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 your Enneagram personality type and can also guide you through self-discovery to better yourself.

Each triad has its unique characteristics, and understanding the dynamics of the triads can provide insight into the motivations, fears, and desires of different Enneagram types.

Read on to learn about the triads, the types in each group, and the dominant emotions associated with each grouping.

Discover helpful advice to 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.

What Are The Enneagram Triads?

In the Enneagram System, the nine personality types are grouped into three triads: the Feeling Triad, the Thinking Triad, and the Instinctive Triad.

The Feeling Triad consists of Enneagram types 2, 3, and 4, characterized by their focus on feelings and emotions. These types are driven by the need to be loved and accepted and tend to be sensitive, empathetic, and emotionally expressive.

The Thinking Triad consists of Enneagram types 5, 6, and 7, characterized by their focus on cognition and thought. The need for security and stability drives these types, which tend to be analytical, logical, and practical.

The Instinctive Triad consists of Enneagram types 8, 9, and 1, characterized by their focus on the physical world and their instincts. The need for control and power drives these types, and they tend to be assertive, direct, and energetic.

enneagram triads

To summarize, the three Enneagram Triads are the Heart Triad (2,3 & 4), the Head Triad (5, 6, & 7), and the Gut Triad (8, 9, & 1). They are also known as the Centers of Intelligence because they indicate the dominant core emotions that can influence decision-making.

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

If individuals are not self-aware, they can act from a place of brokenness, and these responses may often hurt the feelings of others around them.

How Does The Enneagram Triad Model Help Us Understand Personality And Behavior?

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.

By understanding the dominant emotions and core motivations of each triad, individuals can gain insights into their behavior and others. This can be helpful in personal and professional development, as well as in relationships and communication.

The Enneagram Heart Triad

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.

Those in the Feeling Triad tend to unconsciously project an image different from their true selves in hopes of gaining acceptance and approval from others.

These types crave connection and intimacy with others, and if their needs aren’t met, they can feel a great sense of shame and assume it is because they aren’t worthy enough.

The Reason Enneagram Type Twos Are A Part Of The Heart Triad

Enneagram Type Twos are often called “the helpers” because they are inclined to provide help and support to others. Enneagram Type Two’s are very generous and create solid and lasting friendships.

Two’s are driven by the dominating core emotion of shame. This emotion can cause them to think they are unlovable if someone does not want to reciprocate their connection. They then can go into overdrive to help their peers, even if it’s at a cost to themselves to gain their acceptance.

The Reason Enneagram Type Threes Are A Part Of The Heart Triad

Enneagram Type Threes are often called ‘the Achievers’ because they often seek to excel at everything they do to gain recognition. Enneagram Three’s are success-oriented and driven to seek approval from those around them. They are often inspiring to those around them because of their work ethic and drive to succeed.

The dominating core emotion of shame can weigh down type threes. Shame can cause them to think that they are worthless unless they achieve and meet others’ expectations. Despite being successful, they often lack self-confidence, and a lack of recognition is painful.

The Reason Enneagram Type Fours Are A Part Of The Heart Triad

Enneagram Type Fours are often called “Individualists” because they strongly desire to be unique. An Enneagram Four wants others to know them personally and aren’t afraid to be truthful about what they think, which can sometimes be perceived as insensitive.

Four’s are also strongly affected by the emotion of shame. Shame can cause them to think they have no sense of identity or personal significance in others’ lives, especially if they become temperamental, causing others to view them as dramatic or needy.

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 each type within the heart triad is to work on yourself before focusing on the needs of others. By holding yourself to a higher standard and noticing your own needs, you can become more confident and self-assured.

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. The best thing to do is accept and overcome your disappointments rather than fight tooth and nail to deny them. Threes can learn to be more open with others instead of putting up protective walls and exposing vulnerability to those they love.

Enneagram Type 4 & Shame

Enneagram Type Fours should learn to give others the benefit of the doubt and consider their needs before making assumptions. Remember to take deep breaths when your emotions are overwhelming, and find a calm place to settle down and become self-aware to prevent overreacting and saying things you’ll regret.

13 Healthy Ways For Enneagram Types To 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

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 types of the Thinking Triad tend to be knowledgeable people who often love to delve into interesting, niche topics for deeper understanding.

The Reason Enneagram Type Fives Are A Part Of The Head Triad

Enneagram Type Fives are often called “the Investigators” because they are hungry to learn and inclined to become knowledgeable on their topics of interest, always investigating to know more. They also tend to stick to themselves and can be somewhat of a loner in social gatherings.

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 isolate themselves and use their vast imaginations to escape reality. These types can also be secretive, hiding their feelings.

The Reason 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. Friendship with a type six is beneficial because they are often kind, considerate, 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 feel alone in making a decision or lack support and guidance at that moment. This fear can cause them to overthink and play out unlikely situations in their head. Without trusted friends and advisors or the ability to slow their thoughts, they can be riddled with anxiety and worries.

The Reason Enneagram Type Sevens Are A Part Of The Head Triad

Enneagram Sevens have a talent for bringing their friends together and helping them to have a good time. They are often called “the Enthusiast” because they love spontaneity, having fun, and creating new experiences. Type Sevens are the life of the party and are notorious for being light-hearted.

Being a part of the Head Triad, Type Sevens are affected by the emotion of fear. When a 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. The best advice for the types in this triad is to learn more about your fear. Understanding your fear can help you rationalize if it is reasonable. Recognizing your fear can help you to lean into your instincts, practice taking risks, and trust others.

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 be a good friend.

Enneagram Type 6 And Fear

Enneagram Type Sixes should learn to calm their thoughts and tame their wild imagination, as overthinking and imagining unlikely events can cause anxiety. They should also become more self-confident and self-assuring; anyone who knows a type six can say they are one of the kindest people they’ve met; remember that you are cherished in this 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 and striving to finish tasks they’ve started.

10 Healthy Ways For Enneagram Types To 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

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

The Enneagram types within 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. 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.

The Reason Enneagram Type Eights Are A Part Of The Gut Triad

Enneagram Eights are often confident individuals with an established sense of authority, whether in a profession or hobby. 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 try to figure out how.

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 are very guarded emotionally around others because they do not want to be seen as vulnerable or weak.

The Reason Enneagram Type Nines Are A Part Of The Gut Triad

Enneagram Type Nines are often called “the Peacemaker” because they can work with opposing people to 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 or fear experiencing separation from others. Negativity can feel so overwhelming and unbearable that they may have a rageful meltdown.

The Reason Enneagram Type Ones Are A Part Of The Gut Triad

Enneagram Type Ones are often called “the Reformers” because a striving inclination for improvement drives them toward action. When lacking awareness, Enneagram Ones can quickly critique others about their beliefs and opinions if they don’t believe they are good enough or disagree.

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 fall short. As this stress builds up, they become angrier with themselves.

The Enneagram Gut Triad  & Overcoming Anger

the gut triad

Enneagram Type 8 And Anger

Enneagram Type Eights should learn that not everything has to be a competition and that confrontation is not always an effective way to address 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 recognize that allowing their feelings to build up inside can lead to emotional meltdowns and take a mental toll on them. Instead, they should practice voicing their concerns and expressing their emotions about problematic behaviors. Defining 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 others. They should also learn to improve by gracefully sharing their insight rather than becoming offended if someone disagrees.

13 Healthy Ways For Enneagram Types To 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 help you to become a more honest, reflective, and healthy 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 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