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Type 8

Enneagram Type Eight

Personality Profile - Personal Growth Recommendations


The Powerful, Dominating Type:
Self-Confident, Decisive, Willful, and Confrontational

Basic Fear: Of being harmed or controlled by others
Basic Desire: To protect themselves
(to be in control of their own life and destiny)
Enneagram Eight with a Seven-Wing: "The Maverick"
Enneagram Eight with a Nine-Wing: "The Bear"


People with Type Eight personalities are natural leaders. They have the energy and confidence to get things done and because they never back down in the face of fear, they plow through the obstacles that may inhibit other Types from reaching the goal. They need to be leaders and are at their best when they are getting others to join them in carrying out a vision for victory. They are willing to fight for what they want and take pleasure in rewarding themselves for winning.

Type Eight people pride themselves on being tough-minded, realistic, and wise about the ways of the world. Usually they like to talk tough, too. Other people describe them as confrontational, although Eights usually say they are just "telling it like it is" and trying to get a straight story from the other guy. They may even pick a fight just to find out what the other person really thinks, trusting that what is said in anger is more true than words spoken in calm conversation. Because Eights never want to be controlled by another person, their motto is "The best defense is a good offense." While others may experience them as domineering, they believe they are just taking care of themselves. They don't want to feel vulnerable and often channel all their emotions into anger because anger helps them feel strong.

It is surprising, then, to discover that inside every Eight is a lonely and needy child who wants most of all to be close to others. One Eight, a typically outspoken and robust guy, described himself as a "marshmallow in a suit of armor." Eights have to learn to be less defended, to open up, and to take the risk of having empathy for others instead of asserting themselves. Then their leadership ability can be directed to serving the common good and they can experience the love and connection they unconsciously long for.

FAMOUS EIGHTS: Frank Sinatra, Barbara Walters, Donald Trump, Glenn Close, Martin Luther King, Jr., Toni Morrison.


Personal Growth Recommendations
for Enneagram Type Eights

  • It goes against the grain, but act with self-restraint. You show true power when you forbear from asserting your will with others, even when you could. Your real power lies in your ability to inspire and uplift people. You are at your best when you take charge and help everyone through a crisis. Few will take advantage of you when you are caring, and you will do more to secure the loyalty and devotion of others by showing the greatness of your heart than you ever could by displays of raw power.

  • It is difficult for Eights, but learn to yield to others, at least occasionally. Often, little is really at stake, and you can allow others to have their way without fear of sacrificing your power, or your real needs. The desire to dominate everyone all the time is a sign that your ego is beginning to inflate—a danger signal that more serious conflicts with others are inevitable.

  • Remember that the world is not against you. Many people in your life care about you and look up to you, but when you are in your fixation, you do not make this easy for them. Let in the affection that is available. Doing this will not make you weak, but will confirm the strength and support in yourself and your life. Also remember that by believing that others are against you and reacting against them, you tend to alienate them and confirm your own fears. Take stock of the people who truly are on your side, and let them know-how important they are to you.

  • Eights typically want to be self-reliant and depend on no one. But, ironically, they depend on many people. For example, you may think that you are not dependent on your employees because they depend on you for their jobs. You could dismiss them at any time and hire other workers. Everyone is expendable in your little kingdom—except you. But the fact is that you are dependent on others to do their jobs too, especially if your business concerns grow beyond what you can manage alone. But if you alienate everyone associated with you, you will eventually be forced to employ the most obsequious and untrustworthy operatives. When you do, you will have reason to question their loyalty and to fear losing your position. The fact is that whether in your business world or your domestic life, yourself-sufficiency is largely an illusion.

  • Eights typically overvalue power. Having power, whether through wealth, position, or simple brute force, allows them to do whatever they want, to feel important, to be feared and obeyed. But those who are attracted to you because of your power do not love you for yourself, nor do you love or respect them. While this may be the Faustian bargain you have made, you will nevertheless have to pay the price that whatever power you accumulated will inevitably be at a cost you, physically and emotionally.


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