Enneagram Type 8

The Protector

Protectors believe you must be strong and powerful to assure protection and regard in a tough world. Consequently, Protectors seek justice and are direct, strong and action-oriented; they also can be overly impactful, excessive and impulsive.

What Type Eights Tell Us About Themselves

  • I thrive on having lots of energy in my body and enthusiasm for life.
  • I am strong and protect the weak.
  • I am direct, willing to confront when the need arises, and express my anger immediately.
  • People see me as aggressive, intimidating, intense and impulsive.
  • I have trouble staying with my own vulnerability and sad feelings.
  • I have a strong sense of knowing what is fair or right in my body center.

Primary Center : body
Wing 1 : 7
Wing 2 : 9
Security Point : 2
Resource Point : 5

Type 8 on the Diagram
  • Primary Center: Body
  • Wings: 7 and 9
  • Security point: 2
  • Resource point: 5
Focus of Attention

Injustice, not being controlled by others, and getting things moving in work or play

Life Lesson

To harness the life force in productive ways, integrating self-assertion with vulnerability

Speaking Style

Eights are direct, authoritative, zestful, firm, and oriented to truth and justice. Others may perceive Eights as confrontational, intimidating, loud and controlling.


The Eight believes you must be strong and powerful to assure protection and regard in a tough world. Consequently, Protectors seek justice and are direct, strong and action-oriented, but also can be overly impactful, excessive and sometimes impulsive.

Basic Proposition

You gain protection and respect by becoming strong and powerful, imposing your personal truth and hiding your vulnerability.


Courageous, strong, fair, truthful, determined, generous, protective of others


Excessive, angry, dominating, lustful, afraid of vulnerability

Defense Mechanism

Denial – the forceful re-directing of attention and feeling based on willfulness and control.

Eights use denial to avoid vulnerability and to maintain a self-image of being strong. They seek to impact the world and other people rather than be receptive. The pressure to deny vulnerability reduces their emotional energy and keeps them from receiving all of life’s gifts.

Awareness practice

Observe your habit of mind or focus of attention with as little judgment as possible. Ask yourself the following questions, while noticing your feelings and how your body responds:

  • How does my big energy express itself?
  • When do I just go for what I want without thinking?
  • In what ways do I assert control, power or my sense of justice over others?
  • How do I divert attention away from my own fears of being hurt?
  • In what ways do I forget to be sensitive or tender toward myself and others?

Relating to Eights

  • Be direct and forthright, yet flexible and open.
  • Stay steady and present in the face of confrontation and conflict; hold your ground.
  • Call them on destructive or threatening behavior, while being empathetic to their underlying hurt feelings.
  • Express your own feelings, including softer, tender ones.
  • Join them in getting things moving in work or play.
Enneagram symbol over a background of the world

Get Our Free Enneagram Guide



Type Eight’s journey is to embrace innocence and approach each situation with fresh eyes, appreciating that everyone has his or her own truth. This means learning to moderate their boundless, instinctual energy and delaying the tendency to go from urge to action in an all-or-nothing fashion.

Path of Integration

Mental: Vengeance > Truth
Emotional: Lust > Innocence

The aspect of awareness called the Inner Observer allows us to witness the internal patterns that drive outer behavior. The practice consists of focusing inwardly and becoming aware of the thoughts, sensations and other objects of attention that arise within us. As we become more fully present, our type patterns begin to relax and we become more receptive.

For Eights, take a moment to reflect on the following principles:

  • Truth resides in opposites and differences.
  • True mastery includes non-action and no blame.
  • The mundane, the moderate and the mild have their own virtues.
  • Vulnerability is not the same as weakness.
  • True power comes from the appropriate or proportional application of force.

The Enneagram and Spirituality



As assertive body-based types with good access to their instinctual energy, Eights toughen up to avoid vulnerability, which results in chronic patterns of physical tension. With excessive energy and enthusiasm, they tend to over-exert and over-consume.

If you are an Eight…

Your task is to soften into your feelings and open your heart center. Focus on managing your breath as appropriate to the situation at hand. Avoid powering up with chest breathing as an automatic response. Instead, practice breathing into your belly to calm down and relax. (For example, take 10 slow breaths when you find yourself getting angry). Before you react to a situation, follow your breath and tune into what you are feeling and sensing inside. This pause will help you be less excessive and more flexible.

somatic heart and belly centers

The Enneagram and Somatics