I hope you enjoyed Eight’s story. I’ve decided to break down some of the “Easter eggs” in the story to help you understand a little bit more about Eights.
Eight’s weapon in this story is a shotgun because they are not only powerful guns, but also have considerable range. I picked this gun because this is how the heart of an Eight functions. When they feel, they feel powerfully. Whether it’s anger or passion, hatred or love–it comes out full force and bowls people over for better or for worse. But they can also use that power to keep people at a distance. Eights don’t easily let people get too close because to get too close is to risk being hurt. Which leads to the next item…
The bulletproof vest
Eight wears a bulletproof vest and in the first scene tells her attacker, “You can’t hurt me. But I can hurt you.” Eights can be very guarded and protect their hearts. But it’s not because they’re mean or hateful. It’s simply because they’ve been hurt and now have decided that they would rather hurt someone else before allowing that person to hurt them. Unfortunately, like the Gunsmith eventually explains, “Bulletproof vests block rejections. But they also block everything else.” The very tactic Eights use to protect themselves from being hurt is also what keeps them from feeling love.
If you didn’t catch it, Eight and Two are married. And yet Two shoots Eight in the back with her own gun while her bulletproof vest is off. This is the ultimate fear that many Eights have–betrayal. She keeps the vest on to prevent this very thing from happening so when it does it’s the realization of the nightmare she’s been conditioned to avoid. Because the last time she was shot with a rejection it was her father and she was five.
This is the crux of Eight’s story. Eight’s mother shoots her stuffed animal with a bullet of innocence when she’s five years old. Then Eight’s father shoots Eight with a rejection. A common thread in many Eights’ lives is having their innocence taken. Whether it’s an abuse, abandonment or some other kind of trauma, at some point innocence was taken and they had to grow up quick. In the story, Eight holds onto Lulu into her adulthood because he literally has the last piece of her innocence inside him. This is why she’s so protective of him at the beginning of the story. This is also a nod to the fact that many Eights often have some sort of innocent or “childlike” thing like a doll or a pet that they invest in. Sleeping At Last captured it perfectly in the Eight song with the lyrics, “When I see fragile things, helpless things, broken things, I see the familiar.”
This is also why the Gunsmith brings Eight back to her childhood to heal her. Even though all the other types have some kind of childhood wounding, for the Eights it seems to be different. As a child, Eight put on her bulletproof vest and therefore gave up her childhood. When the Gunsmith gives her the choice between taking the vest and taking the innocence, he’s giving her a chance to redeem that childhood she lost. The message he gives to her is one that’s extremely difficult for Eight’s to accept, that you can either be safe or you can be loved, but you can’t be both. Vulnerability is the only way to get hurt, but also the only way to get loved. When Eights are healthy, however, they learn to be vulnerable and are able to receive love and give love out.
I hope you enjoyed the story. If you haven’t taken the Enneagram test and would like to find out your type, you can take this free test here.
Lastly, if you haven’t listened to the Eight song by Sleeping At Last, check it out…
Original artwork for Eight by Jessica Bryant