The Gut Triad-Types Eight, Nine, and One
Eight, Nine, and One are the types that make up the gut center triad. The underlying emotion associated with the gut center is anger. It fuels the drive or passion for each of these gut types.
Straight Shooter Eight
Emotion: Anger externalized
Energy: Larger than life
Eight represents the externalized version of anger. The Straight Shooter’s anger is like a summer thunderstorm: it rises quickly, booms and pounds intensely, and is over in a flash. When it’s finished, it’s finished. The air is clear.
Eight’s drive or passion plays out as excess or lust. (Lust in this instance refers to a “lust for life” rather than sexual appetite.) Live life to the fullest, and then go further. Taste it, eat it, smell it! Give it everything you’ve got! Hold nothing back!
So it’s not surprising that the energy of Eights strikes the rest of us as large. Straight Shooters fill up a room energetically. We feel their will and strength as a large force field extending out from them, pushing ahead with their agenda. We can either feel energized or intimidated by this energy. Whichever we may feel, Eights want to be met energetically.
Sensing from the gut, they push the force field out to check your force field. They want to know where you stand: Are you friend or foe? Will you stand your ground? Are you worthy? If you are intimidated and flee (either actually or with your energy by withdrawing inside yourself), the Eight moves forward. You may be foe or unworthy, and since the Eight can’t sense your presence, they must move forward to confront, to find out what you’re really made of.
As Caitlin, an Eight flight attendant describes her experience: “When people pull back from me or I can’t get a sense of them, it feels like there’s a ‘power void’ and I must move into it. I realize this now and I’m working on just allowing the void, but my natural reaction is to fill up the space.” Nature abhors a vacuum, and no type exemplifies this more than Straight Shooter Eights.
To honor the Eight, we need to meet their considerable energy. To do this, we need to push our own energy from our gut. Bring your attention to the belly center. Now push out your own force field. Allow their force field to probe and find you. If you are trying to communicate with an Eight, be clear, direct, to the point. Don’t be wishy-washy, don’t explain your entire thinking process, just let ’er rip.
Stand your ground while pushing out with your own force field. Do not escalate the conflict or discussion—this will just cause the Eight’s energy to rise. Unless you are an Eight, you can’t rise as far as they can and you’ll be crushed. By the same token, do not wimp out or withdraw your energy. State your position clearly, firmly, and briefly while pushing out with your force field. Show yourself to be worthy of respect in the world of the Eight.
Emotion: Anger forgotten
Drive: Sloth or indolence
Energy: Diffuse extension
Nines have lost awareness of anger or forgotten they are angry, but they are no less driven by it than are Ones and Eights. Anger is kept safely hidden from the Mediator’s view, but they pay a price by also losing their own priorities, desires, even their passion. The strength and action that are the birthright of the gut center are simply not felt. Nines are like an inactive volcano. It takes a lot of energy not to notice something, which may help explain why Nines often feel “low energy” or that they are enlivened by the energy of others.
Their drive is sloth or indolence toward their own priorities or agendas. Down in the Mediator Nine’s gut lives not only forgotten anger, but also passion, life force, and a Nine’s own desires and needs. This inadvertent sacrifice has Nines seemingly blowing whichever way the wind blows, just going along with life, rather than actively participating and creating a life.
Nines seem diffuse energetically to the rest of us, as if the molecules of their force field are spread out over a great distance. They passively sense their environment from the gut center and take in energy and cues from their surroundings and others. Their energy and attention can extend over a large area. One Mediator told me “I sometimes feel I can sense what is going on on the whole property, even though I’m in the front office.”
Their feeling of being merged or “one with everything” can leave the rest of us wondering if they have a separate self or preference. They appear to just go along. If pushed hard however, they seem to sweetly solidify into a smiling, immovable object. While they haven’t chosen a course of action, they have rejected being pushed into one. We find them to be calm, peaceful, easygoing folk, albeit a little extended into the environment. Being with a Nine can feel like falling into a big, comfortable space.
It is important to stay present and clear so that you don’t match the Nine’s energy. Be boundaried and clear in bringing a Nine back to his/her priorities, thoughts, etc. Otherwise, they may reflect your agenda back to you.
Emotion: Anger internalized
Energy: Rigid containment
One contains the internalized version of anger—resentment. Anger is stuffed deep inside and seeps out in the guise of irritation, frustration, and resentment. Perfectionists even turn anger against themselves in the form of haranguing by the internal critic. In this sense, Ones’ anger is more like an active volcano that is not allowed to blow. Small bursts of steam vent through clenched teeth as the One seethes.
Resentment is the drive or passion of the Perfectionist One—small wonder, since anger doesn’t get blown off as with the Eight. Ones are angry at having to circumvent their own desires for that which should be done. Furthermore, there doesn’t seem to be any reward for being virtuous and responsible. One is angry at the inherent unfairness of this situation. Others just skate by, shirking responsibility or cutting corners, and they aren’t penalized for it. In fact, others seem to be enjoying pleasure and indulging their desires, without necessarily having earned them.
The other eight points of the Enneagram experience the Perfectionist’s energy as contained, but intense. (Pragmatic clarity and seriousness characterize Ones, when not angry.) There is a sense that if One did blow, it would be along the lines of Krakatoa. Sometimes, the energy can feel stabbing—like a small slice by the force field with each vent of steam, in the form of criticism. We can find ourselves on the defensive and pushing back angrily.
To meet One’s energy, focus your attention on your belly and the ground. Keep your force field constant. Rather than get defensive, explain your position clearly and calmly. Take Ones seriously, and above all don’t criticize them. Remember their inner critic is already bashing them.
One’s energy can be rigid, tight when change is called for. Allow time if possible for the One to adjust to the change. While staying in your gut, point out that there is more than one right answer, and elicit their help with the change whenever possible.
Lynette Sheppard has taught the Enneagram for over 25 years. She is the author of “The Everyday Enneagram” and moderates the popular Everyday Enneagram Blog.