Type 8 as children

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Type 8 as children

Post by Khys on Sun Jul 01, 2012 10:29 pm

Parental Orientation of 8s (pasted from here http://www.enneagraminstitute.com/TypeEightOverview.asp)

As young children, Eights were ambivalent to the nurturing-figure, the person in their early development who mirrored them, cared for them, and provided affection and a sense of personal value. This is often the mother or a mother substitute, but in some families, the father or an older sibling may serve as the nurturing-figure.

Eights did not strongly bond with or identify with their nurturing figure (like Threes), but they also did not psychologically separate from them entirely either (like Sevens). As a result, Eights learned that they could maintain some kind of connection with the nurturing-figure and fit into the family system by functioning in a role that was complementary to the nurturing-figure. The nurturing-figure represented (and therefore "owned") the qualities associated with motherhood: warmth, caring, nurturance, approval, gentleness, and sensitivity. Thus, the Eight identified with the complementary patriarchal role, and learned that the best way to get some sense of value, affection, and nurturance was to be "the strong one," the little protector, the one that others turn to for strength and guidance, especially in a crisis. Eights then identified completely with this role, feeling that to give it up is to lose their identity as well as any hope of ever being loved or cared for.

Like Twos and Fives, the other "ambivalent" types, Eights feel that their well-being and survival are dependent on fulfilling their role in life. Twos believe that they must always selflessly nurture and care for others, Fives believe that they have no role to play and must find one, and Eights believe that they must be the decisive, strong person who can handle the big problems and who is indifferent to hardship and suffering. As with all of the types, the healthy manifestations of these roles can lead to extremely important contributions to the people around them, or even in the world. However, as fear and insecurity grows, these roles become prisons which trap the types and prevent them from expressing the full range of their humanity.

As we have seen, Eights begin to repress their fear and vulnerability so that they will be strong enough to meet whatever challenges they must. In highly dysfunctional families or in otherwise dangerous childhood environments, those challenges may be considerable, and in Eights, the result is a tough, aggressive person with a limited capacity to get close to others or to acknowledge their hurt. It is as if Eights must construct a tough carapace of aggressive ego defenses so no one will ever again be able to get at the soft, vulnerable person inside.

If Eights have suffered serious abuse in childhood, their faith in others and in the world becomes so damaged and closed off that they live in constant anticipation of rejection and betrayal. They find it difficult to trust anyone, and are consumed with rage at the injustices they feel have been perpetrated upon them. Unlike Sixes, who also have trust issues, and who may develop an aggressive style of defense against the world, Eights do not believe they can rely on anyone or anything outside themselves. Within their family system, they experienced themselves as the authoritative person. There was no one else to turn to for reassurance or guidance, so Eights are unwilling to allow their destiny or decision making capacity to be placed in anyone else’s hands ("The buck stops here.")

If there was some degree of warmth, nurturance, and mutual support in the Eight’s early childhood environment, chances are good that as an adult, the Eight will take a strongly protective role, especially with the few people that they trust and are close to. If there was little support or nurturance available, Eights tend to grow up with an "every man for himself" attitude. They feel as though they have had to struggle and fight to survive on their own, and if others are going to make it, they better be able to take care of themselves. Looking out after "number one" is a full time job, and caring too much about others becomes a survival risk.

We can see very clearly in this type how a child’s natural qualities—in this case, high energy, physical endurance, and willpower—combine with a family constellation to crystallize a particular pattern of behaviors and attitudes that determine a person’s identity. In the discussion of the Levels that follows, we will also see how these natural qualities, when positively encouraged and expressed lead to constructive, empowering human beings who leave a lasting legacy behind them. At the other end of the scale, where these energies have been twisted and distorted by abuse, we see vengeance, destructiveness, and a legacy of another kind.


Parental Orientation of 6s

As the result of their formative experiences, Sixes became connected with their protective figures. The protective figure was the adult in the child’s early environment who provided guidelines, structure, and sometimes discipline. This was the person who occupied the traditional patriarchal position in the family. Most often this was their fathers, or a father figure, such as a grandfather or teacher, but in many cases the mother or an older sibling may actually be the protective-figure. As children, Sixes wanted the security of approval by their protective figures, and felt anxious if they did not receive it. As they grew up, their connection with their protective figure shifted to an identification with substitutes for this person, such as civil authorities or belief systems from which they could obtain security.

Because they are connected to the protective figure, Sixes powerfully internalize their relationship with that person, whether it is a loving, supportive one, or a difficult, destructive one. They continue to play out in their lives the relationship with the person who held authority in their early childhood years. If Sixes as children perceived that their protective figure was benevolent, and a reliable source of guidance and encouragement, as adults, they will continue to look for similar direction and support from others, be it their spouse, their job, their therapist or a mentor. They will do their best to please this figure or group, and will dutifully observe the rules and guidelines they have been given. In this case, though, Sixes will feel extremely disappointed and betrayed if the other person or situation violates their trust or fails to live up to their expectation of support.

On the other hand, if Sixes experienced their protective figures as abusive, unfair, or controlling, they will internalize this relationship with authority and feel themselves always at odds with those who they believe have power over them. They walk through life fearing that they will be "in trouble" and unjustly punished, and adopt a defensive, rebellious attitude as a protection from the cruel protective figure they project into many of their relationships. Sixes who suffered extremely dysfunctional childhood environments may have been so devalued or ill-treated by their protective figure that they end up leading self-destructive, wasted lives as they unconsciously live out their protective figure’s negative image of them.

Furthermore, just as Threes, to varying degrees, abandoned themselves to become more acceptable to their nurturing figures, Sixes abandon themselves to gain security from their protective figure or from someone or something which is acting as a substitute for that person. In both cases, Sixes feel cut off from an internal sense of their own stability, their own ability to move forward in the world with confidence. They may act this out directly, through a phobic, dependent approach to life, or they may react against it with assertive, counterphobic behavior. Either way, Sixes are not really experiencing their own inner capacity and strength, and must constantly look outside themselves for reassurance, support, and evidence of their ability to successfully engage with life. As Sixes deteriorate, however, either their dependency on allies and authorities, or their hysterical reactions to them, increase until they actually destroy their own security.

As a result of their identification with the protective figure, whether phobic or counterphobic, Sixes are internally questioning their activities to see whether they will meet with the internalized standards of the protective figure—their superego. Like Ones, Sixes are often trying to figure out the "right" course of action, and they attempt to do this by thinking about how their various mentors, allies, and authority figures would respond to each choice. Sixes may go around and around in this process for days if the decision is a major one, because they are afraid of alienating any of their supporters. It is as though Sixes must regularly hold committee meetings in their imagination to "check in" with the different people with whom they have identified. Highly counterphobic Sixes may well bluster at authorities they see as unfair, but they too need their support network, and do not want to take actions which might jeopardize it. Of course, less healthy Sixes may undermine their system of support because of their hysterical reactivity and paranoia, but they will then go to great lengths to reconnect with some source of security. In all Sixes, the pattern of orienting themselves to life by obtaining the reassurance and approval of others (who, in one way or another, function as external sources of security and support) is one which is deeply ingrained in their nature.
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Re: Type 8 as children

Post by madhatter on Mon Jul 02, 2012 5:40 pm

This is good. Type 8 describes my dad...abusive childhood, etc. I can see the 8 mentality bleed over into my own upbringing.



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Re: Type 8 as children

Post by Khys on Mon Jul 02, 2012 8:05 pm

Check out the Type 5 one. Really nails it for me.

Parental Orientation
As a result of their formative experiences, these children became ambivalent to both parents. Fives, like Twos and Eights, were in search of a niche within the family system, a role that they could fulfill that would win them protection and nurturance. For whatever reasons, though, they perceived that there was no place for them to fit in—that nothing they could do was wanted or needed by their family. As a result, Fives withdrew from active participation in the family to search for something that they could "bring to the table." Fives want to find something that they can do well enough to feel like an equal of others. Unlike other types, however, since Fives’ underlying fear is of being helpless and incapable, they generally look for areas of expertise that others have not already explored or exploited. In a sense, their agenda is to focus on the search for and mastery subjects and skills until they feel confident enough to "reenter" the world.

In the meantime, Fives strike a kind of bargain with their parents which carries over into all of their subsequent relationships: "Don’t ask too much of me, and I won’t ask too much of you." Fives feel that they need most of their limited time and energy to acquire the knowledge and skills that they believe will make them capable and competent. Thus, average Fives come to resent intrusions upon their space, their time, and certainly upon their persons. What for another type might feel like a comfortable distance can feel overwhelming to an average Five. he reasons for this may relate to the Five’s feeling of not having a place in the family. They may have felt crowded out or intruded upon by their parents agendas, or perhaps even literally. Their parents may have nurtured them erratically, or perhaps may have been emotionally disturbed or alcoholic or caught in a loveless marriage, and therefore not dependable sources of love and reassurance. The result is that these children become ambivalent not only toward both parents, but ambivalent toward the world.

Fives attempt to resolve their ambivalence by not identifying with anything other than their thoughts about the world outside themselves. They feel that their thoughts are "good" (that is, correct, and can be safely identified with), while outside reality is "bad" (and must therefore be vigilantly watched), so that it can be repulsed at a moment's notice. In average to unhealthy Fives, the sense of being crowded may have resulted in them feeling unsafe in their bodies. They then become profoundly detached, indifferent to physical comfort, and extremely cerebral as if the quality of their material existence was irrelevant to them. In truth, it is not, but fearful Fives are willing to jettison many comforts and even needs in order to protect the space and time they feel they need to pursue their interests—that is, those areas they are trying to master.

They continue to find their parents, the world, and other people fascinating and necessary, but Fives also feel that they must keep everything and everyone at a safe distance lest they be in danger of being overwhelmed by some outside force. Thus, from the very way they think—their "cognitive style"—Fives set up a strict dualism between themselves and the world: they see everything as essentially split into two fundamental areas—the inner world and the outer world, subjects and objects, the known and the unknown, the dangerous and the safe, and so forth. This sharp split between themselves as subjects and the rest of the world as objects has tremendous ramifications throughout their entire lives.


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Re: Type 8 as children

Post by madhatter on Tue Jul 03, 2012 12:19 pm

I don't relate to everything in the 5 parental orientation. I have been ambivalent towards my mother, she could be quite smothering, especially when she was at average unhealthy levels after my parents' divorce. I myself was average to unhealthy during that period of time, and unhealthy 2 and unhealthy 5 don't mix well...she tried to cling harder, while I became increasingly detached.

I like the Law of Three childhood scenarios:

Neutral child vs. Responsive parent
This scenario is thought to produce Enneagram type 5

In this relationship, the Responsive parent is inclined to give a lot of unrequested attention to the Neutral child, who perceives his parent's supportive and affectionate attitude as a form of smothering. The youngster will tend to withdraw from his environment, preferring solitary activities and contemplation, but as opposed to the previous scenario (of type 9), loneliness will not be accompanied by a feeling of rejection. At the contrary, being alone is a matter of choice and it gives a feeling of security and well-being, knowing that there is always someone to communicate with when they decide to seek out company.

Such children are genuine loners, who prefer and enjoy their solitude. They are introspective, insightful and love learning and discovering things on their own, usually rejecting any help or intervention from the outside. They are afraid of being intruded upon because their parents used to make a fuss over them and suffocate them with attention and demands for closeness.

But I always had a good relationship with my dad, so it's hard for me to see the ambivalence towards him at first. He's an ISTP too, and I think that we understand each other fairly well, and he always gave me my space. However, my dad also was unhealthy when I was growing up, and had a real anger problem...he was verbally and emotionally abusive, and at one or two times, much to his horror and shame, physically...he never beat us, but there was one time when he threw my brother across the room and laid hands on my mom and sister. I never got the brunt of this...I usually hid on the staircase or rode my bike while my parents fought. I guess that falls into erratic raising for him. You never knew how he was going to be when he got home...he could not constructively deal with his anger. He has been seriously fucked up from his own abusive childhood, and I think there's baggage from that that he never really dealed with. After my mom filed for divorce, he got counseling, and he's been a lot better. However, it's still hard to predict how he's going to react to something. He's definitely on the bi-polar spectrum, a mild case...probably cyclothymia.

At this time in my life, though, I am happy to say that I have a pretty good relationship with both parents. I love them both, and have always known that they love me, which is comforting. However, I need space from them too, especially from my mom...she is much needier than my dad.


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