Grieving and the Enneagram: Type Three Personality October 3, 2019

Enneagram 3

We have all encountered that person who must win at all costs and somehow they always seem to end up at the top. At work they are the highest achiever. On a sports team they are aggressive and always find a way to make an impact. They are the people who you went to high school with and when you see their Facebook updates, you feel envy. Often times, these people are a Type 3 on the Enneagram. Three’s are known as “The Achiever.” 

For those that are 3’s, seeing others achieve can be an even stronger motivator to be even better. The kicker is not only are they successful but they are extremely popular and like-able. But like most things in life, it’s not always all it’s cracked up to be. Types 3’s have their struggles and weaknesses just like everyone else. Although they sure do put on a great show to make it look as if they are winning at everything.

How Does an Enneagram 3 Deal With Grief?

For someone who is so driven to achieve and be successful, how does this drive impact times of grief?

Personalities are so complex even if you identify as an Enneagram 3, the way that you grieve and what you see as “successful grief” will appear different based on your individual outlook.  Yet, 3’s aspire even to grieve the best. A 3 will take their own idea or definition of what grief is and be very driven to execute it in the most competent and successful way. For example, if you believe that grief should be showing that you are sad, distraught or emotional, they will be just that. They will have no qualms about showing their grief because they are doing it right.  If someone else grieves in such a way that seems to be outside of the understanding of that person. IE: no crying, not wanting to talk about it, they will deem that unsuccessful and inappropriate and feel themselves better at dealing with grief. 

Most 3’s will lean on the side of being unemotional; showing sadness and grief but having control over their feelings and appearing to still have it all together. They do not want to appear that they are not capable of dealing with grief or not able to be productive in other areas of life. Enneagram 3’s are often workaholics and may channel grief into working more, being competitive in athletics or fitness and remain energetic and ambitious despite feelings of loss or sadness.

Ways to Grieve as an Enneagram 3

A type 3’s image and appearance of success is what is most important to them. That can also get in the way of self care and being in-touch with themselves outside of their work or material successes.  Some ways for a 3 to make self-care a priority during times of loss and grief are:

  1. Spend time with people who know them without their “mask”.
  2. Slow down in nature
  3. Listen to music
  4. Have a day without a goal. 
  5. Set boundaries in regards to work/life balances
  6. Keep a feelings journal
  7. Exercise without tracking numbers or competing
  8. Unplug from technology and need to appear a certain way on social media

If you are a type 3 on the Enneagram or you know a 3 who is going through a time of grief, take the time to use these self-care tips. They will surely help you continue to be your best self. 


For more articles on how different Enneagram personality types deal with grief:

How Knowing Your Enneagram Helps You Deal With Grief

Grieving and the Enneagram: Type One Personality

Grieving and the Enneagram: Type Two Personality


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