Enneagram Type 8: A Profile

By Kara Reynolds | Mar 23, 2020

If you could transform into a horse, would you be a wild mustang roaming the western plains, refusing all attempts to break you? If so, you may fall into the enneagram type 8 personality. This strong-willed individual refuses to allow anyone to take the reins — they’re in charge of their lives, and they’ll let you know it. Courageous and bold, you back down from no challenges. You have a lusty appetite for the positive things in life, but the pursuit of fame and fortune isn’t your ultimate goal. You often act assertively, even aggressively, to mask deep-seated insecurity that can impact everything from your career to your relationships.

Enneagram Type 8: The Challenger

As an enneagram type 8, your life’s motto would most closely parallel that of House Martell of “Game of Thrones” fame — unbowed, unbent and unbroken. You want a lot out of life, and you’re prepared to go and get it without letting anything or anyone stand in your way. Your desire for the better things isn’t entirely selfish, however. You see the problems in the world, and you aren’t afraid to propose and implement bold changes to address these issues. You have a relentless personal agenda, but your desire to incite action can come off as blunt and insensitive at times. You feel entirely justified in your cause, and you may be right about your assertions, but your delivery can raise eyebrows. Think of some of the media criticism leveled at well-known politicians — your ideas may have merit, but the way you express them makes others consider you abrasive. You desire financial independence, but it doesn’t stem so much from avarice as a want for freedom. You have a hard time working for anyone else, and a micromanaging boss will drive you out the door quicker than you can say, “lickety-split.” You have an uneasy relationship with authority and dislike hierarchical structures. You question rules when they seem unfair, but your deeper motivating force is a desire not to let anyone control you. Underneath the surface, you have deep insecurity, but vulnerability terrifies you. When you feel threatened, it puts you in a subservient role to others, which causes you to rebel. You can become aggressive when you get your hackles up. Like a wounded animal backed into a corner, you can become downright nasty in your defensiveness.

The Challenger’s Strengths

As a type 4, you are the go-getter of the enneagram universe. You have a robust sense of right and wrong, and you’re bold when it comes to taking action — either to better yourself or the world at large. If you see a business opportunity that enables you to gain more personal freedom while supporting a terrific cause, you grab the reins and run with it. You have an entrepreneurial spirit, which serves you well, given your reluctance to work for others. You’re also the first to jump into the fray when you sense injustice. Although your generosity typically extends to your immediate friends and family, that doesn’t mean you won’t stand up for the more vulnerable. Protecting the weak against attacks appeals to your nature — it makes you feel like a mighty guardian of the innocent.

The Challenger’s Weaknesses

Your need for independence can isolate you from others at times. Those around you may flee in terror when you work yourself into a righteous rampage over a perceived injustice. You can become downright aggressive, and you can come off as a bulldozer bent on destroying everything in your path. Your inability to listen to authority can cause conflicts at home and work. In the office, you may refuse to complete any tasks you deem irrelevant or beneath you, a trait that doesn’t endear you to your manager. At home, you can take a “my way or the highway” approach that isolates your family. Perhaps your home is your castle  — but no one appointed you tyrannical ruler over your domain.

Relating to the Challenger at Work

If you manage an enneagram type 8, hovering over them while they work is the most expedient way to make them run for the door. This sort dislikes authority to begin with — any attempts to micromanage them will result in subpar performance at best, downright ghosting at worst. These individuals excel in leadership roles, though, so seek out opportunities for them to take charge. Don’t reward aggressive or antisocial behavior with a promotion to the manager’s office — but you can let them spearhead an upcoming project. If you fall into this enneagram type, you probably feel drawn to the following careers:

  • Entrepreneur: Because of your dislike for authority, you do best when you sit in the boss’s chair. Your challenge is to develop your emotional intelligence to become the sort of leader people want to follow. If you continually railroad others to get your way, you’ll soon find valued staff abandoning ship.
  • Community leader: You do have a keen eye for the wrongs in society and a compelling need to take action to correct them. Remember, though, that other opinions have merit. Listen to your advisors and others on your team.
  • Social media influencer: This career path frees you to work for yourself, which you adore. It also lets you ham it up and let your personality shine. Although you don’t live for the limelight, you appreciate accolades for your accomplishments.

Relating to the Challenger at Home and in Love

If you’re in love with an enneagram type 8, you might sometimes question their behavior, especially if a tirade threatens to turn verbally abusive. Your challenge involves not taking the rants of this sometimes overbearing sort personally. That doesn’t mean that you should stay if you feel threatened, though. Work on establishing boundaries, and clearly and calmly communicate with your partner the steps you will take if they cross that line. Because they respect their independence, they should understand your need to maintain your dignity. If you fall into this personality category, your challenge entails learning how to express your robust passions and needs without alienating those you love. Get over the idea that you need to master your domain — remember, others dislike dictatorial authority as much as you do. If you find that your insecurity leads you to lash out in anger, work with a licensed therapist to learn healthier modes of expression.

Enneagram Type 8 — Follow Your Passions but Treat Others Gently

If you’re an enneagram type 8, take pride in the way you rise to a challenge and stop at nothing to better yourself and the world. Do remember, though, that the best way to achieve lasting change is through team efforts — and that requires handling others with care.

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