Enneagram Type 8

Type 8: The Boss / Protector

Eights belong in the Gut / Body Centre and are motivated to be strong, be in control of every situation they are put into. They value taking charge, being in a leadership position and ensuring that they are never taken advantage of which is a big hot button for Type 8.

They are assertive, sometimes aggressive if they or those whom they love and care for are taken advantage of. Being the Body type, they find it easier to exert their inner and outer strength to protect their flock even if it means sacrificing themselves in every way to ensure whatever needs to get done, GETS DONE. They will not settle for anything less. Their inner strength, no nonsense, straight to the point stance makes the Eights most misunderstood.

If pushed in a corner which is what Type 8s will not tolerate, they will retaliate with unabated strength and vigour. They are motivated to seek justice and fairness for all, very much like the great protectors of the world. There is a side to the Eight which we may not see but is obvious if you know them well enough. Through their untiring effort, they are persevering, self-sacrificing and brave warriors who have no qualms being in the front line. They display tough love and are intense in voice, physical strength and spirit. They have a Never say die attitude with anything they are passionate about.

Early Childhood

The Type 8 child often grew up in an unsafe environment (emotionally and/or physically) and they had to fend for themselves or speak up for which they were often encouraged to. Their caregivers unconsciously gave the impression that if you don’t speak up or fight for your rights, others will trample on you. They didn’t feel being vulnerable as this was either frowned upon or hardly exercised in front of the Eight child. Hence, the tender and sensitive side was hardly nurtured or present in their lives.

Strengths of the Type Eight

1) Eights are confident, independent and self-reliant. They can either be a one-man show or they can marshal a group of people to execute their orders. They function well where there is opposition or if there is an enemy which evokes their inner drive to seek justice and bring about the truth. Where the other types weaken with opposition, the Eights turn up the heat and battle it out.

2) If you want the honest truth with no holds barred, ask a Type 8. They have little time to beat around the bush or edit their words. Their straight-forward, no-nonsense style keeps you on your toes. You know where your place is with Eights and you never have to second guess.

3) If you are on the right side of Type 8, you will receive full support, feel empowered and protected. An Type 8 parent or leader is likened to an eagle looking over their flock. They look out for your interests with a warrior like bravado and ensure things will be taken care of.

4) Eights are usually in a time crunch, very much a cut to the chase, take action and get the job done kind of person. You hardly have to push an Eight as they are self-motivated and independent.

5) Eights are usually big picture people and visionary. Being the gut type, they feel it in their veins when something is wrong and seem to have bodily wisdom about what to do and they are seldom wrong. All said and done, they are the movers and shakers of the world.


Any type becomes Unresourceful when they begin to over-do some of the thoughts and behaviours that are typical of the type.

1) Eights can sometimes be intimidating because they are the least likely to initially spot a smile and their presence is known just by their energy and serious countenance until you get to know them better. The Type 8 may take a longer time to warm up to you.

2) Since they are frequently in a time crunch as mentioned earlier, they have a list of action steps on their agenda. This means they can be restless and impatient with others’ incompetence. They prefer others to approach them with confidence and perspective and not appear wimpy and weak.

3) Between justice and mercy, Eights would seek justice (and possibly revenge) and this extends to not forgetting past incidents and injustices inflicted on them by any individual. Letting go and forgiving is tantamount to being weak and giving in. The Eights intensity urges them to hold on to anger as the source of energy to keep up the provocation.

4) They get uptight when people don’t do what is asked of them or follow their guidelines. They see it as defiance. They want people to also shape up or ship out, keeping the good and trimming the fat unless they feel a connection and loyalty to them.

5) Eights are impatient and they put too much pressure on themselves to move things according to their standards. While they do not seek to be the best like the Type 3, they want to push any blocks in their way. If others do not fall in line, they see it as their own lack of leadership. They place much burden on themselves as they are self-reliant, independent and believe they are capable of more than they can take.

Reflections for the Type 8

1) Eights give the impression of strength and courage but will hide their vulnerabilities. If they allow themselves to be vulnerable, they’d get a lot more emotional and physical support. It will allow other people into their lives, paving the way to connect and receive comfort from others.

2) They generally have a hearty sense of camaraderie but may find it hard to find deep, intimate relationships with friends. They could attempt to share and listen and truly appreciate what people are trying to tell them. They should get down from their high horse and remove that armour of pride as it would help them connect better with others.

3) Allow others to exercise autonomy and control. Learn to let go and let others take over where possible. Sometimes surrendering means empowering and allowing others to take care of situations that are normally under the 8s control. It’s w win-win for all concerned.

4) Be receptive and responsive to input from others rather than moving to immediate, unilateral action.

5) Eights are intense. They work hard and are intense about everything and it could cause them to have difficulty smelling the roses and appreciating the simple things in life like leisure, rest and bonding with others.

Self-Preservation Type Eight

Known as The Survivalist and their Vulnerabilities / Vices is Satisfaction or Survival. They are extremely protective of their family and friends, will survive difficult situations, and need to control supplies and territory.

Sexual or One-to-One Type Eight

Known as The Commander and their Vulnerabilities / Vices is Possession or Surrender. They are dominating, need to possess people/things, like to provoke and express their views, and yet can surrender control to their partner.

Social Type Eight

Known as The Group Leader and their Vulnerabilities / Vices is Friendship or Solidarity. They protect others from unjust authorities/systems and their aggressiveness is mediated by the group’s aligned needs and the common good.

Read more on the 27 Sub Types here.