The Dark Side of Enneagram 8: Navigating the Shadow

Dark Side of Enneagram 8
Photo by Clément M. / Unsplash

The Enneagram test has gained immense popularity as a tool for understanding personality types and behaviors. Individuals can take the test to discover their dominant Enneagram type, which is represented by a number from 1 to 9. Enneagram Type Eight, also known as "The Challenger," is often associated with traits such as strength, assertiveness, and leadership skills. However, like every Enneagram type, there are potential pitfalls and a darker side. Let's explore the nuances of Enneagram 8s and delve into the shadow aspects that accompany it.

The Enneagram Test: Understanding Enneagram Type 8s

Before we delve into the darker side, let's first understand the basic qualities and characteristics of Enneagram Type 8s. This type is driven by a desire for control and excess, valuing independence, and being a natural-born leader. Their assertiveness can be admirable, and they often find themselves drawn to challenges and conflicts. Enneagram Type 8 individuals have a profound fear of being controlled or manipulated, which drives their need for independence.

Unhealthy Traits of Enneagram Type 8

Excessive Control:

While the need for control can be a strength, it can also become a weakness for Enneagram Type 8 individuals. They may become overly controlling and domineering in their relationships and interactions, causing others to feel suffocated or oppressed.


The assertiveness of Enneagram Type 8 can sometimes cross the line into aggression. They may be quick to anger, intimidate others, or engage in confrontations, leading to strained relationships and a negative perception from others.


As a defense mechanism against vulnerability, Enneagram Type 8 individuals may resort to manipulation tactics. They may twist situations to their advantage and use emotional pressure to control others, leading to strained trust and damaged relationships.

III. Handling the Dark Side: Growth Opportunities


Recognizing and acknowledging these unhealthy traits is the first step towards growth. Understanding the impact of excessive control, aggression, and manipulation is vital for Enneagram Type 8 individuals to address these tendencies.

Engaging Vulnerability:

As Enneagram Type 8 individuals often shield themselves from vulnerability, learning to embrace it can be transformative. Opening up emotionally and recognizing the power of vulnerability allows for deeper and more authentic connections with others.

Empathy and Compassion:

Enneagram Type 8 individuals can benefit greatly from cultivating empathy and compassion towards others. Recognizing the needs and feelings of those around them helps to balance their assertiveness and promotes healthier relationships.

Utilizing the Enneagram Test for Personal Growth

The Enneagram test is a valuable tool for self-awareness and personal growth. By understanding their Enneagram Type 8 traits and potential pitfalls, individuals can leverage this knowledge to embark on a journey of self-improvement. The Enneagram test provides a blueprint for exploring the shadow aspects of Type 8 and identifying areas for growth.

While Enneagram Type 8 may have a dark side, it is important to remember that this exists in every personality type. By acknowledging and addressing these shadow aspects, individuals can strive for personal growth, healthier relationships, and a more balanced expression of their Enneagram Type 8 traits. Taking the Enneagram test is just the beginning – it is the commitment to self-discovery and development that truly allows individuals to transcend their limitations and embrace their full potential.

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