Misidentifying Sixes and Eights

Sixes and Eights are aggressive, although only the Eight is an entirely aggressive personality. Sixes react both to their fears and to other people and constantly oscillate from one state to another, from Level to Level. They are ambivalent and passive-aggressive, evasive, and contradictory. In contrast, Eights have solid egos and formidable wills; they keep pushing others until they get them what they want. There is little softness in Eights and even less tendency to comply with the wishes of anyone else. They have no desire to be liked or to ingratiate themselves with others. Rather than look to others for protection, Eights offer protection (patronage) in return for hard work and loyalty.

As different as these two types are, they are nevertheless similar at Level 6–but only at this Level. At this stage both Sixes (The Authoritarian Rebel) and in Eights (The Confrontational Adversary) show similar aggressive traits–belligerence, defiance, a willingness to intimidate others, a quick and threatening temper, the threat of violence, hatred of others, and so forth. However, Eights arrive at this stage as a result of constantly escalating their pressure on others to get what they want until they have become highly confrontational and combative. Sixes arrive at their state from a very different route–in reaction to their vacillation and dependency. Sixes become aggressive because they do not want to be pushed around anymore; Eights become aggressive to push others even more.

The essential difference is that Sixes eventually will yield and their defenses will crumble if enough pressure is applied to them, whereas opposition to Eights only encourages them to remain defiant and to meet their adversary with renewed aggression.

Both types at this Level can be dangerous; ironically, Sixes are probably more dangerous at this stage than Eights since they are anxious and may strike out at someone impulsively or irrationally. On the other hand, average Eights are more rational: they take the odds of success into account at every move. If and when they finally do become violent, however, Eights are more dangerous than Sixes because they are more ruthless, and the momentum of their inflated egos makes them feel that they can and must press onward until their enemies are utterly destroyed. Eights eventually become megalomaniacs (and may be destroyed after they have destroyed others). By contrast, unhealthy Sixes eventually become self-defeating (and may be destroyed by their own fear). Compare G. Gordon Liddy and Mike Tyson (Sixes) with Henry Kissinger and Muhammad Ali (Eights) to understand more about the similarities and differences between these types.