Type eight people care more than most about who is in charge. They can become trapped by compulsive domination of others. One of their talents is an intuitive sense of strategy and tactics.
Except in rare cases, people of type eight show a flavoring from one of the two adjacent wing points, so we can say they are eight with a seven wing (8/7) or eight with a nine wing (8/9).
Like all humans, eights also come in three instinctual flavors: social (8sc), sexual (8sx), or self-preserving (8sp). In addition, eights also experience nine distinct levels of mental-emotional health (briefly described by the phrases at the top of this page). Therefore, it is possible to distinguish fifty-four distinct subflavors of type eight.
eight with seven wing
Here's the roughest, toughest personality in the enneagram. Average 8/7 is full of pushy, powerful energy. The eight's desire to dominate overpowers the seven's desire to entertain, so being in charge is more important than being the life of the party. Eights in general do not bother much with appearances, but 8/7's seven-wing brings in some desire to look good, or at least interesting, unlike 8/9, who is often utterly oblivious to appearance.
balanced and transcendent states
Balanced 8/7 softens up and gains charm and tact. With increased awareness, 8/7 loses some of the compulsive combativeness and the tendency to go to extremes is moderated. Real personal power, from essence, becomes more available in place of artifical bravado. 8/7 realizes that sometimes the most powerful thing to do is to wait, rather than charging in blindly.
Highly integrated 8/7 finds that when dominance is a choice (and eight integrates to two), one can choose to be kind and gentle, using power constructively instead of combatively. Seven integrates to five, and impulsive action is replaced by considered, perceptive understanding, making rash actions unnecessary. A person who may have been unpolished, rude, and rough becomes a sophisticated judge of situations, intuitively in touch with the flow of human interaction. This new perception makes options available that were previously inconceivable.
unbalanced and unhealthy states
Unhealthy 8/7 can become physically dangerous. With little or no concern for the rules, almost no emotional sensitivity, and an unsociable, highly belligerent nature, this person can become a rough character. Here is the schoolyard bully, the street thug, and the uncultured slob. If you don't like it, tough. Why bother to be careful when I can get what I want through brute force?
With further stress, 8/7 becomes violent, rude, and deadly, lashing out at whatever gets in the way. But as the violence increases, so does the need to defend against counterattacks. Eight pulls in the worst of five, creating the need for walls and protection, while seven's stress to one brings increasingly intolerant, judgemental thoughts. The world becomes a crazy battlefield, where one must kill or be killed, and every moment requires constant defensive and offensive maneuvering.
When it comes to appearance, 8/7 can be slick and sharply well-dressed, or remarkably careless. It all depends on mood and circumstances. When things are good, and 8/7 feels empowered, the hair might be well-styled, the clothes neat and classy, and the manner dapper and maybe even elegant. But if trouble comes, appearances may suffer. It's hard to look good when you are fighting. Most 8/7s have large features and a thick, rough complexion. Some are physically enormous, and much of that mass may be muscle.
Some 8/7s find work that puts them in charge of something they can really get their teeth into. Construction foremen, dictators, explorers, army generals, organized crime bosses, boxers, corporate CEOs. Others have smaller territories as middle managers, sports coaches, drill sergeants, or simply the head of their own family. There are 8/7 long-haul truck drivers, factory workers, small business owners, and muggers. Of course, 8/7s can also be found doing many other kinds of work.
eight with nine wing
Most average 8/9s are socially unpolished and physically powerful. When eightish dominance combines with nineish passivity, but the eight is stronger, the personality is quiet but aggressive, usually slow-moving but capable of sudden violence. 8/9 is more likely to ignore a challenge than 8/7, but also more likely to erupt into overt anger than the more passive 9/8. While 8/9 would prefer to sit back and relax, it is important that the situation be under control first. There is a heavy, slow quality to most 8/9s.
balanced and transcendent states
Balanced 8/9 uses gentle strength with kindness. As 8/9 becomes more in touch with the inner self, the drive to dominate becomes less compulsive, and the seemingly contradictory desire to withdraw and be settled is also less overwhelming. This frees the will, allowing 8/9 to see the value of choosing carefully when to be powerful and when to pull back, rather than being enslaved by alternating sleepiness and angry outbursts. Others benefit from the well-timed use of personal power.
In extreme integration we have someone whose healthy, unselfconscious threeish ambition (from integrated nine) is augmented by a twoish benevolence (from integrated eight). Here are some of the greatest leaders and mystical teachers, who sometimes gather enormous followings of devoted seekers. Advanced 8/9 teachers are able to be tough when toughness is needed, and gentle and loving at other times.
unbalanced and unhealthy states
Average to unhealthy 8/9 carries within a deep conflict between self-forgetting and combativeness. As these contradictory urges intensify, 8/9 becomes less predictable and more dangerous. Times of quiet are deceptive, because there is anger simmering beneath the surface. Sudden explosions of rage become more intense and frequent.
In extreme imbalance the influences of nine stressing to six and eight stressing to five add two different flavors of paranoid anxiety, which combines with the withdrawal of the nine to bring 8/9 into a state of self-protective isolation. Those who intrude into the inner sanctum may be violently attacked or even killed. Psychotic 8/9 is the archetypical antisocial personality, totally lacking conscience and compassion.
Although there are some notable exceptions, for the most part 8/9 simply doesn't care much about looking good. With rough, usually large features and a slow, simple way of being, these are people whose lifestyle is practical and unpresumptuous. Most 8/9s are more interested in relaxing than going out to some social or cultural event, and their wardrobe and appearance usually reflect this preference. If an 8/9 is attractive and charismatic, it is usually because of an inborn talent at natural leadership more than any particular appearance element.
Some 8/9s find work that lets them run their own show without being bothered much by other people. Sanitary engineers, night guards, factory workers, construction workers, truck drivers, heavy equipment operators. Others are more exposed to the public as diplomats, politicians, actors, or military leaders. There are 8/9 airline pilots, ranchers, country music stars, and bodyguards. Of course, 8/9s can also be found doing many other kinds of work.