President Trump: Hope and Danger
This post originally appeared on Simon's blog, and is used with permission.
What can we expect from Donald Trump as the new American president?
The Enneagram can help us by describing the dispositions and motivations that will be shaping his behaviours.
Trump inhabits the nine space, which in itself is neither good nor bad.
More important than the individual’s number is the degree of health they live within that space. The Enneagram is a very dynamic form of human understanding, and an unhealthy nine is very different from a healthy one.
So Hitler was also a nine, which isn’t encouraging; but so are James Corden and Bill Clinton, which may give cause for hope.
So what does Donald Trump have inside him?
He is president today because of his ability to connect, something he shares with Bill Clinton.
Crucially in the race for the White House, he connected brilliantly with the dispossessed, the angry, those who perceived themselves outside the political circle of love.
And this is exactly what Trump feels about himself. At the heart of the nine space is the sense of somehow being deficient, declared outside the circle of love…and no amount of money will cure this.
A direct consequence of these feelings will be issues around identity, revealed in his naming of every tower, casino and hotel complex after himself. (Clinton has the Clinton Foundation, of course.)
Here also are the roots of his populism. Those with an insecure identity, (and the nine space does start from this place,) need affirmation, need applause, it gives them existence…just as attacks threaten them. (Editors and journalists all tell us how well he remembers each slight years after the event.)
Nines do often exhibit a boundary-free existence. Trump has shown the dark side of this with his assaults on women. But here is also his power to connect, to gauge the feelings in a room, to bring people together, to get deals done.
(Hillary Clinton, who like our own Teresa May, inhabits the Enneagram one space, a much more boundaried soul, who will operate differently.)
Though a billionaire, Trump can reach the dispossessed because this is how he feels about himself, this is his (unconscious) self-perception.
He’s not taking on the Washington elite for others; he’s doing it for himself because he hates the establishment for making him an outsider, outside the circle of love.
Here are dangerous bells ringing from his past. He hates the Washington establishment because they remind him of his parents, who he will still be trying to please.
He’ll be angry with others instead of being angry with them.
The nine space is the most buried space, with a deep sense of sleep with regard to true feelings. Trump’s off-the-cuff comments which can cause great offence – and which people now rightly fear in the foreign policy area – arise from an unconscious that is feared and therefore largely unexplored.
Alongside the ability to connect, therefore, is a turbulent force of rage and ignorance, that those around him will need to help him understand and to edit.
Ironically, the sociopathic need to be loved which propelled him to the White House, and left much of the world reeling in shock, fear and despair may well be the making of his presidency.
I believe him in his acceptance speech when he talks of wishing to heal the divisions in America. There is a great desire for unity in the nine space; and having won the White House, he now genuinely does want to be loved by everybody.
This may well include Vladimir Putin; but it will also include the democrats.
He does want to be loved. And here lies both hope and danger.
Simon Parke is the Author with Marylebone House of A (Very) Public School Murder, and the forthcoming The Soldier, the Gaoler, the Spy and Her Lover. He is very kind in letting us syndicate selected blog posts.