Self Improvement In Type 8 Enneagrams (A 5 Point Guide)

This article will take a look at the type 8 enneagram and how they behave in their unhealthy state. Furthermore, the article will also introduce the type 8 enneagram in detail to the audience. The article will then attempt to provide suggestions as to how it can improve and reach a healthier version of themselves.

What Happens When An Enneagram 8 Goes Into Stress?

When stressed, the type 8 enneagram becomes more guarded and disintegrates into the fearful type 5 enneagram. This is because type 8s fear being controlled and manipulated by others the most. Hence, when they are stressed out, they naturally increase their guard and are more alert.

The type 8 enneagram values their freedom the most; they want to be able to make their own life decisions and live according to their own rules. They dislike authority and prefer to carve their own journeys. When they fall into problems or become stressed out, they become more careful in their interactions with others to the extent that they may totally withdraw from others.

In the process, they will push away others to keep them at bay just in case they have any bad intentions of exploiting the type 8s weaknesses or vulnerability.

In their normal state, the type 8 is relaxed because they feel powerful and secure. However, when they are stressed out and they feel vulnerable and are in a weak position where people can take away their liberty, they begin to stay more alert. Much of their energy is spent on observing their surroundings and the people in it rather than controlling them. The purpose of staying alert is to identify any external stimuli that can pose a threat to their freedom or would infringe upon their rights. 

Being in a state of stress is also characterized by a state of fear that this enneagram is in. In their normal state, they are actually quite brave and confrontational, taking on anyone who dares question them or trespasses into their territory. However, their newfound stress changes them completely and they become fearful and hence do not adopt the previous confrontational behaviour that they had.

As we mentioned before, the type 8 enneagram becomes quite scared when they are in stress and hence, instead of following their old strategy of confronting people, they prefer to become avoidant. They will hide away in their mansions or prefer to stay hidden, far from the eyes of others – especially those whom they consider a threat. This is because they are of the belief that they cannot deal with situations like they used to.

It becomes pretty obvious to others that the type 8 enneagram begins to behave quite strangely in this state. They will act in ways that are not familiar to their own selves or those of others. They become a different yet strange person.

Enneagram Type 8: The Challenger

This enneagram type can be described as confident, confrontational, decisive and assertive as well. They do not hesitate to voice out their opinions or take a stand for what they firmly believe in. Furthermore, these individuals are focused on what they want and will not stop at anything when it comes to achieving their goals or desires.

However, although they are resourceful and generally straightforward people, these enneagram types are affected by their ego and can be dominating when it comes to being around other people. They want to have what it is that makes them feel complete or whole and as we said they will do anything in their power to get it!

At their best, they will be very generous especially because of the number of resources they usually possess and use their power and influence to make the lives of people better. However, they sometimes have issues in controlling their temper and become vulnerable or expose their weak points.

These are the two things that drive the enneagram type 8:

  • The Basic Fear
  • The Basic Desire

The Basic Fear

When it comes to enneagram type 8, their basic fear is to be controlled or manipulated by others to the extent that they end up hurting themselves. They want to be independent and in control of their own lives. What they fear is being exposed or vulnerable so that someone can take advantage of the power or influence they have over the enneagram type 8 individual. 

As a result of this fear, they avoid being helpless in situations and try to stand up for themselves all the time – this could be one reason why they ensure they are so resourceful and independent! However, if they are scared enough, they will avoid situations where they feel vulnerable.

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.

The Basic Desire

Of course their basic desire stems from their fear of being controlled! The type 8 enneagram wants to be in control of their own life. They do not want to live in the constant fear that they will be manipulated or influenced by another being! As a person, they want to be able to take decisions for themselves and hence they are passionate about standing up against injustice not only against their own being but that of others! They understand how it feels to be powerless and hence do not want this for anyone else either.

How Can An Enneagram Type 8 Work On Self Improvement?

The enneagram type 8 can work on self improvement by focusing on the following areas:

Be Practical

The type 8 enneagram needs to realize that just because they are in problems or stress does not mean they have lost their strength. They are still like the person they were before but they just have more challenges now.

Stay Calm

The type 8 enneagram also needs to realize that they should not let the stress get to them. They must remain calm instead of getting all scared.

Listen To Other

It may be hard but it is sometimes best to listen to the other person and what they have to say especially if they are important to you and are looking out for your own good. They may not be in the hot tub of emotions you are in and can see the situation better and hence advise accordingly. Thus, the type 8 enneagram must understand and accept to listen to others. It will not decrease their power or control but allow them to humble themselves in a manner that benefits them and the people around them. By listening to others, they can not only avoid putting too much thought into things but improve their bonds with their loved ones and make better decisions together.

“Remember that the world is not against you. Many people in your life care about you and look up to you, but when you are in your fixation, you do not make this easy for them. Let in the affection that is available. Doing this will not make you weak, but will confirm the strength and support in yourself and your life. Also remember that by believing that others are against you and reacting against them, you tend to alienate them and confirm your own fears. Take stock of the people who truly are on your side, and let them know how important they are to you.” 

“Eights typically want to be self-reliant and depend on no one. But, ironically, they depend on many people. For example, you may think that you are not dependent on your employees because they depend on you for their jobs. You could dismiss them at any time and hire other workers. Everyone is expendable in your little kingdom—except you. But the fact is that you are dependent on others to do their jobs too, especially if your business concerns grow beyond what you can manage alone. But if you alienate everyone associated with you, you will eventually be forced to employ the most obsequious and untrustworthy operatives. When you do, you will have reason to question their loyalty and to fear losing your position. The fact is that whether in your business world or your domestic life, your self-sufficiency is largely an illusion.”

  • The Enneagram Institute


This article took a look at how the type 8 enneagram behaves when they become stressed out and also what they can do to deal with the stress. The article also introduced this enneagram in detail to the audience. 


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