Enneagram Type Eight (the Challenger)
Enneagram Type Eight (the Challenger)

What Each Type Brings to the Relationship

As with all double-type relationships, two Enneagram Eights generally bring the same qualities to each other. Therein lies both a main source of the attraction as well as one of the main pitfalls. Thus, the Level of health of each person is especially important for these types of relationships as are their dominant instincts. Both Eights will bring a lot of energy, vitality, and passion to the relationship: few other combinations are so intensely involved with each other as this nor are they able to create such fireworks. They both have strong willpower, independent thinking, the ability to make decisions and get things done, and a desire to see results in the practical world: they will not simply talk about building a house or going on vacation—they will make it happen.

When two Eights are well matched, they paradoxically both stimulate each other and relax each other at the same time. They feel that their energy has been met, so they can relax around the other Eight and turn their attention and energy toward other interests. Two Eights are also able to profoundly relax each other because they have confidence in each other. They know that they have what it takes as a team to do what needs to be done, to be safe, secure, and stable in their own world. The feeling is “We’ve got it covered.” Rather than be marked by high energy, quiet confidence is a hallmark of a double Eight couple. This is because they are relieved (and quietly happy) to have found someone else strong who they can depend on. This also leads to a profound feeling of mutual respect, direct and frequent communication, the ability to air their needs and feelings and to settle their occasional disagreements cleanly and quickly. Double Eight pairs can build a significant empire of some sort together, and because they feel that they have unshakable support in the other, they can also be generous and open-hearted with others.

Potential Trouble Spots or Issues

A double Eight combination will be extremely volatile, with lots of ego on display, frequent tests of wills and more or less open jockeying for control. They can get into competitions and rivalries because real equality and sharing is difficult between a lower functioning double Eight couple. Issues about being (and staying) in control will likely be the center of many conflicts, especially since lower functioning Eights do not want to back down or be seen as weak in any way. Both will therefore struggle to dominate, at least in some area, making for a highly reactive and conflict-ridden relationship.

Both Eights can have hair-trigger tempers and a certain degree of suspiciousness and paranoia might set in, even in regard to their partner. Tests of loyalty will come from both sides and both will tend to up the ante emotionally (and often sexually and financially) as things deteriorate. Nevertheless, someone will always need to make the final decision, and unless they learn how to communicate and negotiate effectively with each other, this combination can wear each other down. Both Eights tend to feel rejected unless they have the power, money, or position that would make their significant other want or need them. They may feel free to disparage the other, justifying their aggressiveness with the attitude that they can take it. Verbal and physical rough-play can get out of hand. Neither will be the first to back down in a conflict and it is very difficult for them to apologize.

Nevertheless, Eights can be surprisingly thin skinned and easily hurt, resulting in the banishment of others often over seemingly trivial matters. Further, two Eights can also find that they tend to take up a lot of space—and therefore to need a lot of room-with each other. They may find it worthwhile to declare certain parts of the house (or similar territory) off limits to the other. In short, there is often too much bluntness and pushing each other around which can escalate into outright battles. Power struggles become occasions for revenge by the one who feels aggrieved, or they may simply take turns hurting each other as they continue to wear each other down until “the final straw” has been reached.

For further understanding about this type combination, read more about the Stress Arrow and how type Eights behave when they are moving along it.