Enneagram Type 8: Protective Challenger
Leader, Solution Master, Maverick, Protector or Intimidator

© 1995-2017 Katherine Chernick Fauvre


Eights want to be open, honest, direct and straightforward. More importantly, they want to be independent, make their own decisions and direct their own course. They see themselves as assertive, decisive and resourceful.  Eights would like others to see them as strong, fair-minded and magnanimous. Their idealized image is that they are protective and powerful.

Eights are charismatic and exude confidence. Eights have a take-charge, no-nonsense, can-do attitude. They have great pride in their ability to face, endure and overcome adversity, believing that what doesn’t kill them makes them stronger. Their assertive stance and imposing presence makes them a ‘force of nature’. They like challenges and usually overcome the kinds of obstacles that limit or deter others. Eights have a lust for life and want to experience everything to the fullest. They believe that ‘too much of a good thing is almost enough’.

An Eight’s word is their bond and they do not suffer fools gladly. People are occasionally intimidated by Eights and have a tendency to misinterpret their direct manner as insensitivity.  Self-possessed, they easily speak their minds and can come across as too aggressive. Eights believe that being true to themselves means that they say what they mean and mean what they say. Eights stand up for their beliefs and perceive backing down as a sign of weakness – even though at times doing so may be common sense and in their own best interest. 

Behind the Eight's tough exterior they are gentle, playful, childlike and innocent. Always one to laugh, they can see the humor even in the most painful and difficult of circumstances. Eights are also unusually devoted to and protective of those in their ‘inner circle,’ often secretly going without something themselves so that others will have what they need.  Living by their own personal code of honor, they have a strong sense of justice which compels them to act whenever they see any kind of injustice taking place. This often inspires great loyalty from those who see them as a protective authority.


Eights need to be their own authority, and seek independence to be a master and commander of their own lives. They have the need to feel confident, self-reliant and in charge of their emotions. Eights don’t need to be liked, but they do have a strong need to be respected. Eights also need a sense of fairness and justice in their dealings with others, or they are likely to assert their willful and stubborn nature.


Eights avoid being weak, vulnerable, controlled or manipulated. Secretly, they fear being caught off guard, harmed and/or humiliated.  Being mistreated and at the mercy of injustice are among their deepest fears. Eights resist and defy anything that is imposed upon them. Fearing deprivation, they avoid ever having to go without what they deem essential to their survival. Eights do everything in their power to avoid being dependent on anyone or anything. They have a distaste for mediocrity and anything that feels contrived.


Eights’ greatest strength is their sense of justice and desire to protect the weak, vulnerable, down-trodden and under-represented.  Big hearted and generous by nature, they willingly protect others even at their own expense. A person of their word, they stand up for what they believe in and deliver what they have promised. They have the ability to quickly assess a situation, cut to the chase and ‘call a spade a spade’, simplifying what initially appears to be complex and confusing. This ability to instinctively see the truth in any given situation and act decisively makes them natural born leaders. 


The Eight's vice is excess and going to extremes.  Whatever they like, they want more of, and whatever they do, they overdo at full speed. Quick to respond, Eights can over react and come on too strong. They can be too much, too intense, and unwilling to self-limit. This can lead to escalating conflict due to an over reliance on their own truth and self-defined justice. Under stress they can become myopic, believing their truth as ‘The Truth’. Seeing life as a battlefield or a contest of wills, they can become confrontational and have difficulty backing down or admitting defeat.  Eights have a tendency to push things to the edge and sometimes may run over others in the process. 


The Eight's attention goes to issues of power— who has it and most importantly, if it is being used fairly. They instinctively sense a power vacuum and they often step in to fill it. They are not interested in subtle nuance but rather in the big picture, much like a general surveying a battlefield. Eights can be relentless in their search for truth, justice, power and influence.

Spiritual Path

The spiritual journey of the Eight to reclaim their sense of innocence.  Spiritual growth will come when they can acknowledge a higher truth and a higher power. As the king or queen of the jungle, they can either take advantage of others with their powerful and commanding presence or make the jungle a safe place for everyone.


True strength comes from surrendering the need to have power and control. Eights should remember that sensitivity to others and acknowledging their own tender emotions is a sign of strength, not a sign of weakness. Cynicism and insensitive teasing are red flags that they are feeling hurt and disempowered.


The Enneagram Type 8 with the 7 Wing, desires to appear commanding. They see themselves as outspoken, innovative, intense, daring, striking, attractive and tenderhearted.

The Enneagram Type 8 with the 9 Wing, desires to appear solid.  They see themselves as earthy, simple, honest, practical, authoritative, solid, wise and considerate.

Famous Type 8s

Afghanistan, Leslie Abramson, F. Lee Bailey, Joe Don Baker, Lucille Ball, Charles Barkley, Humphrey Bogart, Napoleon, Charles Bronson, Meredith Brooks, James Brown, Richard Burton, Johnny Cash, Fidel Castro, Sean Connery, Jimmy Connors, Robert Conrad, Brian Dennehy, Danny DeVito, Mike Ditka, Bob Dole, Sam Donaldson, Kirk Douglas, Michael Douglas, Milton Erickson, Indira Gandhi, John Huston, Chrissy Hynde, Joan Jett, Lyndon Johnson, Brian Keith, Nikita Khrushchev, Martin Luther King Jr., Evel Knievel,  Bruce Lee, Rush Limbaugh, Mafia, Mao Tse-tung, Lee Marvin, Malcolm McDowell, John McEnroe, Golda Meir, Dennis Miller, Robert Mitchum, Judd Nelson, George Patton, Sean Penn, Fritz Perls, Julia Phillips, Julianne Phillips, Suzanne Pleshette, Queen Latifah, Ann Richards, Theodore Roosevelt, Axl Rose, Mickey Rourke, Colonel Sanders, Telly Savalas, George C. Scott, Maurice Sendak, Serbia, Tupac, Frank Sinatra, Grace Slick, Spain, Joseph Stalin, Donald Trump, Pancho Villa, Ken Wahl, George Wallace, Mike Wallace, Denzel Washington, John Wayne, Zorba the Greek.

© 1995-2017 Katherine Chernick Fauvre