Have you ever been bullied in life?
When we hear of bullies, we think of Junior High. However even at forty-six, I run into people in business who I consider, “human bulldozers” which are people who try to force their power over other people. An example of a human bulldozer I recently encountered said sarcastically, “she will do it or I will hold a gun to her head.” Most of the time, the exertion of control is not quite that obvious; however, it does make an obvious point.
I have a hard time liking people who are willing to hurt someone for their own gain in such a self-promotional way. Interestingly, while I disagree with the bulldozer approach, my recent studies of the Enneagram have helped me gain strength and compassion for such people. When we understand the psychology of other people the better we can respond in a healthy way without retaliation knowing it is their problem and not ours.
You may have heard, hurting people hurt people. If you run into someone who is excessively aggressive, it could be a sign that at their core they are overcompensating for past unhealed pain. Many people who are bullies have a deep inner hurt. In the Enneagram that dominating personality type is typically an unhealthy eight. Also known as the challenger or protector.
When you first face them, unhealthy eights may try to exert their power over you and show aggressive behavior with little concern for other’s feelings. They do not want to be controlled so they over control others and don’t want to show vulnerability. Yet they do have a soft inside. In their healthy state, they also protect the weak. They can be courageous and show you how to push your limits.
People who challenge us make us stronger. After we get over the feeling of being knocked down when someone tries to bulldoze us, doesn’t it ignite a whole new explosive energy within us to show them what we are truly made of? Sometimes setbacks can give us the energy we really need to show people not to doubt us. It can bring out a strength in us to call upon a higher power for confidence and show us we are not weak.
If you have difficulty relating to the Challenger type personality, here are some tips shared on relating to eights by “Enneagrams at Work.”
To create rapport: Make direct contact; be assertive and don’t back down in the face of their strength
Try to avoid: Controlling them without their agreement, making them sit still for long, or being disrespectful
Join them: Getting things moving in work or play
To handle conflict: Stand up to them and confront them directly (in your own style). Accept their angry energy while challenging them to not go off the deep end. Be tough on destructive or threatening behavior, empathetic to underlying hurt feelings.
To support their growth: Support them in using their energy in constructive ways. Confront them on unconscious aggression or their use of anger as a comfortable habit. Help them get in touch with their vulnerability. Assume that they need love and care even when they don’t show it.
When you look at people who challenge you as those who can make you grow stronger, you will rise up and gain respect. Remember to tap into your compassion and look deeper at possible causes for the person’s actions.
All personality types have unhealthy and healthy versions. The more you understand people, the faster you will be able to respond rather than react. Those who learn to grow and tap into their own healthy versions are truly the more powerful people.
To learn more about the Enneagram 8 and other various personality types as well as how to become the healthier version of you, visit: