Ever wondered about the distinction between Counterphobic Six and Type Eight on the Enneagram?

It’s a common dilemma, and many individuals often find themselves mistyped as an Eight, only to have an “aha” moment later when they realize they are a Counterphobic Six.

In this blog post, we will explore the outward similarities and dive deep into the crucial differences between these two personality types.

Understanding the Enneagram

Before we delve into the differences, let’s remember that the Enneagram is not about putting people into boxes; rather, it offers us the opportunity to discover the box we are already in and potentially grow beyond it.

I believe that the Enneagram gives us the opportunity to discover the box we are already in, and if we use this knowledge, we can carve our way out. Your personality is in you. You are not in it.

Think of your personality as an operating system or a song within you – you are always more than your personality.

Does the Enneagram box us

Identifying Enneagram Types: Common Ground, Different Route

We use the “common ground, different route” approach to distinguish Counterphobic Six from Type Eight.

While on the surface, both types exhibit:

  • assertiveness
  • directness
  • aversion to diplomacy
  • and impatience

Both types may appear fearless.

Both types share an identification with gut instincts, but they manifest differently.

For the Red Pearl (Type Eight), gut instincts are deeply felt, powerful, and unaccompanied by extensive thought or emotion.

In contrast, the Blue Pearl (Counterphobic Six) relies more on intuition from a cognitive perspective, often involving thought, analysis, and decision-making.

When people do the same thing, they’re labelling their type.

But then, when we trace the behaviour deeper than the surface of the ground level to the root, we find a different reason for the behaviour.

I look at two things when looking at the difference in the root.

  1. 3 Personality Pearls, the grain of sand in the centre of the pearl is the reason for the behavior and
  2. The 9 Primary Polarities is the push-pull dynamic that sits inside the personality.

Together, these are the most powerful drivers that sit at the root of the behavior.

We must trace the behavior’s root to understand its driving force.

Enneagram Coach 9 Polarity Pairs (2)

The Difference in Root Causes:
Counterphobic Six vs. Type Eight

The primary distinction lies in the root cause driving their behavior.

Counterphobic Six often exhibits assertiveness and directness because they fear being let down, leading to a fight response.

  • Their anger is directed towards injustice, abuses of power, and bullying dynamics.
  • They tend to champion causes aggressively, speaking up for the powerless and seeking justice.

On the other hand, Type Eight has a natural sense of authority and power, making them assertive and direct, but their anger is inherent. It doesn’t necessarily require a specific target.


  • They may protect loved ones but do not identify with being the voice for the powerless.
  • They have a commanding presence, which stems from their innate sense of strength.
Understanding fear types

Counterphobic Six vs. Phobic Six: Understanding the Fear Response

Comparing them to Phobic Six is helpful in comprehending Counterphobic Six and their behavior better.

Counterphobic Six reacts to fear by moving into a fight response, becoming more assertive and aggressive. On the other hand, Phobic Six stays in a flight response, seeking safety and support.

By understanding these nuances, we can differentiate between their fear-driven reactions.

Type CP 6 enneagram

The Growth Paths: Opening Doors to Other Types

Understanding the Enneagram growth paths is crucial in grasping the differences.

Both Counterphobic and Phobic Sixes can benefit from accessing the balanced qualities of Type Nine, learning to let things go, and finding peace in the present moment.

Type Eight, when opening up to the compassion and generosity of Type Two, can achieve a higher expression of themselves.

By opening these doors, they can access the strengths and qualities of other types, becoming more balanced and whole.

Ladder of growth

By recognizing the unique root causes driving their behavior, we can develop compassion and wisdom for ourselves and others.

The Enneagram serves as a powerful tool for embracing our authentic selves and finding our path to wholeness. Remember, we are more than our personalities; they are in us, not the other way around.

Embrace your Enneagram type as a means to personal growth and transformation.


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