Life potentials Enneagram Number 8 - Personality Type Eight: Challenger

The Personality Type Eight is characterised by being dominant, protective, energetic, and commanding. Their focus of attention is fighting injustice and they fear losing control.

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Enneagram eight

Personality Type: Eight – The Challenger or Warrior

Enneagram is a model of human psychology that describes nine fundamental personality types. Here comes the basic characteristics of the “Eight”.

Dominant Traits: Dominant, Protective, Excessive, Energetic, Commanding, Forceful 

Focus of Attention: Fighting Injustice. Not be Controlled by Others. Keep Things Moving 

Basic Fear: Losing Control; Being Vulnerable 

Basic Desire: Self-Protection; Justice 

Strengths: Good Sense of Right and Wrong, Firm, Action-Oriented, Good Leaders, Intense, Responsible, Takes Charge, Decisive, Fair, Protective of Others 

Challenges: Intimidating, Controlling, Confrontative, Aggressive, Impulsive, Quick to Anger, Lustful

General Behavior og the "Eight"

Think of Superheroes and you’d have a pretty good idea of how this personality type functions. Defender of the weak. Fighter of injustice. Queen of the Amazons. Alpha of the pack. Knight in shining armor. 

Eights would rather lead and be in control, than be led and controlled. They’re the masters of their own fate, and will not take anything sitting down. Strong-willed, tough-minded, powerful, practical, and with the energy to match, some think this personality is present only in men. But, of course, women too, can manifest these behaviors. 

In the workplace, Eights can be found in leadership roles. They instinctively take charge of situations, and control their environment. Their preference is to make an impact rather than take on a passive role. The result is that they get things done. They deny their weakness and maintain their self-image of being a strong person who’s in command of their life. 

This attitude makes it difficult for them to open up in relationships where lowering defenses is required in order to be intimate. 

Being vulnerable is Eight’s worst fear. They tend to be more controlling and domineering when they feel vulnerable, and trust issues are quite common in their relationships. They do have a sentimental side, but that will not see the light of day. 

When Eights decide that you can be trusted, they will include you in their inner circle, and you can expect a steady and loyal friend and partner. They can be generous to those under their care, and you can count on them to defend you when needed. 

They have powerful protective instincts. They have a quick temper, and can easily be provoked into rage. In mentally unbalanced Eights, this rage can make them violent. Oftentimes, those who are unbalanced are bullies who enjoy intimidating who they perceive as “weak.” They can be brutal and dangerous. 

How to Get Along with an Eight

  • Appreciate the protection that they offer, but draw the line when they become too controlling. Don’t shun them when you do, just calmly explain your feelings. 
  • When their tempers flare and they show violent behavior, call them off immediately in a non-confrontational manner. Be steady but not provoking. 
  • It is not good to engage Eights in discussions on morality. They have their own sense of justice. If they go overboard sometimes, just appreciate the positive side. 
  • Don’t point out their vulnerabilities or weak side. That’s like pushing a red button. If you need to give them feedback, practice the “sandwich” method. Put the negative feedback in between two positive ones. 
  • Since they have trust issues, be open and straightforward. They do not like mind games. 

How to Overcome the Negative Effects of Being an Eight

  • Interdependency and cooperation are essential to human relationships. You need to accept help from others when you need it. If it makes you uncomfortable to be assisted by strangers, turn to those you trust. 
  • Learn to accept that no one is invulnerable. It is when we work on our personal weaknesses that we become stronger. 
  • Control your temper. Being angry and bullying people will not get you what you want. Sometimes, talking about it brings better results. 
  • Be mindful of your behavior. Are you being too assertive? Too controlling? Are you scaring people? You can control your impulses if you watch yourself and correct behaviors that push people away. 
  • Moderate your desire to go from urge to action by pausing to think. This will keep you from acting rashly. 
  • Remember that a vulnerable side doesn’t make you weak. It makes you human, and lovable. It’s hard to love a block of stone. 
  • Real power they say is not only about strength, it’s knowing when force is needed and when it’s not.

Read about the other eight types of Enneagram Personalities: The One, the Two, the Three, the Four, the Five, the Six, the Seven, the Nine.

Criticism of the Enneagram model

The Enneagram model of personality has been criticized as being subject to interpretation and difficult to test or validate scientifically. You can read about The Big Five model of personality that has gained more scientific consensus here.


  1. Type Eight – The Protector 
  2. Wikipedia – The Enneagram of Personality
  3. International Enneagram Association – Enneagram Systems and Types

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