At Best: Eights offer a mature tenderness expressing an ever-fresh, child-like Innocence (tender & receptive heart) & they embody the Higher Quality of Holy Immanence (sensing life's natural truth and power everywhere). Eights can be gentle giants, chivalrous leaders & tough but fair negotiators. They bring vitality and energy in all situations.
Habits: When driven by Lust (excess & intensity in all things), Eights start Dominating people and situations to force their will & seize their desires. Focus of Attention: power & control: who's in charge? what's unfair? who's to blame?
Eights Forget: Reality is justly balanced, with truth and power distributed evenly throughout. Eights gather and use power to force their truth & justice in an unjust world. Eights passionately expand their vitality, favor their gut instincts (every impulse is good) and tend to identify with their anger energy. Eights Believe: I must be strong to survive and avoid being taken advantage of; truth and people are objects to be controlled or seized. Eights often feel they are blamed unfairly & seek to hold someone else accountable. They loath betrayal, disloyalty. Eights protect innocent others & can get caught in revenge cycles. Eights can be The (Too) Truthful-Powerful One—speaking inappropriately about things best left unsaid & commanding others intensely. Eights Excel: at exuding boundless, infectious energy. Eights are direct, action-oriented, unbending under pressure, and often are teddy bears with loved ones.
We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.
- Martin Luther King, Jr., I Have A Dream
Type Eight Personality Reflections
Truth and power are intimately connected. Powerful people can impose their truth on everyone else. And those standing in the living truth find an inexhaustible source of power beyond conventional power – a power to speak truth to power. The Type Eight pattern harnesses the power of truth to make an immediate, direct, material impact on the world. This is the social justice Martin Luther King, Jr. – a likely Type Eight – demanded when he spoke of the “fierce urgency of now.”
Anger innocently expressed as pure truth bring an aliveness that is clarifying and sober. Anger forcefully imposed as partisan truth is intoxicating and addictive. Lust, the Type Eight passion, involves this second kind of truth.
Some Eights express lust by obsessive control over their physical possessions and by demands for immediate satisfaction of their impulses. A hospitalized elderly Eight refused to submit to an IV line until the staff stopped “messing with” her personal items. “I know a night nurse stole my hair comb,” she angrily accused. When the nurse on duty pointed out that the "missing" comb was tangled in the patient’s hair, the patient was unrelenting. “Nobody is going to poke my arm until someone apologizes for combing my hair!”
Other Eights express lust through possessiveness of their intimates – betrayal is devastating – and through controlling entire environments by flamboyantly attracting all the attention. One Eight got his crew of friends attending an annual music festival to host a Pee Wee’s Playhouse theme party. Naturally, he was Pee Wee Herman.
Eights focused in the social arena can have a ‘gang leader’ quality – the one who protects the clan – or can fight for justice on behalf of the weak and vulnerable (a way of protecting their own projected vulnerabilities). One Eight spent a decade protesting the mistreatment of circus elephants. She cried when an internationally known circus eliminated elephants from their show. A friend remarked, “you must be so happy your efforts paid off!” “Yes, well,” she chocked through the tears, “I feel like I have nothing left to protect anymore!”
Eights gift collective consciousness with embodied examples of what the power of truth can do to destroy what needs to be destroyed and change what needs to be changed. Eights provide not only the strength, but also the leadership to get things done. The Eight in all of us rises to meet the fierce urgency of now and to bring its truth into being.
Type Eight Interview
This clip is from an interview with a representative Type Eight. For the full set of interviews with all 9 types (about 20 minutes each), along with downloadable charts, check out this online course: Enneagram Interviews.