Today we will explore the personality of D.R. Anthony as an Enneagram Eight. This finishes our series portraying three of the Anthony family through the lens of the Enneagram. Here are the previous posts:
- General explanation of the nine Enneagram types
- Susan B. Anthony as Type One
- Anna Osborn Anthony as Type Two
I consider Daniel Read (D.R.) Anthony a Type Eight because he was strong, powerful, and fearless. He wanted justice to prevail and took the part of the underdog.
When President Lincoln needed bodyguards in the White House at the start of his first term, he sent for 116 Kansas abolitionists who were known to be fierce. Daniel Anthony was one of those 116. He had cut his abolitionist teeth as a guerilla fighter who invaded Missouri plantations and stole not only their livestock but also the people who were enslaved there.
Eights like to wield authority and speak their minds
For most of his adult life, D.R. Anthony was self-employed. That allowed him to call his own shots (bad pun!) and not have to say yes to anyone in authority.
Eights are usually direct in their communication and can be extremely blunt. They value truth and will engage in conflict if necessary.
D.R. received numerous threats on his life because of his compulsion to speak his mind loudly and plainly. During his newspaper career in the 1870s, he went after the local Typesetters Union for publicly humiliating one of their members, James Coulter. Distraught, Coulter sought relief in his wife’s laudanum and accidentally overdosed to death.
In response to this tragedy, Anthony published names of leading papers all over the country that had successfully stopped employing Typesetters Union printers. In addition, he said that the union shops “neglect their business, refuse to work except at outrageous rates, and stop at nothing…to hinder good, honest men from earning a living for their families.”
His pride about speaking his mind is evident in this epitaph he penned for his own tombstone (below):
They get a lot done
Eights are good big-picture thinkers, hard workers, and passionate advocates for people and causes they care about. They get a lot done.
D.R. was no stranger to hard work. At one point in his life, he held two elected posts as Leavenworth’s mayor and postmaster besides operating an insurance business. When he began building his newspaper empire, he bragged that his paper would be the most radical abolitionist paper in town. He had a lot of competition on the border of Missouri where pro- and antislavery sentiments ran high. He was such a passionate advocate of African-Americans that scores of Black friends attended his memorial service after his death.
Typical childhood experiences for Eights
In childhood, Enneagram Eights often report having grown up in a combative or conflict-heavy environment where they had to “grow up fast” to survive. From the perspective of an Eight child, survival depended on denying the fact of being small or vulnerable.
Creating an image that was bigger and more powerful than others helped them deal with a world that didn’t provide needed love, care, or protection.
D.R. was only 14 when his family went bankrupt and all their goods put up for auction. One can only imagine the helplessness and humiliation of seeing the family’s undergarments, eyeglasses, and foodstuffs carried off by the highest bidder.
As a result of bankruptcy, he could no longer study with private tutors but had to attend the neighborhood school. Later accounts find him repeatedly defending himself in court, suggesting that, had he the opportunity to read law instead of work in his father’s store and insurance business, he would have made a fine attorney.
They have their flaws
Some flaws of being Enneagram Eights: They are good at carrying grudges, can be impatient with others’ incompetence, and have formidable tempers.
D.R. seemed to have no patience with Thomas Ewing, an early Kansas acquaintance. Ewing began his career in law, held offices in local and state politics, served as a judge, and became a Union general. The two men clashed on almost every level, with Ewing arresting and jailing D.R. Anthony at one point. (Fortunately for D.R., President Lincoln freed him.)
When Quantrill’s (Confederate) raiders massacred hundreds of men and boys in only a few hours, D.R. made a blistering newspaper attack on General Ewing for letting the raiders go.
An Enneagram Eight’s personality is motivated by the push and pull of their deepest desire warring with their deepest fear. Eights want independence and control while at the same time fearing vulnerability and powerlessness.
This inner conflict creates a recognizable vice in Eight personalities of ‘lust.’ A better term might be “passion,” which doesn’t have such a strong overtone of sexuality. Passion means an expanding, excessive, intense energy, with a “no-holds-barred” approach to life. They use their physical power and emotional intensity to retain control and avoid vulnerability.
D.R. had left a Quaker household to go help the cause of abolition in Kansas, which was then the Wild West. He went unarmed during his earliest days in Leavenworth, and only the gun of his companion settled a dangerous situation peacefully. For the next 20 years, he was known as the quickest draw in town and prevailed in several violent episodes, as noted above.
How Eights achieve balance
When Eights balance their personal power and strength with a more conscious awareness of their own weaknesses, vulnerabilities, and impact, they can be courageous and heroic leaders, partners, and friends.
One night, after a week of ignoring insults and threats, D.R. went to the opera without the guns that he usually carried. His wife Annie had asked him to do so. Perhaps his willingness to grant her request stemmed from his awareness of his volatile temper. Ironically, someone shot him that night and almost ended his life. This event seems to mark the end of his gunfighting days.
Eights who become aware of their excessive passions grow in the virtue of “innocence.” This means the ability to “respond freshly to each moment, without memory, judgment or expectation.” Such Eights stop itching constantly for a fight and are more in touch with their softer side. They are calmer and less intense in their reactions.
Evidence of a calmer nature is suggested by his statement that he carried no grudge against his assailant or accomplice at the opera. His obituary said that he spent most of his leisure time with his family. Perhaps the experience of raising children evoked in him a fresh, in-the-moment awareness. Throughout his long life, he had scores of friends and supporters in addition to his many enemies.
- Muhammad Ali (heavyweight boxer, opposed the Viet Nam war, advocated for African Americans)
- Frank Sinatra (“I did it my way”)
- Queen Latifah (leveraged her music career to fund charities benefiting children and elderly people)
Now that you’ve explored the Enneagram through these three types, how useful do you think it could be in understanding yourself and others? Have you used it? If so, what interests you about it? What type are you? What type do you think I am? Scroll down to the bottom of this post and share your comments in the space below. I read and respond to every one.
Again, many thanks to my co-author for this series, Anita Plat-Kuiken, and to the work of Bea Chestnut. For a simple, fun book on this topic, I suggest The Enneagram Made Easy by Renee Baron & Elizabeth Wagele.