The Hulk Is a 9: An Enneagram Adventure | Part Two: "I'm Always Angry"

For previous posts in this running series of posts on the enneagram (including the rationale for the series), click here.

Having left Bruce Banner in the rubble of the building he destroyed, we now travel to New York, where the rest of the team has rallied for the final battle of the first Avengers movie. Things are about to get crazy. Bruce arrives late to the party but just in time for the worst of it. As the team steels for an attack, Captain America says, “Dr Banner, now might be a really good time for you to get angry.”

That’s when we learn the truth behind the Hulk: “That’s my secret, Captain—I’m always angry.”

Nines live in the gut triad. Whereas other triads act from the head or the heart, nines act on instinct, and just as often on impulse. Anger is the key emotion of the gut triad, and while eights give vent to their anger and ones seek to suppress it, nines prefer to pretend it doesn’t exist. They disassociate from their anger, banishing it from their presence.

Of course this is impossible, as we discover that Bruce has learned. But it’s the wish fantasy of the nine that they can protect the world around them from the monster within them. The catastrophe is all the more pronounced when the lie behind this logic is born out. The heroics we observe from the Hulk are especially destructive, with inordinate collateral damage. In a comical moment, the Hulk and Thor team up to put the beat down on an invading alien, destroying a building in the process. They enjoy the victory for a moment—then Hulk punches his ally Thor out of the shot.

In the end the team has won, but it looks as though it cost them Tony Stark—until Hulk shouts him back to life.

Nines make for good friends, and they are often appreciated for their contribution to the greater good. But the unreconciled self is never far removed from their besetting struggle, so that even the most constructive contributions of the Hulk - of any enneagram 9 - may involve an undercurrent of violence.

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There are lots of good books on the enneagram. I'll mention some of them in this series. A particular favorite of mine is Mirror for the Soul, by Alice Fryling. Alice's book approaches the enneagram slowly, inductively, in a way that I find especially helpful for identifying your type and finding spiritual practices and postures that interact productively with your type. You can get it here.

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