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What if Donald Trump is neither an Enneagram 8 nor a 3?

What if Donald Trump is neither an Enneagram 8 nor a 3?

There is much debate and even argument about Donald Trump’s Enneagram type. I have joined the ranks of this conversation, even though I am not keen on typing public figures. Why? Because we don’t really know them, we only think we know how they present themselves. That leads me to Donald Trump and also why I think it might be important to understand his type. To understand is, in a way, to be able to predict behavior better, although Enneagram type is far less about behavior and far more about motivation and drive. I write this not because I am sure of anything, instead I write this to get the conversation going.

Last week, Peter O’Hanrahan and I were having dinner, just chatting about our lives and politics since we both follow what is occurring in the latter domain. We were talking about Trump and all of the chaos that is currently ensuing, and I said something that I have been wondering for a long while. Could Donald Trump be an Enneagram 7 and not an Enneagram 8 or 3.

Although I have written several blogs on Donald Trump as an Enneagram 8, in the back of my mind I have thought “Is this really accurate?” I thought he was an 8 with a 7 wing, but the more I have observed him visually, noted his speaking patterns, and borne witness to his behavioral patterns, the more I have pondered that he could be an Enneagram 7 with an 8 wing.

Here’s what got me thinking; Trump does the following:

He pumps up his power using his hands, almost like a pump lever
8s | don’t use their hands to power-up; they power-up through their whole body
3s | don’t ”power-up”; they breathe into their shoulders, neck, and head to feel and appear confident
7s | don’t demonstrate embodied power; mostly in their head, so they need to “pump up”

The lower part of his body is not embodied, particularly his legs
8s | almost always embodied, grounded from their feet up, with energy in their legs
3s | may or may not be embodied, but more typically vacate their chest area rather than their legs
7s | not generally embodied; legs often vacant of energy, as well as the heart area

He has a limited attention span in general
8s | may or may not have limited attention spans; varies with person and context
3s | get impatient when things are too slow but, in general, do not have a limited attention span
7s | continuous limited attention span; get easily distracted by external stimuli and internal thoughts

He doesn’t read and likes only high-level details through short bullet points or visual graphics
8s | will read at length if interested in a topic
3s | read because they want to know what they need to know in order to feel competent and appear “on top of things”
7s | might read, although not thoroughly or in-depth; can “blow-off” learning in-depth, preferring to skim the main points

He has a low frustration tolerance
8s | low to moderate frustration tolerance, so simply take what they want in order to reduce frustration
3s | moderate frustration tolerance; perceive obstacles as frustrating but also as problems to be solved
7s | low frustration tolerance under most circumstances

He reframes negative information
8s | blame as a first line of defense rather than reframe
3s | typically only reframe potential or real failure
7s | reframe chronically for a variety of reasons

He’s narcissistic
8s | not particularly narcissistic unless grandiose
3s | sometimes narcissistic, depending on the level of self-development; lower levels are more narcissistic
7s | narcissistic; narcissism goes with type 7

He’s non-empathic
8s | some are more emphatic than others; some highly empathic
3s | some are more emphatic than others; some highly empathic
7s | non-empathic unless quite high in self-mastery

He hates being told “no”
8s | don’t like being told “no,” but few people say this to them, and 8s will do what they want anyway
3s | don’t dislike “no” any more than other people dislike it
7s | hate the word “no” and get reactive when being told this

He speaks in incomplete thoughts or statements
8s | speak in short sentences with complete thoughts
3s | speak in longer sentences than 8s, almost always with complete thoughts
7s | speak in “word salad” format, not completing thoughts or sentences

He communicates via stream of consciousness
8s | speak with deliberation, rarely impulsively
3s | speak with even more deliberation than 8s, being highly conscious of how they come across
7s | usually in mind, out mouth with little self-censoring

He desires respect and to be taken seriously
8s | usually respected so don’t need to desire it; most often taken seriously
3s | seek respect, but for what they accomplish and typically get it
7s | dearly want to be taken seriously and perceived as “heavyweights” rather than possibly “lightweights”

Why does it matter if Trump is an 8, a 3, or a 7? From my perspective, it would suggest how he is likely to react in these stress-filled and challenging times. If Trump is an 8, he would go into deep denial until his defense of denial would no longer function. Then he would crash. If Trump is a 3, he would go into more and more activity to prove his value until the point of failure. Then he would “hit the wall” and crash. If Trump is a 7, he would spiral down and nothing could stop this until he totally devolved, taking almost everyone with him in the process.

So what do you think? As a note, all comments that are rational, even if impassioned, are welcome. Inflammatory comments and name-calling are not.

Ginger Lapid-Bogda PhD, the author of seven Enneagram-business books, is a speaker, consultant, trainer, and coach. She provides certification programs and training tools for business 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: TheEnneagramInBusiness.com | ginger@theenneagraminbusiness.com

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Eileen Darwin, Melbourne Australia

Interesting Ginger – Mark and I have discussed this question often (I’m an ‘8’ and Mark’s a ‘3’) and we’ve asked other Enneagram followers what they think – and usually it’s 8 or 3… however what you point out above could well be more in line with his ‘scattered’ behaviour / language. One thing we did was relook at the lower health levels (Riso-Hudson) and he certainly fits into those lower emotional health areas – so now I will look at the lower health levels of ‘7’ – thanks for creating ongoing discovery 🙂

Megan
Megan
10 months ago

Oh! Thanks for the thorough breakdowns. I always thought of him as a counter phobic 6 but now I can see the 7!

michael worsfold
10 months ago

like your use of behaviour characteristics to differentiate

obvious commander stands out
often total disregard for other

very independent thinker. outsmarted both parties on election.
a 10 on dominance
USA brand first. the defender
always the deal maker
i’ve taken comfort in his desire to win . he may appear reckless. like a fox i think.

for these reasons i still say 8 dominates as leader style. w strong 7 wing for all the reasons u listed

Jay
Jay
10 months ago

7 hates responsibility of any kind and hates being tied down to a thing. I can’t imagine a 7 running for president and sticking to it and not changing their mind. Narcissism (self love) is a three thing sevens are insecure. 7s cannot stand negativity and cannot upset others easily. Overall I think your points are valid but only in describing his wing

James
James
2 months ago
Reply to  Jay

Jay, I agree with you about 7s not liking responsibility. 7’s are constantly thinking about the next exciting thing to do. This is evidenced in Trump’s career-Real Estate to Casino’s to Miss America to Reality Show to eventually President. Getting on the debate stage may have been as far as he thought it through?

Melissa Wright
Melissa Wright
1 month ago
Reply to  Jay

Just one quick note…
Narcissism is not self-love. It is a cover for painfully deep insecurity that the ego cannot and will not allow one to feel and thus the narcissistic personality is dominant.

Thank you.

Rachel Alexandria
10 months ago

Thank you! I have often thought he isn’t an 8, and this 7 argument makes MUCH more sense to me. Also, I don’t think 8s can continue at work they feel incompetent at for such a long time. 7 w 8 makes so much more sense to my gut.

Suzie
Suzie
3 months ago

I don’t think he “feels incompetent” nor does his results show incompetency. Perhaps that could be ones own bias or perception than what he truly is. He has long been involved. Makes the deal. Works the deal. Doesn’t quit based on other’s perception of incompetency.

I think an 8 is accurate.

Jennifer
10 months ago

I’m an 8w7 and still believe he’s an unhealthy 8w7. I will watch body movements more and these are all valid points. Ultimately we don’t really know his motivations, so is it possible to ever really know? But I love to try! Thanks! This is great!

Shelby
Shelby
10 months ago
Reply to  Jennifer

I agree with Jennifer. Regarding the use of his hands when he speaks, I think he probably used his whole body for emphasis more when he was younger. Many people are less animated as they age. 8w7 fits him best in my opinion.

Suzie
Suzie
3 months ago
Reply to  Jennifer

I also want to add that many of his motions and word patterning are also parts of gifted iq individuals and Dabrowski’s overexcitabilities. I would put his iq in the range of highly gifted based on his 8 plus quirks and overexcitabilities. With people in gifted iq ranges, there has to be an overlay of those magnifications that can conflict with a wing or dominant style. Also, he may be directed to use more upper body movement for TV purposes. Do early Trump interviews show this same pattern? Or is it in the recent decade?

DiogenesHasADog
DiogenesHasADog
3 months ago
Reply to  Suzie

As much as I love the Enneagram, sometimes I can’t help but notice how oversimplification and confirmation bias plays a lot of part in how people interpret the Enneagram. He has gifted IQ? I don’t agree to that. He lacks proficiency in any highly technical, scientific, overly complex matters. Hence why Trump keeps making his own decisions in regards to the virus without any consultation with the scientific findings. As an ENTJ 8w9 or 7, I cannot fathom how someone could be this “base” or overly simplistic in their way of thinking. Then again, I think he’s an ESTP 8w7.… Read more »

Suzie
Suzie
3 months ago

Hi, often one has to also be gifted to recognize the idiosyncratic parts of another gifted person. Dabrowski’s overexcitabilities example it and have been studied. Your statement was based on bias and influences your comment. Mine, on the other hand removes the bias and looks at outlier activity to overlay enneagram and gifted iq aspects. As a gifted person, I don’t use grandiose verbiage or side with every scientific study as fact. In fact, the higher the iq, the less agreeable, conforming to group think, you become and actualize as one’s self. For outliers, there must be some overlapping in… Read more »

Melissa Wright
Melissa Wright
1 month ago

agreed. No proof whatsoever of a high IQ.

FreeSpeechDoesNotBelonghere
FreeSpeechDoesNotBelonghere
3 months ago
Reply to  Suzie

Someone who’s highly gifted would not be telling others to inject disinfectant into their bodies. That’s a bunch of bollocks.

Trump is just a political animal, whose only fit to be a business tycoon.

Suzie
Suzie
3 months ago

Hi! I am profoundly gifted, and his actions and thoughts resemble highly to profoundly gifted. First, if you review the press briefing for that day, you would be able to find a direct quote within context. I watched the entire press briefing, and what he is saying, abbreviated, is about a conversation he had with the two doctors and others about ways to disinfect the blood. We do have ways to do that with UV light directly on externally circulated blood. Also, there is thought on how UV light produces vitamin D3, how it protects in the gut, and how… Read more »

Eric Foggitt
Eric Foggitt
10 months ago

Very interesting; thanks for your thoughts and your post. Trump’s frenzied activity and poor attention to detail make him (Like Boris Johnson) look like a Type 7, but down the levels (as per Riso-Hudson) several types fit that bill – and no-one’s denying that he’s down the levels. What you omit is his pre-presidential history of land deals, appearance on TV shows and his dealings with Scotland etc: these don’t suggest a Type 7 at all: he’s not interested in experience and fun; it’s all about getting his own way. These, his choice of partners and his overweening narcissism suggest… Read more »

Rob Noble
10 months ago

Very persuasive comments, Ginger. An excellent analysis. I’ve been troubled by his typing as an eight, given some of his tendencies that don’t normally align, especially the narcissism. Looks as though a crash and burn may be coming.
Regards
Rob Noble
noble-works.net

Tanja eikenboom
10 months ago

These are very interesting observations, Ginger. I still think he is an 8 though. He is strongly motivated by revenge (the reason he run for president in the first place is to get back at Obama for making fun of him at the press club dinner). He expects blind loyalty. He loves confrontation. He also act like a mafia boss, expecting his children to follow him in his footsteps. All more 8. I do think he has a very strong 7 wing and a 3 fix.

Mary
Mary
10 months ago

I am a 7 and I am surrounded of 7 around me (my boss is 7w8) and no way Donald Trump can be a 7. A Presidential is too much commitment for us! We are so independent don’t forget it ;). We just hate any kind of control on us and for this reason we won’t try to control others’.

I think Trump is a 8w7. I can see many of his traits in the 8w7 I met in my life and this makes much more sense than 7.

Heath Davis Havlick
10 months ago

Hi, Ginger— Thanks for bringing up such a timely and interesting topic! Here are some thoughts and observations: Re: reading – I’m a Seven, and I read voraciously. I read the dedication, the acknowledgements, the introduction – everything. It’s likely part of my FOMO, a classic symptom of Sevens. My Eight sister, on the other hand, can’t sit still long enough to read. I would think that if Trump were a Seven, his FOMO would make him want to know as much detail as possible. Head Types want guidance; they want to know how to move forward in the world,… Read more »

Ken
10 months ago

I’m wondering about Trump’s childhood and if his childhood wounds give direction to his type. From what I read and know it would be easy to envision him having the childhood experience of a 3, 7 or 8. I have always thought of him as an 8 with 7 wing, but your blog gives me food for thought. Love it that you gave it attention and had the courage to post.

Linda Rich
Linda Rich
10 months ago

Very interesting!

Your spell-check seems to be challenged by “empathic” and “emphatic”

He’s non-empathic
8s | some are more emphatic than others; some highly empathic
3s | some are more emphatic than others; some highly empathic
7s | non-empathic unless quite high in self-mastery

Lynn Mesh
Lynn Mesh
7 months ago

I see this is an older post but would really like to add my two cents as a 7w8. I own a business and use the enneagram to help my Staff more easily get along and to help my business be more peaceful. I have gotten into so many heated debates about DT’s enneatype and having coached my staff in such an intimate way due to the nature of my business I strongly believe he is an unhealthy 3. The main reason is the way he lies. 7’s And 8’s don’t lie to deceive. Unhealthy 3’s are delusional narcissists who… Read more »

Tiffiny
3 months ago
Reply to  Lynn Mesh

I so agree with your assessment, of DT and overall the low-level 3’s tendencies and behaviors, i.e. the getting high on power, manipulation, narcissistic tendencies, gaslighting, etc. I have a sister that is a 3 and this describes her to a tee – incredibly successful in her own right, talented, but deadly toxic and manipulative. I am a 9 and it took me a long time to figure out the type of person she was because I was so focused on preserving the peace. But low level 3’s don’t care about peace, if the ship is sinking they will surely… Read more »

JohnE
JohnE
5 months ago

Counterphobic 6, puzzle solved.

Dj J Granville
Dj J Granville
5 months ago

he’s not a 7. I think he appears very grandiose and should sign of blame and denial (actually quite frequently). I think he’s a 8w7 835 sp/so

James
James
5 months ago

The biggest thing that makes me doubt him being an 8, is that 8’s tend not to be bullies. They value the underdogs and are actually quite empaphetic. They are like Great Danes – extremely friendly dogs, but due to their size they may bump a few people out of their way unintentionally.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
4 months ago

I have ALWAYS thought he was a 7 and nothing has proven this more than his crazy press conferences related to COVID-19. He CANNOT feel pain, like a 7, thus he spins everything to the “positive” or the “possible”–just like a 7.

Rainbowbody13@gmail.com

Delightful discussion. I am a sidereal astrologer which we call the science of light. As soon as I learned the Enneagram I realized it was planetary type, so unlike most schools of the Enneagram I pay attention to body type. The gas giants Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus give larger bodies and movement, , and the smaller planets, Mercury, Venus, earth and Mars, giving smaller frames and quicker movement. each human is a 10 dimensional miracle of consciousness, spun by the lathe of heaven. a five pointed human star with a natural character, an chief element, and full range of evolutionary… Read more »

Maka
Maka
1 month ago

Woah

james
james
4 months ago

Yes, definitely a 7!! Just google Beatrice Chestnut’s description of a self-preservation 7 and you will find Trump all the way down to the quid pro quo.

Helen
Helen
2 months ago

It’s June 2020. I’m an E 8, have studied the Enneagram deeply and have recognized quite a few things in Trump, things that are possibilities.Yet by now I’ve been looking and looking for his withdrawal to the closet/ castle or golf course, never to emerge again. But no.Instead yes, the relentless spiraling downward…

James
James
2 months ago

This is a profoundly insightful. After reading this and Beatrice Chestnut’s description of a self-preservation 7, I am convinced Trump is a 7. However, we’ll never know for sure unless Trump decides he needs to figure out his enneagram number.
https://www.personalitycafe.com/threads/self-preservation-sevens-according-to-beatrice-chestnut.735738/

James
James
27 days ago

Beatrice Chestnut’s description of a self preservation 7 describes Trump so consistently from the art of the deal, to the quid pro quo, to the mafia style business family.
His handling of the Covid is very 7 with suggesting miracle cures. I even think of how Trump expresses gluttony with the piles of food in the White House.

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