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Enneagram Type 8: The Challenger



Enneagram System  » Enneagram Core Types

#8  #type 8 

The Strengths, Weaknesses, Fears, Motivations and Love Style

Enneagram Type 8:

"The Challenger"

 Key Phrases

  • Decisive and confident
  • Direct and assertive
  • Protective of those they care about
  • Strives for fairness and justice
  • Not afraid of confrontation
  • Aggression/defensiveness struggles

Enneagram Type 8 is known as the "Challenger". People with this personality type are self-confident, decisive, and strong. They have a desire to be in control and protect those they care about. They strive for fairness and justice, and are not afraid to stand up for what they believe in.


8's Strengths

Enneagram Type 8 individuals are known for their ability to make decisions and take control in difficult situations. They are protective, resourceful, and self-confident. They are also able to handle criticism and conflict without taking it personally.

  • Strong Leadership Skills: Type 8s possess natural leadership qualities and are often seen as assertive and confident individuals. They have a strong ability to take charge and make decisions, inspiring others to follow their lead.

  • Assertive and Direct: Type 8s are known for their direct and straightforward communication style. They are not afraid to express their opinions and stand up for what they believe in, which can be refreshing and inspiring to others.

  • Courageous and Tenacious: Type 8s exhibit a remarkable level of courage and tenacity. They are willing to confront challenges head-on and have the determination to overcome obstacles in pursuit of their goals.

  • Protective and Loyal: Type 8s have a strong sense of loyalty and protectiveness towards those they care about. They are fiercely devoted to their loved ones and will go to great lengths to ensure their well-being and safety.

  • Decisive and Action-oriented: Type 8s are decisive individuals who are not afraid to make tough choices. They have a natural inclination towards taking action and getting things done, which can make them effective problem solvers and initiators.


8's Weaknesses

Despite their strengths, Enneagram Type 8s can also exhibit certain weaknesses. They may be confrontational and intimidating, which can create conflicts. Their desire for control can also lead to insensitivity or neglect of others' feelings.

  • Intimidating and Overbearing: Type 8s' strong and assertive nature can sometimes come across as intimidating or overbearing to others. Their direct communication style and desire for control can unintentionally overpower those around them, leading to conflicts or strained relationships.

  • Impatience with Weakness: Type 8s have little patience for what they perceive as weakness or vulnerability. They may struggle to empathize with others' struggles or emotions, which can hinder their ability to build deep connections or understand different perspectives.

  • Tendency to Dominate: Type 8s can have a tendency to dominate or control situations and people. Their desire for power and influence can lead them to overpower others' voices or opinions, which may result in resentment or resistance from those around them.

  • Difficulty with Vulnerability: Type 8s often find it challenging to be vulnerable and open up emotionally. They may fear being perceived as weak or exposed, leading them to put up emotional barriers that can hinder deep connections and intimacy.

  • Impulsiveness and Lack of Patience: Type 8s' assertiveness and desire for action can sometimes lead to impulsive decision-making. They may rush into situations without fully considering the consequences, which can result in missed opportunities or unintended negative outcomes. Additionally, they may struggle with patience, wanting immediate results and becoming frustrated when things don't progress as quickly as they would like.


8's Basic Fears

Enneagram Type 8 individuals grapple with a fundamental fear of being controlled or vulnerable.

They have a deep-seated aversion to being manipulated or taken advantage of by others. The fear of being seen as weak or powerless drives them to assert their independence and protect their autonomy. They strive to be in control of their own lives and resist any attempts to limit or dominate them.

Their fear of being vulnerable or emotionally exposed pushes them to adopt a tough exterior and assert their strength, often avoiding situations where they may feel helpless or reliant on others.


1's Motivations

Enneagram Type 8s are primarily motivated by a desire for self-confidence, strength, and authority.

They seek to be in control and assert their power and influence. Their motivation stems from a need to protect themselves and others, often assuming leadership roles and taking charge of situations. They value authenticity and directness, striving to be strong and assertive in their actions and interactions. The motivation to champion justice, challenge injustices, and safeguard the vulnerable drives their actions and decision-making processes.

They are determined to create a world where power is used responsibly and protectively, fostering a sense of security and empowerment for themselves and those around them.


Healthy vs Unhealthy 8's

When healthy, Enneagram 8s use their strength and determination to make a positive impact. They are confident and assertive, inspiring others with their ability to achieve their goals. They use their influence to protect others and fight for justice.  They are self-confident but not domineering, protective but not controlling, and assertive yet respectful.

On the other hand, when unhealthy, Enneagram 8s can become confrontational and controlling. They may struggle with anger and have difficulty showing vulnerability. They may also become excessively self-reliant, neglecting the feelings and needs of others. 



Growth Recommendations for Type 8

  • Practice vulnerability: Allow yourself to express your feelings and admit your weaknesses. This can lead to deeper connections and a more fulfilling life.

  • Show empathy towards others: Try to consider the feelings and perspectives of others. This can help to build stronger relationships and create a more harmonious environment.

  • Manage anger effectively: Find healthy ways to express your anger and frustration, such as through physical activity or creative outlets.


In Love

When a Type 8 loves someone, they often express it through acts of protection and advocacy. They show their love by standing up for their loved ones and providing a strong support system for them. They may express their love by shielding their loved ones from harm, often putting themselves in the line of fire. For Type 8s, love often translates into a form of guardianship, where they willingly take on the role of a protector.

However, because of their need for control and fear of being controlled, Type 8s can sometimes come across as domineering or confrontational. They may struggle with revealing their own vulnerability, which can sometimes lead to difficulty in establishing deep emotional connections.

Despite these challenges, at their best, Type 8s bring strength, protection, and passionate intensity to their relationships. They express love by championing their loved ones, offering a stable and secure environment where their partners feel protected and empowered. In a relationship with a Type 8, love often manifests as shared strength, resilience, and a mutual commitment to protect and respect each other's autonomy.

For an in-depth understanding of Type 8's Compatibility see 8's Compatibility with the other Types.


Explore the Wings

Each Core Type has a Wing Type. Exploring the Wings offers a more comprehensive view and valuable insights, and offers opportunities for personal growth and development by tapping into the unique qualities and strengths of the adjacent Enneagram types.


8w7 "The Maverick"


8w9 "The Bear"


Betty Baker M.A. Psych, M.Ed

About the Author

Betty Baker is an awarded marriage and family therapist and contributor to the internationally renowned PeaceBuilders® Program - a science-based, research-validated violence prevention curriculum and professional development program for children, grades pre-K to 12.