Enneagram Type 8w9 Childhood (A complete guide)

In this article, we will discuss Enneagram Type 8w9 i.e. type eight wing nine ‘The Bear’ and the role of their childhood in their personality development. We will do that by initially giving an introduction to enneagrams, their structure, and wings. This will follow up by describing the dominant type Eight personality and its triad. We will move on to giving an overview of its subtype i.e. type 8w9. Finally, we will discuss the detailed role of childhood in their development.  

Enneagram Type 8w9: Childhood

Enneagram type 8w7 has the primary characteristics of type 8 and secondary characteristics of type 9 personality. These people are confident, patient, and protective. They are much milder and gentler than other type eight personalities. Their core childhood conflict that makes them the way they are is ‘Rejection of childhood’. This means that they try to be self-sufficient and have difficulty depending on others due to their difficult early experiences. They want to take care of their own self to avoid getting hurt or controlled by others again just like it happened in their childhood.  

Introduction to Enneagrams

Enneagrams are a map or typology of human personalities. It has its roots in spirituality, philosophy, and psychology. Multiple people contributed to its development among which George Ivanovich Gurdjieff, Oscar Ichazo, and Claudio Naranjo are the most prominent. 

It is divided into nine personality types that are spread across 3 triads i.e. Feeling triad, Thinking Triad, or Instinctive Triad. It describes a person’s fundamental psychological orientation in the form of good or bad traits and sees which triad quality i.e. emotion, intellect or instincts is most characteristic of his or her personality. 

An enneagram gives a personality type that is fluid and explains its change across time i.e. personality integration (during health, self-actualization) or disintegration (during ill health, neurosis). In other words,  a personality can become more healthy or unhealthy as it moves in different directions from its basic type. Enneagram also links one personality type with other personality types.

The structure of Enneagram

Enneagram symbol is a circle that has 9 points (each point is a personality type) present on the circumference. Each type is related to another as represented by the connected lines. Points 3,6, 9 forms a triangle. They are primary personality types that are blocked in some way from feelings, thoughts, or instincts. Whereas 4,2,8,5,7,1 form an irregular hexagram and are secondary personality types since they are mixed and not blocked from feelings, thoughts, or instincts. Each type is the result of a dialectic. In every triad, one type over-expresses its characteristic quality, another under-expresses it, and the third is mostly out of touch with it. 

Wings in Enneagrams 

The Basic Personality Type is the most characteristic of a person. Whereas wings add elements to the overall personality i.e. it is the second side of it. 

Example: If you are a personality type 8, you can have wing7 or wing9. So, such a personality can be understood by knowing the traits of the basic or main type and the secondary types. Usually, each personality has two wings, and both influence a person. However, at times people have one dominant wing along with their basic personality type.

The Instinct Triad: Personality Types Eight, Nine, and One

• The positive and negative traits of these personalities are dominated by instinct.

• When these types are healthy, they can relate to their environment with great wisdom from within. Thus, they can become good leaders.

• When they are unhealthy, they are out of balance and find it difficult to relate to their environment and people. 

• All three personality types have common problems linked with repression and aggression.

Enneagram Type 8: The Leader 

Key traits: Self-confident, dominating, decisive, competent/combative

Type 8 over-expresses instinct i.e. they perform actions immediately based on the hunches they have. They do not stop to think about possible consequences which can be harmful. It has two subtypes:

• The eight with wing 7 (Type 8w7)

• The eight with wing 9 (Type 8w9)

Type 8w9: ‘The Bear’

Type 8w7 has basic traits of type 8 and secondary traits of type 9. They are in conflict as type 8 pushes them to be assertive and face challenges head-on. Whereas, type 9 tries to avoid conflict and suppresses anger. Thus, type 8w9 is calmer, peaceful, and domestic but clear about having boundaries of control. They are people-oriented, not materialistic, accepting, and can relate to others, unlike other type eights. Aggression and confrontation do not sit well with them. So, they do things the way they like but in a peaceful yet firm way. Their aura of strength, power, and privacy has a strange attractive feel to it. Other people perceive them to be emotionally blank or poker-faced, yet when challenged they can also be angry and passionate.

Healthy versions of this subtype are quiet, wise, strategic planners, and mostly easy-going in their approach. They are open to hearing concerns of their loved ones, are kind and protective about them. They have a mystical bond with especially with children, nature, and art.  

Average versions of this subtype are aggressive & competitive in public but accommodating in private with loved ones. This discrepancy in their approach is surprising to others. They are quiet, private and work from behind the scene. People perceive them to be stubborn, dominating yet sly in their manner. They speak slowly, carefully and according to the body language of people in their surroundings.  In other words, they have a facade of friendliness and agreeableness hiding their internal state which they modify according to their audience. They can be intimidating and kind-hearted at the same time. Thus, it is difficult to predict their mood. 

Unhealthy versions of this subtype can easily become depressed and dissociated. However, if they get power, they can become vengeful, ruthless, and indifferent without a shred of guilt. They dont get anxious and can be violent towards people without feeling emotional or empathic especially with people who live with them for a long time. 

Examples of Type 8w9: Martin Luther King Jr, Johnny Cash, Indra Gandhi, Pablo Picasso, Darth Vader

Strengths of Type 8w9

  • Good leaders
  • Energetic and confident
  • Protective of people they care about
  • Accepting of multiple perspectives
  • Attentive of needs of others 

Weaknesses of Type 8w9

  • Anger management issues
  • Stubborn/ Rigid
  • Overly confident and emotionally detached
  • Dislike rules/orders or being controlled by authority figures

If you’re facing this, it may be a good idea to seek the help of a therapist or other mental health professional. You can find a therapist at BetterHelp who can help you learn how to cope and address it.

Workplace and job 

Type 8w9 are courageous and support others by being attentive to their needs. They are accepting of multiple perspectives and make good leaders. They prefer to work in jobs that give them authority but also allows them to support others e.g. judge, activists, counselor, professor etc.

Source of Stress for type 8w9

  • Conflict/Disagreement
  • Being rejected by others
  • Emotional vulnerability
  • Lacking control over feelings

Basic fear 

Type 8w9 fear of getting hurt. So, they avoid situations where they can be controlled or hurt and prefer being over others in position i.e. leaders.

Basic desire 

Type 8w9 desire to defend themselves from being hurt, threatened or controlled by others. Thus, they try to be independent and establish guards against emotions & vulnerability. They act strong since they see emotions as signs of being weak.

Type 8w9 Childhood/development

We become any personality depending on how we have learned to respond to the world growing up. Our early childhood particularly our relationship with our parents governs how we unconsciously adapt to our family and the world. Genetics and temperament have their role as well. A person remains one personality type throughout life but may change and grow to develop healthy or unhealthy traits. 

During childhood, eights experience ambivalence for the nurturing parental figure (mostly it the mother). They can neither bond nor separate from them entirely. So, to maintain a connection, eights identify with a complementary role of ‘the strong one’ against the nurturing role associated with motherly qualities of warmth, care, nurturance, and approval. In other words, they think that if they become the protector in crisis on whom others can rely, they will be able to get nurturance and love.  So, they strongly identify with this role, try to be the big problem solver who is indifferent to suffering, and think this identity is essential for their survival. 

Healthy versions of this subtype make important contributions. However, fear/insecurity may obstruct them. They deny vulnerabilities since it threatens their sense of identity of being strong. Especially in highly dysfunctional families or dangerous childhood environments, eights needed aggression to protect themself. Whereas, accepting vulnerability meant you were weak. Thus, such defenses become stronger in them as adults to prevent others from hurting them again. Since type 8w9 faced a challenging childhood and had no one to guide or provide reassurance, they always anticipate rejection and betrayal. Due to this, they stop relying on others and become self-sufficient. 

If their childhood had even a degree of nurturance, they may adopt a protective role for loved ones as adults. Whereas no support meant survival of the fittest or in this case, the strongest who can survive on his own. 

 FAQs: Type 8w9-Childhood

What is the Type 8 personality?

Type 8 personality is aggressive, assertive, and powerful. They fear being controlled by others and strive to be self-sufficient. It is one of the types from the nine enneagrams.

What is Type 8w9?

Type 8w9 or Type8 wing9 is an enneagram personality subtype. It has core characteristics of type eight personality and complementary characteristics of type nine personality.

What enneagram is the most indecisive?

Type six enneagram i.e. ‘The loyalists’  are considered to be the most indecisive and cautious among the nine types.

Which enneagram has the most anxiety?

Type six enneagram i.e. ‘The loyalists’  are considered to have the most anxiety among the nine types. 


In this article, we discussed enneagram type 8w9 in detail and the role of childhood in their development. We found that enneagram type 8w9 has the primary characteristics of type 8 and secondary characteristics of type 9 personality. These people are confident, patient, and protective. They are much milder and gentler than other type eights. Their core childhood conflict that makes them the way they are is ‘Rejection of childhood’. This means that they try to be self-sufficient and have difficulty depending on others due to their difficult early experiences. They want to take care of their own self to avoid getting hurt or controlled by others again just like it happened in their childhood.  

I hope you found this article interesting. If you have any queries or comments, please state them in the comment section 😊




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