Enneagram Type 8: Strengths and Challenges Explored

Enneagram Type 8 - Archetypes

Enneagram Type 8 balances energy and vulnerability and focuses on aliveness. They are driven by pushing boundaries to protect their sensitive core.

Enneagram Type 8 in all of us

Enneagram Type 8 - LinesEnneagram Type 8 is the part of our personality about energy, vitality, and aliveness. To deeply sense and express our energy, vitality, and aliveness, we also connect with vulnerability, truth, and sensibility. And that is the life theme of Type 8, to balance the deep sense of being alive with being open and connected with everything around us. If I sense the loss of this aliveness, I will engage with more energy and fierceness until I feel alive again, and if I stay open and vulnerable without the aliveness, I will shut my heart and protect myself.


The personality structure is constructed and reinforced around the idea of aliveness, pushing the boundaries, engaging with energy, demanding true vitality, and protecting my sensitive heart. I can create this aliveness in myself by redirecting energy, force, and empowerment to my muscles, my voice, and my pace. I can also take up more space in the room and direct my energy toward other things or other people to energize them, too. When it works, my personality reinforces this pattern, and when it is not working, well, then I just have to try even harder the next time!


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It is also important to be real and true, and I will have a detector for when things are not real or true. I value true emotions, true opinions, true boundaries, true energy, etc. and I use my somatic intuition to determine what is true and what is not. When things are not true, I will try to find the truth or destroy what is false, and depending on my levels of presence, this can become an act of love or an act of destruction. And this is an other part of the life theme for Enneagram Type 8, to balance love and destruction.


You need to break a few eggs to make an omelet

Destruction is about breaking things down into smaller pieces, and I don’t mind doing that for the benefit of the truth. But if someone tells me that I have harmed someone with my destructive energy, I feel a deep sadness if it was not my intention. For many Type 8s, it can be surprising to learn that people can be afraid of me to a degree where they will not tell me the truth. Uncovering the truth is essential to me, as it connects me with the aliveness, but if I am out of presence, this strategy for engaging with the truth can become the very behavior that prevents me from accessing the truth.


The longing for aliveness and truths also connects me with fairness, empowerment, and protection. I will protect myself and the people around me against unfair actions, and I will empower myself and others to be able to both protect themselves and realize that life is of aliveness and truth. Part of the meaning and purpose in my own life is to manifest, create, and build what has to be manifested, created, and built. I also want others to sense that they have the power to manifest, create, and build what they feel is meaningful and purposeful in their lives.


When in presence, expressing fairness, empowerment, and protection can be an act of love, and if out of presence, it can become an act of destruction. Demanding fairness, empowerment, and protection can be expressed with so much energy and force that things and people will be controlled, dominated, and pushed hard until my principles or ideas of fairness, empowerment, and protection are met.


Anger is also a theme for Enneagram 8’s as it is the fastest and most powerful energy I have access to. Anger is the nature of setting boundaries and letting people know that they are doing something that you don’t like, and the energy of anger can be used to create and manifest amazing things like surviving difficult times, winning in sports, or protecting loved ones. Anger, if not exerted with presence, can be destructive, invalidating, and harmful.


Enneagram Type 8 roles

Archetypes can be a creative way to learn about Enneagram types, and here are some typical archetypes or metaphors for the Enneagram Type 8:


  • The decisive leader
  • The protective warrior
  • The confident initiator
  • The powerful ruler
  • The honest communicator
  • The strong-willed reformer
  • The fearless explorer
  • The dedicated problem solver
  • The fair protector

Enneagram Type 8 archetypes

Archetypes are a helpful way to access the patterns of the types in the Enneagram. They will access different aspects of Enneagram Type 8, and the archetypes are more powerful and useful when you share your personal reflections with others.


Enneagram Type 8 - The Fire

The Fire

Fire can be life-giving when it is cold when we need to cook our meals, and throughout history, people who controlled fire also controlled their lives. Fire can also be destructive on purpose or by accident. Fire can also transform the hardest materials by dissolving their inner structures.


Enneagram Type 8 - The Warrior

The Warrior

Being a leader or a worried means entering circumstances with the risk of your life. The leader or warrior protects and defends while setting boundaries with precision. The leader or warrior can act gentle and caring or forceful when needed.


Enneagram Type 8 - The Rocket Launch

The Rocket launch

Launching a rocket requires a massive amount of energy, which can lift the construction into outer space or explode, killing everyone in and around the rocket. When the energy is controlled is can carry a lot of wieth and if not controlled is will end in massive destruction.


Enneagram Type 8 - The Vulcano

The Vulcano

Vulcanos have shaped the Earth throughout time, and there is nothing we humans can do when the nature of the volcano explodes, throwing shockwaves, lava, and suffocating ash clouds in all directions. Vulcanoes do what they do and don’t ask permission for anything.


Enneagram Type 8 - The Wall

The Wall

The purpose of a wall is to keep things from entering or escaping. The stronger the wall, the more protections it offers and the harder it is to enter or escape. Walls can be built on purpose or by natural forces shaping the inner and outer landscape.


You can also mix the archetypes and invent a new one that speaks more to you.


The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire


How to identify as an Enneagram Type 8?

First, we have to explore what it means to “identify as something”. The purpose of the Enneagram is to become aware of how we easily identify with our sensations, emotions and thought and then use this awarenes to understand that this is not who or what we are as human being. What we are as human beings is way more beautiful, magical, wise, generous, flexible, inclusive, curious, compasionate and empowering.


The correct way of expressing it would then be to learn how the traits of Enneagram Type 8 are part of your identification, your driver and motivator, and how you create trouble for yourself and others. The thing about “creating trouble for yourself and others” is one of the origins of the Enneagram, where the original practitioners of the Enneagram found that we distract ourselves from responding to what matters most by identifying with our type or personality.


So to learn more about how much the traits of Enneagram Type 8 is part of your personality, you can investigate the following:


Enneagram Type 8 – Identification and strengths

The Enneagram Type 8 in all of us might identify with certain strengths and qualities, and I will see myself as:


  • Courageous.
  • Energized.
  • Fair.
  • Real.
  • Strong.
  • Passionated.
  • Immediate.
  • Powerful.
  • Dedicated
  • Responsabile.
  • Robust.
  • Protective.

Enneagram Type 8 – Motivators, drivers and strategies

The Enneagram Type 8 is driven and motivated by being in control of matters that concern themselves. I am, therefore, also motivated by making sure that nothing or no one is or will be controlling me. I am driven by energy, vitality, and aliveness, and my strategies are to be powerful, strong, robust, direct, and exert my life force and somatic energy.


Enneagram Type 8 – Triggers

The Enneagram Type 8 in all of us feels triggered when:


  • I feel betrayed.
  • I feel hurt, humiliated or shamed.
  • I feel that someone is treated unfairly.
  • I feel that things are becoming too abstract, mental, and not simple and clear.

In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends

Enneagram Type 8 and assumptions

Each of the nine types in the Enneagram is driven by assumptions or ideas that shape our behavior. The typical assumptions for type eight are:


  • Life is hard, and I need to be strong and courageous to endure this hardship.
  • Life is a battlefield where only the strongest will survive.
  • Life is a place where there will be no one to catch me if I stumble in life except myself.
  • If I am not alert, then someone or something will take control over me.
  • If I reject others, then they can not reject me.
  • If I enter with an all-or-nothing approach, then things will be easier to handle.
  • I will be ok when I have the power over my own life.
  • I will be ok when I speak honestly and directly from my gut feelings.
  • I will be ok when I make decisions and call the action.

You must be the change you wish to see in the world


(This is from the book: The Enneagram and why your blind type matters)


Creating trouble for yourself and others

The Enneagram Type 8 is creating trouble for oneself and for others by being blind to certain areas of the personality, also called blind spots. Typical blind spots for Type 8 are:


  • Our assertive and dominating energy intimidates others.
  • Our insensitivity and directness when telling the truth.
  • Our seeking power and influence over situations, people, decisions etc.
  • Our rejecting of others when they don’t appear with complete trust and fairness.
  • Our lack of empathy toward ourselves and others.


Enneagram Type 8 and the three centers

Each of the types in the Enneagram is represented in what is called the three centers. We can be in balance or out of balance in each of the three centers, and when Enneagram Type 8 is in balance, it is expressed like this:


Body and Intuition

  • Sensing the endless flow of lifeforce.
  • Sensing the pain, sorrow, sadness, joy, happiness, and bliss flowing in the body.
  • Expressing intuition with force and mercy, with power and gentleness, and with directness and softness.
  • Expressing intuition with aliveness, energy, and instinctual intelligence.


Heart and Emotion

  • Feeling courageously sensitive and vulnerable and staying with what emotions there are.
  • Feeling what the true feelings of the moment within you and others are.
  • Expressing emotion with an appropriate response to people around you empowers them to trust themselves.
  • Expressing emotion with love and trust, not protecting any emotions.


Head and Cognition

  • Thinking and seeing the truth free of limiting hindrances.
  • Thinking in a simple, precise, forceful, sharp, and direct way.
  • Expressing cognition by calling the truth and eliminating what stands in the way of true thinking or a clear mind.
  • Expressing cognition by telling the truth with honesty in a gentle way so others can receive the truth.


It is also building and protecting the lifeforce energy that we need when we are out of balance or sick. That energy is a profound healing energy we use to care for and nurture ourselves and others. This healing energy is one of the strengths of Type 8.


Typical mistyping for Enneagram Type 8

Mistyping happens when you are unaware of your self-identification, drivers and motivators, triggers, and how you create trouble for yourself and others. Maybe you find yourself in a role where the traits of Enneagram Type 8 are demanded of you, and therefore, you refer to your role and not the traits of the type.


There are a few typical mistyping for Enneagram Type 8.


Enneagram Type 8 and Enneagram Type 3

Type 8 and Type 3 are both seeking results and enjoy winning. They are both assertive and active and want to get things done. The personality structure of Type 8 is more black and white, simple, and to the point, whereas Type 3 is more pragmatic, flexible, and adjustable. The tendency is that Type 8 often do not mistype themselves for Type 3, but many Type 3 mistype themselves as Type 8 because of the role or position they have, the idea that the power and energy of Type 8 is a positive and valuable quality or because they would like to have that energy of Type 8.


Enneagram Type 8 and Enneagram Type 6

Type 8 and Type 6 are both seeking emotional realness and can assert their frustration and anger. They are both realistic and will react strongly when things are not clear, true, or useful. The personality structure of Type 8 is more clear-minded, and the reactions come from anger, whereas Type 6 is more doubtful and wants to think everything through before making big decisions. The emotions of Type 6 come not so much from anger but frustration and misbelief.


Enneagram Type 8 and Enneagram Type 7

Type 8 and Type 7 are both seeking action and have that restless energy that vibrates with vitality. They are both seeking adventure and enjoy pushing boundaries to get things done. The personality structure of Type 8 is more dedicated, one-eyed, and hard-working, whereas Type 7 is more experimental, optimistic, and enjoys more the idea of the project than the project it selves.


Enneagram Type 8 and Enneagram Type 2

Type 8 tends to express that they see themselves as Type 2 and still claim that they belong to Type 8. This is not a mistype between Type 8 and Type 2 but more about the process of Type 8 getting more empathic and vulnerable, demonstrating qualities of Type 2.


Growth and development for Enneagram Type 8

If you can relate to Enneagram Type 8, you might become more aware of your gifts and possible growth and development areas. The area of growth is not to stop engaging with energy and vitality but to explore why and how you protect yourself from the potential threats and the loss of that power, lifeforce, and realness. Here are some suggested areas of growth and development.


Empathy and compassion

While closely related, empathy and compassion are distinct emotional responses that play vital roles in human social interaction and emotional well-being.


Empathy is the ability to understand and share another person’s feelings. It involves both cognitive and emotional elements, allowing individuals to put themselves in someone else’s position, recognizing and even experiencing their emotional states. This ability goes beyond merely recognizing others’ emotions; it fosters a deeper connection, creating a bridge between individuals through shared experiences and feelings.


Compassion, however, takes empathy a step further by incorporating a desire to alleviate the suffering of others. It is an active response to empathy, where recognizing another’s pain motivates one to take action to help. Compassion is characterized by feelings of care, kindness, and a strong motivation to enhance the well-being of others.


Together, empathy and compassion lay the groundwork for altruism and prosocial behavior. These qualities enable humans to build and maintain strong social bonds, foster cooperation, and create supportive communities. By understanding and responding to the emotions of others, empathy and compassion significantly enhance personal relationships, social harmony, and collective human resilience. These attributes are crucial for navigating social life’s complexities and fostering a more connected and compassionate world.


Openness and vulnerability

Openness and vulnerability are intertwined qualities that profoundly influence personal growth, relationships, and emotional well-being.


Openness involves a willingness to share one’s thoughts, feelings, and experiences with authenticity. It means communicating honestly and transparently and fostering an environment where genuine connections can flourish. By being open, individuals can express their true selves without fear of judgment, which deepens understanding and mutual respect in relationships.


Vulnerability, in contrast, entails exposing oneself to emotional risk, uncertainty, and potential hurt. Being transparent about one’s weaknesses, fears, and insecurities takes courage. From being a sign of weakness, vulnerability is a strength that allows individuals to connect on a deeper level, fostering trust and intimacy.


Together, openness and vulnerability create a powerful synergy that enhances personal interactions. When individuals are both open and vulnerable, they pave the way for authentic connections, leading to meaningful and supportive relationships. These qualities encourage empathy and compassion, as others are more likely to respond with understanding and care.


Embracing openness and vulnerability also promotes personal growth. It encourages self-reflection and acceptance, leading to greater self-awareness and emotional resilience. By confronting and sharing their true selves, individuals can overcome barriers to personal development and cultivate a more fulfilling and authentic life.


Patience and trust

Patience and trust are essential qualities that form the bedrock of strong relationships and personal development.


Patience is the ability to endure delays, challenges, or suffering without succumbing to frustration or anxiety. It embodies calm endurance and a willingness to wait for the right moment or outcome, recognizing that worthwhile things often require time. Patience helps individuals remain steady and composed, fostering peace and reducing stress in difficult situations. It is vital in personal and professional contexts, enabling people to navigate conflicts, setbacks, and uncertainties gracefully and resiliently.


Trust, on the other hand, is the firm belief in the reliability, truth, or ability of someone or something. It serves as the cornerstone of all meaningful relationships, built on consistent, positive experiences and actions. Trust involves vulnerability, as it necessitates letting go of control and relying on others. It fosters a sense of security and confidence, facilitating deeper connections and collaboration.


Together, patience and trust create a nurturing environment for growth and relationship building. Patience allows time for trust to develop, while trust reinforces patience by providing assurance and stability. These qualities enhance communication, reduce conflicts, and establish a strong foundation for enduring and fulfilling relationships. Patience and trust are integral to creating a harmonious and resilient life.


Power and mercy

Power and mercy are contrasting yet complementary qualities that profoundly shape leadership, relationships, and societal dynamics.


Power is the capacity to influence others, control resources, and make decisions. It can stem from various sources, such as position, knowledge, or charisma. The essence of power lies in its potential to effect change and achieve objectives. However, wielding power comes with responsibility; it can be used constructively to inspire, guide, and uplift others or destructively to dominate and oppress.


Mercy, in contrast, is the compassionate treatment of those in distress, particularly when one has the authority to punish or harm. It encompasses forgiveness, leniency, and a willingness to show kindness even when not warranted. The essence of mercy lies in its ability to humanize and heal, offering relief and second chances. Mercy mitigates the severity of power, reminding us of our shared humanity and the importance of empathy.


Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one


Power and mercy create a balanced approach to leadership and interpersonal interactions when combined. Power tempered with mercy fosters respect and trust, enabling leaders to guide effectively while upholding moral integrity. This balance promotes justice with compassion, strength with kindness, and authority with humility, ultimately leading to a more just and harmonious society.


Enneagram Type 8 being your blind type

When you score low on Type 8 or Type 8 is your blind Enneagram type, you will probably find it difficult to set healthy boundaries, embrace your own power, use your energy and vitality, express anger, and make yourself large. You might feel it drains your energy to expand yourself, stay strong, fight for your or others’ rights, take on hard work and responsibilities, and assert yourself.


You could also tend to feel that others who assert themselves and express their anger and power are controlling and dominating, have lots of muscle power but no brains, misuse their power over others, and act before they think, causing pain to others. This could be seen as a dislike toward people/roles or the qualities themselves.


Blind in Type 8 can also be expressed in qualities or competencies like playing small, pulling the strings behind the curtain, and solving problems by dialogue.


The benefits of developing Type 8 qualities:

  • Setting healthy boundaries for yourself and others.
  • Demonstrating the courage to stand up for what is right for yourself and others.
  • Standing tall and powerful in your lifeforce and vitality.
  • Showing vulnerability and mercy when needed.


(Read more about the blind types)


Frequently Asked Questions about Enneagram Type 8

What motivates an Enneagram Type 8?

Enneagram Type 8 is motivated by different things depending on the levels of presence they are acting from. If the level of presence is “high” they will be motivated by empowering others, figthing for justice and fairness and protecting and defending those who do not have the power, resources or skills to protect and depend themselves.


If they navigate from a more what is called “normal” level, then will be motivated by asserting themselves, making sure that no one or nothing will have the power over them and being real, honest and true.


And if they are under a lot of pressure and navigate from a “low” level of presence, they will be motivated by hatred, vengeance, domination, and destruction.


How does Enneagram Type 8 handle pressure?

Pressure is a very individual thing, where one person can feel pressured when someone is not showing up on time, where an other person do not have that triggers, but will feel pressured if people talk badly about other people. Pressure can be defined as the state you are in, where you have the feeling that you don’t have the time, perspective, or skill to do what you suppose is expected of you.


Typically, Enneagram Type 8 will meet pressure with anger, force, energy, and assertiveness. They can be intimidating and impulsive, but they don’t fear conflict or direct conversations. Also, if they have made a mistake, it will be easy to accept the mistake and then move on. We will not doubt Type 8 when they are feeling pressured, and they will use that same energy in conflict resolution.


What is the anger about in Enneagram Type 8?

The anger for Enneagram Type 8 is about the loss of realness, and with the anger, they demand us to be real with them. It can be real, emotionally or verbally, and it can be the realness of showing up, taking responsibility, and acting on what matters most. Their Enneagram traits are about a deep connection to their lifeforce and sense of vitality and when that is lost or disrupted the anger simulated that energy and sense of being alive.



Gurdjieff – Example of Enneagram Type 8

Churchill – Example of Enneagram Type 8

Picasso – Example of Enneagram Type 8


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Enneagram Type 8 - Archetypes

Enneagram Type 8: Strengths and Challenges Explored

Enneagram Type 8 balances energy and vulnerability and focuses on aliveness. They are driven by pushing boundaries to protect their sensitive core. Contents hide 1 Enneagram Type 8 in all of us 1.1 Enneagram Type 8 roles 1.2 Enneagram Type 8 archetypes 2 How to identify as an Enneagram Type 8? 2.1 Enneagram Type 8