Enneagram type 8: Protectors who like to take control

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Enneagram type 8: Protectors who like to take control

At the Enneagram is a proven model for personality analysis that distinguishes between nine different personality types. The Enneagram, as it is used today, was first introduced by Georges I. Gurdjieff in 1916.

Today we want to look at the Enneagram Type 8. Type 8 people are dominant personalities who like to take control. They dislike being controlled by others. For this reason they are also called "challengers".

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The Enneagram Type 8: What characterizes it?

Eights place the utmost importance on determining their own destiny. They do not allow themselves to be controlled in any way by external circumstances or by other people. Conversely, however, they tend to dominate their environment. This behavior acts as a protective wall to solidify their own autonomy. Eights are strong-willed, uncompromising, self-confident, and also practical.

People of the Enneagram type 8 are not afraid to take on major responsibilities in both their professional and private lives. This is a meaningful way for them to demonstrate their independence. Therefore, it is not surprising that people of this Personality type often found in top positions. If there is a hierarchy, they must be at the top.

In private life, the Enneagram type 8 shows two faces. On the one hand, Eights have a strong protective instinct: They defend their family, partners and friends with all their heart. On the other hand, Eights find it difficult to trust and to really open up to their partners. This is where the fear of losing control becomes noticeable.

Deepest fear

The deepest fear of the Enneagram Type 8 is of being controlled and harmed by others.

Core Motivation

The greatest desire of the Enneagram type 8 is to be self-determined in deciding one's own destiny and to reject any form of heteronomy.

Strengths of the Enneagram Type 8

The following strengths distinguish the Enneagram Type 8:


People of Enneagram type 8 find the right words in every situation. Since they are never guided by their emotions, they are not at a loss for words. Eights can react confidently in any situation.


When important decisions have to be made, people of Enneagram type 8 do not hesitate for long. They act quickly and decisively before any damage can be done.

Protective instinct

Eights fervently defend the people they care about. Those who are under the protection of an Eight need no longer fear almost any outside influences. Eights see it as their duty to take responsibility for their loved ones.

Logical thinking

Since eights always look at existing facts soberly, they arrive at effective solutions. They effortlessly solve even major problems. They do not allow themselves to be distracted by feelings.

Weaknesses of the Enneagram Type 8

The Enneagram Type 8 struggles with the following weaknesses:

Intimidating appearance

Eights have an intimidating effect on other people, which makes trusting interpersonal interaction difficult. Gentle personality types often feel quite uncomfortable around an Eight. Cooperation in this case is based on fear, not support.


People of Enneagram type 8 are not particularly interested in the sensitivities of their fellow human beings. Emotions have no place in their world and are considered disturbing at best. Eights lack the ability to relate to other people. Therefore, it often happens that they do not understand their Needs figuratively trample underfoot.

rule violation

Eights do not subordinate themselves under any circumstances to rules that another person has set up for them. They react with defiance and rebellion, which massively complicates living together or cooperation.

Take responsibility only selfishly

Eights in no way shy away from responsibility. Provided that it is something that corresponds to their own ideas. Thus, responsibility is always associated with a certain self-interest. A task that does not suit him, the Enneagram type 8 will never support. Not even if it would be of importance for other people.

Development Tips for the Enneagram Type 8

Have you possibly found yourself in the description of the Enneagram Type 8? Then you can benefit from the following development tips:

1. practice self-control

As Enneagram type 8, you have a tendency to be controlling, as discussed earlier. You demonstrate your raw power in order to keep others from dominating you. In doing so, however, you forget that you are hurting and perhaps even humiliating others. This earns you the fear of those around you, but not their respect and appreciation!

Try to renounce your demonstrations of power and instead inspire your environment positively through your willpower. People will appreciate you much more if you support them instead of oppressing them. Take responsibility and help others to overcome crises. The respect you receive feels a thousand times better than the fear you spread.

2. respect the wishes of others

Every human being has free will: not only you! As an Enneagram type 8, you should learn to respect the wishes and needs of those around you without feeling threatened by them. This is true even if you have to give in to a desire that is not your own. Overcome this hurdle and just try. You will see that this does not stand in the way of your self-determination.

3. let proximity

As an Enneagram Type 8, you should stop seeing everyone as a potential enemy who threatens your autonomy. There are certainly numerous people in your life who care about your well-being. There is no need to intimidate these people. By behaving this way, you are pushing friends and family away.

Remember, showing love is not an expression of weakness, but of strength. Sure, you want a guarantee that you will never be hurt or disappointed. Your ego is not as stable as it appears to be. However, this guarantee does not exist! To become truly happy, you have to take off your protective armor.

The importance of mutual trust and mutual appreciation for a successful partnership is made clear by the following study: Happy partnership into old age - An interview study of cause attribution in long-lasting partnerships.

4. no one is completely independent of others

Complete independence, as you desire it, is an illusion. Eights who are at the top of a company believe, for example, that their employees are completely dependent on them. Whoever does not parry as desired is simply replaced without further ado. In the Enneagram Type 8 world of imagination, everyone is expendable - except themselves, of course.

However, this is not true. If you indiscriminately replace all the people in your life who do not correspond to your ideas, you will eventually be surrounded only by disloyal people. This puts you in even greater danger of losing your autonomy. Life is a give and take. Not only for others, but also for you.

Enneagram type 8 in relationships

How does the Enneagram Type 8 behave in relationships?

Eights are extremely passionate partners who have intense romantic relationships. However, it may come as no surprise that the themes of dominance and control also play a role in their love life. Eights divide humanity into strong and weak.

In order to be respected as a partner by an Eight, you should be able to stand up to him/her. Otherwise there is the danger that an unhealthy relationship develops, in which the supposedly weaker part is suppressed and controlled. The fact that the line between interest and control is often fluid, brings the following scientific articles aptly expressed.

Eights want to be able to discuss things with their partners at eye level. If you present conclusive arguments, Eights are quite willing to reconsider their own point of view. On a factual basis, the Enneagram type 8 can deal with conflicts in a constructive and solution-oriented way. As soon as things get emotional, the Eight condemns their interlocutor as weak and feels superior.

Trust is the basis

Despite their tendency to be controlling, Eights are devoted protectors. Once their trust and loyalty has been earned, Eights will not allow harm to come to their loved ones. The difficulty is in gaining that trust in the first place. The best way to do this is to impress the Eight with a confident demeanor.

How Enneagram Type 8 harmonizes with other Enneagram types

An essential core idea of the Enneagram is to relate the different types to each other. Therefore, we will look below at how Enneagram Type 8 can harmonize with the other personality types in a positive way:

  • Type 8 and Type 1: The relationship is passionate and full of energy.
  • Type 8 and Type 2: The relationship is characterized by liveliness and support.
  • Type 8 and Type 3: Strength and goal orientation are paramount.
  • Type 8 and type 4: Creativity and motivation characterize the cooperation.
  • Type 8 and type 5: Together both partners feel strong and secure.
  • Type 8 and type 6: strength and Loyalty shapes the relationship.
  • Type 8 and Type 7: The relationship is passionate and full of energy (like Type 1).
  • Type 8 and Type 8: Birds of a feather flock together, as evidenced by mutual care.
  • Type 8 and Type 9: The relationship is characterized by respect and empathy.

Which famous personalities correspond to the Enneagram type 8?

The following famous people can be classified as Enneagram Type 8:

  • Winston Churchill
  • Richard Wagner
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt
  • Senator John McCain
  • Donald Trump
  • Frank Sinatra
  • Richard Wagner
  • Humphrey Bogart
  • John Wayne
  • Ernest Hemingway
  • Pablo Picasso
  • Bette Davis
  • Sean Connery
  • Clint Eastwood
  • Paul Newman
  • Tommy Lee Jones
  • Keith Richards
  • Jack Nicholson
  • Pink
  • Serena Williams
  • Russell Crowe

What professions fit the Enneagram Type 8?

Eights have difficulty with any kind of hierarchy. If the unlikely event occurs that they find themselves in the position of a subordinate for some reason, they will rebel against it with all their might. Enneagram type 8 feels comfortable exclusively in leadership positions. In addition, people of this personality type place great value on financial independence.

It is not uncommon for eights to drop out of the professional-social system completely. They are successful freelancers. Unfortunately, independence sometimes develops a tendency to disregard the law. Eights think that they are above the regulations that apply to everyone else. That this can lead to problems sooner or later is almost self-explanatory.

The following professions have a particularly high number of eights:

  • Attorney / Lawyer
  • Entrepreneurs
  • Managing Directors
  • Trade union leaders
  • Competitive athletes

In summary, it can be said that eights generally feel comfortable in all professions in which they can bear responsibility and enjoy maximum freedom of decision.

Enneagram 8 wings: what do they mean?

In order to explain the meaning of the wings, it is useful that we take a closer look at the structure of the enneagram. The Enneagram is a circle in which the numbers one to nine are arranged at a constant distance from each other. Each number corresponds to a basic type. Very few people, however, can be assigned exclusively to a single basic type. This is where the wings come into play.

With the wings are meant the immediate neighbors, in the case of the Enneagram type 8 are type 7 and type 9. Eights often show character traits one of their neighbouring wings. Whether the similarities tend to type 7 (8w7) or type 9 (8w9) is individually different. By the way, the "W" here stands for "Wing". This is the English term for wing.

What does type 8w7 mean?

The Enneagram type 7 is also called an enthusiast. People with a type 8 wing 7 constellation are therefore more enthusiastic and daring than pure eights. They are bursting with energy. Professionally, 8w7 people not infrequently orient themselves towards politics and law.

What does type 8w9 mean?

The Enneagram type 9 is a very gentle character. People who have a type 8 wing 9 constellation are more forgiving towards other people than pure eights. The influence of the 9 mixes a little more empathy into dominance and control addiction. Many 8w9 people take the career path of a judge, professor or consultant.

What other personality assessment models are there?

The Enneagram is only one of many models for personality analysis. Also widely used is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI for short) and the DISG personality test. We can particularly recommend the latter due to its simple handling and clear interpretation. The DISG test is based on the latest scientific findings and is mainly used in large companies.

In everyday interaction, communication plays an essential role: it can determine success or failure. This is true in both professional and private contexts. The DISC model divides people into four different communication types. Find out which of these you correspond to yourself in order to become aware of your own strengths and to conduct conversations profitably in the future.

Does that sound interesting to you? Then you shouldn't wait any longer and take the DISG personality test today. We offer the scientifically based test completely free of charge and without obligation!

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Reviewed by Dr. med. Stefan Frädrich

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