Enneagram Type 8: Typical Stressors & Strengths

The Enneagram Type 8 personality (The Challenger) marches to its own drum beat, i.e. a different set of motivations, desires and fears from the other EnneaTypes. Let’s decode the typical factors – both Stressors & Strengths – that can impact the Enneagram Type 8’s health and well-being. 

Important caveatThe insights provided here are noticeable patterns drawn from many years of studying thousands of people around the world. They are indicative only, and not predictive or judgmental. Also, not all of these observations may apply to you. The aim is to prompt reflection and inspiration, rather than put you into a box. 

Enneagram Type 8: The Challenger

enneagram type 8 strengths and stressors

  • The powerful, aggressive type.
  • Eights are self-confident, strong, and assertive.
  • Protective, resourceful, straight-talking, and decisive, but can also be ego-centric and domineering.
  • Eights feel they must control their environment, especially people, sometimes becoming confrontational and intimidating.
  • Eights typically have problems with their tempers and with allowing themselves to be vulnerable.
  • At their Best: self-mastering, they use their strength to improve others’ lives, becoming heroic, magnanimous, and inspiring.

Strengths & Stressors

People with the Enneagram type 8 personality display certain traits, which can influence their health and well-being at multiple levels.

Typical Stressors Typical Strengths


They tend to have a big appetite for life and determined to satisfy their needs and desires. Also, they may indulge in rich foods, alcohol and tobacco. Besides, they can ignore/ neglect physical problems till they become acute or chronic, e.g. Hypertension and cardiac conditions. They enjoy physical activity, but don’t do enough of it. Caution: Risk of tobacco, alcohol and narcotic addictions. They can find the sweet spot between self-indulgence and nurturing others. So , to balance their hi-energy drive, they learn to relax and be energised and nourished by a simpler, more restrained and toned down lifestyle.


They experience negative emotions like rage, contempt, betrayal. Struggle to allow/ display vulnerability. Given their powerful and controlling nature, they may also be prone to Anti-social disorders or can display overly aggressive tendencies. They can let go their attachment to “being in charge” and to doing everything “their way”. As a result, they can connect with positive emotions like warmth, generosity and vulnerability. Their essential “strength” shines through.


Enneagram type 8’s view the world through an “us-and-them” lens and display a “winner-take-all” attitude. Particularly fear being harmed or violated in any way. Might use phrases like “I am fighting to survive, others will exploit me” or “It isn’t OK to be vulnerable” or “I have failed if I appear weak”. They live by their values of fairness, bravery and fighting for the underdog. Hence, they use their power in a healthy way, to get the job done. Usually, they are protective, resourceful, straight-talking and decisive. If the need arises, they can also break blocks and overcome obstacles.


They can get disturbed by indecisiveness, indirectness, lack of progress or threat to their power. Besides, they can become domineering and confrontational, constantly bulldozing others and demanding compliance. They inspire others to speak out and act with courage, even when it challenges convention or the public mood.


Losing contact with the innate potency and power of Presence makes them feel attacked and violated. Their ego copes by seeking revenge and dominating their environment. It is also how ‘Lust’ (“Kaama” in the Indian tradition) arises. Staying ‘Present’ helps them to rediscover the ‘Innocence’ they have lost. Hence, they are able to respond freshly to each moment, without any prejudice.

Further Exploration

If these insights regarding the Enneagram Type 8 don’t resonate with you, please also review the typical Stressors & Strengths of the other EnneaTypes, whose links are given below. If you wish, you can learn more about your Personality type and also take a more detailed (paid) test at www.enneagraminstitute.com.

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