It Takes All Kinds      Type Eight


Some people are easier to appreciate than others, at least at first.

At times we think there is no way to value a certain person’s perspective. But when we get a glimpse into their world view we not only understand but begin to see the internal logic of their point of view. And when we understand our own habitual ways of thinking and feeling, we can see the pathways to healthier interactions.

In this column we are looking at nine archetypal personalities, one each month. Last month we talked about the Epicure who values fun and planning above all. This month, as we tour the personality system of the Enneagram, we turn to the Protector who is strong and assertive.

The first seven articles in this series appeared in the most recent issues of Mueller Living. You can find parts 1-7 at

If I identify with the Protector I’m self-reliant, protective of others and  often in charge.

My attention goes to power and justice. I notice if anyone is trying to manipulate me or take advantage of people who can’t defend themselves.

Somewhere deep inside I believe the world is an unjust place where the powerful take advantage others. I exert power over my space and those in it. My energy is lustful and can be excessive.

At home I’m in charge. I’m not afraid of confrontation and I value your willingness to stand up for yourself. I’m protective of my family and at the same time, I can come on too strong. I don’t always know when i’m being too controlling or too angry.

At work I’m a strong leader. I don’t have patience for whining or excuse-making. I’m courageous and decisive. My intensity energizes others or overwhelms them.

In the community you can rely on my leadership and hard work. I see mainly my own truth and tend to be a black and white thinker. It’s hard for me to be patient and listen to your point of view when I already know what’s right.

What pushes my buttons?  Injustice that I can’t fix. Having to rein in my style and be less forceful.

Something people who love me often say to me: Sometimes you come on too strong.  Not everyone likes a good fight. There are other truths in the world.

The things I need to be aware of so I can grow. That my intensity is really a cover-up for my vulnerability. That it’s okay to be wrong and it’s not a sign of weakness to be sensitive.

Don’t confuse me with the type who is highly energetic and gets things done. They’ll change themselves to please you, and I wouldn’t consider it.