Relationship Dynamics Series: Teaming Up Two Titans: Pairing Type 8 Challengers to form an explosive couple
Type 8 Challengers are perceived to be the meanest type of the 9 Enneagram types. They are strong personalities that speak their mind and are clear on their own opinions. In relationships, this can seem hostile and being too direct may not always be the best thing towards someone you are expected to be tender and loving towards. Pairing up a type 8 Challenger with any other type often runs the risk of the person of another type not being interact well with a strong personality, and in turn, viewing differences in opinion as conflicts and signs it is not working out.
For example, I had a client, John, who was a type 8 Challenger at its worst – overly authoritative, hostile too direct and insensitive, thinks too highly of himself. Initially, I had tried to match John with a Type 9 Peacemaker instead, hoping that her patience and nurturing nature would be able to balance his strong personality. Turns out, the Type 9 Peacemaker could not stand up to his insensitive remarks, and found his excessive confidence cocky and unnecessary – a complete turn off for her.
The next person I paired John with was none other than a Type 8 Challenger. Who better to call out a Type 8 Challenger for his insensitivity than a person of the same type. As with all double type relationships, both parties in the relationship support each other in the best qualities of their enneagram type, but they run the risk of justifying the worst of traits of their type. With two Type 8 Challengers, their strong personalities act as a main source of attraction, and paradoxically the main source of conflicts.
Sources of Attraction
I paired John with Kelsey, a Type 8 Challenger balanced with Type 2 Helper traits, the main growth point for Type 8s. As expected, they dove head first into what I call “fast and furious” dating. Type 8 Challengers tend to bring energy, vitality and passion to any relationship. They also make decisions promptly and get things done efficiently. If they want it to happen, they will make it so. After their first date, they immediately met they day after for the second date. They were very interested. Although it did not help that John was going overseas for a while, they kept in touch and John sent flowers to her work place regularly. After a few weeks, they made the relationship official and started going out as a couple and meeting each other’s parents.
Now you may be wondering how John would be appealing to Kelsey when he was a complete turn off for a Type 9 Peacemaker – one of the most patient types. Type 8 Challengers value a sparring partner, an equal to him who stands up to him to make him see that what he is saying can be insensitive. Kelsey, working in healthcare and being more balanced, she was able to stand up for herself, and yet caring. With someone to call themselves out on the least resourceful traits of their type, they are able to grow as a couple and notice their own blind spots. As John puts it, he has met his equal half and respects her opinion. In addition, both being direct, they are both able to easily articulate their needs directly and are able to openly talk about disputes and resolve them quickly, preventing drawn out conflicts.
By being together with a strong-opinioned other, they ironically both fuel each other’s fire, while relaxing each other. Instead of seeing it as themselves being put against other people, they develop a stable and secure team where there is an “us against the world” mindset and they can rely on each other to do what needs to be done. This helps each other be relieved and relaxed as they no longer feel that they need to do everything on their own. It makes them happy to have someone they can truly depend on, who they respect.
Potential Pitfalls and Conflicts
Although two Type 8 Challengers can make quite a dynamic duo. Their strong personality types mean that they can be volatile and driven by their emotions. They also have a need to be respected and in control, a need to feed their self-esteem. Sharing and working as a team may be difficult for Type 8s with lower self-mastery, and power struggles may be more common instead. Needing to win in conflicts may end up the likely outcome in arguments, which would cause deep seeded resentment. With a need to be in charge means that, while they work well together, Type 8 Challengers may clash harder than any same-type couples, with compromise and apologies being far and few. Unless they learn how to communicate and negotiate fairly, this combination may be a cause for disaster.
Showing their vulnerability is a blind spot for Type 8 Challengers. They feel a need to hide behind a strong front, that everything is okay, so that there is a need to talk about it. They would need to make a conscious effort to do this. For them, sometimes tasks take over emotions and sensitivity towards the feelings of others. However, once they are able to do this with their other half, this would bond a couple to be closer than ever, as this means that they truly trust the other and are able to find help each other with their hurts and insecurities.
I cannot repeat this enough, but self-mastery is key in same-type relationships. Take John and Kelsey for example. They are not entrapped in a perpetual power struggle because they do make the effort to communicate effectively. Kelsey in particular pushes John to see how he is taking on the worst traits of a Type 8 Challenger, and how to channel the best traits instead. Like how iron sharpens iron, they form an explosive couple, sharpening each other to be the best versions of themselves.