Enneagram Type 3 Achievers/Motivators are typically energetic, optimistic, self-assured and goal-oriented. Enneagram Type 4 is called the Individualist, the Artist, and the Romantic because of their focus on individuality, authenticity, and full expression of their emotions. Here we explore the compatibility of an Enneagram Type 3 with a Type 4 and what the relationship looks like when it is in balance and when it starts to spiral downward.
Enneagram Type 3:4 When In Balance
The Achiever (3) and Individualist (4) approach the world from different directions, the Achiever (3) seeking their identity from the outside in, and the Individualist (4) seeking their identify from the inside out. When in higher states of awareness, these fundamental differences can be balancing, intriguing and can offer growth opportunities for one another.
The Achiever (3) models confidence, polish, goal-setting, discipline and a practical focus on achievement. They value efficiency and organization and show the Individualist (4) how to march on in the face of their ever-changing emotional world. Achiever (3)s help the Individualist (4) stay present and grounded in the practical world. More emotionally contained than their Individualist (4) partner, they use achievement as their guideposts of how to behave and where to put their energy. All of these traits can be helpful and balancing for their Individualist (4) who see the world from a very different lens.
Individualist (4)s are well-versed in the language of feelings and place a much higher value on the emotional world. They value authenticity, creative expression and originality. They seek to be understood more than they seek approval. They help their Achiever (3) partner pinpoint and discuss their feelings and emotional responses. They can help their partner cultivate empathy, compassion and open-heartedness. The Individualist (4) offers the Achiever (3) a safe container to explore hurts, wounds and past failures, and the Achiever (3) generally feels held and supported as they move this previously uncharted emotional
When self-aware and accepting of their very different ways of relating to the world, this can be a pair who really feel they complete each other and keep each other in balance. When their differences are understood and respected, this has the potential to be a long lasting and symbiotic match.
Enneagram Type 3:4 The Downward Spiral
Because both types approach the world from such different angles, it can be easy for needs to go unmet and for both to feel misunderstood. Both share a sensitive issue of shame, and both can have a fragile sense of themselves. With tightening defenses, Achiever (3)s cut off from their emotions, and Individualist (4)s sink more deeply into their emotions. These reactions can trigger the downward spiral in one another.
Achiever (3)s may grow weary of the Individualist (4)’s focus on their own deficiencies and perceived shortcomings. Achiever (3)s want to focus on practical matters, the positive and the image of success. The low self-esteem of the Individualist (4) can be wearing on the Achiever (3). The more the Individualist (4) laments, the more the Achiever (3) turns their attention away from the Individualist (4).
Feeling unseen, unheard or misunderstood is a huge trigger for the Individualist (4) who responds by either withdrawing or getting angry. Like salt on an open wound, having feelings go unacknowledged can prompt an immediate and intense response in the Individualist (4). These reactions can be mystifying to the less emotionally driven Achiever (3). Both partners start to polarize. The Individualist (4) may vacillate between needing more time alone to process their feelings and wanting more of their Achiever (3)’s attention. The Achiever (3) start to see their Individualist (4) as needy, dramatic and emotionally draining and unstable.
As the downward spiral gains momentum, both partners become a source of irritation to each other. The respect and admiration they both shared evaporates and is replaced by disgust and disdain that is potentially undermining. The relationship may end, leaving both partners bitterly disappointed.
Learn more about the Enneagram Compatibility of Type 3s in relationships with Type 4s
Enneagram knowledge can be transformative in improving your relationships and an important tool in cultivating compassion, both towards yourself and others. In my book, “The Nine Keys: A Guide Book to Unlock Your Relationships Using Kundalini Yoga and the Enneagram” I explore intimate relationships through the lens of the Enneagram.
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