Thursday, September 6, 2007

Type 8: Power-Seeker

Examples - Quotes - - Video - Description - Equivalents - Misidentifications - Variations - Wings - Instinctual Variants - Health - Levels of Development - Levels of Integration and Disintegration - Growth Recommendations



"While Lyndon Johnson was not, as his two assistants knew, a reader of books, he was, they knew, a reader of men--a great reader of men. He had a genius for studying a man and learning his strengths and weaknesses and hopes and fears, his deepest strengths and weaknesses: what it was that the man wanted--not what he said he wanted but what he really wanted--and what it was that the man feared, really feared." (From Robert Caro's Lyndon Johnson.)



  • Riso and Hudson's Overview "The Challenger"

    It is difficult to describe power without roaming into ambiguous matters—into a consideration of leadership, authority, will, courage, self-reliance, and destructiveness. What is the difference between willfulness and self-assertion, for example? "Will" can be thought of as good or bad, although more by its use than by what it is. It is difficult to say what gives a person authority or makes someone a particularly able leader. Is it proper to call the use of power with which we agree healthy, while condemning its use by those with whom we disagree? We cannot possibly begin to do justice to the complexities of power here, although they will, of course, be touched on because this chapter concerns itself with the personality type which most exemplifies power.

    In the personality type Eight, we see courage, will, self-reliance, leadership, authority, self-assertion—and the dark side of power, the ability to destroy what power has created.

  • Palmer's Description "The Dominator"

    Enneagram type 8s are a force to be reckoned with. They are strong and independent and resist being controlled by anyone. As Sandra Maitri writes in her book, The Spiritual Dimension of the Enneagram: Nine Faces of the Soul, Eights have a “need to be against.” Their psyches tell them they need to be strong so no one messes with them. There is a grounded, big, palpable, bodily energy to them. They often seem bigger than they actually are.

  •'s Description

    People of enneatype Eight are essentially unwilling to be controlled, either by others or by their circumstances; they fully intend to be masters of their fate, to "take charge," to do whatever needs to be done. Eights are competitive, strong willed, decisive, expansive, practical, and tough minded. Eights typically have an enormous amount of energy and frequently have powerful physical appetites. There is an unapologetically expansive quality to the physical presence of the type Eight personality. Eights generally don't have to announce their presence for others to know they are there. The central problem for individuals of enneatype Eight is that the need to avoid being controlled can manifest in the need to control, the need to be "in charge," the compulsion to dominate. This can lead to all sorts of practical difficulties, as the world is not always liable to conform to the dictates of the Eight's will, but the deeper problem for the Eight is that the need to avoid any semblance of being controlled can rob the Eight of the fluidity, receptivity and acceptance that is generally necessary to live a full, balanced and truly happy life.
  • Myers-Briggs Equivalents

    More Common:
    ESTJ "The Enforcer" - Use structured activity to get self and others to a get job done.
    "The Leader" - Use analysis and strategy to use resources to meet a challenge.
    "The Free-Thinker" - Insightful, quick individualists who trust their own vision.

    Quite Common:
    ESTP "The Adventurer" - Active, pragmatic, outgoing, fun, realistic accomplishers.
    ENTP "The Innovator" - Adaptable, innovative, freeing self from structure for action.


8w7 - Seeking Power and Stimulation
  • LifeExplore

    Awakened Eights with a 7 wing are often expansive, and powerful. Gregarious and generous, they may display a cheerful bravado. Can be forceful but with a light touch, funny. Often have a sense of humor about themselves. Generally more extroverted, ambitious and materialistic. May talk loud and be sociable partygoers. Sometimes driven to bring the new into being. Can be visionary, idealistic, enterprising. Willing to take risks. May think more clearly than Eights with a 9 wing; 7 wing brings an intellectual capacity. When more entranced, aggression combines with gluttony to form an almost virulent tendency to addiction. Many entranced Eights with a 7 wing have had drug and alcohol problems or tensions around addiction. Prone to temperamental ups and downs - can be moody, egocentric, quick to anger. Tendency to court chaos, inflate themselves narcissistically. Some are ruthlessly materialistic. Can use people up, suck them dry. Maybe be explosive or violent, prone to distorted overreaction.
8w9 - Seeking Power and Peace
  • LifeExplore

    Healthy Eights with a 9 wing often have an aura of preternatural calm, like they haven't had a self-doubt in decades. Take their authority for granted - queen or king of all they survey. May be gentle, kind-hearted, quieter. Often nurturing, protective parents; steady, supportive friends. Informal and unpretentious, patient, laconic, generally somewhat introverted. Sometimes a dry or ironic sense of humor. May have an aura of implicit, simmering anger rather like a sleeping volcano. Slow to erupt but when they do it's sudden and explosive. When entranced, the 9 wing brings an Eight a kind of callous numbness. They can be oblivious to the force of their anger until after they've hurt someone. Calmly dominating, colder; may have an indifference to softer emotions. If very unhealthy, they can be mean without remorse or aggressive in the service of stupid ends. Paranoid plotting, muddled thinking, moral laziness. Can be vengeful in ill-conceived ways, abuse those they love, don't know when to quit.

Instinctual Variants

Sexual 8 - Seeking Intimacy/Intensity
  • Udit Patel Taking Charge (Ichazo's "Possessiveness")

    Sexual Eights are charismatic and emotionally intense: they seem to "smolder." These Eights seek intensity through relationship, and the ups and downs of their lives are often seen in terms of relationship. The Sexual Eight wants to "imprint" their significant other, to leave their mark. Whether they are dealing with love interests or are engaged in other activities, they enjoy the thrill of intense stimulation and can become addicted to adrenaline rushes. They often adore the people they are in love with, but they can develop problems from thinking of the other as a child that they want to shape and develop. Much of this comes from wanting the partner to be strong enough so that the Sexual Eight can relax and surrender themselves. Thus, they may provoke their loved ones in the effort to test their strength or to build it up. Similarly, they like to be challenged by the other, but this can deteriorate into a struggle for dominance in the relationship. They may resort to arguments or verbal sparring as a way of stimulating intensity in the relationship. Sexual Eights can also feel as though they "own" their intimate partner—that they have a right to satisfaction whenever they need it.

  • LifeExplore

    Want stability, loyalty and predictability in close relationships. May feel easily betrayed, and are prone to suspicion. Can love deeply, have a genuine close-up interest in and concern for spouse. Since life is dangerous they want to choose close allies carefully. Attached to the idea of being able to trust completely. Lots of testing of their partner's motives. If they pass the tests then the Eight relaxes. When entranced, this can lead to possessive obsession, and a need to dominate and control partner. Intimate Eights can get codependent, jealous, hooked into the other. Sometimes can't let go; their partner's every move is (over)reacted to. When very unhealthy, spousal abuse scenarios are possible. Stalking, vengeful vows to follow other to the ends of the earth, etc. Connected to the low side of 2.
Social 8 - Seeking Acceptance/Belonging/Inclusion/Status
  • Udit Patel "Generating Support (Ichazo's "Duty")"

    Social Eights like to "live large," and as the name suggests, engage fully in the world. Friendship and loyalty are top values for them, and they are willing to make great sacrifices for the people and causes they care about. At the same time, they expect that others they have bonded with will be similarly loyal to them. (In this regard, they can resemble Sixes, although their energy is bigger and more direct than that of Sixes.) Often, Social Eights will gather a group of friends around them while unofficially acting as the chairperson of the group—the "king" or "queen." They enjoy conversation about sports, politics, rock music, or the latest events on their favorite soap opera—any subject in which they can boldly state opinions and get into debates about. Social Eights enjoy the banter and energy of a disagreement about such matters, and they are often surprised to learn that others can be hurt or overwhelmed by the force of their opinions. At such times, they may try to "tone themselves down," but they usually find this an uncomfortable compromise. More often, they seek out friends who they perceive as strong and independent, people who can take a bit of roughhousing and who will not be overwhelmed by them. Less healthy Social Eights have problems with making promises to people that they cannot always fulfil. Conning others, and exaggerating situations can become part of the picture.

  • LifeExplore

    Social Eights are often loyal to a group and conceive of friendship as a pact of mutual protection. Want everyone to benefit; group's cohesion and welfare is most important to them. Often oriented to family, honest, hold themselves accountable to others. May be the group's protector or provider. Emphasis on cooperation. When healthy, they are aggressively blustery but will back down and apologize when they've been unfair. More able to say the Three Little Words -"I was wrong." Stronger connection to 2, can emotionally switch places with others in their chosen group. As friends they want to protect what's soft or young in you and appreciate the same in return. Hostility directed towards outside forces who threatens the group's welfare.
Self-Preservation 8 - Seeking Saftey/Comfort
  • Udit Patel "Responsibility (Ichazo's "Affection")"

    Self-Preservation Eights most live out the Eights' need for independence through the accumulation of power, position, and, sometimes, material wealth. That is not to say that all Self-Pres Eights are wealthy—most are not—but that this Variant seeks to have and to control whatever resources they can in order to maintain their independence and dominance. Thus, these Eights make shrewd business people and politicians and are extremely practical, approaching life with a tough-minded pragmatism they see as being simply "realistic." Often private people, their home is very important to them. Whether man or woman, the Self-Pres Eight rules the roost and is likely to control resources within the household. Positively, they are often excellent providers and have a way of landing on their feet no matter what life throws at them. Trouble spots include difficulty empathizing with the needs of others, especially if they perceive others as weak or ineffectual. Self-Pres Eights most typify the shrewd, pragmatic, wheeler-dealer aspect of this personality type.

  • LifeExplore

    Self-preservation Eights often grow up poor or struggling. Food, home, money may be crucial. Generally seek control over their immediate environment and may worry about survival. Tend to value things over people. Maintaining order and material security are important. Eights with this subtype have a stronger connection to 5. Can be materialistic and feel deserving about it; more often have a 7 wing. Could be collectors or have prized objects. Sometimes domineering towards those within their sphere. Might preach an ethic of selfishness - justify their bullying of intimates as necessary to "toughen them up" for the hard world outside. Life is a jungle, only the strong survive. Survivalist mentality, territorial imperatives, angry at family members because they threaten household objects. Hiding in and presiding over their castle; sometimes extra Fiveish.


Levels of Development
  • Riso & Hudson's Levels of Development

    Level 1 (Most Healthy - The Level of Liberation): Become self-restrained and magnanimous, merciful and forbearing, mastering self through their self-surrender to a higher authority. Courageous, willing to put self in serious jeopardy to achieve their vision and have a lasting influence. May achieve true heroism and historical greatness.

    Level 5 (Average - The Level of Interpersonal Control): Begin to dominate their environment, including others: want to feel that others are behind them, supporting their efforts. Swaggering, boastful, forceful, and expansive: the "boss" whose word is law. Proud, egocentric, want to impose their will and vision on everything, not seeing others as equals or treating them with respect.

    Level 9 (Most Unhealthy - The Level of Pathological Destructiveness): If they get in danger, they may brutally destroy everything that has not conformed to their will rather than surrender to anyone else. Vengeful, barbaric, murderous. Sociopathic tendencies. Generally corresponds to the Antisocial Personality Disorder.

  • Riso & Hudson's Levels of Development In-Depth

  • Healthy and Unhealthy "Loops"

    Healthy loop: controlled by Basic Desire: Need to be self-reliant -> strength -> independent -> Need to be self-reliant. In the healthy state, the need to be self-reliant induces Type Eights to become stronger and capable of defending others. When Eights are independent, their need is satisfied and a balance is reached.

    Average state: when Eights' are not building their strength as much, they will become more dependent on others for certain needs. This increases the need to be self-reliant, which helps Eights to again work hard to become strong. Thus the balancing loop can help Eights to recover.

    Unhealthy loop: controlled by Basic Fear: Fear of submitting to others -> controlling -> independent -> Fear of submitting to others. In the unhealthy state, the basic fear of submitting to others can cause Type Eights to lash out and try to control others as a defense. This unfortunately make them ironically more dependent on others, which further increases Eights' basic fear. The cycle continues to build up.

    Insight: We can see from the diagram that a way to help break the control of the basic fear is to weaken the unhealthy loop. Eights can refrain from controlling others but start to strengthen themselves instead. This will naturally make them more independent and thus reduce the fear of submitting to others.
Levels of Integration and Disintegration

Integration (Eight Goes to Healthy Two)

  • Udit Patel

    As Eights begin to recognize their powerful emotional armoring and see how much it isolates them unnecessarily, they naturally become more emotionally expressive and generous, like high-functioning Twos. Underneath their drive for self-protection and independence, Eights have big hearts and generous impulses. Once they feel secure enough to let down their guards, they discover how much they care about people and how much they want to support others. In short, they want to be a source of good in the world and to express their love—and at Two, they do so. Since they remain Eights, their love is expressed in palpable ways that actually help and support people. It is a love free of sentiment, clinging, or hidden agenda, and through it, Eights find the sense of empowerment and dignity that they have been seeking.

  • The 8's form of empathy when he has integrated to 2 is similar in ways to that of a healthy 2. That's why the Enneagram expresses it as integration to type 2. The healthy 2 may be able to "read" people or intuit what they need, and find joy and fulfillment in their own selves simply by giving to other people (which at average to unhealthy levels may help them to be manipulative based on these needs). The 8 does not look like an average 2 when he integrates; he looks like the rare somewhat integrated 2; although he still is concerned with power over being loved, he has find the ability to seek power as well as love, without feeling like the two goals are opposed. The way that he seeks love though, is the way that an integrated 2 would seek love, by caring for others. This corresponds with the averages 8's needs to protect people and assets in the physical sense. The 8, when integrated, finally becomes more aware of other people, with a "magnanimous" instinctual understanding of those he has always wanted to protect. He will now not only be able to protect them physically, but he finally has developed some care and awareness, even, for the protection of them emotionally as well. The integrated 8's empathy has a visible similarity to the healthy 2's, the instinctual, calm, and eternal patient caring he takes with people when he integrates. The 8, however, will never look like a regular 2; there is still the capacity of him to disintegrate in a very 8 way, and that is a tangible energy of the power-seeker coming off of him. Imagine a conquerer when, after he has vanquished all his enemies and fought all his battles, finally realizes that, without love, he is nothing. So he finally reaches out in not only a power-hungry way, but a magnanimous protective way to his people.

  • Wake-Up Call

    Awareness of feeling that they must push and struggle to make things happen—so that they can rise to a true self-surrender to something greater and more lasting than themselves.

Security (Eight Goes to Average Two)

  • Udit Patel

    Eights will sometimes turn toward people they trust to be reassured about the other person's need for them. They have an emotional, even sentimental side that they show only to people with whom they feel safe. They may appear tough and independent in public while privately doting on key people in their lives or, if they lack these, then on their pets. They may also attempt to get intimates to acknowledge their help and support or may want people to depend more completely on them, like average Twos. Hidden feelings of rejection can cause them to seek ways to hold on to those few people they feel close to, including manipulation and undermining the other. Like average Twos, they also become unwilling to acknowledge their real needs or feelings of hurt with people on whom they depend.

Disintegration (Eight Goes to Average Five)

  • Udit Patel

    Eights usually respond to stress by taking problems and challenges head on. They are bold and assertive in pushing for control and for accomplishing their vision, whatever it might be. But this approach can leave them feeling beleaguered and overwhelmed. When stress levels get too high, Eights may suddenly switch tactics and go into periods of retreat or even isolation, like average Fives. They pull back from the front lines to assess their situation, to strategize, and to see how they can regain control. They may become strangely quiet, secretive, and isolated as they privately explore ways to deal with their problems. Under longer periods of stress, they may also develop a cold, cynical attitude about themselves, other people, and life in general, in the manner of less healthy Fives.
Growth Recommendations
  • Riso & Hudson's Personal Growth Recommendations

  • Udit Patel

    Eights grow by recognizing that the world is not a battleground to be approached as a gigantic test of wills. They do not have to see life as a "survival of the fittest," a titanic struggle that they must be constantly engaged in. They grow by recognizing that it is their attempt to defy the world and to force everything to bend to their will that is at the root of their problems. They realize that any real strength entails vulnerability and openness. They also learn that allowing more openness enables others to get closer to them and to support them in tangible ways. Eights grow by recognizing that more can be accomplished through cooperation and partnership than they can do by themselves or by constantly struggling to impose their will on others.

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