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Enneagram Type 8

Enneagram Type 8


Type 8 is characterized by self-confidence, assertiveness, decisive clarity and is confrontational in nature. This point relishes a challenge and can create confrontational or oppositional scenarios in order to have something to contrast with and affirm their bold presence.

Type 8s have a passion for excess, intensity, and truth (their truth). They take justice into their own hands and, of all the types, are the most likely to lean into explicit anger. Type 8s often carry an aversion for softer emotions or anything that they interpret as weakness. When unexamined, 8’s grandiose strength can be a façade to hide the betrayed and vulnerable elements of their ego structure from everyone, especially themselves

In healthy expressions, Type 8 can be courageous, heroic, balanced in their self-reliance, and able to channel their true strength into being a buoy for others or towards a higher purpose. At liberated levels, Type 8 is in touch with the spiritual quality of True Strength.

Character Traits & Descriptions

Adapted from the work of Russ Hudson and Claudio Naranjo

The Challenger - "The Powerful, Dominating Type: Self-Confident, Decisive, Willful, and Confrontational" - Russ Hudson

Coming on Strong – passion for excess and intensity, strong and tough-minded, passionately in favor of lust as a way of life, pleasure in fighting for pleasure, least intimidated by anger (blunt, sarcastic, intimidating, humiliating), takes justice into their own hands, rebellion against authority, avoids dependency and vulnerability, idealization of autonomy.– Claudio Naranjo

Pathways to Essence

Adapted from Keys to the Enneagram and Facets of Unity, by A.H. Almaas

Essential Endowment: True Strength

True Strength is the vibrant, powerful life force of reality itself. This overflowing vitality has a fiery, active quality to it and is empowered and expansive in nature. When integrated or directly experienced, this quality can manifest as boldness, courage, and profound, clear personal power. It can, and often does, transform into raw expressiveness on behalf of the truth. True Strength shines a blazing, direct beacon on the patterns that keep us stuck and provides the vigor to cut through inauthenticity.

To learn more about the True Strength, you can explore the "Keys to the Enneagram" course or the chapter on Point 8 in A.H. Almaas’ book Keys to the Enneagram.

Ego Ideal & Avoidance

Type 8 idealizes strength, subjective perceptions around justice (including blame), and self-reliance in avoidance of the experience of something precious in them having been lost, which they have internalized as weakness or a sense of fundamental badness.

Passion: Lust – orientation excessively tipped toward the physical, fulfillment is sought through the senses.

Virtue: Innocence – freedom from guilt and sin.

Holy Idea: Holy Truth - "When basic trust is dominant, the head center opens and we perceive the fact of reality. We see that the universe in its totality—all levels, including the physical—exists in a fundamental way and that that existence is the true reality. We see that all of existence is the manifestation of God, the Divine Being, True Nature—whatever name you wish to give it. So Holy Truth is the perception that God exists as the totality of existence—that He is what exists and the existence of what exists—and God is not something separate from the universe. When basic trust is deeply integrated, we see that everything is pervaded by the living presence or consciousness that we call Living Daylight or Loving Light. It could also be called God, love, consciousness, presence, or Being. This perception of existence is the perspective of Holy Truth." - Facets of Unity, ch. 9

Specific Delusion: Duality - The perception that the differences and separations between things that exist are ultimate, that this is the true state of affairs.

Specific Difficulty: Badness / Guilt / Fundamental Sinfulness - The sense that what is most true and precious has been lost and destroyed, and that someone or something is to blame.

Specific Reaction: Self-blame - This ensues for not being divine, which becomes self-punishment and the attempt to avenge oneself.

Dynamic Core Elements

Adapted from the work of Sandra Maitri

Ego Trap: Justice – The world appears as an unjust place – especially regarding oneself – and they want to even the score.

Anti-Self Action: Self-punishing – They grapple with a sense of culpability and guilt and engage in frequent self-chastisement & self-castigation.

Ego Lie: Prejudice / False Denial – Denial of the optimistic, upbeat, and hopeful side of things.

Defense Mechanism: Denial as a refusal to accept reality, thus blocking external events from awareness.

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