 8.
But he does care a great deal what others think of him, which is why he rallies and panders to his “base” and gets high off of their praise, and why he is so frustrated that people don’t like him, and he has to prop himself up.
That is an indication of his desire for power and control, which is 8, it’s not a desire for people to like him.
Thanks for this informative post. As an 8 myself, I definitely think Trump is an unevolved 8.
I’ve been studying the Enneagram on and off for the past 20-some-odd years, and I’m fairly certain Donald Trump is a 3. I’ve only known two 3s in my lifetime (at least among those closest to me), and I’ve learned they are the rarest of all the numbers out there. As a monk, I encountered a lot of 6s, a bunch of 9s, a smattering of 4s, 5s, 2s, 8s, and 1s, but only one 3 in my 44-man community. We all studied the Enneagram and knew each other’s numbers, so it was a fantastic four-year master course for me… Read more »
Trump’s inability to admit a mistake is pivotal for me as well. I am also a Riso fan and have been for almost twenty five years. Thank you for your post.
Fascinating article – many thanks to the author. I strongly agree with you, too, angelenroute. Of course, I don’t know him in person either, but as far as his public persona is concerned, he’s always given off a 3w4 7w6 9w8 tritype vibe to me.
Adding a quick correction to that tritype mentioned – make that 8w9, not 9w8.
Performance, while he must do it to fulfill his role as president, is not his go-to skill set. Lying is, but that’s because the unhealthy 8 has disregard for the truth in getting their way.
Having read all this comments I’m pretty sure Trump is a very unhealthy 3 with a two wing. He is much too narcistic for an 8. He wants to win, always. Whatever the costs. Therefore he lies whenever necessary. Inwardly he is total vain: does he has any consistent ideas? Politically or economicly? No. He just listens to the people to find out how to win them over and than he says exactly what’s necessary. He is extremely image oriented. Look at Trump Tower, all the gold colors (he even changed the curtains of the oval office into golden curtains),… Read more »
Yes, 8s don’t really care what people think of them, while 3s are extremely motivated by what others think and care a great deal.
3’s desire success and an unhealthy 3 will lie to get success. But an unhealthy 8 desires power and control, and will also lie and play roles and bully others to get their way. The desire to be liked is narcissistic, which the unhealthy 8 can be.
Unhealthy 8’s can be narcissistic, in fact an unhealthy 8 is a prime contender for narcissism.
I think he’s a disintegrated 2 with a 3 wing. 2 disintegrates to an 8 and he exhibits 8 and 3 type traits, along with 2 traits. He’s angry, manipulative, disparaging, deceptive and the way he eats is like unhealthy 2, as at unhealthy levels they can abuse food. Either that or an 8w7, since he’s extroverted, disagreeable and pleasure seeking. The 3s don’t think he’s a 3
Trump is obsessed with appearances and how people look! His 3 wives, his daughter, who looks like a Barbie, his HAIR! I’m married to an 8 and had an 8 father, neither of whom care much about how they look. Conservative dressers.
angelenroute angelenroute, you are right. That’s exactly as I see Trump (read my comment). By the way: On the east coast of the US you find many, many 3s. New York is 3-territory. California is a 7-country. The 3s are in many ways the typical American: aggressiv, outgoing, good managers, good communicators, very pragmatic and practical, image-oriented and also service-oriented. They get things done. So it is good the be a 3 – as long as you are a healthy 3 – otherwise see Trump. But even an unhealty 3 can become the president of the US! Another thing from… Read more »
I think the whole discussion whether Trump is a three or an eight can easily be settled. Just listen to him: great, fantastic, incredible, outstanding, tremendous, big, wonderful, unbelievable. It goes on and on. Sure, everybody uses these words occasionally but not permanently like him.Trump exaggerates almost everything, he is mostly over the top. Like a marketing guy. And threes are very good with marketing. Finally: he lies and lies and lies. Threes do this to enhance their position and to show their “greatness”. Eights don’t do this.
Absolutely agree with you!
All of those words indicate the grandiosity of narcissism, which an unhealthy 8 can have. When everything is “tremendous”, that pertains to the grandiosity of narcissism.
Trump is NOT a leader! He’s a SHOWMAN! Three.
I don’t think Trump is a great communicator. 8’s are always concerned about appearing weak to others. Given this, he would look like a 3 trying to be strong which could parallel a 3’s success. 8’s have that 2 factor under growth. An unhealthy 8 could slide to the unhealthy side of 2. Look at his hubris. Unhealthy 2’S think they have a better get impact in people’s lives than they really do. Look at all of Trump’s executive orders. He is trying to go it alone like he doesn’t need the other two branches of government. That is total… Read more »
I meant without proper legal vetting. Check out Scott Adam’s blog. He writes extensively about Trump’s methods. In this post, check under last subheading “connecting some dots”. http://blog.dilbert.com/post/129784168866/the-persuasion-reading-list I can totally see an unhealthy 3 manipulating a group with NLP techniques. I can also see an unhealthy 8 trying to appear strong thru manipulation and trying to control the narrative and people’s thought processes. Also, in basic terms, an 8 wants to know if you are with me or against me. Trump is like that in his twitter feed. If your with him you’re great and the best. If your… Read more »
As well, look at Trump at times even on Inauguration Day when he was walking out to the crowd. He has his guard up like an 8 ready to fight and defend. That squinting scowl in his eyes, his pursed lips. His rigidness. He does not look relaxed. His shield is up and he is ready to defend himself. 3’s never look this way to me. They always look more casual and inviting. Trump does not look inviting.
[…] fwiw. They're all by Ginger Lapid-Bogda. They may have already been posted, so forgive me:Is Donald Trump an enneagram 8 or an enneagram 3? – The Enneagram in BusinessDonald Trump and the enneagram | what makes The Donald run? – The Enneagram in BusinessDonald Trump […]
I am a 3 and I think Trump is a 3
I think is 8 with two instincts (sexual-social).
From an European perspective, Trump is definitely a THREE. Too many Americans are Threes (image typ). And they hate to see how unhealthy a Three can become. Because Trump is unmasking the many negative sides of this type, which is very painful for an image type. So they reject the idea vehemently, he could be one of them. As a substitute they call him an Eight, because Eights tend to be leaders, often bad ones. Trump is a Three. Here only some of the many criterias: He lies permanently, he is extremely image oriented (putting his name on planes, buildings… Read more »
Hi Everyone, What people seem to be missing in these reply’s is that the typing of a person is first and foremost based on the QUALITY of the ENERGY coming off them; second are the different personality characteristics. As an empath who reads energy, I can tell you that Trump is a # 8 through and through. I am a #2 on the enneagram and when under stress, I will move to the 8 position so I am very familiar with that energy. I have had both #3 and #8 bosses in my 50 year career and the way they… Read more »
I’m an 8, and a personality expert (admittedly MBTI more than Enneagram). I think Trump is a 3 due to the fears that motivate him (and everything else of course). I also may admittedly really not want him to be associated with the type that I am 🙂
I’m an 8, a Marriage and Family Therapist (mental health professional), and a personality expert (including as a Certified Practitioner of the MBTI). I think Trump is a Three rather than an Eight, based on my understanding of the Enneagram, what drives each type, particularly what fears motivate them, and the fact that I am a very healthy Eight. As an Eight I also don’t want him associated with my type, but I’m also a very objective and self-aware person so I don’t think that comes into play too much. 8s don’t really care what others think about them, while… Read more »
It is hard to say whether he’s a three or an eight. He projects qualities and vice of them both. I think I see him as more of an eight though. He cares about his image, but only in that it dominates those around him. He seems to care about dominion and prevailing over/against others more then about popularity and publicity. He lies a lot, but he’s more of an open liar. He doesn’t care if he gets caught in his lie. He doesn’t lie for the same reasons that a three does. As Don Riso once pointed out, eights… Read more »
Trump is a counter-phobic 6.
I am in an Enneagram cohort, and my leader is convinced he is a Type 6, and I have always thought he was a Type 8 (so does Russ Hudson). I still have no idea why my trainer thinks he is a Type 6!
I wonder what the “3s” would say if they peeled away the norm and viewed the world through the narrow-vision of the people he serves (bubble), who praise him, who manipulate him (through his worship), and who have been on the tail end of getting fired by proxy (Twitter, underling, not Trump).
I think he is performing 8. He’s so messed up that it’s hard to know for sure.
No this man cares faaaaar to much about what others think of him. I am an 8 wing 7. I would own calling him an 8 if it made sense. 8’s have a firm vision on what they want. He does not. He is adaptable, and highly concerned with the thoughts and opinions of others. 8’s would not post 150 tweets a day because they care about what some d list celebrity said about them. He does however masquerade with confidence but its an illusion that has been created for the sake of political support. 3’s do quite well making… Read more »
Trump is definitely an 8 – and a sexual undertype
Type 6 counterfobic – 8 and 3 is simply wrong 🙂
I’m an 8. Trump reminds me of how I acted in elementary school (and I say this as closer to a supporter than an anti). If only he could take a step back and objectively evaluate how his responses even to legitimate persecution often do more harm than good, and how all the BS he has to endure from the establishment and his haters blind him to legitimate constructive criticism and cause him to see mere personality clashes as unfair persecution. But I don’t think that’s possible in the heat of all of it without a miracle. It took me… Read more »