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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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Linda RichKenHeath Davis HavlickShelbyMary Recent comment authors
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Eileen Darwin, Melbourne Australia
Guest

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
Guest
Megan

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
Guest

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
Guest
Jay

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

Rachel Alexandria
Guest

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.

Jennifer
Guest

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
Guest
Shelby

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.

Eric Foggitt
Guest
Eric Foggitt

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
Guest

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
Guest

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
Guest
Mary

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
Guest

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
Guest

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
Guest
Linda Rich

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

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