Enneagram Triads (A Comprehensive Guide)

Enneagram Triads

You might have read or heard the word “The Enneagram Triads ” recently on social media, articles or conversation. The term is gaining popularity in different parts especially within American Christianity over the recent years. Several books written recently or podcast resources have been mentioning the term Enneagram Triads in terms of Christian or spiritual approach. While this term the enneagram Triads can be explained and its meaning can be comprehended in terms of religion or spirituality but specifically it is not related to any religion. It is more of a psychological archetype or personality typing system which can be appreciated and used, like other well-known types of this area, by both non-religious and religious people alike. 

Enneagram Triads (A Comprehensive Guide)

We will focus on the general aspect of the Enneagram Triads without focusing much on its spiritual and religious understanding. The information related to Enneagram Triads is quite a lot and even people studying the subject for some years are still considered novice in the subject. There are layers of knowledge that are needed to be peeled to have a better understanding of the subject, we will be covering as much as possible here. 

Enneagram Triads

The Enneagram Triads   is quite complex to understand, especially how the nine types of the enneagram Triads interact can be really difficult to understand. The information related to the nine types interaction is complicated and is not as straightforward as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) which is more common. The Enneagram Triads are the easiest way to understand the enneagram as the basic nine number, archetypes or types the enneagram  Triads consists of is further broken down into enneagram triads. Each Enneagram triad consists of three of these types. The first one of these triads is The Body or Gut Triad which is at the top of the Enneagram. This one is the center of the enneagram triads and includes one, nine and eight of the types. The basic grouping of this triad is based on the feeling of rage or anger. The second on the list of the Enneagram triads is The Feeling or Heart triad which is towards the lower right-hand side of the Enneagram Triads. This triad consists of three, two and four types of the enneagram triads and is considered as the feeling center of the enneagram triads. This group of triad is based on the innate sense of shame. The last one on the list is the Head Triad which is set at the lower left-hand side of the  Enneagram Triads. This triad consists of six, seven and five types of the enneagram triads and is considered as the thinking center of the enneagram triad. This group of triad is based on the feeling of fear. 

Gut/Body Triad

– Instinctive Center

– Types: Nine, Eight and One

– Motivation: rage or anger

Feeling/Heart Triad

– Feeling Center

– Types: Four, Two and Three

– Motivation: shame

Head Triad

– Thinking Center

– Types: Seven, Five and Six

– Motivation: fear

However, the triads are grouped on the basis of different emotional behaviors and are motivated by them but that does not mean that different types of Enneagrams Triads will express them in the same way. For example, all three types of Enneagram Nine, One and Eight are part of the same Enneagram Triad driven by anger but they all manifest this emotion differently from one another. Out of the three Enneagram triads, the most distinct is the Gut/Body type. The one among the triads that shows anger more clearly and is associated with it are the number Eight type. They are easily angered, their moniker is known as the Challenger and they thrive on conflicts. On the other hand number Nine is the one that tries to keep calm when in anger and only expresses it when their breaking point is reached. They try to ignore their feelings but when it stacks up a lot they snap at once and can be at least as aggressive as a number eight. The last type number One of the Enneagram Triads can turn the anger inwards toward themselves that can be harmful for them. These three approaches are with the same motivation but manifests it differently.

Similarly the drives of shame, fear and anger have the same underlying motivation among the three types present within each triad but all of those types manifest them differently. One another example can be both Four and Two are driven by the emotion of shame. A Four will most likely create a unique image of himself to deal with the feeling of shame whereas a Two will try to get other people to see them as valuable, good and helpful or even love them.  The motivation for both types is the same i.e. shame but the approaches in both cases are different. 

Enneagram Triads (A Comprehensive Guide)

NUMBERS/TYPES

It can prove quite difficult sometimes to look for your specific dominating number of the Enneagram Triads. You can mistype yourself easily and in contrast with the MBTI whereas it is easy to identify it might take you more than one test or even more to identify your number correctly. Basically you have to discover your number rather than identifying it as the Enneagram Triads does not focus on exterior but more on the interior motivations of the behavior. Sometimes, people can mistake them for some other type only after reading more about the Enneagrams they can discover that they were of a different type. 

There are multiple tests which are designed to identify the number type of the Enneagram and it is quite common to get different high scores on different types for multiple tests whereas in the case of MBTI, the test results might be the same even if you take the test after some time or even multiple times.  It does not mean that the Enneagram tests are not designed well but because the line between the types are so thin that the person can feel more associated with the other than the one sometimes and that is why it is mostly a close one. There might be only one dominating type. The point is to discover it correctly whereas this is not the issue with MBTI or any other test. 

The most clear way to discover your number is to discover the motivations, read about the types and gather the information to check what are the things that make you uncomfortable. You might read about a number type and feel very comfortable with it based on some of the behavior that might align with you. But the dominating number type of your Enneagram will be the one where you will feel most uncomfortable, like you have been exposed and made naked before a whole crowd. That is the main feeling when you know what is your dominating number. 

Every number type of the Enneagram Triads is also given a nickname based on the basic nature which each type encompases. These nicknames are taken from the Enneagram Institutes anre are the dominant traits of each type. Other organizations can also give them different nicknames like number type Four is also known as the Artist or the Romantic, here it is known as the individualist. 

One: The Reformer

– Positives: purposeful and principled

– Negatives: perfectionistic and self-assured

Two: The Helper

– Positives: demonstrative and generous

– Negatives: possessive and people-pleasing

Three: The Achiever

– Positives: excelling and adaptable

– Negatives: image-conscious and driven

Four: The Individualist

– Positives: dramatic and expressive

– Negatives: temperamental and self-absorbed

Five: The Investigator

– Positives: innovative and perceptive

– Negatives: isolated and secretive

Six: The Loyalist

– Positives: responsible and engaging

– Negatives: suspicious and anxious

Seven: The Enthusiast

– Positives: versatile and spontaneous

– Negatives: scattered and acquisitive 

Eight: The Challenger

– Positives: decisive and self-confident

– Negatives: confrontational and willful

Nine: The Peacemaker

– Positives: reassuring and receptive

– Negatives: resigned and complacent

WINGS

If you look at Enneagram’s visual representation, you can see that each and every number type is further aligned adjacent with two other types. These two types on the borders are known as wings and the person of the middle type can take on some characteristics from both or either one of them. For some people, it might happen that one wing dominates more for some others it might be distributed equally on both. For example if my dominating type is a Four and my Five wing is a little more dominating than my Three wing than I am a 4w5 (Four wing Five) which means that my dominating type is Four and the dominating wing in my case is Five. If Three was the more dominant of the wings than it would have been written as 4w3 where Four is my dominating type with Three a mine dominating wing.

Enneagram Triads (A Comprehensive Guide)

As the wing can be the type on either side of your dominating type, usually the wings are from another Enneagram triad than the dominating one. Only the types of Six, Nine and Three are the ones who will have wings from their own centers absolutely. Other than these three other types have a 50% chance of having a wing from their own Enneagram triad. As for Nine, either its One or Eight both of them also belong to the same Gut/Body Triad of which Nine is a part of. Similarly for Six, the Seven and Five are also part of the same Head Triad. Whereas for Three, it is either Four or Two both of which belong to the same Enneagram Triad, Feeling/Heart Traid. Other than that the wing type can also influence some of the characteristics of that specific type onto the dominating type. For example a 4w3 The Aristocrat will be more concerned with the image rather than a 4w5 The Bohemian. A 4w5 will also be more preoccupied with exploring inwards and their peace whereas a 4w3 will be more extroverted and driven towards conventional understanding. The wings with their nicknames and their dominating type and dominating wings are given below :

1w9: The Idealist

1w2: The Advocate

2w1: The Servant

2w3: The Host/The Hostess

3w2: The Charmer

3w4: The Professional

4w3: The Aristocrat

4w5: The Bohemian

5w4: The Iconoclast

5w6: The Problem Solver

6w5: The Defender

6w7: The Buddy

7w6: The Entertainer

7w8: The Realist

8w7: The Maverick

8w9: The Bear

9w8: The Referee

9w1: The Dreamer

FAQ about Enneagram triad

Which Enneagram Triads type is the rarest?

The rarest of these Enneagram Triads  types is the number four known as the Individualist. One of the reasons that type Fours are not easy to meet is because of the reason they tend to keep to themselves most of the time. They are mostly introverts and mostly avoid large social groups and are found in small groups of people. 

What 3 behaviors make up the Healthy Heart Triad?

The Healthy Heart triad is basically how we cope and manage ourselves in order to attain or basic three needs: 

– Love (related to the Heart Center and distress), and;

– Security (related to the Head Center and fear), and;

– Dignity/Self-worth (related to the Body Center and anger).

3. Can an Enneagram 7 be an introvert?

An Enneagram of type Seven cannot be an introvert. They avoid introspection as much as possible as it makes them sad. 

References

https://medium.com/@brigitte.wayman/the-enneagram-triads-types-and-wings-cbf6915f4dd8

https://personalityhacker.com/understanding-the-enneagram/

Enneagram Triads (A Comprehensive Guide)

Juanita Agboola

Juanita Agboola is the editor in chief of HFNE and an expert in mental health online. She has been writing about online behaviour, mental health and psychology issues since 2012. All Guides are reviewed by our editorial team which constitutes various clinical psychologists, PhD and PsyD colleagues.