Asserter Personality – Type 8 on the Enneagram

Powerful, resourceful, and protective, people who possess the magnanimous Asserter (a.k.a. Challenger) temperament are inspiring; their personal strengths definitely improve the lives of others. The  basic desire of Asserters is to control their own destiny, and shield themselves from their ultimate fear - being controlled or harmed by others.  Consequently, the Asserter’s antennae are always on alert,  in an attempt to detect and deflect negative actions – or even negative vibes.

As their name suggests, Asserters thrive on being challenged. As a side activity, they also look for opportunities that will allow others to learn and excel. Using their willpower, charisma, and abundant energy, Asserters want to make a difference and leave their mark on the world.

Being in charge and leaving an imprint is a key component of the Asserter temperament. The downside of this can be seen in Asserters who are out of balance, wanting to completely control not only their own lives but the lives of their family, friends, coworkers and even romantic partners.

What they do not want is anyone or anything to control them in any manner including financially, emotionally, socially, physically, or sexually. When an Asserter personality feels that someone is governing them, they may become confrontational in order to protect themselves. Asserters can have hot tempers and usually feel extremely uncomfortable when they are vulnerable.

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The most independent of all the personality types, Asserters may be viewed by others as the toughest with whom to get along. These individuals strongly resist being indebted to anyone; they refuse to conform to basic social norms that others find acceptable. In fact, they would rather deal with the shame, fear, or undesirable outcome of going against such norms, rather than kowtowing to them.

Asserters never let others’ opinions impact their behavior, beliefs, or opinions. Though usually able to tolerate a considerable amount of physical pain, it’s difficult for them to cope with emotional, mental or psychological discomfort. This temperament tends to use physical strength to intimidate others, keeping others at a distance emotionally to better ensure that no one can affect them. In a relationship, Asserters at their worst can be demanding, combative, possessive and quick to pass judgment on their partner. However, Asserters at their best are loyal, caring and committed partners, ready to provide support to their loved one when necessary.

Asserters are hard workers and do their best to provide for their families. This is the only way many of them know how to “connect,” as they are often emotionally barren, thanks to their deep-seated tendency to remain remote. This can, of course, have a negative affect on their relationships with others. Asserters often feel misunderstood – after all, they are good providers and their families are well taken care- of when it comes to finances and material things. This lack of appreciation from their loved ones makes Asserters feel rejected and hurt, causing them to turn inward and distance themselves even more.  Rather than communicate openly to express their feelings, which would expose their vulnerability, this temperament goes into a protective cocoon.

Asserters are extremely distressed by the thought of rejection. In fact, to avoid even the possibility of being excluded, this personality type will reject others first. This can result in an interesting romantic dynamic, as whenever there is even the slightest indication (real or imagined) that their partner, or a potential partner, might rebuke or rebuff them, the Asserter has already beaten them to the punch. And since love and affection gives one person power over another, Asserters may wall themselves off against forming deep connections. This is a cyclical process; the higher an Asserter builds a wall to shield themselves, the more disconnected they become emotionally.

Celebrities with this personality type include:  Matt Damon, Serena Williams, Susan Sarandon, Barbara Walters and Indira Gandhi.

At their best, Asserters have a can-do attitude, an impressive inner drive and a zest for life. They are honorable, natural, grounded leaders who strive to make the world a better place.

When they are in that place of disconnectedness born from fear of rejection or slights against their authority or self-respect, they withdraw. Then, not only do they neglect their desire for emotional connection and support, but they also ignore their physical needs and problems, which frequently results in health issues.

Personal growth recommendations for Asserters include:

·       Act with self-restraint. Your real power lies in your ability to inspire and uplift people. You are at your best when you take charge and help someone through a crisis. Few will take advantage of you then. Plus, you will do more to secure loyalty and devotion by showing the openness of your caring heart to others than you ever could by displays of raw power.

·       Learn to yield to others, at least occasionally. Often, there is little really at stake, and you can allow others to have their way without fear of sacrificing your power, or ignoring your true needs. The desire to dominate everyone at all times, however, is a sign that your ego is beginning to inflate—an obvious danger signal that soon, more serious conflicts with others are inevitable.

·       Remember that the whole world is not against you. Many people care about you and look up to you, but at times, you do not make it easy for them. Allow others to love you. Doing this will actually confirm your strength and support. Rather than alienating others, let the people who believe in you know often how important they are to you.

·       Realize that you actually depend on many people every day. The fact is that whether it’s in your business world or your domestic life, that strong feeling of self-sufficiency you have is largely an illusion.

·       Avoid overvaluing power. Whether a result of wealth, position, or simple brute force, your own overblown sense of power may motivate you to do whatever you want, to feel important or to seek obedience from others through intimidation. But those who are attracted to you because of your power do not love you for yourself, nor do you love or respect them. Instead, let go of the need to be all-powerful and instead, seek out people who appreciate you for all of the other wonderful, true qualities you possess.