Most Asserters are energetic, exuberant, enthusiastic, and powerful. They usually have no problem expressing anger and engaging in conflict.
A friend of mine experienced interacting with an Asserter just yesterday. Skipping up the stairs to her friend’s house, she expected a warm greeting when she knocked on the door. After a few seconds her friend’s Asserter husband opened the door, gave her a quick glance, then pointing to the doorbell vigorously, shouted, “See this door bell? You’re s’posed to ring the doorbell!”
My friend told me she thought, “In this free country isn’t it our choice whether to knock or ring the doorbell when we visit someone?” But one of the ways you can tell an Asserter personality is that sometimes, especially if they’re in a bad mood, they want to control EVERYTHING and may try to micromanage, if not bully. Strength can be good if they’re an athlete, an attorney on your side, or the head of a company. It can be good when they turn their efforts to protecting those weaker than they, which they do frequently. They love truth and justice and will defend them to the end and are often good at enforcing rules and competing. My friend was angry for the way she was met at the door, however, and some Asserters frequently have to deal with the results of the bossy/rude behavior they’re prone to. It’s hard to be decisive and bold at the same time as being empathic and diplomatic. Asserters often have to learn manners because they don’t come naturally.
It takes an understanding teacher and parent to handle Asserter children because these kids can overwhelm with their energy and are often anti-authoritarian. One beauty of the Enneagram is that it points out that we’re pretty much born with the personalities we have. Studying the Enneagram helps adults learn the best way to help children grow with different behavior and learning styles.
My cartoon (above) is from “The Enneagram Made Easy,” http://www.wagele.com/easy.html. Asserters play hard and work hard. Many heads of state have been Asserters, for example Lyndon Johnson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Golda Meir, and Indira Gandhi. Other Asserters include Pablo Picasso, Frank Sinatra, Sean Penn, Ernest Hemingway, Rosie O’Donnell, Mike Ditka, and Jack Welch.
So how does it feel to be an Asserter? Since they can be strong and tough-minded, female Asserters may be given a hard time when they are perceived as not feminine enough. Both male and female eights easily attract projections of the shadow. That is, if someone is looking for a “bad guy,” they will decide it’s the Asserter and this may not be warranted. Also, Asserters have a natural abundance of sheer energy. Others often have trouble keeping up with them physically and in terms of emotional intensity. Asserters often want to keep going long after their companions are tired out. Asserters can enjoy the power they hold. One Asserter I know was a natural leader on the playgrounds of New York after school when he was a kid. He said he didn’t try to be, but the other kids looked to him for direction. Asserters are often “bigger than life” and have a lust for life. Some have a quiet strength, however.
Read about Asserters as children in my WordPress blog of 4-26-10. I have some drawings of Amy the goldfish there from my Enneagram book for children, “Finding the Birthday Cake,” http://www.wagele.com/Finding.html and some descriptions of Asserter children from my book, “The Enneagram of Parenting,” http://www.wagele.com/EnneagramParent.html.