The 3 Enneagram Triads + Advice For Responding To Emotions For Each Type

If you struggle to understand the core cause of your emotions and how they influence your actions, finding out which Enneagram Triad you belong to can be very helpful. The Enneagram Triads can tell you a lot about yourself based on which Enneagram personality type you are and can also guide you through self-discovery to better yourself.

The Enneagram Triads are separated into groups using Enneagram personality types that use their heart, head, or gut to make decisions. Though the three personality types in each triad are motivated by the same emotions, they have unique reactions that make them different. The Enneagram Triads can help you understand responses and teach you to control your reactions.

Read on to learn about enneagram triads, which types are in each group, and the emotions each is motivated by.

Discover helpful advice that can guide you toward gaining self-control so you no longer allow your emotions to get the best of you and cause havoc with your friends and family.

Enneagram Triads F.A.Q.s

What Are The Enneagram Triads?

The Enneagram Triads are also known as the Centers of Intelligence because they indicate the dominant core emotions that drive each Enneagram personality type to make decisions. The three Enneagram Triads are the Heart Triad (2,3 & 4), the Head Triad (5, 6, & 7), and the Gut Triad (8, 9, & 1), and each Triad is motivated by either shame, fear, or anger.

The Enneagram Heart Triad primarily uses their feelings to make decisions and struggle with emotions of shame. The Enneagram Head Triad primarily uses their thoughts to make decisions and deal with emotions of fear. Lastly, The Enneagram Gut Triad primarily uses their instincts to make decisions and is prone to anger.

In the Heart (Feeling) Triad is Enneagram types two, three, and four. In the Head (Thinking) Triad is Enneagram types five, six, and seven. Lastly, in the Gut (Instinctive) Triad are Enneagram types eight, nine, and one.

Each type’s habitual responses based on their motivating emotion are different, making them unique. However, when individuals are not very self-aware can act from a place of brokenness, and these responses may often hurt the feelings of others around them.

Understanding the Enneagram Triads and which one you belong to can help you understand why you make certain decisions, thus creating the opportunity to improve how you respond situationally and relationally.

Emotions like shame, fear, and anger can drive you to make poor decisions that can hurt you or the people around you, so learning to overcome these dominant core emotions can guide you to do better and be better.

enneagram triads

Source: Medium

The Enneagram Heart Triad

What Is The Heart Triad Of The Enneagram?

The Heart Triad, also known as the Feeling Triad, comprises three enneagram types (2, 3, & 4) whose dominant core emotion is shame. Those who belong to this triad use how they feel to guide them in making decisions.

The Types in the Enneagram Heart Triad tend to be very in-tune with others’ emotions and recognize when someone needs support. These types also seek recognition for a self-sense of belonging.

The Enneagram personality types that are part of the Feeling Triad tend to unconsciously embody an image different from their true selves for everyone to accept and approve of them.

Those in the Enneagram Heart Triad crave connection and intimacy with others, and if their needs aren’t met, they feel a great sense of shame as if they aren’t worthy enough.

Why Enneagram Type Twos Are A Part Of The Heart Triad

Enneagram type twos are often called “the helpers” because they have such a deep, loving connection with themselves and those they cherish that they can recognize when they are in need and be inclined to help and support them. Enneagram Type Two’s are very generous people and create strong, lasting friendships with others.

Being a part of the Enneagram Heart Triad, Two’s are driven by the dominating core emotion of shame. T is emotion for Enneagram type twos can cause them to think they are unlovable if someone does not want to reciprocate their connection. They then go into overdrive to help their peers, even if it’s at a cost to themselves.

Why Enneagram Type Threes Are A Part Of The Heart Triad

Enneagram type threes are often called ‘the achievers’ because they are inclined to excel at everything they do to make themselves known by the world. Enneagram Three’s are success-oriented and driven to seek approval from those around them. They can also make excellent mentors for their co-workers and those they love.

Being a part of the Enneagram Heart Triad, Three’s can be weighed down by the dominating core emotion of shame. Shame for Enneagram type threes can cause them to think that they are worthless if not for their valued achievements. Despite being successful, they lack self-confidence; a lack of recognition for them is painful.

Why Enneagram Type Fours Are A Part Of The Heart Triad

Enneagram type fours are often called “the individualists” because they tend to come off as self-absorbed when expressing their feelings and venting to others about what’s going on in their own lives. A  Enneagram Four wants others to know them personally and aren’t afraid to be truthful about what they think, which can be seen as insensitive.

Being a part of the Enneagram Heart Triad, Four’s are also affected by the dominating core emotion of shame. Shame for Enneagram type fours can cause them to think they have no sense of identity or personal significance in others’ lives because they are seen as dramatic and temperamental when they are just themselves.

The Enneagram Heart Triad  & Overcoming Shame

the heart triad

Since the Heart Triad’s dominant core emotion is shame caused by an innate sense of dependability and need for approval and recognition, the best advice for the Enneagram personality types within the heart triad is to work on yourself before focusing on the needs of others. By  holding yourself to a higher standard and learning self-confidence, you can be happier.

Enneagram Type 2 And Shame

Enneagram type twos should learn that their needs do not always have to come last. Sometimes it is necessary and healthy to put your needs first. Learn to clarify and share your expectations to help others understand and meet your needs.

Enneagram Type 3 And Shame

Enneagram type threes should learn to be more self-confident in their work. Failure happens in life, and you can’t avoid it. The best thing to do is accept and overcome your failures rather than fight tooth and nail to deny them. You should learn to be more open with others instead of putting up protective walls and exposing vulnerability to those you love.

Enneagram Type 4 & Shame

Enneagram type fours should learn to be more empathetic and friendly with others and be a supporting figure rather than someone who constantly needs support. Remember to take deep breaths when your emotions are getting overwhelming, and find a calm place in your mind to settle down and become self-aware to prevent overreacting and saying things you’ll regret.

Healthy Ways Enneagram Types Can Overcome Feelings Of Shame

  • Clarify Expectations With Others
  • Practice Self-Care
  • Express Your Feelings
  • Ask Others For Help
  • Forgive Others
  • Acknowledge Hurtful Moments In Your Past
  • Recognize Good Things In Your Life
  • Realize Your Weaknesses & Limitations
  • Ask For Help To Separate What You Do From You Who Are
  • Identify Triggers
  • Surround Yourself With Others Who Are Self-Aware
  • Analyze What You Feel With What You Should Be Feeling
  • Begin To Practice Kind Responses To Your Mistakes Or Regrets

The Enneagram Head Triad

What Is The Head Triad Of The Enneagram?

The Head Triad, also known as the Thinking Triad, comprises three enneagram types (5, 6, & 7) whose dominant core emotion is fear. Those who belong to this triad use how they think to guide them in making decisions.

Types in the Enneagram Head Triad tend to take longer to make decisions because they like to understand things through analysis before proceeding further.

The Enneagram personality types that are part of the Thinking Triad tend to be knowledgeable people who love to delve into the interesting unknown for higher understanding.

Depending on the personality type, those in the Head Triad can either favor their alone time over being with others or despise being alone and always surround themselves with one person or a group of people.

Why Enneagram Type Fives Are A Part Of The Head Triad

Enneagram type fives are often called “the investigators” because they have a hunger to learn and an inclination to become knowledgeable on their topics of interest, always investigating to know more. Enneagram Fives tend to stick to themselves and can be somewhat of a loner in social gatherings (if they even show up at one in the first place).

Being a part of the Head Triad, fives are driven by the dominating core emotion of fear. This emotion for type fives can cause them to think they have no identity or personal significance to others. Hence, they force themselves into isolation and use their vast imaginations to escape reality. These types can be secretive, hiding their feelings.

Why Enneagram Type Sixes Are A Part Of The Head Triad

Enneagram type sixes are often called “the loyalists” because they are very committed to their friendships and remain loyal to those they cherish. Seeking friendship with type sixes is beneficial because they are kind and excellent problem-solvers.

Being a part of the Head Triad, sixes can be weighed down by the dominating core emotion of fear. Fear in type sixes happens when they are alone because they lack support and guidance at that moment, which causes them to overthink and play out unlikely situations in their head. Without friends around, they can be riddled with anxiety and worries.

Why Enneagram Type Sevens Are A Part Of The Head Triad

Type sevens are the life of the party and are famous for being adrenaline junkies. Enneagram Sevens have a talent for bringing their friends together and showing them how to have a good time. Enneagram type sevens are often called “the enthusiasts” because they love having fun and adventuring through new experiences as they are enthusiastic people.

Being a part of the Head Triad, those with the seventh personality type are affected by the dominating core emotion of fear. When an enneagram type seven becomes fearful, it can cause them to become insensitive toward others, scattered, unorganized, and impulsive.

The Enneagram Head Triad  & Overcoming Fear

the head triad

The Thinking Triad’s dominant core emotion is fear caused by insecurities brought on by a lack of self-confidence and the thought of being left out and alone in isolation. T e best advice for the Enneagram personality types in this triad is to learn more about your fear. Understanding your fear can help you rationalize if it is reasonable. You can begin to feel more comfortable alone and being yourself by doing so.

Enneagram Type 5 And Fear

Enneagram type fives should learn to express their thoughts about a subject even if they don’t have enough information. Also, make an intentional effort to build into others and to be a good friend to others.

Enneagram Type 6 And Fear

Enneagram type sixes should learn to calm their thoughts and tame their wild imagination, as overthinking and imagining unlikely series of events can cause anxiety. They should also become more self-confident and self-assuring; anyone who knows a type six can say that they are one of the kindest people they’ve met. Remember that you are cherished the same way.

Enneagram Type 7 & Fear

Enneagram type sevens should find healthy ways of coping with their anxiety rather than rushing into decisions and opportunities that seemingly will relieve their fear. Type sevens can also benefit from becoming more organized in life and striving to finish tasks they’ve started and then abandoned.

Healthy Ways Enneagram Types Can Overcome Feelings Of Fear

  • Develop A Close Circle Of Friends
  • Journal
  • Identify And Name Your Fears
  • Practice Ritual And Routine
  • Work To Become More Self-Aware To Feel More Comfortable As Yourself
  • Rationalize What Is Causing Stress
  • Express Gratitude
  • Identify Your Values
  • Practice Curiosity
  • Seek Honesty And Truth

The Enneagram Gut Triad

What Is The Gut Triad Of The Enneagram?

The Gut Triad, also known as the Instinctive Triad, comprises three enneagram types (8, 9, & 1) whose dominant core emotion is anger. Those who belong to this triad use their intuition to guide them in making their decisions.

Types in the Enneagram Gut Triad are typically very action-oriented, persistent, and natural leaders.

The Enneagram personality types that are part of the Gut Triad can be intimidating because they sometimes use their power and sheer will to get to where they think they want to be in life. These types desire to control, and if they lose it, feelings of frustration and anger can take over and cause chaos because they do not think before acting.

Why Enneagram Type Eights Are A Part Of The Gut Triad

Enneagram Eights are highly confident in their work, whether it’s a profession or hobby, and have an established sense of authority. Enneagram type eights are often called “the challengers” because they are very driven; everything is seen as a challenge. If they aren’t winning, they will be distraught by it.

Being a part of the Gut Triad, enneagram eights are driven by the dominating core emotion of anger. Eights can feel angry if they think they are being controlled, as they have an innate desire to be in charge. Type eights usually put on a mask around others because they do not want to be seen in a vulnerable, emotional state.

Why Enneagram Type Nines Are A Part Of The Gut Triad

Enneagram type nines are often called “the peacemakers” because they can work with opposing people to hear and understand each side of the story to resolve the conflict. This role can be difficult and even mentally exhausting. Enneagram Nines can be very resigned people who tend to put up with negative situations even if it’s at their own cost.

As a part of the Gut Triad, Enneagram Nines can be weighed down by the dominating core emotion of anger. Type nines can feel anger if they do not express their needs in fear of loss and separation. The negativity they face can become so overwhelming and unbearable that they have a rageful meltdown as it builds up.

Why Enneagram Type Ones Are A Part Of The Gut Triad

Enneagram type ones are often called “the reformers” because they are hard on themselves and their loved ones to become better people and the world to become a better place driven by a striving inclination for goodness. Enneagram Ones can be quick to critique others about their beliefs and opinions if they don’t believe they are good enough.

Being a part of the Gut Triad, Ones can be affected by the dominating core emotion of anger. Anger for type ones derives from the mixture of fear and anxiety they feel when they realize their perfectionistic efforts to keep the world the way they think it should be aren’t enough. As this stress builds up, they become angry with themselves.

The Enneagram Gut Triad  & Overcoming Anger

the gut triad

The Instinctive Triad’s dominant core emotion is anger caused by internalized inclinations to make the world a better place according to each personality type’s own opinion, whether it be:

  • Making change
  • Bringing people together
  • Bringing more good into everyone’s hearts

The best advice for these types is to learn to be mindful of the impact of their words and actions on other people.

Enneagram Type 8 And Anger

Enneagram type eights should learn that not everything has to be a competition and that confrontation is not the best way to treat others with differing opinions. Type eights would benefit from expressing their genuine emotions and vulnerability rather than putting up protective walls to help alleviate misunderstandings and misperceptions.

Enneagram Type 9 And Anger

Enneagram type nines should learn that allowing their feelings to build up inside and cause emotional meltdowns can take a mental toll on them rather than voicing their concerns and expressing their emotions about problematic behaviors. Expressing and prioritizing your wants is very important.

Enneagram Type 1 And Anger

Enneagram type ones should be mindful that everyone is flawed, so it’s best to accept and overcome mistakes rather than be hard on yourself and your loved ones for having them in the first place. They should also learn that they can still make themselves and the world a better place with their insight rather than hostility if someone disagrees.

Healthy Ways Enneagram Types Can Overcome Feelings Of Anger

  • Physical Activity
  • Make A List Of Possible Solutions
  • Analyze What Makes You Angry
  • Create A New Narrative In Your Mind About What Makes You Angry
  • Recognize Triggers
  • Step Away To Calm Down
  • Write Down Your Response First
  • Express Your Feelings Using “I” Statements
  • Seek Outside Perspective
  • Talk To A Counselor
  • Recall The Last Time You Ate Or Drank
  • Realize Not Everything Is Personal
  • Take A Breath And Stop Talking

Enneagram Triads Summary

The three Enneagram Triads consisting of the Heart Triad, Head Triad, and Gut Triad, can show you how to become a better person by presenting you with the raw reality of your: 

  • Emotions
  • Desires
  • Fears
  • Flaws

Understanding the enneagram triads can help you identify your core emotions and motivations. The purpose of each enneagram type recognizing detrimental attributes is to move toward growth so that you can flourish. Every person has their struggles, so the best course of action is to focus on and care for yourself instead of others’ actions.

If you want to further explore enneagram triads and your type by taking a test, check our list of  The Four Best Free Enneagram Tests Online.

For More Helpful Enneagram Resources & Blog Posts:

Understanding Enneagram Stances

The 9 Best Enneagram Resources And Blog Posts


Enneagram Triads Sources: Doctor David Daniels, The Good Trade, Rel Consultants, Enneagram Institute