Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Type 3: Image-Seeker

Examples - Description - Equivalents - Misidentifications - Variations - Wings - Instinctual Variants - Health - Levels of Development - Levels of Integration and Disintegration - Growth Recommendations


Jackie Kennedy Onassis 3w4 sp/so
First Lady of the United States and successful book editor.

"He didn't even have the satisfaction of being killed for civil rights. it had to be some silly little Communist."

"I always wanted to be some kind of writer or newspaper reporter. But after college... I did other things."

I don't understand it. Jack will spend any amount of money to buy votes but he balks at investing a thousand dollars in a beautiful painting."

"There are two kinds of women, those who want power in the world and those who want power in bed. "

"A Tour of the White House" by Jackie Kennedy
"Glamourous" Profile Video


  • Riso and Hudson's Overview "The Achiever"

    The personality type Three exemplifies the search for the validation of the self, and so Threes look to esteemed others to determine who they must be, what they must do, in order to feel valuable and worthwhile as human beings. With this particular focus, Threes frequently become successful in the eyes of their society because they make it their business to achieve those things which their peers find valuable. This is no less true in a Buddhist monastery in Thailand than in a fast-track corporate culture. Threes will strive to exemplify whatever qualities are honored in their given milieu. Thus, in an unhealthy society which manipulates such fears and motivations, Threes stand to gain the most attention and success from the society, but also end up among its greatest victims—estranged from their own heart’s desire, empty, and emotionally isolated, while never knowing what it is they are doing wrong.

  • Palmer's Description "The Achiever"

    Enneagram type 3s are the “human doings” of the enneagram. They set goals and work toward them. They are able to set their feelings aside and just get the job done. Being in the center of the feeling triad, they are the most out of touch with their heart feelings. Thinking and doing take center stage. Threes are very good at self-promotion, and adjust themselves and their personalities to meet the needs of their target audiences. Image is very important, and Threes maintain a smooth, competent fa├žade, even when their inner worlds are falling apart.

  • Ocean-Moonshine.net's Description

    People of Enneatype Three need the admiration of others in order to feel worthy; indeed at a very deep and largely subconscious level, Threes feel as though they need to see themselves reflected in the eyes of others in order even to exist. At the very center of the type Three fixation then, is a fundamental confusion about the difference between appearance and reality, image and substance, who they are and who they are taken to be.
  • Myers-Briggs Equivalents

    More common:
    ENTJ "The Leader" - Use analysis and strategy to use resources to meet a challenge.
    ENFJ "The Sage" - Able communicators who facilitate interpersonal sensitivity.

    Quite common:
    ESTJ "The Enforcer" - Use structured activity to get self and others to a get job done.
    ESFJ "The Helper" - Fosters warmth and efficiency to get self and others to get a job done.
    INTJ "The Free-Thinker" - Insightful, quick individualists who trust their own vision.


3w2 - Seeking Image and Love
  • LifeExplore

    Threes with this wing are often highly gregarious. They have a tendency towards persona - playing a role of themselves in real life. Social perception, prestige and recognition important. Healthy side brings personal warmth, leadership qualities. Sincere desire to do well by others; may be genuinely nice people. If they have achieved some measure of success they are generous in their mentorship of others. When more entranced, they are preoccupied with seeming ideal to others. This can extend to friendships, family, as well as at work. Want to seem a perfect spouse, friend, parent, employee, good son or daughter. Strong social focus because they need so much validation from others. Preening and boastful behavior possible. Bursts of egotism. Wanting to be on top, better than others. Slip into impersonation easily, may falsify feeling and not know it themselves. Deep emotional self-recognition is lost. Malicious intentional deceit is possible. Behavior of con-artists and sociopaths.
3w4 - Seeking Image and Identity
  • LifeExplore

    May be slightly less image-conscious or project an image that is more implicit and subtle. 4 wing brings a degree of introversion. May measure themselves more by their creations, artistic or social. Tend to compete with themselves first more than with other people. High side brings the motivation and ability to work on oneself. May accomplish everything they set out to do materially, then embark on a path of self-analysis. Artistic explorations or teaching possible. Will still like a challenge, but thoughtful, intuitive or humanistic concerns of prime interest. The low side of this wing can bring a haunted, self-tormented quality or a haughty, competitive pretentiousness. Might be snobs or accuse critics of being too plebian to appreciate them. Cool, hard shell. In private, can lapse into Fourish self-questioning and melodrama. Instability and moodiness can be factors. Unrealistic grandiosity.

Instinctual Variants

Sexual 3 - Seeking Intimacy/Intensity
  • Udit Patel The Catch (Ichazo's "Virility/Femininity")

    Sexual Threes feel that their value comes from their desirability, so they do whatever they can to enhance their attractiveness to others. Many movie stars, models, and popular singers are Sexual Threes. They know how to project attractive qualities but also how to be a blank screen that others can project their desires onto. They often possess great charm and magnetism, yet they fear being dismissed by others for lacking some essential ingredient. As Sexual types, they want to have a strong intimate connection with someone, but because of the Three's image issues and underlying feelings of shame, they are often insecure about letting people know them too well. Thus, many Sexual Threes are able to gain attention and interest from others, but they fear that once they get someone's attention, they will be unable to keep it.

    Sexual Threes want to be appreciated for their depth and intelligence too, but they fear that others are only interested in them for their attractiveness. Some Sexual Threes may go through periods of rebellion, downplaying their physical attributes for a while to see if people still like them and to find out more about themselves. Ultimately, this type grows by recognizing their own value directly—that is, without believing that it only exists reflected in the admiring eyes of others.

  • LifeExplore

    Intimate Threes mask themselves with an image of what a sexually appealing man or woman is. They play roles in romantic relationships hoping to get love or admiration. Image is based on community or cultural standards of desirability or a given partner's expectations. If not committed to a specific partner then they will project an image generally and seek sexual conquests. Intimate Threes in the movies can be sexual imposters or suave, attractive ideals of masculinity or femininity. Female characters tend to be beautiful out-of-reach Sirens.

Social 3 - Seeking Acceptance/Belonging/Inclusion/Status
  • Udit Patel The Status Seeker (Ichazo's "Prestige")

    Social Threes seek value by gaining social recognition—by having tangible signs of progress and success. They want to be recognized for their hard work and achievement (Employee of the Month, diplomas, awards) and to have ways of measuring their rise up the ranks. Social Threes are very adaptable, concerned with fitting into whatever culture they find themselves in, be it corporate or national. If they move to another country, they are able to adapt to the norms of that country more easily than most other types. If they join a spiritual community or ashram, they quickly become well adjusted to the social expectations of that community. The Social Threes are the most concerned with being appropriate and with avoiding any behaviors that would cause offense. At the same time, they are highly ambitious and so must balance their drive to excel and to surpass others with their desire to have others like and accept them.

    Thus, of the three instinctual variants of this type, Social Threes are at the greatest risk of losing track of their core values and goals. They may adapt so successfully that they find themselves adrift without tangible goals or a clear path for achieving them. In this regard, they can resemble Sevens, moving from one promising project to another as they adapt to different opportunities that present themselves. Social Threes can also get into trouble by attempting to rise faster than they are able or by taking on tasks that they are not yet ready or qualified to perform. The desire to please and to impress can become a powerful magnet that can derail the Social Three from pursuing real, achievable goals.

  • LifeExplore

    Social Threes are often extremely status-conscious. Most confuse their inner self with the world's badges, honors and totems. Measure themselves by money, position, awards or results. Strive to match group standards and have the right credentials. How they rank in the eyes of others is most important. May be materialistic but with an eye towards the best brand names so as to be identified with the product's status. The excesses of this subtype make for fine morality plays about the hollowness of fame and status.

Self-Preservation 3 - Seeking Saftey/Comfort
  • Udit Patel The Workaholic (Ichazo's "Security")

    Self-Preservation Threes feel their value is dependent on their ability to take care of basic security needs. They strive to be practical and to make sure that they and their family have more-than-adequate resources. For many Threes this means some kind of financial success. Thus, Self Pres Threes work constantly to ensure they are building up a solid foundation. The problem is that they often find themselves unable to stop working. Because they believe their personal value is at stake, they cannot easily slow down or lighten their workload. To even take a weekend off could lead to financial failure—or so they believe. This lifestyle eventually takes its toll on their health and relationships. They may fit regular work-outs at the gym into their busy schedules in order to stay healthy but frequently neglect to rest and take quiet time. Others can find it difficult to make intimate contact with Self-Pres Threes once they are caught up in their drive for security and success.

    Of the three instinctual variants of this type, the Self-Pres Three has the most difficulty contacting feelings. They tend to express affection through accomplishing things for their partner and by meeting practical expectations. But they may begin to see all of their relationships in terms of functional roles, transactions, task lists, and how well they and the people in their lives are fulfilling these roles. While this can be efficient up to a point, it often ends up creating distance between Self-Pres Threes and the people they care about.

  • LifeExplore

    Have a preoccupation with acquiring material security as a way to calm core anxieties about survival. Some grow up poor and focus on amassing wealth. Concentrate on doing well, having enough, especially of the right things. Irony is that the strategy doesn't really work - a Three could amass millions and still, say, harbor a morbid fear of dying broke. Insecurity fuels a sense that enough money is never enough.


Levels of Development
  • Riso & Hudson's Levels of Development

    Level 1 (Most Healthy - The Level of Liberation): Self-accepting, inner-directed, and authentic, everything they seem to be. Modest and charitable, self-deprecatory humor and a fullness of heart emerge. Gentle and benevolent.

    Level 5 (Average - The Level of Interpersonal Control): Become image-conscious, highly concerned with how they are perceived. Begin to package themselves according to the expectations of others and what they need to do to be successful. Pragmatic and efficient, but also premeditated, losing touch with their own feelings beneath a smooth facade. Problems with intimacy, credibility, and "phoniness" emerge.

    Level 9 (Most Unhealthy - The Level of Pathological Destructiveness): Become vindictive, attempting to ruin others' happiness. Relentless, obsessive about destroying whatever reminds them of their own shortcomings and failures. Psychopathic, murder. Generally corresponds to the Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

  • Riso & Hudson's Levels of Development In-Depth

  • Healthy and Unhealthy "Loops"

    Healthy loop: controlled by Basic Desire: Need to be admired -> self-improvement -> admired -> Need to be admired. In the healthy state, the need to be admired induces Type Threes to work hard to improve themselves and succeed, which often cause others around them to admire them. When Threes feel admired, the need is satisfied and a balance is reached.

    Average state: when Threes' are not working hard to improve themselves, others admire them less, which increases Threes' need to be admired. Thus this helps Threes to again work hard to improve themselves. Thus the balancing loop can help Threes to recover.

    Unhealthy loop: controlled by Basic Fear: Fear of being rejected -> compete -> admired -> Fear of being rejected. In the unhealthy state, the basic fear of being rejected can cause Type Threes to be competitive and hostile towards others as a defense, which makes them even less admirable, and further increases Threes' basic fear. The cycle continues to build up.

    Insight: We can see from the diagram that a way to help break the control of the basic fear is to weaken the unhealthy loop. Threes can refrain from being competitive but focus on self-improvement instead. This will lead to genuine admiration from others and lessen the fear of rejection.
Levels of Integration and Disintegration

Integration (Three Goes to Healthy Six)

  • Udit Patel

    As Threes let go of their fears of failure and worthlessness, they start to feel less competitive with others. They relax and find that they feel most valuable while working cooperatively with others toward shared goals and aspirations, like healthy Sixes. They learn to freely offer support and guidance to the people in their lives, but more importantly, they also learn to ask for support when they need it. Threes ordinarily put themselves under such pressure to accomplish their goals with little or no help that it comes as both a surprise and a relief to them that others are happy to help them in their endeavors. In short, Threes learn to trust others and to build lasting bonds with people. They become more selfless and courageous, embodying real qualities of leadership and self-sacrifice. By letting go of their need to outshine others, Threes become truly extraordinary human beings.

  • Wake-Up Call

    Awareness of always driving themselves to be the best and to get validation—so that they can rise to genuine embodiment of real values and an authentic expression of who they really are.

Security (Three Goes to Average Six)

  • Udit Patel

    With most people, Threes make every effort to be diplomatic and well-mannered. They do not want to say things that would be off-putting to people if they can avoid it. But when Threes feel that their relationships are secure, they can be more open about expressing their anxieties and frustrations. They may keep a "positive frame of mind" all day at work, only to come home and download their dissatisfaction onto their spouse or partner. ("I think my boss is going to go nuts on me when he finds out we still haven't got this report nailed down.") Feelings of self-doubt, dread, suspicion, and anger at others' incompetence can all surface in contrast to the Three's usual "can do" attitude.

Disintegration (Three Goes to Average Nine)

  • Udit Patel

    When Threes drive themselves too hard, their stress can go beyond what they can normally cope with. When this occurs, they tend to go on "autopilot," attempting to just get through things without being bothered, in the manner of average Nines. Threes going to Nine become more passive and fall into routines. They lose their focus and involve themselves with busywork to at least give the appearance that they are getting things done. If stress continues, however, they may begin to become shut down, listless, and depressed, losing interest in their projects and withdrawing from people. They feel little energy or enthusiasm and simply want people to leave them alone and give them space. They can become stubborn and resistant to offers of help at these times, not wanting to hear that they have a problem.
Growth Recommendations

  • Riso & Hudson's Personal Growth Recommendations

  • Udit Patel

    Threes grow by recognizing that they do not need to separate their work and functioning from their feelings. Threes believe they will be less effective and competent if they allow their feelings to enter the picture. Thus, they wait until they are done with their tasks before they pay any attention to their emotions. Nonetheless, their emotions are always operating, even if unconsciously. And if Threes neglect them too long, those emotions start to make functioning much more difficult. Thus, growth for Threes entails pausing while working and actively checking in with their feelings. By tuning in to their heart, and becoming more conscious of their inner life, Threes derive much greater happiness and satisfaction from their work and from their relationships.
  • Palmer's Exercises

    Stop doing for a time every day. Ask yourself: Who are you without your actions, accomplishments, and successes? Take some deep breaths and feel your body. Feel the truth - that you ARE. Just spend some time BEING. Know that you are valuable and loved, just as you are, apart from your achievements.

    As written in the New Testament, Luke 12:27-28: "Look how the wild flowers grow! They don't work hard to make their clothes. But I tell you that Solomon with all his wealth wasn't as well clothed as one of these flowers. God gives such beauty to everything that grows in the fields, even though it is here today and thrown into a fire tomorrow. Won't he do even more for you?"

1 comment:

Brad said...


I really like your blog. As an enneagram lover myself, I liked your take on the 3.

I thought you might be interested in seeing some badges I just made up for the enneagram types... you can see them at


Thanks, Brad