It may seem unusual to start with the ENNEAGRAM 8 and not the Enneagram 1, but if you look at the photo you can see three color patterns that come with the Types. There is the red to the orange area with the Ennea 8, 9, and 1, which is the ACTION CENTRE.So let’s take a closer look at the Ennea 8. I have a lot of people very close to me that are Ennea 8 – the ACTIVE CONTROLLER. I don’t really like that name and I prefer to speak of them as the PROTECTOR or the CHALLENGER.
“The world is a tough and unjust place – only the strong survive. I am a rock; I must not be weak. I must be in control. Do it my way! ”
“From this arises the question whether it is better to be loved rather than feared, or feared rather than loved. It might perhaps be answered that we should wish to be both: but since love and fear can hardly exist together, if we must choose between them, it is far safer to be feared than loved.” — Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince
I lovingly call them human steam rollers. Enneagram Eights are often a powerful and dominant type, self-confident, strong, and assertive. They often feel that they must control their environment, becoming confrontational and intimidating. They typically have issues allowing themselves to be close to others. Ennea Eights are very quick to respond and trust their gut, making quick decisions and getting things done. They also have huge hearts and are very protective of people and things they care about, always ready to fight against injustice.
Every Enneagram type has, what I call the four V’s – vulnerability, vice, value, and virtue. So this is what I would like to share with you for each Enneagram type. For the Ennea 8 they are:
Vulnerability (or core fear) – Vulnerability itself
The Enneagram 8 avoids being vulnerable, having the need to feel strong rather than helpless or without power. They avoid being controlled by others.
Vice – Lust
The term lust should be interpreted very broadly and can include physical wellbeing, pleasure, sustenance, shelter, power, or influence. This lust ensures they do everything in excess, often going to extremes and engaging in life as a constant conquest.
Value – Capacity
Enneagram Eights value strength, having a sense of control and being direct and impactful.
Virtue – Innocence
This might sound strange at first but when Enneagram Eights move into innocence, they become more open-hearted. In this state of innocence, they have the opportunity to appreciate and experience the nuances of life without judgment, and without the need for excess or intense experiences.
“Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression, and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.
So at their best, they are empowering and encouraging, using their strength to improve others’ lives. At their worst, they may be aggressive, domineering, and unstoppable, driven by their need to express themselves, avoiding all forms of appearing vulnerable or weak in a world they may perceive as threatening.
We all have our blind spots as do all the Enneagram types as well…
Because their energy may be stronger than they realise (here they are again my lovable steam-rollers), Eights may not be aware of how intimidating they may seem to other people.
Eights tend to move towards conclusions and act very swiftly and decisively. Other people may need a lot more time to see the big picture and decide what to do about it – in the meantime, an Eight has finished the task. The force with which Eights initiate and drive may, therefore, leave people feeling unprepared, overwhelmed, or intimidated.
Even though Eights may be working hard to keep their vulnerability from others, they may show it more than they realise, especially in moments of reflection or when anticipating future challenges.
Eights don’t react well to dishonesty or being blamed by others.
Eights don’t conform to rules and hate any attempts at being controlled. At the same time, their tendency to take control assumes that others will comply and conform to them. This can be the cause of a lot of tension in relationships.
As I mentioned, I have quite a few Enneagram Eights that I am close with and what I love most about them is that you can always rely on them. Even if they can be a tad intimidating at times or even too assertive. But when push comes to shove they are doers and will protect anyone they care for with the passion of a lion protecting their family. You can be sure that you can lean on them and they will not disappoint you.
To summarise, Eights seek independence and self-reliance. They want to need others as little as possible, to be their own person. They fear being controlled or dominated by others. They fear intimacy and becoming vulnerable by trusting or caring too much. When dealing with others they keep their guard up, not letting others get too close, and toughening themselves against hurt and their need for others.
“Power doesn’t have to show off. Power is confident, self-assuring, self-starting, and self-stopping, self-warming and self-justifying. When you have it, you know it.” — Ralph Ellison