What Does An Enneagram 3 Go To In The Stress?

This article will take a look at the type 3 enneagram and how they become when they experience stress. Furthermore, the article will also talk about the dark side of this enneagram and introduce it in detail to the audience. The article will then attempt to provide suggestions as to how it can improve and reach a healthier version of themselves.

What Happens When An Enneagram 3 Goes Into Stress?

When in stress, the type 3 enneagram becomes like an unhealthy type 9 enneagram who is not responsive – they lose their ability to become apathetic and will not recognize the needs or desires of others. They simply walk away from problem situations instead of trying to pacify them which they usually would do. However the stress has gotten to them and they simply shut down and become complacent.

The type 3 enneagram will turn into an apathetic type 9 who doesn’t care about what will happen as a result of the building conflict. They are seen as indifferent individuals who can’t see the problem anymore and will prefer to turn their face away instead of sacrifice and take care of the problem.

Here are some of the traits or behaviours they exhibit when they go into stress:

  • Do Not Put In The Effort
  • Numb
  • Do Not Sympathize
  • Inattentive
  • Unresponsive

Before we take a look at these behaviours in detail, let us introduce the type 3 enneagram to the audience!

Who Is A Type 3 Enneagram?

A type 3 enneagram is also called the ‘Achiever’ because of their desire that drives them to accomplish the big things in life. They are very hard working; putting in much time and energy in their work in order to achieve the success they desire!

These individuals are known to be very confident and have high levels of self efficacy, determination and the will to compete with others. However, they are also concerned about how others think of them and their image in the public which is sometimes very stressful.

Basic Desire.

The basic desire of an Achiever is to feel valuable and worthy of attention. They want others to know about their achievements and appreciate them or show them recognition in some way. People with this type usually define the term success according to others views and opinions and they work towards this so called success to gain respect and status in the society. At their best, fulfilling their desire of being the top performer, type 3s are well known and regarded amongst their peers and they are considered sources of inspiration. This is exactly what the achiever desires. At this point, they encourage others and help them move towards their dreams.

Basic Fear.

The basic fear of type 3 enneagrams arises from not achieving what they desire deeply. They want to be worthy of the love and recognition of others; they want to achieve great things that benefit or impress people and hence be celebrated by them. However, deep down, they have this fear that they may fail and not achieve their dreams or successes and this scares and depresses them especially when others are excelling in their life and the eyes of others. This inculcates a sense of jealousy in type 3 enneagrams.

If you’re facing this, it may be a good idea to seek the help of a therapist or other mental health professional. You can find a therapist at BetterHelp who can help you learn how to cope and address it.

What Can Go Wrong – The Bad Side Of Stressed Out Achievers

When their personality integrates, usually because their fear has taken over or they are experiencing failure at multiple fronts, the type 3 enneagram’s darker traits come to life.

If they are insecure and feel humiliated, they will try to ensure that others do not succeed either so that others feel it was the situation that caused the failure and not the person themself. If it gets serious, they can become obsessive with ruining things for others especially if it reminds them of what they could not achieve. If they can’t have happiness then no one should!

These individuals are extremely conscious of how they appear to others and if they feel under-recognized they will make desperate attempts to grab the attention of others. They will develop a habit of exhibitionisn and arrogant talk that is centered around their strengths and successes.

How can a type 3 enneagram avoid such unhealthy behaviour? Well keeping in mind their weaknesses, the following section will recommend what behaviors the individual can take to ensure personal growth instead of disintegration!

Type 3s & Stress 

In this section, we will take a look at the more frequent behaviours this enneagram exhibits when they are in stress!

  • Do Not Put In The Effort: Like 9s, this enneagram type does not put in the effort to pacify a situation where anything can go wrong within seconds. Instead of becoming a healthy version of the type 9 enneagram, they become an unhealthy one when they go into stress – this type 9 just walks away and does not put in an effort.
  • Numb: They cannot feel what others are trying to convey to them nor can this enneagram type feel what they should be feeling. They shut out the emotions to save themselves from any more harm.
  • Do Not Sympathize: Instead of sympathizing and understanding everyone’s needs to reach a common solution, they stop caring.
  • Inattentive: When in stress, the type 3 enneagram will not pay attention to what is going around in their environment possibly in an attempt to prevent any problems.
  • Unresponsive: They withdraw and refuse to interact with others – they simply become unresponsive.

Tips On How To Reach Their Healthy State – Type 3s

In this section we will look at how the type 3 enneagram can reach their healthy state.

Be Honest To Yourself & Others.

The achiever is obsessed with pleasing others and overlooks what they feel is important or desirable. As time passes they lose touch with their inner selves and develop the habit of ignoring what it is that they themselves desire. This happens because they focus on what others want or what they consider to be the definition of success or true bravery!

It is important for the type 3 enneagram to look into their own self and reflect upon their thoughts and feelings to discern what it is they desire. They will be distracted by what other people feel is important but they must be honest not only with themselves but also others too with regards to what they feel is important or what should be pursued.

Take Short Breaks.

Like we said, the achiever is extremely competitive to the extent that they immerse themselves in their work and forgot about many important tasks like spending time with family! They will involve all their energies and resources into what it is that they do so they can achieve the results they desire. Type 3 enneagrams need to stop and take a break.

Do Charity Work!

Type 3 enneagrams need to realize that everything is not about them! Also, they don’t have to flaunt whatever good they do. Sometimes it is very healthy to the mind to help others and not show off.  That is the true meaning of humanitarian work. This will not only make them realize that they need to help others and put their needs first but will also allow them to develop the habit of working quietly without exhibiting their accomplishments!

Pursue Your Interests.

Alas! In the pursuit of success and so called happiness, the type 3 enneagram forgets what they really wanted to pursue or capture. They are overwhelmed by what it is that others want that they forget what their own likes, dislikes or interests are. 

Don’t Be Jealous – Appreciate What You & Others Have.

Sometimes it is difficult not to notice how happy others are when one is depressed or feeling hopeless! Your failures and disappointments while others are doing well magnify one’s unpleasant feelings and thoughts. However! The type 3 enneagram needs to realize that everyone goes through bad times and if they are currently happy, then he or she should be happy for them. No one knows maybe they were going through a very tough time and finally they had a small moment to be happy.


This article took a look at how the type 3 enneagram behaves when they become stressed out and also what they can do to deal with the stress. The article also introduced this enneagram in detail to the audience. The article also described the ‘dark side’ of type 2.



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