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Ancient symbol. Modern psychology. 

The Enneagram Type 8 Journal:
A Guide to Inner Work & Self-Discovery for The Challenger

Check out the newest resource now available for your Type 8 Enneagram journey!


Self-Confident, Decisive, Willful, and Confrontational


to protect themselves and those close to them, to be in control of themselves and others, to be strong



manifests as a relentless search for a challenge, cause, or recipient of/for the intensity of an over abundance of energy


to be seen as weak, to be vulnerable, to be controlled or harmed by others, to be betrayed 




seek out outlets for their angry energy feeling that others must pay for the ways they have betrayed the Eight, they avoid dealing with the true causes of their rage


to be self-reliant, to prove their strength and resist weakness, to protect the underdog, the downtrodden, and the vulnerable, to be important in their world, to dominate the environment, and to stay in control of their situation



a return to a pure heart, finding strength in vulnerability and power with rather than power over others


Body / Gut / Instinctual

wisdom held in the body is used to maintain a boundary between external environment in order to create control and protect themselves


Expel energy outward to prevent anything from breaching their boundaries

Internal pain often transforms into bodily action & instinctual external rage which they unleash easily and in any direction



negative — insensitive, callous, disregard for the feelings of others, difficulty listening to others 

positive — logical and fair decision making, innovative and optimistic, inspirational leadership and connection



negative — inability to control anger, stubborn and rigid, emotionally detached and overly confident, disregard for rules

positive —  energetic and confident, protective and caring of others, supportive, able to see different perspectives



negative — easily offended, unrealistic expectations, emotional demonstrative and manipulative, belligerent and dismissive

positive — vulnerability seen as a strength, compassionate, caring, more open to connection



negative — isolated and withdrawn, detached from others and lacking in compassion, easily angered and provoked

positive — more emotionally controlled, anger becomes a wake-up call, cautious and self-reflective, gut reactivity is slowed


Eights are self-confident, strong, and assertive. Protective, resourceful, straight-talking, and decisive, but can also be ego-centric and domineering. Eights feel they must control their environment, especially people, sometimes becoming confrontational and intimidating. Eights typically have problems with their tempers and with allowing themselves to be vulnerable. 

Eights are assertive and passionate about life, meeting it head-on with self confidence and strength. They take initiative and make things happen with a “can-do” attitude. Eights are people of vision and action; they protect and provide for the people in their lives while empowering others to stand on their own. Occasionally, they take on big challenges to see if they can pull off the impossible or turn a hopeless cause into a great success, but only if they are certain the odds are in their favor and they have the resources to succeed. Eights are often expected to make the tough decisions and take the heat if things go wrong. To others, Eights may seem overbearing, confrontational, intimidating, and aggressive. Eights thrive on conflict in a positive manner while others may see them as confrontational. Whether they are running a multinational corporation or a family of two, they want it understood that they are firmly and clearly in charge.


Healthy Levels of Development:  Eights find strength through vulnerability and a return to the purity of an innocent heart. They are able to take action through compassion and empathy, leading others into a space of healing and the honoring of our collective humanity. The emergence of their true spirit allows them to overcome their basic fear of being controlled or harmed by outside influences; they surrender to the reality that they cannot control everything and they harness their real strength as a selfless guardian and protector. These are the leaders who genuinely access their heart space and begin to operate from love and true awareness in the face of divisiveness, confrontation, and conflict instead of attempting to confront the challenges with forged aggression. The surprising capacity for gentleness and love residing in the Eight energy is more powerful than anyone expects.

Average Levels of Development:  Eights are unpredictable, overly confrontational, egocentric, belligerent, vindictive, angry, callous, boastful, willful, insecure, emotionally demonstrative, vindictive, and intimidating—inhumanity caused by resistance to vulnerability. Many Eights at this level feel insecure with their surroundings, believing that they must provide for and/or protect themselves; they build up walls to keep everyone and everything out. The fear of betrayal and being let down by others leads them to unleash a toxic energy of vengeance that alienates people and creates divides in many relationships. The opportunity to pause and engage in honest emotional reflection and objectivity becomes a struggle for Eights at this level. They often react with forged strength and a gut reactivity in the hopes of concealing their vulnerability and capacity for gentleness. The fear of opening up and communicating with a person who may challenge their strength quickly buries their ability to find the compassion that is hidden deep in their big hearts.

Unhealthy Levels of Development: They become incredibly ruthless, unrelentingly cruel, vengeful, omnipotent, and extremely destructive individuals who justify their actions and beliefs from the unhealthy energy of Point Eight. Fear, anger, and control are the primary motivators that distort reality resulting in disdain for humans who may be perceived as a threat to their way of life. They are demonstrative in their cruelty and aggressively defend their beliefs in order to appear strong and in control when deep down what is really being defended is their vulnerability and personal trauma. The fear of being in a weaker position can trigger a deep rage aimed at whomever or whatever is challenging the position of power.


Triggers / Biases: Injustice towards marginalized communities, vulnerability, control/power dynamics, disloyalty, anything that looks like unfair control/oppression, need for revenge, opposing views, authority figures that oppose whatever they eight believes to be the right way to do things, any action that could be viewed as a “threat” to their immediate group or loyal circle, being “disrespected” leading to irrational anger towards the aggressor, interacting with a different point of view and becoming overly confrontational/unwilling to back down, treating life as a battlefield in which  victory is the only option leading to an unwavering view on polarizing issues

IDEA Challenge: Finding compassion and perspective when faced with a challenging viewpoint or person is a particularly difficult obstacle for Eights. The intensity that Eight energy brings into everything matters and drives them to push the limits in their life landing them in no-win oppositional situations. This conscripted stance is the default to enforce power over whomever they perceive to be the adversary. The dominant stance and reacting with a vengeful force are the Eights’ ways of masking their Achilles heel: vulnerability. When faced with a challenge to whatever the Eight holds true in their hearts, the ability to access compassion is blocked and the gut reactivity takes over. People are now objects, and the Eight will treat them as such.

Disconnects: They often experience a blindspot for overly aggressive reactions and behaviors aimed at others. A typical disconnect for Eight is aligning their intent with their impact. The experience of being feared or of being seen as dominating and overbearing is not uncommon for most Eights. Even if their actions are well-intentioned, they may be unaware of the true impact of their words and behaviors. The aggressive stance and powerful energy they embody may be from a protective or well-intentioned place, but the message they may be unintentionally projecting can have a profoundly different effect on people. While radiating an energy that manifests the appearance of an invulnerable human being who can take on anything, the heartbreak at Point Eight is equally as powerful as the strength. When they let their guard down, there is a loveable, kind, and tenderhearted human sometimes hidden under a prickly exterior. The need to always appear strong and in control is a counterproductive way of moving through the world and can be intimidating and unnecessarily confrontational to some, which can amplify disconnects across differences.


Unhealthy Reaction: deep rage expressed outwardly, taking an uncompromising stance, intimidation, unwavering aggression, forceful anger, insensitivity, “steamrolling” of others, fear of being “called out” causes irrational outburst and unreasonable language choices, resistance towards anything forced/imposed upon them, inability to access compassion, domineering stance intended to intimidate others into backing down, constantly looking for a challenge or conflict to channel whatever anger they are holding onto.

Healthy Reaction: pausing for reflection and slowing down gut reactivity, objective reasoning, finding compassion, a strong drive to protect the weak/vulnerable/mistreated/misunderstood, using their powerful stance, voice, and presence for those in need, staying a person of their word, they stand up for what they believe in at all costs, natural-born leadership tendencies, unwavering courage, truth, and determination, authentic vulnerability in showing their softer side during conflict.


If you would like more information about The Enneagram in business please visit


Dr. Deborah Egerton and her team of Trinity Transition consultants are inclusion, diversity, equity, and anti-racism specialists. Our culture change initiatives utilize the Enneagram and trademarked TTC tools to design workplace and community workshops. Our work creates the mindset shift necessary within communities and organizations to respect the diversity of every individual at all levels of society. We coach individuals, organizations, and communities to move from the space of apathy & tolerance to acceptance & inclusion.
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