Now Reading
Stress Triggers of Enneagram 3 and Coping Strategies

Stress Triggers of Enneagram 3 and Coping Strategies

Updated on Jan 10, 2023 | Published on Jan 03, 2023

Reviewed by Dr. Nereida Gonzalez-Berrios, MD , Certified Psychiatrist

Stress Triggers of Enneagram 3 and Coping Strategies

Have you ever experienced such stress that you “flipped a switch” and adopted a different personality? Perhaps you had an out-of-body experience or felt wholly unable to control anything. Stress triggers can impact us in various ways. The stress triggers of enneagram 3 are the ones that can overwhelm them emotionally very easily.

People with type 3 preferences are known as the achievers. They get busy in fulfilling their cherished dreams and big goals, thereby ignoring the needs of their mental health. 

Overtime, various situational stress triggers pose more threat and the person’s coping mechanisms seem to crumble slowly unless enough care is taking to restore the efficiency of such coping mechanisms.


Factors that can cause stress in Enneagram 3

The Enneagram test system like the Myers-Briggs test says there’s a reason behind that stress feeling though you may ignore it at times. Right? 

Each kind has an extreme stress reaction that they enter when they are highly stressed, but there is also a possible chain of bad behaviors or emotions that can develop earlier. 

An Enneagram 3 person is constantly striving to be noticed by others. They want to achieve the remarkable while being trustworthy and dependable when it comes to the little things. 

They concentrate on their motivation and willpower to overcome any obstacles that may emerge, whether they are at work or play, establishing and sustaining relationships, or engaging in any of these activities.

Though type 3 individuals are often concentrated and goal-oriented, they are prone to be stressed as one of their negative traits. Mentioned below are some factors which trigger them:

1. Not seeing progress towards a goal

Threes tend to burn themselves out striving to be the greatest at everything they do because they are highly focused and motivated to achieve. They like showing striking apart from a group of average people and are not frightened of a challenge. 

2. Feeling like a failure

Under extreme stress, threes may push themselves well beyond their comfort zones and punish themselves harshly for their mistakes. They may abruptly change and become more directionless and indifferent when severe stress strikes. Feeling incompetent or being around incompetence.

3. Not being acknowledged for what they do

Although threes have always appeared to be in control, their competitiveness and drive are a reaction to emotions of insecurity and inadequateness.

They always need to prove themselves, and when challenging circumstances undermine their best efforts, the tension that results may be highly debilitating. Hence not getting recognition is disheartening for the threes.

4. Losing to others

Enneagram 3 under stress may go into retreat mode if they are unable to handle a specific task or feel overwhelmed by recent events. They may appear unexpectedly quiet, uninterested, or worn out as if they are too despondent to keep trying and believing, shocking co-workers or loved ones.

5. Making comparisons to other people

These type 3 peoples frequently assess their performance against that of others to determine who the best is. Such comparisons may harm their self-esteem and confidence, and they may completely stop responding instead of continuing.

6. Feeling worthless or undesirable

Additionally, enneagram threes can feel more hypersensitive than normal, but they won’t express their emotions out loud. Because they are usually so driven and hardworking and fear being undesired, these crisis episodes are puzzling for them and their family and friends.

7. Not being challenged

Enneagram 3 individuals become unmotivated and lack energy under pressure sometimes and also when they are not getting enough stimulating challenges.

Generally, you can effect change and utilize your distinctive Enneagram 3 tenacity and determination to achieve success in the most challenging situations.

8. Being around who lack vision

To try to avoid addressing the truth of the issues they are dealing with, they try to occupy their time and energy with busy work.

They soon get engrossed in illusions of their upcoming big achievement rather than taking action but lose interest in engaging with individuals who are optimistic about their visions as they are not people pleasers.


How will Enneagram 3 cope with stress? 

According to the Enneagram model of personality theory, each of the nine enneagram types breaks down under pressure. This indicates that individuals are inclined to adopt different behavioral habits. Type 3 displays enneagram 9 symptoms as it disintegrates. Your typical behavioral patterns alter. 

Type 3s may exhibit characteristics of laziness while under stress. You could no longer feel motivated to do more. This demonstrates that you have behaved differently from how you usually would when you are dealing with stress.

Chronic daydreaming, a laid-back attitude, and a calm demeanor could dominate your thoughts too quickly. When under stress, you could find yourself buried in work. You could start to feel like a failure.

Care-givers tips to manage stress in Enneagram 3 

  • Assist them in tuning into their bodies and taking deep breaths. Do they need food? Thirsty? Tired? You’re hurt, are you? Help them understand their physiological requirements.
  • Encourage them to express their feelings (without pressuring them). Let them know that you’re only there to listen, not to pass judgment. Provide them with a secure environment where they may communicate their frailties without being judged, counselled, or coddled as stress is a part of life.
  • Be honest about your weaknesses since doing so will make them feel comfortable sharing theirs with you.
  • Point out a unique direction for them to go. Threes typically benefit greatly from creative endeavor. Allow them time to create art, write, listen to music, etc.
  • Recognize their accomplishments and how you were aided by them.
  • Try to tidy up any messes they see around. They often become anxious when their environment is chaotic.

COPING mechanisms for enneagram 3s

As enneagram 3s are the achievers and go-getters, self-care is a neglected domain for them. These individuals have success and achievements in their priority list. They will work relentlessly towards a goal and may neglect their physical and mental needs completely. All these make them feel stressed out in most circumstances. 

Instead of pushing oneself towards exhaustion, Enneagram 3s should prioritize self-care. They should learn to slow down, pause once in a while and start taking things easy in life.

Coping mechanisms are an individual art of combating stress. Type 3s should learn to apply the various coping mechanisms in their personal and professional life to reduce the impact of the stressors.

They can resort to the following tools of stress management.

1. Greater self-awareness

Enneagram 3 under stress could persuade themselves that the pressure they experience is due to the high aspirations of others they don’t want to let down or disappoint. However, the tension is a self-generated indicator that the typical coping methods have failed. 

The awesome thing is that your chances of conquering it will be significantly improved if you become conscious of the real problem. Your stress threshold may be significantly reduced if you realize that life is not a never-ending contest where there are always victors and losers.

2. Having an empathetic approach

You can have healthy reactions to circumstances by developing self-awareness, tolerance, and self-acceptance. Engaging your compassionate side more frequently is another tactic to alter your perspective to improve your untapped capacity for empathy. 

Your anxieties will lessen as you develop a greater concern for the welfare of your friends, lovers, children, and other family members who are in partnerships. You’ll begin to genuinely take pleasure in your loved ones’ successes and happiness, experiencing their emotions as though they were your own.

3. Making adjustments

When overwhelmed, frustrated, and helpless, it may be challenging to hold onto the hope that things will get better. You won’t be constrained by your unhealthy response if you intentionally reject your unpleasant and fearful situations. 

You’ll be able to show that you can overcome the most difficult obstacles preventing you from unwinding and developing into an integrated, self-aware Enneagram 3. 

Thinking beyond the box successfully will benefit you in a variety of ways. A miracle and a sight to behold is Enneagram 3 which is content, healthy, and well-adjusted.

4. Engage in self-love

Type 3s experience self-worth issues and strive to be a source of inspiration for others. They must take the effort to reflect and question the assumptions of others if they don’t want to lead shallow, disjointed lives. 

Because they primarily search for appreciation in their triumphs, Type 3s frequently overlook simple chances to get it. You need to take care of them, so you may become more centered and fully appreciate the world around you. You must understand that your worth is not determined by your achievements or the opinions of others.

5. Modify your outlook

When under pressure, feeling helpless and overwhelmed, it may be challenging to hold onto the hope that better times will ever arrive. You won’t be constrained by your unhealthy response if you opt to purposefully reject your uncomfortable and dreadful conditions. 

You’ll be able to show that you can overcome the most difficult obstacles preventing you from unwinding and developing into a fully integrated and self-aware Enneagram 3. 

You will benefit in many ways if you are successful in embracing a new way of thinking and being. A miracle and a sight to behold is Enneagram 3 which is content, healthy, and well-adjusted.

6. Recognizing emotional needs

You may find it difficult to speak frankly. This might lead to a lot of conflicts. It would help if you practiced being honest about your emotions. Just express your feelings to a friend or member of your immediate family. 

Your bottled-up anxieties and emotions are released when you express your most intense emotions. Pay attention to your emotional and physical requirements. The finest expression of compassion is self-care. You feel better about yourself as a result.

7. Practice meditation 

Individuals learn to recognize distressing ideas, sensations, or feelings that arise during mindfulness meditation, let them pass by, and then come back to focusing on the breath. There is growing proof of the advantages of mindfulness meditation. 

Numerous studies indicate that meditation might enhance immune function, and cardiac and mental health, as well as reduce stress in people who are particularly vulnerable to stress.


To Sum Up 

Achievers are drawn to the world’s influencers and leaders. They model themselves after other successful people and establish objectives, are goal-oriented, and love to methodically track their progress in all facets of their lives. 

They regularly need to unwind or go to automatic mode to refuel because they push themselves so hard out of fear of failure. 

Types 3s gauge the value of their accomplishments using societal norms and expectations. Their commitment is typically motivated by a need for approval and admiration from other people. They could exaggerate or lie about their accomplishments while talking to other people to feel proud of themselves.