The instincts of the Enneagram types are self-preservation (sp), sexual (sx), and social (so). They are traditionally used to define three instinctual subtypes or variations of a basic type (e.g., SP 8, SX 8, and SO 8). One of these three subtypes is called the counter-type because it can look different from the basic type. Below are brief descriptions of the three type 8 instinctual subtypes.
SP 8 - Satisfactory Survival, Satisfaction: takes a direct approach in getting what they want; gets frustrated and intolerant of obstacles that get in the way; accumulates territory and material resources to assure satisfactory survival.
SX 8 - Surrender, Possession: rebelliously asserts their “truth” or “way” in place of the rules or norms; wants others to surrender control, wants to dominate others and surroundings; can have difficulty letting go of what’s been “possessed” or taken under their control.
SO 8 - Friendship, Solidarity (counter-type): seeks advantage and influence through associations and alliances; defends those under their protection from injustice, unfairness, and harm; appears more friendly, generous, and less aggressive than other type 8 subtypes.
While an individual may be identified with type 8 in general, that same individual may be more specifically identified with one of the three instinctual subtypes as well.
A more recent approach to using the instincts is instinctual variant stacking which can be used independent of Enneagram type.