Enneagram Type 8 - The Protector
Eights are a body-based type who tend to take charge of situations and step into a leadership role. They are energetic and intense, and they can be intimidating at times to other people. Impatient with rules and regulations, they like to do things their way. By asserting control over their environment, they do their best to protect themselves and anyone else who is part of their family or group.
Fairness or justice is a high priority. If they feel wronged, they will fight back since in their experience weakness or vulnerability will precipitate an attack from the outside world. The strength (and aggression) that are generated in this mission can be admirable, but also misapplied. The challenge for Eights is to combine assertion and control with interdependency and cooperation, as well as learning how to curb their often excessive appetites.
Strengths: Enthusiastic, generous, powerful
Problems: Excessive, angry, dominating
Speaking style: Eights usually speak assertively and exert strong leadership. They tend to be bossy and when things go wrong, they often get angry.
Lower emotional habit: Anger and excessiveness, with a revengeful attitude toward people
Higher emotion: Innocence, which means to face life with an open heart and without cynicism
Archetypal challenge: To harness the life force in productive ways, integrating self-assertion with vulnerability
Psychological defenses: Eights use the defense mechanism of denial to avoid vulnerability and maintain a self-image of being "strong." (Denial is a kind of forceful re-directing of attention and feeling based on willfulness and control).
Somatic patterns: Eights tend to keep a high level of bioenergetic charge in their bodies. They are attracted to intensity, and they get bored or impatient very easily. This can led to over-exertion and/or over-consumption. Quick to anger, they may have trouble with impulse control. Their armor shows up as tension or density more or less evenly distributed around the body. It's easy to be tough, hard to be vulnerable although softer feelings and needs are often present deep on the inside. Eights are known for the fierceness that they (may) express through their eyes.
Tips for Relating
To create rapport: Make direct contact; be assertive and don't back down in the face of their strength
Try to avoid: Controlling them without their agreement, making them sit still for long, or being disrespectful
Join them: Getting things moving in work or play
To handle conflict: Stand up to them and confront them directly (in your own style). Accept their angry energy while challenging them to not go off the deep end. Be tough on destructive or threatening behavior, empathetic to underlying hurt feelings.
To support their growth: Support them in using their energy in constructive ways. Confront them on unconscious aggression or their use of anger as a comfortable habit. Help them get in touch with their vulnerability. Assume that they need love and care even when they don't show it.