The Process of Individuation or Self-Actualization
According to Jung, individuation occurs when you successfully separate your personality from that of your parents and become an integrated personality — becoming what or who you were born to be, what you were before you formed an ego or persona, or suppressed negative behaviors in your shadow. The individuation process is a lifelong, ongoing process or quest. Through therapy or active self-development using introspection and conscious choice, you can work toward the unveiling of your shadow, the unraveling your persona, and the integration of your psyche.
Basically, when merging aspects of Jungian theory with Enneagram theory, one could presuppose that when things in your life are going really well, you are ripe for expansion and are more likely to progress toward individuation and self-actualization by adopting behaviors that support forward movement. On the other hand, when you feel insecure or are under severe stress, you are more likely to regress from the goal of individuation and self-actualization by adopting behaviors that allow you to cope but that do not necessarily help you progress toward health. Again, in some instances, you may uncover traits inherent in your stress point that help you grow during times of extreme stress, e.g., you might both cope and progress toward health by discovering determination, integrity, or industry in your stress point.
FIGURE 13-1: Enneatype Eight: security point = Two, stress point= Five
How Eights Progress
Eights progress by adopting Two behavior that helps them feel comfortable enough to risk being vulnerable occasionally and to soften their feelings for those around them. Instead of dominating loved ones, they offer them the respect and love they deserve. Like self-actualized Twos, when Eights progress, they identify with others and develop a healthy interdependence that serves both parties. The more they get in touch with their softer side, the more Eights become genuinely altruistic.
When Eights access the positive resources of style Five, they often develop more of their inner life and become less combative. They also learn to see the value of reflection and contemplation, which helps them curb their tendency to barrel through life like a bull in a china shop.
How Eights Regress
Eights regress by shrinking into Five behavior that causes them to withdraw further from the world and to fabricate stories about themselves that support their dysfunction. Instead of brimming with confidence, they feel weakened and ineffective, which often leads to further reflection on how they have been cruel and misguided, which leads to feeling guilty and depressed, emotions Eights normally squelch. If they linger in isolation, Eights falling too far into negative Five behavior can become masochistically self-punishing and suicidal.
When Eights degenerate into the low side of Two, they lose their focus on the wider implications of justice and insist on “me first.” Their struggle is no longer for justice but to get what they have coming, regardless of what happens to others.