How Does an Enneagram Type 8 Behave? (7+ Development Levels)

The Enneagram type 8 are strong, self-confident and assertive. People with Enneagram type 8  can be decisive, resourceful, protective and straight talking but can also be domineering and ego-centric.  People with Enneagram type 8 have a tendency of controlling their environment and the people around them which can result in them becoming intimidating and confrontational. Eights are generally not good with their tempers which result in them becoming vulnerable in different situations. People with Enneagram type 8  are at their best, they also have a tendency of self-mastering hence, using their strength to improve the life of people around them and becoming inspiring, heroic and magnanimous. Here are some characteristics of an Eight :

  • Basic Fear: THe basic fea of an Eight is that of being controlled or harmed by others.
  • Basic Desire: To be in control of their lives and protect themselves.
  • Enneagram Eight with a Seven-Wing: “The Maverick”
  • Enneagram Eight with a Nine-Wing: “The Bear”

Key Motivations: To resist weaknesses, prove their strength and want to be self-reliant, they want to dominate the environment around them, to be important in their world, and to be in control of their situation.

When the person they are meeting has a tendency to move towards their Direction of Disintegration (stress), the self-confident Eights become fearful and secretive at them like Fives. However, when moving towards the other side i.e. their Direction of Integration (growth), controlling Eights become more caring and healthful like Twos.

Famous Personality: Martin Luther King, G.I. Gurdjieff, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Richard Wagner, Oskar Schindler, Winston Churchill, Fidel Castro, Mikhail Gorbachev, Jr., Lyndon Johnson, Golda Meir, Saddam Hussein, Indira Gandhi, Senator John McCain, Pablo Picasso, Donald Trump, Ernest Hemingway, Serena Williams, Norman Mailer, James Brown, Toni Morrison, Keith Richards, Aretha Franklin, Queen Latifah, Aretha Franklin,  Chrissie Hynde, Jack Black, Courtney Love, John Wayne, Pink, Frank Sinatra, Lauren Bacall, Humphrey Bogart, Mae West, Bette Davis, Sean Connery, Clint Eastwood, Paul Newman, Tommy Lee Jones, Susan Sarandon, Jack Nicholson, Russell Crowe, Harvey Keitel, Sean Penn, Matt Damon, Roseanne Barr, Alec Baldwin, Barbara Walters, “Dr. Phil” McGraw, Rosie O’Donnell,  “Tony Soprano”

People with Enneagram type 8: Overview

People with Enneagram type 8  are also known as the Challenger because, among all of the types, Eights are the only ones that not only take challenges on themselves but also challenge others to help them exceed their limits in one way or another. Eights have the psychological and physical capacity along with the charisma to make other people follow them in different fields of life from running a household to building and company or waging a war. 

People with Enneagram type 8  feel alive when they are practicing their capacities in the world, especially their enormous vitality and willpower. They also use their abundant energy to not only change their lives but also affect changes on the environment around them to leave a mark and try their best to keep other people and the environment away from hurting them. Eights understand from an early age that it is good for them to develop their strength, persistence, will and endurance and other qualities in themselves that they look for in other people.

One of the examples of such development of skills at an early age is that of a stockbroker who has worked intensively on understanding her type in detail Sandy is working as a stockbroker and have been working on developing her skill level right from her childhood, she can recount different childhood incidents in which she could feel the development of this pattern. According to her it was her dad that imprinted these principles on her alongside that one basic one to not let anyone push her around and be tough and tenacious in life. She not only mastered different emotions early on but was not fearful to imply them in her daily routine and life.

People with Enneagram type 8  do not allow other people to have power over them, they basically don’t like to be controlled at all, whether the power is social, sexual, financial or psychological. Much of their behavior is towards the retainment of whatever they are involved in and to increase the power as long as possible. They always like to leave their imprint on whatever work they’re doing irrespective of the job. 

People with Enneagram type 8  are known as the true “rugged individualists” of the Enneagram as they tend to stand alone, and their tendency to do so is far more than any other type. They resist being in debt to anyone and want to be independent. They can defy concert, shame and fear about the results of their actions and often deny to give in to any social convention. Although most of the time they are aware of what other people think about them but they do not focus on their opinion and move towards their own goals. Their determination towards their business is solid and can be intimidating and inspiring for others.

The fear of being controlled in some way or disempowered far outweighs their fear of being harmed physically. People with Enneagram type 8  can absorb a great deal of physical punishment without a complaint and are extraordinarily tough, this can also be a double edged blessing as because of their toughness they always take their stamina and health for granted and often overlook the well being and health of others too. Instead they are more prone to be hurt emotionally and are always trying to keep other people at a safe emotional distance, there is a vulnerability under the facade of toughness although there is an emotional armour present.

Thus, Eights tend to move towards industrious ambitions but as a result loose emotional contact with a lot of people in their lives. People close to them might become uncomfortable and increasingly dissatisfied with the way Eights work which can result in confounding them. 

Type Eight—Levels of Development

Healthy Levels

Level 1 (At Their Best): Become magnanimous and self-restrained, forbearing and merciful, mastering their self-through using their self-surrender to a higher authority. They are willing to put themselves in jeopardy to have a lasting influence and achieve their goals through their courage. May achieve historical greatness and true heroism.

Level 2: Strong, self-confident and self-assertive: People with Enneagram type 8 have learned to stand up for what they want and what they need. They have a passionate inner drive with a resourceful “can do” attitude. 

Level 3: Authoritative, commanding and decisive: They are the natural leaders looked up upon. They make things happen by taking initiative and are known as the provider, protector, honorable, people champion and carrying others using their strength.

Average Levels

Level 4: Financial independence, having enough resources and self-sufficiency are important concerns: become pragmatic, enterprising,wheeler-dealers, “rugged individualists,”. Hardworking, risk-taking and denying own emotional needs.

Level 5: Dominating their environment, including others: People with Enneagram type 8  Have an urge to feel that others are supporting them and are behind them. boastful , swaggering, expansive and forceful: act as the “boss” whose word is final and law. egocentric , Proud, not seeing others as equals, wanting to impose their vision and will and not treating others with respect.

Level 6: Become highly intimidating and combative to have their way: belligerent,  confrontational and creating adversarial relationships. Everything is a test of wills for them at this stage, and they will not back down. Use reprisals and threats to get obedience from others, to keep others insecure and off balance. However, these unjust treatment makes others resent and fear, which might also result in others banding together against them.

Unhealthy Levels

Level 7: Become completely ruthless, defy any attempt taken to control them, dictatorial, “might makes right” approach.  The outlaw and criminal, con-artist and renegade. Potentially violent, hard-hearted and immoral.

Level 8: Development of delusional ideas about their invincibility, power, and ability to prevail: feeling omnipotent, invulnerable and megalomania. Overextending themselves recklessly.

Level 9: Once they are in danger, rather than surrendering to anyone else they will try to destroy anything that has not been confirmed according to their will and desire. Murderous, barbaric, vengeful with a tendency towards sociopaths. 

When this level is reached, People with Enneagram type 8  might feel they are being misunderstood and start distancing more from other people. Infact, beneath the toughness exterior that eights usually pose they may feel hurt and rejected although they have trouble admitting their vulnerability to themselves rather than admitting it in front of anyone else. Because they have a fear of being rejected and humiliated in any way, Eights starts defending themselves using instinct by rejecting others. Which might result in an average Eight blocking their own ability to connect with other people or to love the people around them as love gives power to other people and they don’t want to get controlled. 

The more Eights build up this defence in terms of protecting themselves, the more sensitive they become to any imaginary or real danger to their authority, preeminence or self-respect. In a similar way the more they try to make themselves more tough by being impervious to pain or hurt, the more they shut off themselves emotionally and become a rock like or hardened structure from inside. Which can result in them getting farther away from the people they love and enclosing themselves in a shell, this might further give the impression of being stubborn to other people and misunderstand them more.

When Eights are healthy emotionally, they always have a can-do resourceful attitude towards things and have a steady inner drive which allows them to take initiative and make things happen with a great attitude and passion for life and for people around them. They are authoritative and honorable in their dealings and are known as natural born leaders with a commanding and solid presence. Their groundedness gives them the ability to be decisive in matters and also abundant common sense which helps them in making correct decisions. Eights are willing to take on criticism and heat as they are knowledgeable in the concept that they cannot please everyone with their decisions. They try their utmost to take care of each and everyone in their charge and look after their interests without playing favorites to anyone. They use their fortitude, talents and drive to construct a better world where everyone can thrive and be happy.

One of the subtypes of enneagram type 8 is 8w7 and 8w9.

FAQ about Enneagram type 8 

What Enneagram number goes to 8 in stress?

The Enneagram type Eight falls under stress which is also known as the Challenger and may get pushy when in the pursuit of securing affection and love. Eights become controlling and tyrannical sometimes to the point that the people in the inner circle become intimidated by them and sometimes might feel they are walking on a eggshell.

Which Enneagram is the rarest?

The most of the rarest Enneagram type is that of four which is also known as the Individualist. One of the reasons that people don’t tend to meet the individualist quite often is because of their tendency to keep to themselves and they are known as highly introverts.


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