Enneagram Type 8 Description

Type 8 ~ The Protector

The Basic Proposition of Type 8

The original innocent state of sensing the essential truth in everything and in each individual goes into the background in a world that you perceive as hard and unjust, where the powerful take advantage of others. You come to believe that you can assure protection and gain respect and regard by becoming strong and powerful, by imposing your own personal truth and by hiding vulnerability. Concurrently, you develop a big, exuberant energy. Your attention naturally goes to injustices and to what needs control or assertiveness. Denial glues the structure together by helping you to blank out or not see dangers or experience your vulnerability. Your ultimate concern or fear is being totally vulnerable and powerless. As compensation, you sometimes control becoming forceful, overly direct and impactful, declarative, confrontational, the enforcer of your view of truth and justice, intimidating, and impulsive.

What stresses you and makes you most personally reactive: Perceived injustices that you can’t correct; deceitful or manipulative people; people who won’t stand up for themselves; weakness in yourself; inaction; boundaries or rules that are unjust or constraining; and attempts to control you.

These reactions block your being vulnerable, impacted and connected to others in trust, and ultimately sensing reality as it comes in each moment.

Your Strengths: Being strong, powerful, exciting, intense, determined, courageous, persistent, protective of others, just, friendly, truthful, fair, clear, straightforward and firm.

The Central Theme for Your Healing and Development: Since you believe that you must be strong and powerful and actively stand up for truth and justice, it can seem implausible to you to embrace innocence. Yet as a Protector, the path for your healing and development involves embracing innocence, meaning that you come to each situation freshly without prejudice or power motives, ready to appreciate differences and realize that everyone has their truth. To do this it is necessary for you to moderate you own overriding exuberant instinctual energy and to notice how this energy defies boundaries, how it can be excessive, and how it impacts others. You need to learn exactly how much power is appropriate in any given situation and to delay the tendency to go from urge to action in an all-or-nothing fashion.


Strategies for Your Self-Development and Fulfillment Relationships
  • Notice and moderate your intensity, excess and impact
  • Allow a gap between impulse and action in order to consider of your behavior
  • Observe your all-or-nothing style of paying attention
  • Realize that true power comes from the appropriate application of force
  • Value others’ truths in others and in opposites and differences
  • Realize the positives power in receptive force and vulnerability


How Others Can Assist Your Relationship Development
  • Encourage the Protectors in your life to accept their own vulnerability, distinguish it from weakness, and to reduce excessive and impulsive behavior
  • Provide honest feedback about their impact on you and intimidation of you
  • Be forthright and firm, yet flexible
  • Demonstrate the virtues of receptivity, flexibility and acceptance


Need help finding your Enneagram type? Take the scientifically validated Enneagram test online or through the paper-back book version found in Dr. David Daniels’ The Essential Enneagram.

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