Grieving and the Enneagram: Type Eight Personality November 14, 2019

Enneagram type 8

Today let’s talk about the Enneagram type 8 and how this personality type is most likely to respond to grief. Every human is a complex machine of sorts with muscles, bones, organs and all the other amazing pieces that make us alive.  The most fascinating of these pieces of what makes us human are the things that are not so visible: personality, feelings and emotions. These are really what make each of us human and creates who we are. When you describe someone you do not describe them as that guy with blood vessels; you describe them as they guy who is angry all the time, or the girl who is so patient.  The unseen is what makes us who we are. Emotions and personality are as complex if not much more complex than the science of what makes us human. When grief hits we may respond in a multitude of ways. There is no one size fits all when it comes to how grief is displayed but there are often patterns that we can look at.


The Challenger

Enneagram Type 8 are known as “The Challenger” and sometimes are referred to as a snow plow or bulldozer. These are some common ways to describe a type 8 on the Enneagram.

  • Tough exterior
  • Natural leader
  • Direct
  • Assertive
  • Get results
  • Straight talking
  • Willing to “take the heat”


The Type 8 During Grief

If you are a type 8  you may identify with the above characteristics.  You are the type of person who gets the job done. Often, you step up and show confidence and assert yourself. You likely are in a place of leadership, people listen to you and trust that you will tell them like it is.  People often look to you to take charge and know what to do. In times of grief these can be great qualities to have. You are good at making end of life decisions that others may be too emotional or wishy washy to make.  If you are in charge of funeral details and arrangements, you most likely will make the event will be a success.  


The Best and the Worst

When you are at your best you are confident, strong, protective, decisive and resourceful to name a few.  Your grief will be expressed in a healthy way and you will be a good example for others who struggle to make decisions and overthink all that they are experiencing.  When you are at your worst you can be egocentric, domineering, confrontational, intimidating and angry. These may hinder you as you walk through your grief. When you are unhealthy you may burn bridges and make grief about you rather than the one who passed or others who are sharing your grief. People may be intimidated to talk to you about what they are feeling because you only see it your way.  You may have a tendency to indulge yourself in being domineering as a means of getting things done but can make others walk on eggshells around you.


Does this sound like you or someone close to you? The better we understand ourselves and others, the better we can be ahead of the game and try to respond in times of grief in the healthiest possible way. To read more on the other Enneagram personality types, follow along on our blog

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