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    Senior Member VagrantFarce's Avatar
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    Default 8 vs counter phobic 6 - clarifying the difference

    Hello,

    Been thinking about the difference between these two types, and I've been able to clarify it to myself rather well - so I felt like writing it down so other people could tell me what they think.

    Counter phobic sixes are often described as bring confused with 8s because of their confrontational stance. Both can seem belligerent and aggressive, so on the surface it can be hard to tell the difference. Of course as always with the enneagram, it lies within. The two types may act similarly, but will be doing it for two entirely different reasons.

    8s are characterised by their lust for life and extreme groundedness within themselves - they plant their feet in the ground, speak the truth about themselves and others, and will never back down. "Here I am, don't like it? Deal with it." Their aggression comes from wanting to know the same qualities in others - where they stand, who they are, the absolute truth. Like the other body types, the issue is primarily relational - where do people stand, what are they doing and how do they carry themselves doing it?

    With 6s, the issue is not truth - it's loyalty. 6s have trouble with standing on their own two feet, because like the other head types they are ruled by fear. It's like the ground isn't stable enough for them to remain truly centred with themselves, and so they become reliant on others to set boundaries, establish the playing field and assuage their doubt. In this sense, the six is really looking for where the boundaries are - how far can I push this until someone notices? The same can be said of the other extreme as is common of sixes), that they want people to play by the established rules and so berateabd attack others for not honouring them. "Where would we be if no one was keeping check?"

    This has been very hastily typed at work, so apologies if it doesn't do a good job clarifying anything. Anyway, let me know what you think - I would appreciate it.
    Hello
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    i love skylights's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VagrantFarce View Post
    Hello,

    Been thinking about the difference between these two types, and I've been able to clarify it to myself rather well - so I felt like writing it down so other people could tell me what they think.

    Counter phobic sixes are often described as bring confused with 8s because of their confrontational stance. Both can seem belligerent and aggressive, so on the surface it can be hard to tell the difference. Of course as always with the enneagram, it lies within. The two types may act similarly, but will be doing it for two entirely different reasons.

    8s are characterised by their lust for life and extreme groundedness within themselves - they plant their feet in the ground, speak the truth about themselves and others, and will never back down. "Here I am, don't like it? Deal with it." Their aggression comes from wanting to know the same qualities in others - where they stand, who they are, the absolute truth. Like the other body types, the issue is primarily relational - where do people stand, what are they doing and how do they carry themselves doing it?

    With 6s, the issue is not truth - it's loyalty. 6s have trouble with standing on their own two feet, because like the other head types they are ruled by fear. It's like the ground isn't stable enough for them to remain truly centred with themselves, and so they become reliant on others to set boundaries, establish the playing field and assuage their doubt. In this sense, the six is really looking for where the boundaries are - how far can I push this until someone notices? The same can be said of the other extreme as is common of sixes), that they want people to play by the established rules and so berateabd attack others for not honouring them. "Where would we be if no one was keeping check?"

    This has been very hastily typed at work, so apologies if it doesn't do a good job clarifying anything. Anyway, let me know what you think - I would appreciate it.
    Primarily, I like your description of difference. 8 is absolute and 6 is relational. 8 pushes outwards while 6 feels pushed inwards and pushes back.

    timeless posted this on Perc, which I liked:

    Id Aggression 3-7-8:
    - More often impulsive.
    - Based on desire and want.
    - Often inconsiderate of others.
    - Involves more direct confrontation.
    - Seeks gratification for the sake of gratification.
    - Usually very direct in their aggression. More likely to be "active-aggressive."

    Superego Aggression 1-2-6:
    - More often calculated.
    - Based on what's right and wrong.
    - The aggression is often rationalized.
    - Often considerate of others to some degree.
    - Involves both direct and indirect confrontation. Can be "active-aggressive" or "passive-aggressive."
    As a 6, if I am acting aggressive, I can almost always give you a solid one-word answer as to why I am aggressing. It is almost always because of a person who I feel is mistreating myself and others. Once that reason/person is dealt with, the aggression is gone. I have no reason to defend myself and others anymore, so I revert to my usual warm-friendly-open self. I can understand how I could be mistaken for an 8, though, when I am in fullblown CP mode. The key is always going to be that the 6 is basing their sense of sureness on something else, while the 8 has it internally. For example, I don't really have an inner sureness that I know how to run the business I'm working at, but I have a very strong sureness I could run it better than the person who was previously running it. 6s see flaws and issues in highlighter yellow, and so it's easy for us to see how we could do better than. But without a starting point, we feel like we don't have anything to go on.

    The other thing is, 6s, being head types, tend to ruminate about their perceived enemies. They can go on for hours about it, even when the threat isn't a remote possibility. I very strongly doubt 8s do this. So if someone is going on and on about something, they're probably a 6.

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    Quote Originally Posted by VagrantFarce View Post
    8s are characterised by their lust for life and extreme groundedness within themselves - they plant their feet in the ground, speak the truth about themselves and others, and will never back down. "Here I am, don't like it? Deal with it." Their aggression comes from wanting to know the same qualities in others - where they stand, who they are, the absolute truth. Like the other body types, the issue is primarily relational - where do people stand, what are they doing and how do they carry themselves doing it?
    I'd be careful of using "truth" here.

    The truth is, the truth of the 8IE is in their gut (instinct).

    What they feel inside (I), they attempt to export into the external world (E).

    To simply call this "truth" is misleading, as their gut instinct could be very at odds with actual external reality, and there are many other ways of thinking about truth.

    Quote Originally Posted by VagrantFarce View Post
    With 6s, the issue is not truth - it's loyalty.
    This is blatantly false.

    This is the kind of rubbish seen in books on the enneagram written by authors with weak understanding of 6s (Riso & Hudson, especially).

    If you want a much more accurate understanding of 6s, you should read Armando Molina's 'Our Ways: Values & Character'.

    It's the best book on the enneagram, imo, and has the best description of 6s you'll find anywhere.

    Quote Originally Posted by VagrantFarce View Post
    6s have trouble with standing on their own two feet, because like the other head types they are ruled by fear. It's like the ground isn't stable enough for them to remain truly centred with themselves, and so they become reliant on others to set boundaries, establish the playing field and assuage their doubt. In this sense, the six is really looking for where the boundaries are - how far can I push this until someone notices? The same can be said of the other extreme as is common of sixes), that they want people to play by the established rules and so berateabd attack others for not honouring them. "Where would we be if no one was keeping check?"
    This sounds mostly like an unhealthy 6, and not a particularly counterphobic one.

    A healthy 6 will be in touch with their own gut and heart, and thus feel fine establishing these things for themselves.

    Counterphobics will tend to be largely the opposite of what you just described, rejecting the rules/boundaries attempted to be set by others.

    In Molina's expanded theoretical framework, 6s are known as 6SS (6 system-systemic), meaning that they are the purest systemic thinkers.

    Molina, a pupil of Naranjo's, fuses the enneagram with the Hartman Value Profile, which uses a triad-based system of "value realms".

    The three realms are: the intrinsic (I), the extrinsic (E), and the systemic (S).

    Each center has its value realm: gut = I; heart/image = E; head = S.

    Then each type within each center has its own specialization.

    Thus:
    8IE
    9II
    1IS
    2EI
    3EE
    4ES
    5SI
    6SS
    7SE

    As the purest of the systemic thinkers, 6s are extremely good at thinking in theoretical/abstract/systemic ways/terms.

    As such, 6s desire a system that makes sense, that is solid, sturdy, impervious to doubt.

    How they go about attempting to find such a system is up to them as individuals.

    But to say they don't care about truth is absurdly inaccurate.

    6s are known for violently turning on leaders they find to be dishonest/ineffective.

    That doesn't sound like they (counterphobics, especially) have a preference for loyalty over truth... quite the opposite, in fact.
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    Senior Member VagrantFarce's Avatar
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    I should clarify what I mean by truth. The point really is that the eight is measuring where you stand as you present yourself, rather than following a constant stream of 'what-ifs'.

    Also, I did mean to describe the counterphobe as wanting to push and reject boundaries, to see where the break points are. but there is also another 'aggressive' 6 character I've seen described, one often called 'pugnacious' - aggressively defending boundaries & rules.

    And yes, I'm not really considering 'healthy' behaviour, but then I never meant for this to be flattering - just try and make a distinction I see being blurred a lot.

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    Quote Originally Posted by VagrantFarce View Post
    Also, I did mean to describe the counterphobe as wanting to push and reject boundaries, to see where the break points are. but there is also another 'aggressive' 6 character I've seen described, one often called 'pugnacious' - aggressively defending boundaries & rules.
    Yeah, both Naranjo (iirc) and Molina actually break 6s up into three subtypes, not just the two we usually think of, on a spectrum, from phobic to counterphobic. Naranjo associates them with three different varieties of the paranoid personality disorder, I believe (I'll have to go back and check, tho), while Molina describes three versions of unhealthy 6s, each related to a particular value realm. He labels them 6SSi, 6SSe, and 6SSs. The aggressive or pugnacious subtype you've referred to is probably the 6SSs, which is the subtype I most resemble. And you are right that we often defend boundaries and rules, but often times that's for matters of truth, not simply defending a rule/boundary for the rule/boundary's sake. In fact, this subtype tends to resemble the counterphobic subtype in a lot of ways, as it's often rather counter to established rules and boundaries as well. This is also why, as you pointed to earlier, 6s and 1s can have similar qualities. 1s are 1IS, meaning they take their gut instincts and try to transfer them into the systemic realm.

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    Administrator highlander's Avatar
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    I like Naranjo's 3 subtypes. I think 8s are perhaps more consistently aggressive. Counterphobic 6s will vascillate more between confrontational and relational behavior. Anger as an underlying theme vs fear. The 6 will spend more time criticizing themselves and there is more of a tendancy towards projection. More overthinking. The aggression of the 6 is triggered more by a threat - any kind of threat - not just someone being treated badly. The 8's aggression is more driven by a need to control.

    Truth vs loyalty? I dont see much in that. Both are important.

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    You could look at it like this. When the two types are in their unhealthy ways and get into battles, the Six gets annoyingly snippy, argumentative, shoots down your passions, and the Eight just comes out right aggressively into a power struggle. Put the two together in an argument and the Six will be snippy to a point until they feel intimidated, which aint hard to do.

    There is a an unhealthy Type Six that I work with and she tried to push my buttons, I put her in her place and she will barely even look up at me, but after a while, she started getting more and more comfortable until I had to put her right back in her place again. I don't get why she doesn't get it by now, considering she is a nervous wreck, I barely wink and she is back to being submissive. I feel bad, I don't like for her to feel that way... but some people I guess chose to be at the extremes.

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    Senior Member Sanjuro's Avatar
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    The simplest answer is that the difference is in core motivations and fears. It can be difficult to ascertain which side we stand on "type differences" threads--I don't agree with everything I read that's "supposed" to go on with type 4, for instance. 6s and 8s may not identify with everything that's written to distinguish them from one another as well.

    We can go back and forth about behavioral differences all day, and all we're going to do is misrepresent the types or create more confusion. I've been studying the enneagram for about 14 years, and I've seen this over and over again on cp6 vs 8 threads. Behaviors overlap, and a 6 heavily influenced by 8 is NOT going to think of themselves as submissive, overly doubtful, whatever. An 8 heavily influenced by 6 is capable of caution, plotting, and systematic thinking. (When I say "heavily influenced", I'm talking about tritypes).

    I'm a 4 with both 8 and 6 in the tritype, so I get a view of both. I'm honestly not sure how to distinguish between them at times--both represent ferocious, shrewd, and cunning sides of myself, as well as generosity, protection, and compassion. Go by core motivations and fears, not by behaviors--that's the only real answer.

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    When an E6 says he's better than you at something... there's usually still a chance you can prove him otherwise.

    When an E8 says he's better than you at something... its because he wants you to test him.



    If an E6 says he sucks at something, there's still a 50% chance he doesn't actually suck at it.

    If an E8 tells you he sucks at something, it means he sucks at it.

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