Enneagram Type Four (the Individualist)
Enneagram Type Eight (the Challenger)
What Each Type Brings to the Relationship
This can be one of the most creative relationship couplings, although it is also one of the most inherently volatile. Both Enneagram Fours and Eights are intense and have strong emotional responses; both seek to get a reaction from the other, and both can be dominating of their environments—Eights are socially dominant, Fours are emotionally dominant. Both types bring passion, intensity, energy, and deep (often unconscious) feelings to all aspects of the relationship. They are attracted to each other’s storminess, the other’s vulnerability, and the other’s “hidden” qualities: neither is what they seem to be on the surface. Both types are also highly intuitive—Fours by being self-aware and knowledgeable about how they are feeling, and Eights with their intuition about external phenomena, often with an extremely accurate insight about the potentials and possibilities exhibited by others. Because of their passionate natures, both types can become impulsive and reckless, taking extreme risks for love of thrills or for the sensation of being alive—and this can be tremendously exciting to the other. But there are trade-offs: Fours tend to depend on the Eight’s practicality and ability to protect and provide for them, whereas Eights tend to depend on the Four’s sensitivity and mysterious sense of challenge—the Four’s emotional life and heart may be one world that the Eight cannot easily conquer.
On the other hand, Fours see strength, charisma, and solidity in Eights. Both feel that the other can meet their intensity—that the other will not be boring or non-responsive to them. They make each other feel more alive—something that both want. Intensity, vitality, passion, and immediacy are the emotional hallmarks of this couple, and they relate to each other (and to others in their world) from an unusually high emotional pitch—there is always something happening in their relationship, and they like it this way.
Potential Trouble Spots or Issues
Both types take a certain pride in having a large than life quality about them: Eights in their larger than life willpower and quest for control, Fours in their larger than life emotions and in their quest for self-expression. Both types want to be free and to be free from having anyone control them, particularly in their careers and private lives. If they feel that the other is trying to control them, both types can become enraged, easily triggering gargantuan battle, financial and sexual intrigues, and rampant feelings of hatred. Both Fours and Eights are emotionally stormy and prone to periods of rage, depression, vengeance, and various forms of acting out. When conflicts between them reach a certain pitch, arguing replaces real connection, and fighting (and possible physical violence) becomes an increasingly common element of their communication, with the violence often running both ways.
They can also begin to get into the practice of fighting and making up because both are more exciting that way. They can also begin punish each other by withholding attention and affection and by verbally putting the other down, often in public. No coupling is more passionate than the Four/Eight combination—nor is any couple more likely to deteriorate into verbal and physical abuse and various kinds of personal retaliation for escalating offenses. (They also tend to draw their friends and family into their conflicts, trying to make others choose sides.) They may get into the feeling that they are not able to stop themselves from hurting each other, as much as part of them would like to quiet down and become more normal. The passionate attraction that they have for each other can end in obsession and hurtful, ruinously impulsive actions.