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What’s next with Trump | where grandiosity and paranoia intersect

Although I know some people believe Trump might be an Enneagram Three rather than a type Eight, as my type Three friends and colleagues say, “No self-respecting Three – being an image type – would ever wear hair like that or have an orange yellow-face with large white circles around the eyes. We’d have it done better than that!”

What happens next with Trump? Will he win? Will he lose? Or, is something else on the horizon? A month ago and prior to either the Republican or Democratic conventions, I had an intuition. I mentioned to my neighbor and to my office staff that I thought it possible that Trump might drop out of the race. It was an intuition on my part, but all those to whom I mentioned this said, “But he is all about winning!” In response, I said, “Yes, but for Trump if he thinks he will lose, it is more important not to lose than to win. Watch the polls.”

Today in the news, there are rumors that this is possible, though the Trump campaign vehemently denies it. Here’s my thinking, unchanged from last month about why and how. If the polls show over time that he is losing ground, both in popular vote but even more important, in a path to winning the electoral college vote – in the US, each state gets a special number of votes based on their relative populations plus 2 votes just because it is a state – I believe he will quit the race, and here’s why.

In my assessment, Trump can’t afford to finance his own campaign, even if he had the amount of money he claims. Most of his money is not liquid, so he would have to sell off everything. If the poll numbers keep showing him losing, he would be unlikely to even try to finance his losing campaign. It would be more than he likely has, and he would never get it back. Even though Trump is doing better with donations in the last month, he is having a difficult time getting funding from major outside donors. In addition, Clinton has accumulated a vast treasure chest for her campaign over the last six months, but not so Trump. The less he gets, the less he gets.

Trump does not seem to have any frustration tolerance for the idea that he would lose. So if it looks like he could or will lose, Trump will, I believe, find a way out before the election occurs. He’d rather be a “quitter” than a “loser.” And as an Eight, he really knows how to blame – or at least try to blame – others when things are not going his way. Blaming is the Eights’ defense mechanism; we all have our own by type.

So who will Trump blame? Several months ago, it might have been the media, always a target for public figures and politicians when things are not going their way. That strategy won’t work very well these days; not only is blaming the media overused, but Trump wouldn’t be able to blame his leaving the presidential race on the media alone.

Trump would blame the Republican party for not supporting him enough. He would blame the RNC (Republican National Committee); he would blame big Republican donors; he would blame Paul Ryan, Speaker for the House of Representatives, Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader, and John McCain, just because he could. In other words, Trump would frame this not as “quitting,” and not as “losing,” but as “winning” an honorable battle against establishment politicians. Trump would hold onto his self-perception of being honest and noble, the Republicans would have no presidential candidate, chaos would ensue, and Trump would take most of his supporters with him, somewhere! His own cable TV channel, perhaps? New product endorsements? A third-party candidate?

Grandiosity and paranoia
Helen Palmer, from whom I learned the Enneagram years ago, told me something that stuck with me all these years. Helen, an intuitive and a very psychologically savvy person, said this: “With Enneagram Eights, if they are low functioning, their grandiosity is matched by an equal does of paranoia. The more grandiose, the more paranoid; the more paranoid, the more grandiose.”

I think we can expect more grandiosity and more paranoia from Donald Trump in the coming weeks and months. After that, perhaps my prediction will come true.

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. ginger@theenneagraminbusiness.com

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5 years ago


My sense is you’ve hit the nail squarely on the head!


5 years ago

Don’t you think he is type 3, instead of  8? I don’t see the power that usually 8s have…not to mention all the campaign is about himself and his successes. Tremendous crowds, great people, everybody likes us etc…I think his hair is the expressions that he doesn’t give a  *****.  He even makes jokes about it, I think he is definitely covering up his weakness with those comments.

Courtney M
Courtney M
5 years ago

Totally agree with your assessment. Donald Trump is no 3 imho. Solid 8. Unevolved. He thinks he should be/is king.

5 years ago

Trump is an 8, unhealthy at that. My belief is he hasn’t been tested for some underlining mental health issue that is showing itself, bullying and lack of self-control. No Type 3 would do the public displays he’s doing. Most 3s are so afraid of looking foolish that would work on their public speaking, something Trump lacks. Just look at some examples of 3s we know. He screams some lost childhood that left him vulnerable and afraid and anytime someone hurts his feelings he lashes out and make up falsehood. I once worked with young kids and him at times… Read more »

5 years ago

AdrienneMcue what you described can easily be a type 3 on an unhealthy dynamics. He is so sure about his just, he doesn’t care about if he looks foolish – because he thinks he doesn’t look foolish. He is totally type 3…that bragging and the constant PERSONAL stories typical type 3 attributes…and btw where do you see the power? I can only see him promising, nothing is concrete…words…words…words…A type 8 should be different than that I guess. What are your opinions?

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