Today my good friend, Holly Solomon joins us on the blog. I was downright giddy when she agreed to come out of writing retirement to grace us all with her words. Enneagram Eights are not always everyone’s favorites, but I can tell you without a doubt that this Eight is my favorite. Enjoy Holly’s words and leave her some love in the comments.

The last week of my life is one that I knew was coming but also one for which you will never be adequately prepared. My mother had been ill for several months, but not to the point we thought her life was threatened. And then came the news from the surgeon that there was nothing more to be done for her, and the final week of her life was over in just a few breaths. There was nothing I could do for her except arrange the care she needed to be comfortable, stand by her bedside, hold her hand, and encourage her to go into the arms of Jesus. After several days of seeing others in her room who had passed on before, as well as angels flying around the ceiling of her bedroom, she told us it was beautiful there and breathed her last on February 19 at 9:50 p.m.

What does an Enneagram 8 do when they can’t be in control?

The Enneagram 8 is known as The Challenger. We can be self-confident, decisive, willful, and confrontational. Our greatest fear is being harmed or controlled by other people. Our greatest desire is to be in control of our own lives. We want to be self-reliant, strong, important, and in control of every situation we find ourselves.1

So I stood by my mother’s bed, and my eight-ness went into overdrive. Give me an emergency, any emergency, and I’ll know exactly what to do. I can approach that situation with calm assuredness and decisive action. I may fall apart afterward, but in the moment, I’m your girl!

Misunderstanding an Enneagram 8

The difficult part for an Enneagram 8 is that we are often misunderstood. Rather than being seen as confident, assertive, and willing to make tough decisions, we are often mistaken as abrasive, aggressive, and bossy. Enneagram 8s “go about their business with a steely determination that can be awe-inspiring, even intimidating to others.”1

This determination can lead to problems in an 8’s life. I’ve been called on the carpet by supervisors in the past for the way I’m being perceived by my co-workers. Since I don’t feel I am responsible for others’ perceptions, this has been difficult for me to reconcile and change. I’ve had to learn how to give others room to share their thoughts and opinions, to contribute to the discussion or decision at hand, and to be a part of the team.

Additionally, many people think 8s are unfeeling, unemotional, or uncaring. In actuality, nothing could be further from the truth. Eights generally feel things just as deeply as others. We just don’t want you to know that we do! We can be deeply wounded and never allow you to see that side of us because then you would have some control over us. 

Encouragement from Scripture for the Enneagram 8

I like to think about who of our Biblical heroes might have been Enneagram 8s. I think about Miriam, who had a plan for taking care of baby Moses. Or John the Baptist, who didn’t shy away from telling the truth about the coming Messiah. And then there’s Peter, who rushed to our Savior’s defense in the Garden. These characters exhibit the positive side of being an 8 – they were solution-focused, truth-telling protectors. And that’s what I want to be known for in my eight-ness.

There are also reminders that I need from scripture. I need the reminder that I’m not alone, that I don’t have to figure everything out for myself, and that I’m not the actual protector of everything in the world. I daily need the reminder that I’m not in this fight alone and that I don’t have to be controlled by my emotions but can still be compelled by our Savior.

“But you will not leave in haste or go in flight; for the Lord will go before you, the God of Israel will be your rear guard.” Isaiah 52:12

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

“For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.” 2 Corinthians 5:14

So What Does an Enneagram 8 Do When They Can’t Be in Control?

When Enneagram 8s are healthy and moving in the direction of integration (growth), we learn how to let go of our need to be in control. At our best, we can surrender ourselves to a higher authority (whether that’s God or our boss) and we can do it without fear of being controlled. When we are fully integrated, we become courageous, visionary, and influential.

The following things help me to keep that eight-ness reigned in so that I can be my best:

Take a deep breath. I have to be self-aware enough to know when I’m getting anxious about control. And when that happens, I have to stop and take a breath. Sometimes it’s just a beat to remind myself that all is not lost and I don’t have to go towards the unhealthy side of being an 8.

Submit to accountability. There are people in my life who are willing to call me out on my eight-ness. They do it with love and laughs, reminding me that I don’t have to do it all and be it all, all the time!

Recognize and encourage others to live into their gifts. It has been a gift to me to begin to recognize the gifts of others. Truly listening to another person is a gift I want to give to all those I come into contact with, and when I listen well, I’m able to step back and let others contribute. It’s amazing what I learn when I do! 

Enneagram Eights need the reminder they are not in the fight alone or controlled by their emotions, but can still be compelled by the Savior. #EnneaWhat #enneagramseries #TellHisStory #linkup @hollysolomontoo Click To Tweet

That’s it in a nutshell…breathe, submit, and encourage. Here’s to all the 8s in the world! May we all breathe, submit, and encourage.



**As always, I loved Holly’s words. She led the way for me when I began my own writing foray into the online world. Join me here next week, as I welcome Lynn Simpson, Keeping it Real, as she shares what life is like as an Enneagram Seven.

Holly Solomon is a Jesus-girl, mom and grandmother, a self-published author with her mother, an ordained pastor, and a lapsed blogger and podcaster. She serves as the Director of Communications for Crossnore School & Children’s Home in North Carolina. A lover of words and fond of saying “words matter,” Holly writes daily sharing the stories of the children served by Crossnore. You can read some of her past writings at and find Holly’s and Rachel’s Bible study books, Gray Hair Talking: Some Lessons I’m Learning as My Hair is Turning and Gray Hair Talking: Lessons on Living in Grace on Amazon.

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