Enneagram Type 8 – The Challenger


Enneagram Type 8 

The Challenger – The Leader

Enneagram Type 8
Enneagram Type 8


If you are thinking, “I don’t believe in this Enneagram personality typing, what a stupid waste of time.” Then you might be an 8. 

Enneagram Type 8’s enjoy taking on challenges, as well as challenging authority figures, the status quo, or any obstacle that prevents them from getting what they want. 

They also enjoy challenging others to be their best, even if they are hated for it.  

Enneagram Type 8’s find their identity by overcoming obstacles and imposing their will on their environment. (cows and tears, the only thing he can’t overpower is his type 8 daughter – swim lessons)

They pursue the truth, like to keep control of situations and make important things happen.

Eights are self-confident, strong, and assertive. Protective, resourceful, helpful and warm, also straight-talking, and decisive. They like action and assert control over their environment with speed and intensity. 

Their charisma, energy and vitality makes them natural leaders. This, combined with their protective nature and direct communication skills can make parenting easy and natural for parents.

Type 8’s always do what they feel is right, even when it goes against what others think is right. They role model and encourage independence, hard work, determination, confidence and authenticity in their children. 

Enneagram Type 8’s can be fierce advocates for their children, fighting for their rights, providing a safe and secure home, and setting firm boundaries easily. 

They enjoy heated debates because they like the power that comes with intensity and expressing anger helps them feel powerful. Anger can overtake them unless it is released immediately. Underneath the anger and quick action are often feelings of vulnerability, sadness and anxiety.  

  • Core Fear: being controlled, abandoned or harmed by others or the environment. (They don’t feel the fear because they avoid vulnerable emotions)
  • Core Desire: To protect themselves and to be in control of their own life
    and destiny.
  • Core Motivation: To prove their strength and resist weakness. To be important in their world, to dominate the environment, and to stay in control. 

Vulnerability provides the opportunity to be hurt or abandoned so Eights avoid it by pushing others away. They struggle to connect with their softer side, because of the fear of being hurt, but truly have very sensitive souls. When they can open their hearts and trust people, they have enormous potential to use their strength for the greater good. At their best, they can be heroic, magnanimous, and inspiring. 

Elaine’s story

I was hanging out with a strong and charismatic mom I met through a Mother’s Club I had joined.. We were at her house for a playgroup and she was talking about her plans to homeschool her kids. She and her husband were entrepreneurs and felt the school system had inadequately prepared them for adulthood. Their plan was to “unschool” their kids which means not having any specific curriculum, just exposing kids to life experiences and letting the kids take the lead on what they are interested in learning. She had impressive ideas: A friend who would teach kids woodworking and mechanics. Another artist friend who would let them create in her studio. She was determined to give her kids a unique educational experience so they could blaze their own trails and pursue their own passions, instead of being told what to learn. 

However, when our sons were 5, her son got jealous about some of the activities happening at my son’s school. My son was asked to bring in an item that started with each letter of the alphabet. This boy was so excited about finding something in his home that started with the letter D. He begged his mom to let him go bring something that started with D to school. His mom was annoyed. “Don’t just copy someone else, think for yourself! What are you interested in?” 

She was so wrapped up in being anti-establishment that she didn’t see he had found something that interested him. She could have done the same activity at home, bringing an item that started with D to the dinner table. It would have been easy to appease him without giving up on her homeschooling ideals. 

Because she held so tightly to her ideas that he shouldn’t want to go to school, he decided that school was a thing worth fighting for. He begged and pressured to go to traditional school, even though it was really just the structured assignment he craved that she could have offered.

This Type 8 Supermom struggled to value his priorities higher than her own, or believe that he could actually enjoy and benefit from traditional school. 

It took some time but she finally reconciled that her son had a different personality than she did and the type of education she and her husband wished they had, wasn’t a perfect fit for their child.


Eights are the true “rugged individualists” of the Enneagram. More than any other type, they stand alone. They want to be independent, and resist being indebted to anyone. They often refuse to “give in” to social convention, and they can defy fear, shame, and concern about the consequences of their actions. Although they are usually aware of what people think of them, they do not let the opinions of others sway them. They go about their business with a steely determination that can be awe inspiring, even intimidating to others.

3 Questions to help determine if you might be an 8

  1. Do you have an extraordinarily strong exterior, one that is sometimes intimidating to others, but that hides a less visible but highly vulnerable interior?
  2. Do you tend to be excessive in what you do? (all or nothing with diet & exercise?) Believing you can never get enough of a good thing.
  3. Do you have immediate impulses to take strong and forceful action, particularly when you are feeling anxious and vulnerable?
Enneagram Type 8
Enneagram Type 8

5 challenges Enneagram Type 8s may encounter while parenting children:

Enneagram Type 8, often referred to as “The Challenger” or “The Leader,” is characterized by a strong desire for control, assertiveness, and a tendency to take charge of situations. Parenting as a Type 8 can present various challenges due to their dominant personality traits. 

  • Struggle with Authority: Type 8 parents may find it challenging to balance their own authority with allowing their children autonomy and independence, leading to power struggles. 
  • Overbearing Nature: They may come across as too forceful, intense or intimidating for sensitive kids. Their desire for control may make it challenging for their children to express their own opinions, and make decisions separate from their 8 parent.
  • Impatience: Type 8s may struggle with patience, expecting immediate compliance from their children and becoming frustrated when things don’t go according to plan.
  • Difficulty with Vulnerability: They may have difficulty showing vulnerability or tenderness, which can impact their ability to connect emotionally with their children. May prioritize strength and resilience over emotional support and empathy. 
  • Struggle with Delegating: They may find it difficult to delegate tasks or responsibilities to their children, preferring to take on everything themselves to ensure things are done their way.

8’s are the last of all types to seek the help of a life coach, but if they do, they usually like it when the coach is willing to challenge their thinking directly and help them know the truth from the widest possible perspective. 8’s like to macromanage as well as micromanage so coaching appeals to their ability to control their outcomes. 

What 8’s gain from life coaching

  1. To feel less guilty for their own behavior
  2. To feel less responsible for others
  3. To manage their abundant energy without imploding or exploding.
  4. To understand the personalities of those that think and feel differently
  5. To feel strong even when feeling vulnerable and weak.


Shanna came to life coaching ready to explode. She felt betrayed and ready to smack some people upside the head. Because the people she wanted to hurt was a 13 year old girl, she wouldn’t, but she was struggling to know what to do with her fury. 

She had formed a tight friendship with this neighbor girl and their daughters were best friends. The last 10 years of her life were filled with sleepovers, carpools, celebrations and sharing each other’s lives. 

Shanna treated this neighbor girl like her own daughter. So when she started ghosting her daughter, and leaving her out of friendship groups, mom took it very personally. 

Sofia, Shanna’s daughter, asked her mom to stay out of it. She wanted to deal with it on her own, but that was really hard for Shanna to do. 

Eights take friendship very seriously.  It can take time to work your way into the 8’s inner circle but once you are in, they will do anything for the ones they love. Once you have earned their trust, you will have love, loyalty and fierce commitment. 

It is very common for 8’s to hold a grudge forever to anyone who betrays them.

Through life coaching, Shanna was able to process her emotions in a healthy way, making room for her daughter Sophia to have her own reaction. We talked about the normal, social development of middle school girls which helped de-personalize the situation and make it normal. The friendship never went back to its original closeness but Shanna learned how to tame her anger so she could be there for Sophia in a supportive and encouraging way. 


Eights struggle to be nice because they see niceness as weak or vulnerable. So when they open up their hearts and homes, consider it an honor and privilege if you are allowed in. 

Enneagram Type 8
Enneagram Type 8

Many 8’s live with zero accountability because they are always in charge. Working with a mentor or life coach can help 8’s take accountability, build trust and humility. As they learn to feel safe exposing their softer side, they become more generous, open hearted and able to help others reach their potential with powerful and profound unconditional love.


Please join the Supermom is Getting Tired facebook group if you want to continue the discussion.

Listen to more podcasts HERE .

More to explore

Enneagram #9 – The Peacemaker

Enneagram Type 9 The Peacemaker – The Mediator If you resonate with every number on the enneagram, you might be 9. The Enneagram Type 9 can be called the crown of the Enneagram because it is at the top of the symbol and because it seems to include the whole of it. Nines can have … Read more…

Enneagram Type 7 – The Enthusiast – The Adventurer

Enneagram Type 7 – The Enthusiast – The Adventurer Sevens are defined by their desire to experience everything life has to offer while avoiding pain and boredom. They appear to others to be lively, fun-loving, optimistic and extroverted. Sevens are often very busy people who bounce from one activity to another in their quest to … Read more…

Enneagram Type 6 – The Loyalist

Enneagram Type 6 – The Loyalist The Faithful Guardian – The Skeptic – The Doubter Type 6’s are dutiful & committed to their systems, groups, relationships and beliefs, and will hold on to these longer than other types. Once they align themselves with people and institutions they trust, they make excellent team players who are … Read more…