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Discussion Starter #1
Unhealthy 3's are deceptive- that's a critical difference. And even in that case, with a less healthy 3 who is so bent on impressing people that they fall into deception, it's still not self-deception- they know exactly what their doing and why their doing it. Now, they may repress and lose touch with their feelings, but they still know that they exist- they just push them to the back for a while. It's a common myth about 3's and it kinda gets on my nerves. (me being a 3 and all. :wink:)
Repression in psychological terms means that there is an unconscious exclusion of undesirable thoughts and feelings from the mind. How do you reconcile repression to not being self-deception?

What you described however, sounds like maybe you meant compartmentalization. While one may be aware of what they are doing when they are doing this, how is it not a deception to ones self that the emotions they are compartmentalizing are not as valuable to their decisions?

Even average threes are fixated on their image and how they are perceived by others, although certainly not to the degree of an unhealthy three. When a person is fixated on their image however, they will continue to push undesirable parts of them to the side in order to present the proper image. How is this authentic?



I'll probably have more questions later...in addition to any questions that might come up from your answers. :wink:

EDIT: Another question: How on earth does a 3 mistype them self if they have not engaged in some kind of self-deception?
 

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Naturally, everyone wants to be hyper aware. Even when your negative traits are showing and acting out, you must be in control of them? Perhaps you aren't the most self-aware 3, yes, even you have negative traits.

Personally during the past few months, I've popped from being high-unhealthy to low/mid-average in health levels. Only now do I feel that I am making some headway. There have been points where I fucked some people over quite bad, and only realized I did it, after. There's no way in hell I'm going to claim I know what I am doing 24/7, it's like taking pride in being a doucher. If you realize why you are doing something, and can't stop doing it, you are quite unhealthy. How inefficient.

Also, I've been overly-zealous in my ascension to greatness that I have actually forgotten my emotions on more than one occasion. The busy mind is a forgetful mind.

The fear of flaws is at a palpable level in your original post.


When a person is fixated on their image however, they will continue to push undesirable parts of them to the side in order to present the proper image. How is this authentic?
An easy defense to this (but it would be ridiculous), would be to say: Image is so important to the 3, in a sense 3s are never authentic. Maybe the image 3s give is totally farcical, and they know it, yet they know they are authentic in the sense that it is their own will.

Of course, that defense is just cowering. I tried to answer it like an unhealthy 3. A truly authentic 3 is rare, but let us see it happen.
 

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Repression in psychological terms means that there is an unconscious exclusion of undesirable thoughts and feelings from the mind. How do you reconcile repression to not being self-deception?

What you described however, sounds like maybe you meant compartmentalization. While one may be aware of what they are doing when they are doing this, how is it not a deception to ones self that the emotions they are compartmentalizing are not as valuable to their decisions?
That depends. When a Three is Average, say level 3-5ish, it is compartmentalization- putting their feelings and desires aside to deal with later in order to get things done. At this level a Three is aware of doing this- this process is more conscious and deliberate. And they do feel those feelings at some point. I know for me I have found that postponing them can weaken them a little, take the edge off of them because some time has passed since they first came up. And I have to be in a place I feel safe to do that, maybe talking it out with someone I completely trust.

It's important to remember that Three's are in the Feeling triad- so it's not that we don't feel- it's just not as visible to others. In fact, unless you've ever been extremely close to a Three, you would probably have no idea they go thru that process because most Threes I know have only one or two people they feel close enough to... they don't like to show that weaker, vulnerable side (in their opinion anyway) to many.

Of course, as they get more unhealthy, this postponing can turn into repressing, and they can get very out of touch with their feelings to the point where they aren't fully aware of them. And that would definitely include self-deception to a very high degree.


Even average threes are fixated on their image and how they are perceived by others, although certainly not to the degree of an unhealthy three. When a person is fixated on their image however, they will continue to push undesirable parts of them to the side in order to present the proper image. How is this authentic?
It's not. Not even close to authentic. :tongue: It's something all Threes struggle with. And it's more apparent to some more than others. Some types seems to have a radar for fake-ness and see thru it quick. The ironic thing is, us Threes see thru it very quick- I can't stand being around another three that is in full "I must impress you" mode... it puts my hackles up. :angry: It's like seeing all the worst possibilities of myself embodied in front of me. But on the up side, it makes me more determined to keep myself healthy and my head on straight so I don't become that.


I'll probably have more questions later...in addition to any questions that might come up from your answers. :wink:

EDIT: Another question: How on earth does a 3 mistype them self if they have not engaged in some kind of self-deception?

They mistype the same way everyone else does- I didn't mean to say that Threes don't have any self-deception- just that they may have less than others. Also, that a Three adapting themselves by changing to fit their environment isn't neccessarily deceiving themselves as some may think. That they are more aware than it might appear. Know what I mean?

As far as mistyping, here's a couple thoughts: A Three who has become very unhealthy will eventually not be able to pull off whatever it is their trying to do, and will fail. Failure can send them into a major depression, and if they type themselves at that point, they will mistype- usually as a Four or a Nine. Also, when stressed, especially for an ongoing period of time, Threes mentally "check out" and become more like a Nine, and can score very high as a Nine then. A very strong wing can of course lead to mistype as a two or Four... I find in particular that a strong Four wing can really screw up typing. That happened to me. Some tests I took came back a Four and some a Three.

And hey- where's the candy? :laughing:
 

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Discussion Starter #4
That depends. When a Three is Average, say level 3-5ish, it is compartmentalization- putting their feelings and desires aside to deal with later in order to get things done. At this level a Three is aware of doing this- this process is more conscious and deliberate. And they do feel those feelings at some point. I know for me I have found that postponing them can weaken them a little, take the edge off of them because some time has passed since they first came up. And I have to be in a place I feel safe to do that, maybe talking it out with someone I completely trust.
The way I see the levels of health are a little different. (I would apply this to all types) At average to unhealthy levels, the individual is still ego fixated. The behaviors that fixation cause are practiced over the course of a lifetime to the point that they become like second nature. These behaviors are comparable to breathing in that you do it, without even thinking about it until it stops working. Suddenly the individual finds that they're gasping for breath with the function stops working and grasping for anything familiar that might save them. Which direction they move in is entirely up to them but the first place they reach is likely to be one they know. An average level person may see more options than the unhealthy individual but their scope is still limited by the strength of their ego. At a healthy level, they are self-aware enough to have complete control over how they react. They may choose to use a familiar approach but it is a conscious choice within a realm of options that would not have been in sight to them in a fixated state.

The cluster of issues surrounding each type will cause the individual to lie to themselves in various different ways. For a three, the core issue of three is vanity. This leads directly to a specific self-deception of emotions and perceptions of ones self. The image is not truth in that it focused on the external and cut off (to varying degrees) from the internal experience. Threes are often great at what they do because they are so adaptable to the external environment, in spite of what's really going on internally...something that comes from a lifetime of reading others so that they may promote their image of greatness.

Do you disagree with this assessment? I'd appreciate any other 3's input as well.

It's important to remember that Three's are in the Feeling triad- so it's not that we don't feel- it's just not as visible to others. In fact, unless you've ever been extremely close to a Three, you would probably have no idea they go thru that process because most Threes I know have only one or two people they feel close enough to... they don't like to show that weaker, vulnerable side (in their opinion anyway) to many.
I'd never assume that anybody was devoid of emotion...even the most stoic of individuals have feelings.

They mistype the same way everyone else does- I didn't mean to say that Threes don't have any self-deception- just that they may have less than others. Also, that a Three adapting themselves by changing to fit their environment isn't neccessarily deceiving themselves as some may think. That they are more aware than it might appear. Know what I mean?
I agree that a 3's construction of an image does not necessarily mean they're not aware of it. It's their ability to turn it "on" or "off" that indicates their level of awareness.

As far as mistyping, here's a couple thoughts: A Three who has become very unhealthy will eventually not be able to pull off whatever it is their trying to do, and will fail. Failure can send them into a major depression, and if they type themselves at that point, they will mistype- usually as a Four or a Nine. Also, when stressed, especially for an ongoing period of time, Threes mentally "check out" and become more like a Nine, and can score very high as a Nine then. A very strong wing can of course lead to mistype as a two or Four... I find in particular that a strong Four wing can really screw up typing. That happened to me. Some tests I took came back a Four and some a Three.
I've seen them mistype as 7 and 8 as well. I wonder what your take on tritype theory is and if you think it may also be related to mistyping issues.

And hey- where's the candy? :laughing:
Check your inventory. :tongue:
 

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The way I see the levels of health are a little different. (I would apply this to all types) At average to unhealthy levels, the individual is still ego fixated. The behaviors that fixation cause are practiced over the course of a lifetime to the point that they become like second nature. These behaviors are comparable to breathing in that you do it, without even thinking about it until it stops working. Suddenly the individual finds that they're gasping for breath with the function stops working and grasping for anything familiar that might save them. Which direction they move in is entirely up to them but the first place they reach is likely to be one they know. An average level person may see more options than the unhealthy individual but their scope is still limited by the strength of their ego. At a healthy level, they are self-aware enough to have complete control over how they react. They may choose to use a familiar approach but it is a conscious choice within a realm of options that would not have been in sight to them in a fixated state.
Very well put.

For a three, the core issue of three is vanity. This leads directly to a specific self-deception of emotions and perceptions of ones self. The image is not truth in that it focused on the external and cut off (to varying degrees) from the internal experience. Threes are often great at what they do because they are so adaptable to the external environment, in spite of what's really going on internally...something that comes from a lifetime of reading others so that they may promote their image of greatness.
Do you disagree with this assessment?
Yes. And no. I agree that we are adaptable, and can use it to self-promote. However, I don't think the core issue of Threes is vanity, all though they (we) can be vain. But I think that the vanity is a symptom of the their true fear which is being worthless- completely without value. This fear makes them do anything to feel accepted, and the end result can be vanity, among other things. Not all threes are neccessarily vain, depending on their environment and what those around them consider to be ideal. A Three brought up in the Amish community for instance, would be taught vanity is a sin and would do anything to not stand out from the others by their appearance.

By the way Scream, what's your Enneagram type? I'm just curious. :happy:
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Very well put.



Yes. And no. I agree that we are adaptable, and can use it to self-promote. However, I don't think the core issue of Threes is vanity, all though they (we) can be vain. But I think that the vanity is a symptom of the their true fear which is being worthless- completely without value. This fear makes them do anything to feel accepted, and the end result can be vanity, among other things. Not all threes are neccessarily vain, depending on their environment and what those around them consider to be ideal. A Three brought up in the Amish community for instance, would be taught vanity is a sin and would do anything to not stand out from the others by their appearance.
It seems to me that the counter your offering could be described as a counter shame 3. They will talk themselves down as a means to appear less vain as it is expected by others. It may also be connected to a desire to look that much better when they achieve far beyond the expectations of their audience. It doesn't really change what's going on beneath the surface however. A 3 fears being worthless but they also know they can achieve greatness. Either style of presentation that they choose to affect will accomplish the same goal, whether it be superficially or authentically. A fixation on the worth of the individual implies vanity by the very nature of what worth is. I don't see an alternative here.

By the way Scream, what's your Enneagram type? I'm just curious. :happy:
I'm a 6w5 - 9w1 - 3w4, sx/so. I hesitate a little on the ordering of the second and third fixes. I think 9w1 has been dominant over 3w4 through my life but I've done a lot of self work on overcoming my 6 and 9 issues...3 has been coming to the surface a lot more as of late.

You never said what you thought of tritype theory...I'm curious. :tongue:
 

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I get what you're saying about vanity. I think for me personally, my Four wing helps counter the vanity a lot.

Oh yeah- I forgot about the tri-type... you know, I haven't done a lot of research on it, but I'm a little skeptical about it. I mean, I guess the general idea is of having a head/heart/gut type in each person, is that right? Maybe you can tell me a little more about it. My initial thoughts are that everyone uses all centers, just that one is usally more dominant. And I think the directions of growth and stress, the lines of the Enneagram, they would explain it without having to need another theory. I mean, with yours- if you're a 6-9-3, well those are the types you are connected to- that makes sense. I wonder if the tri-type is really just re-stating that? What do you think? :confused:
 

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I get what you're saying about vanity. I think for me personally, my Four wing helps counter the vanity a lot.

Oh yeah- I forgot about the tri-type... you know, I haven't done a lot of research on it, but I'm a little skeptical about it. I mean, I guess the general idea is of having a head/heart/gut type in each person, is that right? Maybe you can tell me a little more about it. My initial thoughts are that everyone uses all centers, just that one is usally more dominant. And I think the directions of growth and stress, the lines of the Enneagram, they would explain it without having to need another theory. I mean, with yours- if you're a 6-9-3, well those are the types you are connected to- that makes sense. I wonder if the tri-type is really just re-stating that? What do you think? :confused:

I agree with your initial thoughts on the centers. My own tritype example might be a little misleading though. I know had issues with the theory at first mainly because I can elements of all three types within my personality, so it seemed to me that growth/stress would be a simpler answer. Cynical ideas about an excuse to just take in the whole spectrum played in my mind as well. In observing others however, this is not usually the case. Since I've seen in others how tritype can display types that are not connected by growth/stress points, I've come to accept the theory, although in a form different from Ichazo's initial explanation. He presented it as a complete compartmentalization of personality. While I agree that this can happen, the elements of lesser fixations in our tritype generally appear to be more merged and dampened by the core fixation.

Another theory I've come across and have generally accepted is that growth/stress points don't necessarily indicate growth and stress. As a 6, I can disintegrate like a 9, rather than grow. This has been the case for me. My lowest points in life are marked by distinctive 9 behavior as opposed to 3. Either tritype or merged growth/stress point theories could explain this.
 

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He presented it as a complete compartmentalization of personality. While I agree that this can happen, the elements of lesser fixations in our tritype generally appear to be more merged and dampened by the core fixation.
That makes sense to me too- I think all the talk of wings, directions, tri-types, etc... can distract people from the fact that we are one basic type. And that is the one that shows us our core fixations, issues and fears. All the rest is just tweaks and additonal specifics. I will have to read up on the tri-types more. It's on my (very long) reading list. :tongue: Any good references you can reccommend?
 

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That makes sense to me too- I think all the talk of wings, directions, tri-types, etc... can distract people from the fact that we are one basic type. And that is the one that shows us our core fixations, issues and fears. All the rest is just tweaks and additonal specifics. I will have to read up on the tri-types more. It's on my (very long) reading list. :tongue: Any good references you can reccommend?

I read a wide variety of books on Enneagram. None of them have done much to explain in depth how it all works. What I did was to examine the information presented in each book and began studying others to see how it all fit. Some of the theories I find to be complete bullshit. One book I read on Enneagram and it's application to parenting said that type can change in adulthood. I'm not going to argue on the validity of that idea here but I will say that I think that's complete bullshit. My best advice is to read as much as you can and start observing. Focusing too much on some of the more popular authors will likely stifle your scope too. Variety is good but my favorite authors are the ones who go deep. Riso & Hudson, Palmer...they're good primers but if you want depth to your insights branch out. You won't gain it from focusing on the easier to read stuff. I posted a list of books I like best here: http://personalitycafe.com/enneagram-personality-theory-forum/20235-enneagram-reading-list.html Although none of them are focused specifically on any of the variety of theories available. Branch out and you'll see them though.
 
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This has been a very interesting discussion. I've learnt a lot from this thread!

Repression in psychological terms means that there is an unconscious exclusion of undesirable thoughts and feelings from the mind. How do you reconcile repression to not being self-deception?

What you described however, sounds like maybe you meant compartmentalization. While one may be aware of what they are doing when they are doing this, how is it not a deception to ones self that the emotions they are compartmentalizing are not as valuable to their decisions?

Even average threes are fixated on their image and how they are perceived by others, although certainly not to the degree of an unhealthy three. When a person is fixated on their image however, they will continue to push undesirable parts of them to the side in order to present the proper image. How is this authentic?



I'll probably have more questions later...in addition to any questions that might come up from your answers. :wink:

EDIT: Another question: How on earth does a 3 mistype them self if they have not engaged in some kind of self-deception?
I wonder... do threes allow themselves to even see who they 'really are'? do they keep up their image up even to their selves? this may be more of a 4w3 thing. Or a different type of 'image' problem. But is it theoretically possible for a three (or any type in the image triad, for slightly different reasons... but mainly i'm talking about threes and types with a three wing) to get caught up in their own image? and thus decieve their selves?

I say this, because I am sure I have a three wing, and I have experienced the emotion of shame, as much as I have had a long history of being conflicted by anger. And shame for me, has lead to a lot of self confliction and deception in a way (among other things, for in my opinion, shame is a very influential underlying emotion). I'm not sure whether it's 'just ignoring' things about myself, or unconsciously self deceiving myself... but none the less, i'm often very out of touch with things that are going on in my head. And I do engage in a process of focusing on an ideal rather than the reality (probably a four thing).

Are threes even in touch with their shame? can they be deceived by their own self deception?
 

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I wonder... do threes allow themselves to even see who they 'really are'? do they keep up their image up even to their selves? this may be more of a 4w3 thing. Or a different type of 'image' problem. But is it theoretically possible for a three (or any type in the image triad, for slightly different reasons... but mainly i'm talking about threes and types with a three wing) to get caught up in their own image? and thus decieve their selves?

I say this, because I am sure I have a three wing, and I have experienced the emotion of shame, as much as I have had a long history of being conflicted by anger. And shame for me, has lead to a lot of self confliction and deception in a way (among other things, for in my opinion, shame is a very influential underlying emotion). I'm not sure whether it's 'just ignoring' things about myself, or unconsciously self deceiving myself... but none the less, i'm often very out of touch with things that are going on in my head. And I do engage in a process of focusing on an ideal rather than the reality (probably a four thing).

Are threes even in touch with their shame? can they be deceived by their own self deception?
Hi Nova- I think overall shame is more of a Four thing, not that Threes don't feel it, but it's not a ruling emotion for them. Threes issues are more with vanity, deception, and authenticity.

Yes, it's definitely possible for a Three to get caught up in their own image- that's one of the bigger issues they have- finding and holding onto their authentic selves. It's the main indicator of their level of health. A healthy Three sees the value in being themsleves and doesn't feel the need to adapt and excell for others- they still will be be achievers, but what they do is for themselves, which makes it much more worthwhile and fulfilling for them. This in turn leads to more real confidence that what they are projecting to people is really who they are inside.

When their levels of health start to spiral downward though, it produces more negative emotions. these emotions make it hard for the Three to keep up with their level of achievement- all those negative emotions start to mess you up. So they bottle them up- repressing them so that their work doesn't slack, and people don't see that something might be wrong with them. Of course, emotions don't disappear, and the longer they aren't dealt with, the worse they become. Eventually there is a huge difference between the happy, accomplished, problem-free image they project, and what's going on inside their head. But at this point- they begin to fool themselves more than others. They've repressed their feelings so much that they don't know what they heck the feel.

As it gets worse, people start to see the fakeness of that image, and begin to treat them differently. As soon as a Three picks up on that (which is quick since they are great at reading people) they go into serious overdrive to fix the "problem"- of course the only thing they know to do is to work harder, do more. As you can imagine, this is a viscious downward spiral. When it gets really bad, the Three will have to hit bottom- usually when they fail at something they've been working on. The failure leads to depression, and retreat (like an unhealthy Nine) and they detach from everything. Suddenly not caring and pulling into themselves. All though this sucks for them at the time, it's the only thing that might help them. Because their finally being still- and all that crap they've respressed comes up. If they can work through it, they just might be able to pick themselves up again. With good support around them, most Threes I've known are able to do that.
 

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EDIT: Another question: How on earth does a 3 mistype them self if they have not engaged in some kind of self-deception?
Easy: you get typed by someone who likes to make quick decisions on people's Enneagram types without actually taking the time to get to know the people they're typing, and you accept their judgment because you didn't know any better at the time!

I'm actually not calling out anyone on these forums with that reference, but it is something that happened to me IRL. The woman who introduced me to the Enneagram insisted I was a Type Five based on my reserved, analytical traits, even though I had read about and compared Types Three and Five and noticed there was a lot about Type Five that didn't fit (and nothing about Type Three that didn't fit) based on what I read. She said, "Nooooo, you're way too introverted to be a Three." And for a while, I believed her. But then I did more reading on the Enneagram, as well as posting on forums to discuss my type, and figured out that I really was a Three. Although, in this case, too, there was a deception, but it wasn't as much about anything I had done to myself or to her as much as it was her having bad experiences with people she typed as Threes and her not believing that I could be the same type as those people.

As it gets worse, people start to see the fakeness of that image, and begin to treat them differently. As soon as a Three picks up on that (which is quick since they are great at reading people) they go into serious overdrive to fix the "problem"- of course the only thing they know to do is to work harder, do more. As you can imagine, this is a viscious downward spiral.
I can definitely relate to this. I'm one of those people that always wants to "improve," and the thought of being in a situation in which I can't is very difficult. One Six I know would often accuse me of lying when I compliment her in person, which has made me wonder if I come across as a phony. I've been trying to wrap my head around how I can be less "fake" around her. But I don't know how, and that makes me feel less capable. And I'm thinking that maybe I shouldn't bother trying, because trying to change just because of one little thing is another form of deception. But it bothers me when I can't do something.

And if you happen to be reading this, I'm not calling you out. I'm just trying to get people to understand what I'm going through.
 

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I can definitely relate to this. I'm one of those people that always wants to "improve," and the thought of being in a situation in which I can't is very difficult. One Six I know would often accuse me of lying when I compliment her in person, which has made me wonder if I come across as a phony. I've been trying to wrap my head around how I can be less "fake" around her. But I don't know how, and that makes me feel less capable. And I'm thinking that maybe I shouldn't bother trying, because trying to change just because of one little thing is another form of deception. But it bothers me when I can't do something..

I've had the same problem and it also came from a Six. They are skeptics, and sometimes their own agenda gets in the way of seeing us for who we are. The two people I've had the most trouble with my entire life were unhealthy Sixes. One of them always thought I was "Miss Perfect" and "Barbie", and the other thought I had no feelings and nothing ever bothered me, like some weird robot- so irritating!:angry:

All you can do is be genuine. If you start worrying about changing yourself to fit her definition of "real" then you'll end up really being fake. So just smile and be yourself. :laughing:

By the way, I'm an INFJ, so I'm also a more introverted Three than many. :blushed:
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
I can definitely relate to this. I'm one of those people that always wants to "improve," and the thought of being in a situation in which I can't is very difficult. One Six I know would often accuse me of lying when I compliment her in person, which has made me wonder if I come across as a phony. I've been trying to wrap my head around how I can be less "fake" around her. But I don't know how, and that makes me feel less capable. And I'm thinking that maybe I shouldn't bother trying, because trying to change just because of one little thing is another form of deception. But it bothers me when I can't do something.

And if you happen to be reading this, I'm not calling you out. I'm just trying to get people to understand what I'm going through.

It doesn't sound to me like you're being phony in that situation. It sounds like the person you're complimenting doesn't believe that about herself so she doesn't believe anybody else would think so...so you must be lying. The truth of the matter is that the one who is lying is her. She's lying to herself. She is beautiful and somewhere, probably buried deep in her subconscious, she knows it. There are a lot of reasons she may be repressing this thought. Most 6's don't believe that they have any special advantage over anyone else. If you lay compliments on thick, they will think you're a liar and wonder what it is you're trying to accomplish. Used car salesmen come to mind on that one. Just know that the harder you try to stroke her ego, the more you will undermine your own good intentions in her mind. The lower her self-esteem, the more inflated that will be. I think the best route you could take is one she probably hasn't seen before. Show respect for how she feels. For example, if she says she's uncomfortable with something, don't try to push her. Don't make her explain or defend her stance...just let her "be". Trying to "talk her out" of feeling that way will do her (and you) more damage than good. Take action to remove her from whatever is making her feel uncomfortable. That's not to say you should let her lead you every which way, but if you show her that you really care about how she feels, she's a lot more likely to trust you. There's a tightrope you'll have to walk to keep the balance proper. Don't forget that because if you follow that advice in the extreme, you'll turn into her bitch and neither of you want that, I'm sure. You'd do well to look into how psychological projection works to better understand her and keep yourself from going off the deep end I'm warning you against.




Nova: You pose really good questions. I don't have the time at this moment to respond but I intend to later today.
 
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I wonder... do threes allow themselves to even see who they 'really are'? do they keep up their image up even to their selves? this may be more of a 4w3 thing. Or a different type of 'image' problem. But is it theoretically possible for a three (or any type in the image triad, for slightly different reasons... but mainly i'm talking about threes and types with a three wing) to get caught up in their own image? and thus decieve their selves?
Yes they can get caught in that image. You know, nearly the entire time I was on PerC before I came back in Feb, I was wearing my facade/false persona. I had no idea at the time what I was doing, but looking back it's obvious to me now.

Threes usually have two categories of self:

1. A real self which is hidden or even blocked usually (In average to low health levels). This is a self which is very rare to witness in full, as most 3s won't show you it, it is vulnerable. It is that person's true thoughts, feelings, motivations, and beliefs. It will not please everyone like the bullshit self tries to, it is authentic.


2. A "bullshit self", which is the image and promotion used to gain influence, attention, etc. This is what you see a lot of the time with 3s. The more unhealthy the 3, the more sinister this wall can be (I've seen em' do some fucked up shit without realizing it). At a healthier level it becomes less of a front and more of the real self coming through. It becomes a multi-functional tool that can do awesome things.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I wonder... do threes allow themselves to even see who they 'really are'?
I really think this depends on their self-awareness. There are superiority issues that can play out due to the issue of vanity. I think the more unhealthy a 3 is, the more they become disconnected from the reality of their self in the sense that they are not better than everybody else. They may be the best at whatever it is that they do but that does not mean that they're superior to all.

do they keep up their image up even to their selves? this may be more of a 4w3 thing. Or a different type of 'image' problem.
I think that in a sense, they do, for the reasons I described above. What's difficult for the 4w3 is the contrast between the two types. 4's tend to focus on the ugliness inside, they find it beautiful, it's what makes them unique. Unhealthy, they'll focus so much on their uniqueness, they reject any commonality between them and others. 3's are more geared towards convention due to their desire to fit in with others but really shine bright in their accomplishments. For a 4w3, there are a lot of smoke screens due to the conflicting desires of each type. A 4w3 will try to hide the ugliest parts from their self and others, whereas a 4w5 will revel in it. There are other smoke screens too due contradictions between the cluster of issues between the two types but hopefully that example helps.

But is it theoretically possible for a three (or any type in the image triad, for slightly different reasons... but mainly i'm talking about threes and types with a three wing) to get caught up in their own image? and thus decieve their selves?
Absolutely.

I say this, because I am sure I have a three wing, and I have experienced the emotion of shame, as much as I have had a long history of being conflicted by anger. And shame for me, has lead to a lot of self confliction and deception in a way (among other things, for in my opinion, shame is a very influential underlying emotion). I'm not sure whether it's 'just ignoring' things about myself, or unconsciously self deceiving myself... but none the less, i'm often very out of touch with things that are going on in my head. And I do engage in a process of focusing on an ideal rather than the reality (probably a four thing).
Yes, that focusing on the ideal (as opposed to a 'goal', like a 3) is a 4 thing. I think the conflict between the issues of 4 and 3 probably play a lot into being out of touch with what's going on in your mind. Focusing on the issues as they arise would probably be the best way to deal, as opposed to trying to resolve it all at once.

Are threes even in touch with their shame? can they be deceived by their own self deception?
I think they probably deny it to themselves a lot more than a 4 does. They want to be 'the best' but when they're looking for that externally, it's far too easy to miss what's going on internally.
 

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As it gets worse, people start to see the fakeness of that image, and begin to treat them differently. As soon as a Three picks up on that (which is quick since they are great at reading people) they go into serious overdrive to fix the "problem"- of course the only thing they know to do is to work harder, do more. As you can imagine, this is a viscious downward spiral. When it gets really bad, the Three will have to hit bottom- usually when they fail at something they've been working on. The failure leads to depression, and retreat (like an unhealthy Nine) and they detach from everything. Suddenly not caring and pulling into themselves. All though this sucks for them at the time, it's the only thing that might help them. Because their finally being still- and all that crap they've respressed comes up. If they can work through it, they just might be able to pick themselves up again. With good support around them, most Threes I've known are able to do that.
I could vouch that that kind of cosmic bitchslap worked. I needed two of that, after the first I simply just looked for another community to feed on. I was trying to please everyone and couldn't stop everything from falling apart. After awhile, and after some distance, I realized that it was .. a petty thing. I put too much worth to something that's really not that important; I think an unhealthy 3 could assign over-importance to something they're involved in/ their audience, just to boost their own sense of worth. This could be a community, a person, a role, a job, or any kind of involvement. This backfire when something doesn't go according to plan/ otherwise crashes.

Threes usually have two categories of self:

1. A real self which is hidden or even blocked usually (In average to low health levels). This is a self which is very rare to witness in full, as most 3s won't show you it, it is vulnerable. It is that person's true thoughts, feelings, motivations, and beliefs. It will not please everyone like the bullshit self tries to, it is authentic.


2. A "bullshit self", which is the image and promotion used to gain influence, attention, etc. This is what you see a lot of the time with 3s. The more unhealthy the 3, the more sinister this wall can be (I've seen em' do some fucked up shit without realizing it). At a healthier level it becomes less of a front and more of the real self coming through. It becomes a multi-functional tool that can do awesome things.
Very true, in my case. I showed a glimpse of the real one to someone that usually got feed on my bullshit, custom adjusted face, and I think he didn't like it. I won't do it again just to make things easier, but I'm glad to find that I don't care if he likes it or not.

I think the big difference is the control. In healthier 3s (or maybe 3w2s), they can separate between the real and the bullshit, controlled morphing if you like. They can choose because they know which one is real instead of just automatically morphing into various faces; not instantly changing yourself to please whatever you're dealing with and lose track of yourself along the way.
 

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I'm a 4w3, but I don't think I really deceive myself too much. I try to project my positive feelings to people I'm not close to, because otherwise I might look unhappy or disliking of them while the opposite is true. I try to be really self-aware, and while I have work to do on that always, but I try hard to know my positive and negative traits and share this with others. I do feel rather concerned with image, though, and feel bad when my more negative traits surface. I want to be seen as a likable person, but sometimes that *feels* like self-deceit (portraying a nice/likable person) because I can have low self-esteem.
 

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The way I see the levels of health are a little different. (I would apply this to all types) At average to unhealthy levels, the individual is still ego fixated. The behaviors that fixation cause are practiced over the course of a lifetime to the point that they become like second nature. These behaviors are comparable to breathing in that you do it, without even thinking about it until it stops working. Suddenly the individual finds that they're gasping for breath with the function stops working and grasping for anything familiar that might save them. Which direction they move in is entirely up to them but the first place they reach is likely to be one they know. An average level person may see more options than the unhealthy individual but their scope is still limited by the strength of their ego. At a healthy level, they are self-aware enough to have complete control over how they react. They may choose to use a familiar approach but it is a conscious choice within a realm of options that would not have been in sight to them in a fixated state.

The cluster of issues surrounding each type will cause the individual to lie to themselves in various different ways. For a three, the core issue of three is vanity. This leads directly to a specific self-deception of emotions and perceptions of ones self. The image is not truth in that it focused on the external and cut off (to varying degrees) from the internal experience. Threes are often great at what they do because they are so adaptable to the external environment, in spite of what's really going on internally...something that comes from a lifetime of reading others so that they may promote their image of greatness.

Do you disagree with this assessment? I'd appreciate any other 3's input as well.
i agree with this assessment.. i mean i'm a 4w3.. i get a lot of 3 influence.. i'd say america's culture resembles type 3's function..

i think i have a lot more issues with this than a 4w5 would, for instance. a lot more.


I agree that a 3's construction of an image does not necessarily mean they're not aware of it. It's their ability to turn it "on" or "off" that indicates their level of awareness.



I've seen them mistype as 7 and 8 as well. I wonder what your take on tritype theory is and if you think it may also be related to mistyping issues.
i've been posting this in quite a bit of threads.. my thoughts exactly..We get a lot more influence from our tritype and wings than people think.. you throw in your instinctual stackings, and you're at risk of having a simplified perspective of the way the enneagram works leading many astray. people got to see it in it's entirety and for it's dynamicity .
 
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