Functional Order: Se-Ti-Fe-Ni
Henry lives for the moment and continually seeks out ways to take action. He enjoys intense sports (jousting, hunting, wrestling, even vaulting over ditches) and over-indulges in sensory pleasures: rich food, fine wine, and lots of sex. He is easily bored with the same sexual partners and continually seeks out “new” bedfellows. Henry is good at sizing up a situation and leaping into the midst of it; he becomes impatient if he must wait. He enjoys testing others, physically and mentally, by challenging them. But when he almost drowns in a ditch, he starts to think about his legacy – and the fact that he has spent his entire life living for pleasure in the moment, with no regard for the future. His logic is sometimes paranoid but often sound, because it has a basis in probability. Henry is a quick problem solver and often leaps to rational conclusions even if he is emotionally explosive. He does not believe in keeping “rules” that he does not agree with, and is terrific at either finding his way around them or telling others to do so for him. Henry can be cold and utterly self-serving, choosing rational outcomes over ones that will placate people. He can be vindictive, cruel, and bad-tempered. He is known for his tantrums and his tendency to blame other people for his own mistakes. Henry is very good at appealing to others in order to ease their fears and then viciously undercutting them, or inflicting emotional torment on them (like giving Katharine a choice between staying at his side or going to their ill daughter). Henry cares a great deal about how he is “seen” by people and often makes decisions for self-promotion; as he grows older, he has increasing less patience for those who disagree with his views but can also be placated by appeals to his vanity. Henry descends into such an unhealthy state that he enjoys emotionally tormenting people (reassuring Wolsey they are friends, and leading him to believe he does not trust the Boleyns, only to leave him without a word the next morning; threatening his sister Margaret with cutting her husband’s head off; pitting Katherine Parr and Bishop Gardiner against one another). Suddenly, his inferior Ni kicks in – and wants a son. Yet, the major mistake Henry makes is his total inability to plan for the future in meaningful ways; his interpretations of people’s motives are shallow, his intentions are often thwarted by his rash, impulsive decisions in the moment – classic examples include his wrestling match with King Frances, which sets them up for diplomatic chaos; and his desire to get out of his marriage with Anne of Cleves as soon as she arrives – both disasters his councils have to scramble to avert, out of concern for the potential massive political fall-out.
Enneagram: 8w7 sx/so
Henry is aggressive, combative, and risk-taking. He lives life to the fullest and allows no chance to indulge his hedonism to go untouched. His desire for total control and dominance destroys every single one of his relationships, from his threat to cut off his sister’s husband’s head for defying him and marrying without his consent, to his frustration when his various wives do not submit to his authority. He engages in a power struggle with Katharine of Aragon, often undermined by his explosive temper and heedlessness. He destroys a potential alliance when unable to let an insult slide, by challenging Francis to a wrestling match. And his detachment does not do those around him any favors. Henry turns most things into a fight. His 7 wing refuses to hear anything negative about himself, his decisions, or his leadership skills, instead competing with others for attention and praise. It is also hedonistic.