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Enneagram Type 8 Descriptions: Sample Interpretations

Enneagram type 8 names

Enneagram type 8 names and descriptions vary between different authors, teachers, and schools of the Enneagram types. Two common names are The Challenger and The Protector.

The descriptions for Enneagram type 8 in books and on the Internet often emphasize a particular school's interpretation or borrow elements from various interpretations. Although these descriptions of type 8 can be similar in many ways, there can also be differences.

Below are samplings from some of the more popular interpretations. Click on the sources after the descriptions to further explore these interpretations.

The Challenger, The Powerful, Dominating Type: Self-Confident, Decisive, Willful, and Confrontational1

Basic Fear: Of being harmed or controlled by others, of violation1

Basic Desire:  To protect themselves, to determine their own course in life1

Basic Proposition: You gain protection and respect by becoming strong and powerful, imposing your personal truth and hiding your vulnerability.2

Strengths: Courageous, strong, fair, truthful, determined, generous, protective of others2

Challenges: Excessive, angry, dominating, lustful, afraid of vulnerability2

Energy goes into: Control and dominance of my space and inadvertently of the people and things in my space. Taking direct action and facing conflict. Protecting the weak and innocent. Gaining respect by being strong and just.3

The Challenger: Commanding, intense and confrontational, they are motivated by a need to be strong and avoid feeling weak or vulnerable.4

Asserters are direct, self-reliant, self-confident, and protective.5

Focus of Attention: Eights naturally focus their attention on power and control—who has it and who doesn’t, and how it’s wielded. They think in terms of the big picture and (mostly) dislike dealing with details. They see the world as being divided into “the strong” and “the weak,” and they identify with “the strong” to avoid feeling weak.6


1Book: The Wisdom of the Enneagram; Website: The Enneagram Institute

2Website: The Narrative Enneagram

3Book: The Essential Enneagram; Website: Dr. David Daniels

4Book: The Road Back to You

5Book: The Enneagram Made Easy

6Book: The Complete Enneagram; Website: Chestnut Paes Enneagram Academy

More Type 8 Pages

Enneagram Guide

This page is part of the Enneagram Guide available on this website. For more information about any particular Enneagram type or the many concepts and origins/history of the Enneagram types visit the Enneagram Guide main page.