Enneagram Type 8 - The Challenger

Taking charge, because they don't want to be controlled

Enneagram type 8 - The ChallengerPeople of this personality type are essentially unwilling to be controlled, either by others or by their circumstances; they fully intend to be masters of their fate. Eights are strong willed, decisive, practical, tough minded and energetic. They also tend to be domineering; their unwillingness to be controlled by others frequently manifests in the need to control others instead. When healthy, this tendency is kept under check, but the tendency is always there, nevertheless, and can assume a central role in the Eight's interpersonal relationships.

Eights generally have powerful instincts and strong physical appetites which they indulge without feelings of shame or guilt. They want a lot out of life and feel fully prepared to go out and get it. They need to be financially independent and often have a hard time working for anyone. This sometimes necessitates that the Eight opt out of the system entirely, assuming something of an outlaw mentality. Most Eights however, find a way to be financially independent while making their peace with society, but they always retain an uneasy association with any hierarchical relationship that sees the Eight in any position other than the top position.

Eights have a hard time lowering their defenses in intimate relationships. Intimacy involves emotional vulnerability and such vulnerability is one of the Eight's deepest fears. Betrayal of any sort is absolutely intolerable and can provoke a powerful response on the part of the violated Eight. Intimate relationships are frequently the arena in which an Eight's control issues are most obviously played out and questions of trust assume a pivotal position. Eights often have a sentimental side that they don't even show to their intimates, such is their fear of vulnerability. But, while trust does not come easily to an Eight, when an Eight does take someone into the inner sanctum, they find a steadfast ally and stalwart friend. The Eight's powerful protective instincts are called into play when it comes to the defense of family and friends, and Eights are frequently generous to a fault in providing for those under their care.

Eights are prone to anger. When severely provoked, or when the personality is unbalanced, bouts of anger can turn into rages. Unhealthy Eights are frankly agressive and when pushed, can resort to violence. Such Eights enjoy intimidating others whom they see as "weak" and feel little compunction about walking over anyone who stands in their way. They can be crude, brutal and dangerous.

Female Eights are far more likely to mistype than male Eights, as many of the traits typical to the type Eight personality have been discouraged in females. For the most part, however, it is other types who mistake themselves for Eights. This is especially common in male counterphobic Sixes who fail to recognize that their agression is a cover for a very deep seated anxiety. Sevens too, are prone to mistype as Eights, but Sevens lack the intensity of focus typical of the type Eight, and while both Sevens and Eights have high energy personalities, Eights have a physically based energy whereas the Seven's energetic pattern has a nervous, mental quality to it.


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