Yesterday I watched a film on the life of James Brown, ‘Get on up”. James Brown was an ENG8w7. His life was a sadly great example of an unhealthy ENG8. He was an extraordinary musician. As a man, however, displayed many of the characteristics of a person with unresolved or ‘unhealed’ issues.

He grew up in great poverty and was eventually deserted by both of his parents. He was given to a woman to raise him who run an alcohol den that eventually led him to prison at the age of 17.

As an adult, he was intense and rather scary. He was a perfectionist who blamed others for any mishaps. He was often angry. He developed a temper and a confrontational style that made him feared rather than admired by his group of musicians and colleagues. He had no respect for another person, neither did he have any compassion. He never asked for anything but demanded what he wanted.

He built an empire – like most ENG8’s do – but he never had truly loving relationships. He beat up his wives. No matter how much he was loved by his friends, his wives and his children, he left the legacy of a brute. Instead of being vulnerable and expressing his true feelings, he leashed out and pushed everyone away. The more he was in pain, the deeper he dug himself in and closed himself off from everyone.

When you look at his face, you can still see the innocent child who had to grow up too early and too fast. His lost childhood left a mark on his life forever.


At heart, ENG8s are hurt children who see the world as a vile and scary place. They adopt a character that is defensive, aloof and aggressive so they can protect themselves from the irresponsibility and cruelty of the world. When they become healthy, they are funny and light-hearted. They protect those in need with loving care. They are the ultimate cheerleaders for humanity. They contribute to the betterment of the world by lending their strength and big heart to any cause they devote themselves to.

The System of the Enneagram can support us to shed light on unresolved issues that originally led us to create our character shield. It can also enable us to shed that false layer off so our tue Essence can shine forth.