Enneagram Type 8 Wings: 8w7 and 8w9


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The core focus of Enneagram type 8

Enneagram type 8
Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.
- Martin Luther King, Jr.

Early in life we develop an initial belief about ourselves and a compensation for that self-belief.

  • Type 8 Initial Self-Belief: “I am disempowered as I am.”

    Type 8 Compensation: "I must be direct in going after what I want and stand strong against being controlled or taken advantage of."

Over time this gets generalized beyond the self into a core focus that also shapes how we perceive and interact with the world at large.

  • Type 8 Core Focus: Empowerment comes from being in control and not being controlled by people or rules. This requires that I confront obstacles and people that are in my way and move directly toward what I want. Don't show weakness in a world that takes advantage of innocence and vulnerability.

    Personality characteristics that might arise from the type 8 core focus include:

    • Takes action decisively and sometimes impulsively
    • Fills up the space around them with their presence and big energy
    • Speaks directly and bluntly when making a point
    • Often guards against vulnerability by denying softer emotions
    • Naturally assumes role of leadership when there's a power vacuum
    • Directly confronts others to reveal the truth of a situation
    • Protects or seeks justice for those unfairly taken advantage of
    • Anger arises in service of making things happen/getting things moving
    • Prefers to make their own rules rather than follow others' rules



The wings of Enneagram type 8

Type 8 Wings

The wings are represented by the numbers on either side of a given type as seen on the Enneagram symbol or diagram. These types are said to have an additional influence upon the type being looked at. The wing types for type 8 are type 7 and type 9.

Although type 8 is influenced by both wings, an individual will generally be influenced more by one of the wings than the other. The wing with more influence is said to be the preferred or dominant wing.

  • 8 wing 7 (8w7) - preferred 7 wing
    Common Name: The Independent

    • more active and goal oriented
    • more aggressive and competitive
    • more impatient and impulsive
  • 8 wing 9 (8w9) - preferred 9 wing
    Common Name: The Bear

    • more laid-back and grounded
    • more reserved and steady
    • more prone to comfort and routine



What Enneagram authors say about 8w7 and 8w9

Enneagram 8w7 Enneagram 8w9

Below are samplings from some popular or well-known Enneagram authors. Click on the sources after the descriptions to further explore these interpretations.

  • The Eight with a Seven-Wing: The Independent
    Having a quick mind combined with a vision for practical possibilities, people of this subtype are often charismatic and able to attract the support of others to join them in their vision. They are more openly aggressive and confrontational and less likely to back down from a fight.1

    The Eight with a Nine-Wing: The Bear
    They are noticeably steadier in the pursuit of their aims and are not as openly aggressive or as easily perturbed as other Eights. People of this subtype generally like to live quietly and unobtrusively, preferring to control their affairs from behind the scenes.1

  • Eight with a Seven Wing (8w7): Playful and roguish, these Eights live large and express their fiery side. They are outwardly ambitious and value their independence.2

    Eight with a Nine Wing (8w9): Gentler and steadier, these Eights wield a solid sense of confidence and groundedness. They are often quietly protective.2

  • Eights with a Seven wing may be more high-spirited, independent, and adventurous.3

    Eights with a Nine wing may be warmer, calmer, and more consensually oriented.3

  • Enneagram Type 8w7 by Ian Morgan Cron

    Enneagram Type 8w9 by Ian Morgan Cron

    Eights with a Seven wing (8w7) are outgoing, energetic and fun, reflecting the Seven’s sunny personality. They are also ambitious, impulsive and sometimes reckless. These Eights live life to the fullest.4

    Eights with a Nine wing (8w9) have a more measured approach to life. They are more approachable and more open to cooperation over competition, in keeping with the Nine’s tendency to play a peacemaking role.4

  • Eights with a more developed Seven wing tend to be more extroverted, enterprising, energetic, quick, and egocentric.5

    Eights with a more developed Nine wing tend to be more mild-mannered, gentle, receptive, and quietly strong.5

  • Eight With a 7 Wing
    Sometimes driven to bring the new into being. Can be visionary, idealistic, enterprising. Willing to take risks. May think more clearly than Eights with a 9 wing; 7 wing brings an intellectual capacity.6

    Eight With a 9 Wing
    May be gentle, kind-hearted, quieter. May radiate an implicit, simmering anger rather like a sleeping volcano. Slow to erupt but when they do it’s sudden and explosive.6



To learn more about the basic type 8 or one of the wing types click on a link below.



Enneagram Tests to Help Determine Wing

Enneagram wings

The wing types of an Enneagram type are the types on either side of a type as seen on the Enneagram symbol.

Although both the wing types have an influence on the type between them, one wing type is often preferred over the other.

This preferred wing type has a stronger influence than the non-preferred wing type and creates a variation of the type (e.g., 9w8 vs. 9w1).


Click here to learn more about the nine Enneagram personality types, type variations, type origins, and how the types use the Enneagram symbol.

Click here for additional Enneagram tests on type, wing, instinct, and centers.



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