The Enneagram Type 1 is called the Perfectionist or the Reformer because their attention automatically goes to what needs improvement and correction. Enneagram Type 8 is called the Leader, the Challenger and the Protector because of their keen awareness of power dynamics: who is in control, who might need protection, who needs to be challenged Here we explore the compatibility of an Enneagram Type 1 with a Type 8 and what the relationship looks like when it is in balance and when it starts to spiral downward.
Enneagram Type 1:8 When Ιn Balance
This pair shares many fundamental values while adopting very different approaches. When self-aware and aligned in their goals, the common values serve as a solid foundation and the stylistic and energetic differences keep the partnership interesting and vibrant. Shared values include a determination, grit and a willingness to work hard to overcome adversity for a higher cause. Both can be fierce, tough, focused, self-sacrificing and unswayed by the opinions of others. Truth, justice and a strong moral compass are key traits and values of both partners.
Energetically the two types are quite different, and this can be balancing, with the Leader (8) bringing a passionate and powerful presence contrasted against the Perfectionist (1)’s more contained, reserved and rigid manner. The Perfectionist (1) appreciates the presence, the big energy and the directness of the Leader (8). The Leader (8) admires the values, convictions and the uncompromising nature of the Perfectionist (1). Like a Mafia boss and a head nun, both embody their beliefs. When balanced and respectful of their differences, this is a powerful and impactful couple.
Enneagram Type 1:8 The Downward Spiral
Fundamental philosophical and energetic differences can be the trigger for the downward spiral of this couple. Their temperaments and approach to life are different and, in some ways, opposite. When fixated on their habit of attention, the differences can cause challenges. Perfectionist (1)s are methodical, rational, cool-headed and restrained. Work comes before play and self-denial lines up neatly with their values. This is a sharp contrast with the Leader (8) who uses their energetic presence to their advantage to get what they want and further their cause.
Leader (8)s are self-referencing and feel no shame or restraint in their pursuit of what they want. This can offend the Perfectionist (1) who values model behavior as part of their idealized world. The Perfectionist (1) starts to see the Leader (8)’s boldness as crude, unpredictable and untrustworthy. The initial attraction of the powerful, assertive Leader (8) descends into criticism, disdain and contempt.
Conversely, Leader (8)s don’t appreciate feeling judged and begin to view the Perfectionist (1) as rigid, nitpicking, delusionally idealistic and hypocritical. Rather than feel controlled by the Perfectionist (1) in any way, the Leader (8) may start to act out, becoming more outrageous, rebellious and irreverent. As the downward spiral picks up momentum, anger, either open or convert, enters the picture. Without a mechanism to stop the momentum, the partners polarize and may eventually split.
Learn more about the Enneagram Compatibility of Type 1s in relationships with Type 8s
Enneagram knowledge can be transformative in improving your relationships and an important tool in cultivating compassion, both towards yourself and others. In my book, “The Nine Keys: A Guide Book to Unlock Your Relationships Using Kundalini Yoga and the Enneagram” I explore intimate relationships through the lens of the Enneagram.
The Nine Keys
The Nine Keys is the essential encyclopedia of the Enneagram in relationships. This book contains Enneagram relationship theory for all 45 type combinations as well as personal testimonials all 81 relationship perspectives. Drawing on over 1,500 years of relationship experience from over 100 couples from around the world, the descriptions and testimonials are instructive, uplifting, cautionary, and sometimes scary and humorous – all real, all good. Browse the entire book here.
“This book has been so incredibly helpful. Not only has it given me a better understanding of the dynamics in my romantic relationships (both failed and successful!), but has given me insight into my familial and platonic relationships, as well.”– EVK
- Read more: Leader (8)s talking about their relationships with their Perfectionist (1) at page 70
- Read more: Perfectionist (1)s talking about their relationships with their Leader (8) at page 353
- Read more: Kundalini Yoga kriyas and meditations for Perfectionist (1)s and Leader (8)s at page 474