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We think I’m a 7 ... definitely sx variant. I always want my 3 mom to just be real, be herself and know she is loved in that real mess and honesty. My whole life this has not really worked and sometimes she feels very threatened. So especially if she is triggered and acting badly, hurting me, and I come and say something like “Well, it makes sense what you’re feeling x because of y and I feel hurt too because of z but we love each other, just need to understand where we both are hurt.”

I think this approach is so kind and is the way I’d like to be approached. If she ever approached me like this, I would feel so relieved. To my mom this approach is a threat. She will say something like “You just keep hitting me and hitting me. You’re attacking me! Get out of here! You’re not an angel! So many people say you’re hard to work with.” Or whatever it is. I’ve always felt like I am trying to help a fox out of a trap and they are snarling at me and scratching and biting and if it’s too much I might have to back away.

I have learned that my approach is not seen as kind. This last time with this, it got so bad that things have not really recovered since. First of all instead of agreeing that no matter what we do love each other and that we can work through it, she didn’t agree with that and hurtled insults. She apologized the next day, but she didn’t send me a birthday present and she always sends me a birthday present. She then felt bad and sent me one late.

I just want her to not feel so threatened and I know we all can trigger people’s fears even if we have no intension of it. I know that somehow my love for her in her worst moments are somehow maybe the worst thing it seems like.... I could tell she thought I was an absolute monster. I don’t think her fear here was made up to hurt me. It was like the fox caught in the trap, thinking I was going to kill her.

Can anyone relate and help me out on this? My mom is 76 and I’m 44... I want this to heal. I dearly love my mom. She is an amazing person, but there is something very wrong about how all of this goes down.
You have to realize that 3 is one of the more competitive types. They see achievement as worthy of love. You can't approach them the way you would want them to approach you, that's obviously sending all the wrong signals to her.

Type 3’s in the Assertive Group
Enneagram type 3’s move against people by being aggressive in their goals in hopes of earning attention.

Type 7’s in the Assertive Group
Enneagram type 7’s move against people by being aggressive in satisfying their desires in hopes of earning security.

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THE ENNEAGRAM TYPE 3S CORE FEAR

My mindset was “I have to be successful in everything I do.” So that meant if I had to cheat in school to get good grades, I would do it. If I had to work extra hard at sports to be the best, I would do it. I was a slave to success.

Which makes sense, since the Enneagram 3’s core fear is being seen as unsuccessful.

But what makes things so messy for Enneagram Type 3s is what they define as success.

Success to me in my childhood was sports, being popular and pretty, getting attention - that was my goal. But to someone else, success could look the complete opposite.

As an adult, this is something I have to be aware of daily and have to fight because it can be toxic in relationships. So, here are a few different patterns or characteristics you might see in an unhealthy Enneagram Type 3, or in yourself if you’re a Type 3 like I am:

CHARACTERISTICS OF AN UNHEALTHY ENNEAGRAM TYPE 3S
  • They don’t take feedback well
  • They become defensive
  • They brag about accomplishments
  • They love talking about themselves
  • They fully believe their worth is based on success (not just within their career)
  • They can easily numb out when their ambitions and goals become too much for you and they’re so afraid of the failure that could happen
  • They can be workaholics and struggle to shut down and take time to rest
  • They will only do what they’re good at so they can keep up the appearance of success
  • They can build up resentment toward people who don’t keep the same pace they do
This is a lot of heavy negatives - but when we recognize them, this is when we can experience growth and create a game plan.


5 Things That Can Help with the Enneagram Three’s Struggles:
  • Take a moment to consider the goals you are pursuing. Are you pursuing them because you actually want them, or because you’re competing or comparing? What would you want if there were no rewards and people loved you for yourself?
  • Find a trusted confidante that you can share something vulnerable about yourself with. Focus on how you’re feeling as you do so. Are you anxious? Do you feel good? Sick? Wary? Look for someone who also tends to be honest about their scruples and mistakes. This can help you see that you can experience love for your true self, not just your achievements.
  • Take time to be creative for you! Paint, learn a new instrument, draw, re-decorate your room! Make sure what you’re doing has nothing to do with your work or gaining any kind of outside approval.
  • Learn to be part of a team. Volunteer at a soup kitchen, participate at an animal shelter, read to elderly people in nursing homes. Doing these kinds of tasks can give you a sense of self-worth and community that can’t be gained by status-seeking.
  • Take time to meditate, pray, or tune into your body. Really relax and breathe deeply. This may take time to become comfortable with! The more you do this, the more you’ll become in tune with your physical needs and your “lost self” that needs to be found

 

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Discussion Starter #22
lol, sorry, this got a bit more long-winded than I anticipated. Anyway, I hope it provides more food for thought.

This is just me saying, it can be difficult to tell them apart. I had a friend I was sure was a Sx 3, too.
She also partook in huge projects, was active and doing stuff constantly.
But upon closer discussion, the reasons vary. I.e. same results, different reasons.

I as a 3 want respect, recognition and praise something along those lines. That's why we "perform".
While the CP 6 wants power -- because people won't dare touch you or hurt you if you're powerful, right?
It's also a very much more hierarchical kind of thinking from the CP 6. Since titles demand a certain level of respect, according to them, it seems. I'm more blind to that, or perhaps one could say, more flexible? lol

But that's how a CP 6 that disintegrates to 3, I saw the aforementioned friend walk that path last year. Yuck.
My disintegration to 9 is a whole lot more about depression, doing nothing, wasting time, sulking/wallowing in my feelings. In other words, we don't tend to become reactive. Even if unhealthy. (unless their image is threatened)
The CP 6 will always be reactive first, how others perceive them (image) comes secondary -- it's not their core.
And they'll be more prone to "repairing" relationships afterwards, since they react first. Think later.
3s are opposite there. Which is why I'm leaning towards CP 6.

Also, about you not having an image. I usually do not care about that.
Though I have seen some failed 3s (or 3s that perceived themselves to have failed, unhealthy) try pushing their own goals/aspirations on their children.
Though honestly that's not the vibe I'm getting.
That tends to be more positive affirmation; especially when they succeed in what the parents want.

I will say, my grandmother is a 7.
And that can be quite grating, in terms of unreliability and the sometimes chaotic tendencies of the 7.
i.e. making promises and then....nothing, or refusing to uphold said promises later. Backing out last minute.
But it's usually not enough to warrant what your mother seems to put you through.



Though this might be my ENTJ way, but you might be better off asking "What could I do better?"
IME 3s prefer to go to the cause of emotion, as in: If I bump my toe everyday in the table on the way out.
I move the table, I don't necessarily talk about my pain. No bumpy bump toe, no pain.

Just a short in the dark, but maybe understanding her love languages may help?
I'm sure it's applicable to some (limited?) extent. It sounds like your way of doing things -- and possibly in how to make you feel loved -- might vary. This could add to any frustration.
She doesn’t seem like a 6 to me, she doesn’t seem to have 6 fears in my opinion. There’s a much bigger chance that I’m not a 7 than that she’s not a 3, I would guess. We’ve actually had— like multiple people including my therapist— have had a tough time figuring out my enneagram. I’m starting to lean towards 1 actually.

Her love language is acts of service, and then maybe some gifts, the others are pretty far behind. This is for sure not my love language and I had to learn that it could be a healthy love language from my husband because it’s a form of abuse/marryrdom with my mom. It’s a problem. She feels like she HAS to be doing stuff for people or they won’t think she is doing everything. It’s her image that she does everything. So I usually use gifts to give back to her since she likes that and she lets you. She won’t let you do acts of service for her, it triggers her image stuff. I hope that makes sense.
 

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If you keep trying to help or fix her, you're pushing her E3 buttons relative to the deepest fear in an E3, and that's being thought of as incompetent. This might explain her 'cornered animal' response.
 

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Discussion Starter #24
If you keep trying to help or fix her, you're pushing her E3 buttons relative to the deepest fear in an E3, and that's being thought of as incompetent. This might explain her 'cornered animal' response.
Okay... this is really good. Thank you! What is your recommendation for standing up for myself? Is there any way to set boundaries while still keeping the relationship? I don’t actually think that there is a way to ever talk to her about all the things she does to hurt me— it’s mostly competitive stuff like trying to backstab me to my sisters and relatives. I didn’t realize all that was about competition until my therapist pointed it out. Honestly most of my life I thought something must be horribly wrong with me. I think I’m feeling compelled to discuss that because obviously people so far in this thread are not realizing what the behaviors Im describing can do to a child. I didn’t know you could feel competitive with your child, but so it is. Anyway, I don’t think there is a good way to talk to her about that or stand up for myself about that.

I’m not sure in what ways I can calm her fears.

With my 9 husband I had to encourage him to get mad at me and then validate his anger. It took a lot of work to find out what would help. That helped. It wasn’t easy on me, but it helped.

With my mom when she’s getting so scared of someone who is desperate to help her... that’s hard. I am a truth teller and someone who sees and accepts the truth.. I feel like all the image stuff is what’s hurting her. Why does she need to think she’s perfect? Can’t she just let me love her how she is and give grace to the pain inside her? I’m probably wrong about all of that, about what that image does for her. I guess she feels it protects her. To me it’s all fake. What do you think I should do? I really just want to share my love and acceptance with her. Whatever I’m doing is not working and probably for why you said. I am coming from a place that can see her hurt and all the reality— the messy parts of her— and that’s not a place she wants anyone to be in probably. It’s such a painful thing, though...

The following is for anyone who is having a hard time wrapping their brain around the reason 3 and all other E types can think they are being healthy and they aren’t.

I mean here is the following between my sister and I a few years ago:

Sister: “I will always be mad at dad for not taking mom to a mental health facility.”
Me: “ Dad did the beat he could. Mom wasn’t going to go.”
“Sister: “He should have picked her up and taken her there! She was in agony!”
Me:”She doesn’t believe in psychology. She wouldn't go and that’s not how that works. You have to let yourself be admitted.”

My mom was threatening to commit suicide when I was 16. I did everything I could to build her up in any way I could. I did this while she was doing everything she could to pull me down and blame her misery on me and my siblings and father.

If I sound removed from any of this— I’m not. She is my mother. But I put myself into therapy in college and have gone ever since. I knew the way I’d been raised was messing me up. So I’ve had years of work on myself. At this point the only thing that I still refuse to give up is this dream of me being able to have a closer relationship with her.
 
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Okay... this is really good. Thank you! What is your recommendation for standing up for myself? Is there any way to set boundaries while still keeping the relationship? I don’t actually think that there is a way to ever talk to her about all the things she does to hurt me— it’s mostly competitive stuff like trying to backstab me to my sisters and relatives. I didn’t realize all that was about competition until my therapist pointed it out. Honestly most of my life I thought something must be horribly wrong with me. I think I’m feeling compelled to discuss that because obviously people so far in this thread are not realizing what the behaviors Im describing can do to a child. I didn’t know you could feel competitive with your child, but so it is. Anyway, I don’t think there is a good way to talk to her about that or stand up for myself about that.

I’m not sure in what ways I can calm her fears.

With my 9 husband I had to encourage him to get mad at me and then validate his anger. It took a lot of work to find out what would help. That helped. It wasn’t easy on me, but it helped.

With my mom when she’s getting so scared of someone who is desperate to help her... that’s hard. I am a truth teller and someone who sees and accepts the truth.. I feel like all the image stuff is what’s hurting her. Why does she need to think she’s perfect? Can’t she just let me love her how she is and give grace to the pain inside her? I’m probably wrong about all of that, about what that image does for her. I guess she feels it protects her. To me it’s all fake. What do you think I should do? I really just want to share my love and acceptance with her. Whatever I’m doing is not working and probably for why you said. I am coming from a place that can see her hurt and all the reality— the messy parts of her— and that’s not a place she wants anyone to be in probably. It’s such a painful thing, though...

The following is for anyone who is having a hard time wrapping their brain around the reason 3 and all other E types can think they are being healthy and they aren’t.

I mean here is the following between my sister and I a few years ago:

Sister: “I will always be mad at dad for not taking mom to a mental health facility.”
Me: “ Dad did the beat he could. Mom wasn’t going to go.”
“Sister: “He should have picked her up and taken her there! She was in agony!”
Me:”She doesn’t believe in psychology. She wouldn't go and that’s not how that works. You have to let yourself be admitted.”

My mom was threatening to commit suicide when I was 16. I did everything I could to build her up in any way I could. I did this while she was doing everything she could to pull me down and blame her misery on me and my siblings and father.

If I sound removed from any of this— I’m not. She is my mother. But I put myself into therapy in college and have gone ever since. I knew the way I’d been raised was messing me up. So I’ve had years of work on myself. At this point the only thing that I still refuse to give up is this dream of me being able to have a closer relationship with her.
You can't help someone who doesn't want to be helped. And for sure, rooting around in her mind isn't going to do it. Instead, if you genuinely want to have a relationship with her, just tell her that you love her and if she needs anything, to let you know and you'll be there in a heartbeat. Then let her live her life as she sees fit since people who can cope in daily life, whether they have mental health problems or not, are legally entitled to do so.

You'll never get her to face her past or to acknowledge your pain from it. Her aggressive response is telling you this. If you can accept this and move on, a relationship is possible. I personally wouldn't bother with a relationship but it's your life so you have to live it as you see fit.
 

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If I sound removed from any of this— I’m not. She is my mother. But I put myself into therapy in college and have gone ever since. I knew the way I’d been raised was messing me up. So I’ve had years of work on myself. At this point the only thing that I still refuse to give up is this dream of me being able to have a closer relationship with her.
typical rational response: get out of the situation, scapegoat/lost child.

standard caregiver response on the verge of burnout: but I wuuuuv them or at least want to prove my values are worth something by desperately clinging to the hope we can resolve past issues, so I'll continue to fight for this relationship because I won't abandon family, this cycle has to break... uhh, why am I getting pulled down by the undertow??

when dealing with such people, one sacrifices something in exchange.

I have a similar situation. though it extends to siblings, too. the few I'm not already estranged from. decades of investment and nothing really changes. they're not capable of that kind of growth. they thrive on catastrophizing and feeding off each of their neurotic energy. I try to keep them afloat, stable but the cost of it was to allowed myself to become isolated in the process. . . there is nothing I do that is good enough or exceeds their expectations, because if it does, then apparently, I'm only doing it to make them feel bad about themselves, guilty or whatever.

but that is the cost of staying in contact.

 

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She doesn’t seem like a 6 to me, she doesn’t seem to have 6 fears in my opinion. There’s a much bigger chance that I’m not a 7 than that she’s not a 3, I would guess. We’ve actually had— like multiple people including my therapist— have had a tough time figuring out my enneagram. I’m starting to lean towards 1 actually.

Her love language is acts of service, and then maybe some gifts, the others are pretty far behind. This is for sure not my love language and I had to learn that it could be a healthy love language from my husband because it’s a form of abuse/marryrdom with my mom. It’s a problem. She feels like she HAS to be doing stuff for people or they won’t think she is doing everything. It’s her image that she does everything. So I usually use gifts to give back to her since she likes that and she lets you. She won’t let you do acts of service for her, it triggers her image stuff. I hope that makes sense.
That's fair. I won't try swaying you further.

Hah, enneagram's difficult. It took me a few tries, too. I believe I first went for 5w6 rather than 3w4.
My tip would be to look into disintegration patterns and see what lines up best for you when you're unhealthy.
I'd honestly be surprised if you were a 1, btw. I have an adopted brother who's a one.
If I had to guess, just from the top of my head, you're either a 4,6,7 or 9.

She sounds like a handful. I'm glad to hear your husband's been able to help by offering perspective.
In what way is it abuse with your mom, when she gives gifts or acts of service?
How does she react if you do acts of service to her? What's her emotional response then?
Does it seem kinda....desperate?
 
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Discussion Starter #28
You can't help someone who doesn't want to be helped. And for sure, rooting around in her mind isn't going to do it. Instead, if you genuinely want to have a relationship with her, just tell her that you love her and if she needs anything, to let you know and you'll be there in a heartbeat. Then let her live her life as she sees fit since people who can cope in daily life, whether they have mental health problems or not, are legally entitled to do so.

You'll never get her to face her past or to acknowledge your pain from it. Her aggressive response is telling you this. If you can accept this and move on, a relationship is possible. I personally wouldn't bother with a relationship but it's your life so you have to live it as you see fit.
I know she couldn’t tolerate looking at past pain she has caused.

I wrote out in story form what she probably feels and although it’s different than how I am, it helped me figure out what is probably accepted or not accepted by her better.
 
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Discussion Starter #30 (Edited)
That's fair. I won't try swaying you further.

Hah, enneagram's difficult. It took me a few tries, too. I believe I first went for 5w6 rather than 3w4.
My tip would be to look into disintegration patterns and see what lines up best for you when you're unhealthy.
I'd honestly be surprised if you were a 1, btw. I have an adopted brother who's a one.
If I had to guess, just from the top of my head, you're either a 4,6,7 or 9.

She sounds like a handful. I'm glad to hear your husband's been able to help by offering perspective.
In what way is it abuse with your mom, when she gives gifts or acts of service?
How does she react if you do acts of service to her? What's her emotional response then?
Does it seem kinda....desperate?
Desperate, maybe. I think the word most people in the family have used is “frantic” and the word martyr comes up a lot.

I started writing a bunch of things down about how she probably views our relationship and I started being able to answer some of my own questions. I think the biggest thing is that she probably would feel by my newer strategies of standing up for myself is 1. slowed down and 2. “What? We have to do THIS? Why not just let me off the hook already? When I’m asking her to notice how she’s treating me,


I think there’s a “but I make up for that by working so hard for you.” In there. So if people do things for her, not just me, but others... she feels like her efforts are cancelled out. She can get really angry about it. Growing up she also didn’t want to teach us how to do laundry or clean. She complains about being the only one doing things, but if you do them then she gets like—- sad? She thanks people for letting them do stuff for her. It’s pretty different. I think I just figured out why for the last 10 years I’ve been asking her to teach me some geneology expertise and she won’t. I wondered if it was because she won’t spend time with me... but I think really it’s that she gets a lot from being the only one who can do it.


Well... I called her just to tell her how much I love her. It was good... really good... but that’s kind of why I’m always wanting a relationship. I think she’s amazing and she is my mother. But yeah... I think the deeper acceptance stuff might not be what she can do. The truth-seeing part of me is the hard part.

I think I’m a 7. Most people think I’m a 2, but I would probably look at tip-top health on there is I were a 2 and I’m only at average health as a 7... so I’m probably a 7. I identify with my tri-type much more than I do one enneagram. 7-2-1. The Teacher. I am for sure sx.... (obvious in this thread as well), wanting closeness with those I love.
 
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Discussion Starter #31 (Edited)
You have to realize that 3 is one of the more competitive types.
I read over everything you sent, and found some extras. Good stuff, tanstaafl! Thank you!

This was good for other things too:
 

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Well... I called her just to tell her how much I love her. It was good... really good... but that’s kind of why I’m always wanting a relationship. I think she’s amazing and she is my mother. But yeah... I think the deeper acceptance stuff might not be what she can do. The truth-seeing part of me is the hard part.








 

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I read over everything you sent, and found some extras. Good stuff, tanstaafl!

This was good for other things too:
Happy to help.
 

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Discussion Starter #34
typical rational response: get out of the situation, scapegoat/lost child.

standard caregiver response on the verge of burnout: but I wuuuuv them or at least want to prove my values are worth something by desperately clinging to the hope we can resolve past issues, so I'll continue to fight for this relationship because I won't abandon family, this cycle has to break... uhh, why am I getting pulled down by the undertow??

when dealing with such people, one sacrifices something in exchange.

I have a similar situation. though it extends to siblings, too. the few I'm not already estranged from. decades of investment and nothing really changes. they're not capable of that kind of growth. they thrive on catastrophizing and feeding off each of their neurotic energy. I try to keep them afloat, stable but the cost of it was to allowed myself to become isolated in the process. . . there is nothing I do that is good enough or exceeds their expectations, because if it does, then apparently, I'm only doing it to make them feel bad about themselves, guilty or whatever.

but that is the cost of staying in contact.
Ahh... hugs, Rift! I’m so glad you’re around here.
 

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Discussion Starter #35
3s

Question for you that hopefully might help me a lot if I can get to the bottom of it.

Lets say you said some things to really hurt someone and get them away from you in the moment. Let’s say that that is your child. Let’s say that after you cool down you know you’re still their parent.

What do you want them to do?

What do you decide to do?
 
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Ahh... hugs, Rift! I’m so glad you’re around here.
maybe exploring the types as dysfunctional family roles would be helpful. it's easy to assign the mbti format to them. . . but then mbti is akin more to aspects/foundation in identity, while enneagram is more atached to processes, motivations. hence it's mutable stats, wings, tritypes. . . and generally being more difficult to determine type without external review.

but these sound rather fitting..



Find out which childhood wounds haunt each of the enneagram types. #Enneagram #Personality #Enneatype



 

The Childhood Wounds of Every Enneagram Type
The Enneagram One Child – Self-Judgment




As children, Ones felt disconnected from the protective figure in their life. This could have been the mother or the father, depending on the nature of their home. Sometimes this means that the parent they thought should be strong and protective was abusive. It could also mean that that parent was distracted, arbitrary, overly strict, or overly lenient. Sometimes, in especially religious households, the child felt that the God, or father, of their religion was a fearful being they had to work hard to “please.”


To cope with this feeling of disconnection, Ones made themselves their own judges and critics. They developed their own code of ethics and list of rules – and this code was strict and must be followed to the letter. They developed a relentless feeling of never being acceptable – that they must always try to be better. In fact, their own feelings and desires were nearly always put on the backburner in favor of toeing the line, being responsible, and improving themselves. They tried to repress their emotions, especially anger. However, this emotion typically showed up in judgmental, critical behavior. It may have appeared as the One clenching his teeth while he washed the dishes, or rigidly memorizing the ten commandments as thoughts of hellfire and doom raced through his mind.


The One” self-policed” as a child, feeling that if they punished themselves no one else would punish them or see them as a failure. They wanted to outdo the expectations of the protective figure who had in some way failed them.


Find out more about the Enneagram One here.

The Enneagram Two Child – Self-Sacrifice

Enneagram 2 child



As children, Twos felt ambivalent towards the protective figure in their homes. In some way, they felt that there was a lack of either nurturance, guidance, or structure coming from the protective figure. To deal with this, Twos created an identity that they felt would be complementary to the protective figure. They developed the underlying feeling that the only way they could earn love was through selflessness, goodness, and repression of their own needs. The Two learned not to ask for help, not to assert their own needs, and to give to others more than they gave to themselves. In their quest for worth, they often learned to stifle and repress their own desires. Their self-love became conditional upon their earning a sense of worth through taking care of others.


Twos want to feel needed by people. They want to feel liked and as if they belong. This gives them a sense of security. In a child, this could show up as The Two doing the household chores of younger siblings or taking on the responsibilities of the parents as a way to make their lives easier and also earn their family’s love and affection. Through being dutiful and nurturing, they feel they can finally earn the love that most children take for granted.


Twos become healthier and happier when they learn that they are loved for who they are, not just what they do. But it can be a long and arduous lesson for them to internalize because they are so fixated on earning love through self-sacrifice.


Learn more about the Enneagram Two here.

The Enneagram Three Child – Rejection of Core Self

Enneagram 3 child



As children, Threes felt deeply connected to the nurturing figure in their life. This could have been the mother or father, depending on the home. They learned to intuit the nurturing parent’s needs before they were expressly stated, and strived to meet those needs. They sensed that they were loved or valued for what they achieved rather than who they were. When they received a look of approval, they basked in it, and worked hard to gain that look of approval again. Unlike the Two, who tried to gain approval through being needed or nurturing, Threes gained approval by achieving goals, success, and benchmarks. They gathered tokens of achievement in hopes of being loved. These could have been actual medals or trophies or straight A’s.


Threes developed the habit of working on their ego self rather than their true self. They struggled with an underlying feeling that their true self was undeserving or worthless. In secret, they often believed that if people knew who they really were they would reject or abandon them. So they tried to look good, smile brightly, and win prizes or achievements that would distract them and others from the true self inside.

The Enneagram Four Child – Rejection of Identity

Enneagram 4 child



As children, Fours felt disconnected from both the parental figures in their lives. This could have been for extreme or mild reasons. Some Fours were abused by both their parents, while others just felt like their parents didn’t see them for who they really were. In many cases, Fours felt like their parent’s advice and comfort was very generic – as if it were meant for a child who was totally different than they were.


Because Fours felt so out of place in their own families, they tried early on to accept what made them different – to notice it and evaluate it. This was a coping mechanism that helped them deal with feelings of rejection and isolation. However, through developing this coping mechanism they often set themselves on a trajectory of feeling unusual, different, and out of touch with ordinary people. More than most things, Fours want to find their identity because they believe this will take away the feelings of melancholy and loneliness that have plagued them their whole lives.


Many Fours daydream about the possibility of meeting someone who will finally see them for who they really are. Because they felt so disconnected from their families growing up, they hope to find that connection in a friend or romantic partner. Unfortunately, many people fail to meet this idealized “other” that the Four hopes to find. However, with time and maturity, Fours learn to accept what ties them to other people rather than focusing on what makes them different. Through doing this, they are able to form longer-lasting bonds and friendships.


Find out more about Fours here.

The Enneagram Five Child – Rejection of Intimacy

Enneagram 5 child



In childhood, Fives felt ambivalent towards both their parental figures. They were never quite sure what their place was and where they belonged. Essentially, they felt like “odd ducks,” forever on the outside looking in rather than nurtured and accepted as one of the group. Sometimes there were obvious reasons for this: Parents may have been alcoholic, abusive, or played favorites. In other situations, it could have been that they just didn’t feel understood, or they picked up on clues that made them feel a particular way even if their parents didn’t intend for it to be so. But whatever the case, Fives felt like little they could do was wanted or needed by their family.


To cope with this feeling of “otherness,” Fives retreated from the outside world and from their families. They often hid away in their rooms, looking for a subject they could master or an area of expertise that would allow them to find their place in their families or in society. This area of expertise needed to be something unique to themselves. If all their siblings were learning to play the piano, for example, then they would learn to play the accordion.


There is sort of an unspoken message from Fives that says, “Don’t ask too much of me, and I won’t ask too much of you.” They resent intrusions and demands on their time. Close physical affection can feel overwhelming and bothersome to them. They feel that they need as much time as possible to themselves to devote to mastering their subjects of interest. They learn to distance themselves from their emotions and identify themselves as their thoughts. They may believe their thoughts to be good, while the outside world is bad. At average to unhealthy levels, they believe if they can avoid expectations from others they will be happier.


Find out more about Fives here.

The Enneagram Six Child – Rejection of Trust

Enneagram 6 child



In childhood, Sixes felt connected to the protective figure in their home. However, this connection wasn’t always positive. They internalized their relationship with this figure and learned to depend on them for a sense of security or guidance rather than trusting their own inner voice. If the authority figure was unjust or malevolent in some way, then the Six would internalize their anger and direct it at themselves, becoming self-destructive. If the protective figure violated their trust, they would become distrustful and rebellious of all authorities. If the protective figure failed in any way, the Six child would internalize this failure and respond In kind. Usually, this results in the Six feeling ambivalent towards authority.


Sixes crave the security of authority and the assurance of a support network, but they also distrust and doubt authorities and others (including themselves).


The Six abandons their own inner voice in an attempt to gain support from protective figures. They hope that with enough support they can finally feel secure and become independent. They feel separated from their own internal guidance, and can either become agreeable or aggressive in an effort to find their “people.” They feel plagued by a need to find the “right” course of action. But they don’t trust themselves – they usually have an “inner committee” of imagined authority figures, friends, and various mentors that they have to please before they move forward. They have imaginary dialogues with this inner committee trying to figure out how these other people would feel about it before they make a decision. Their doubt, anxiety, and tendency towards overthinking becomes a burden that they can only get rid of through growth and maturity.


Read this next: The Enneagram Six Child In-Depth

The Enneagram Seven Child – Absence of Nurturing




In childhood, Sevens felt disconnected from the nurturing figure in their home. This could have been the mother, father, or grandparent – whoever was doing the bulk of the nurturing and caretaking. For whatever reason, whether it was abuse or misunderstandings, the Seven felt that they couldn’t count on getting the nurturance they needed on a consistent, dependable level.


In order to deal with this, Sevens learned to focus on “transitional objects” or toys and activities that would feed the emptiness inside. They developed the unconscious message that they needed to nurture themselves because nobody else would do it adequately. So they would seek out distractions, activities, possibilities, and objects that would excite their senses and keep them busy. Gaining whatever they thought would make them happy became symbolic of having the nurturing that they always felt was just out of reach.


Find out more about the Enneagram Seven here.

The Enneagram Eight Child – Rejection of Childhood




In childhood, Eights felt ambivalent towards the nurturing figure in their home (often the mother, but not always). They learned that they could find their place in the family system by taking on the complementary role to the nurturing role – often a patriarchal, “strong” role. They decide to grow up quickly because they felt that by showing vulnerability or “softness” they would be hurt, rejected, or betrayed. They became little protectors and showed an exterior of toughness and invulnerability. They became the one that others turned to for strength and guidance. They felt that if they lost this role in the family that they might be rejected.


Eights deal with issues of survival and strength. They believe that they must be strong, decisive individuals who can handle anything without flinching. They become tough and aggressive and often hide their hurts, vulnerabilities, and feelings because that would be “weak.” They are often assertive and adventurous children, which results in them getting punished frequently. In order to defend their psyche from these frequent punishments, they decide to take on a “to hell with them” mindset, and an attitude of indifference and steely resolve. If they had an abusive childhood in some way, they will live in constant anticipation of rejection and betrayal. If they had a relatively nurturing childhood, they will probably take on a strong protective role. The more they felt rejected, the more they will harden their hearts and become aggressive in response.


Find out more about the Enneagram Eight here.

The Enneagram Nine Child – The Rejection of Their Voice




In childhood, Nines feel connected to both parents. This can be either good or bad. In a harmonious, supportive family setting, Nines can feel nurtured and supported and in turn nurture and support others and themselves. In a family where there was frequent conflict or turmoil, they learned to “tune out” the problems and try to numb themselves to the conflict inside.


Because Nines are almost empathically connected to both parental figures as children, they must keep those parental figures happy (or at least convince themselves they are happy). Yet because no one can completely alter the moods of everyone outside themselves, Nines cope by numbing out negative input and potentially living in denial.


You can imagine this as the child putting on headphones and playing with toys while the parents fight in another room. He imagines better times, tries to numb out his worries and fears, and distracts himself from his own feelings.


Because Nines are so connected to the people they love, they have a hard time differentiating their own feelings from those of others. Connection to their parents gives them a sense of identity rather than them forming their own unique identity. It’s as if they’ve been crowded out of their own bodies and minds. They learn to numb themselves to pain, to deny their own feelings, and to stay in the background.


As they develop and mature, Nines can learn to let go of the idea that their participation in the world is unimportant. They can connect with themselves and give voice to their feelings, even their anger, without feeling like it will cause their world to collapse.


Find out more about the Enneagram Nine here.


 

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Desperate, maybe. I think the word most people in the family have used is “frantic” and the word martyr comes up a lot.

I started writing a bunch of things down about how she probably views our relationship and I started being able to answer some of my own questions. I think the biggest thing is that she probably would feel by my newer strategies of standing up for myself is 1. slowed down and 2. “What? We have to do THIS? Why not just let me off the hook already? When I’m asking her to notice how she’s treating me,


I think there’s a “but I make up for that by working so hard for you.” In there. So if people do things for her, not just me, but others... she feels like her efforts are cancelled out. She can get really angry about it. Growing up she also didn’t want to teach us how to do laundry or clean. She complains about being the only one doing things, but if you do them then she gets like—- sad? She thanks people for letting them do stuff for her. It’s pretty different. I think I just figured out why for the last 10 years I’ve been asking her to teach me some geneology expertise and she won’t. I wondered if it was because she won’t spend time with me... but I think really it’s that she gets a lot from being the only one who can do it.


Well... I called her just to tell her how much I love her. It was good... really good... but that’s kind of why I’m always wanting a relationship. I think she’s amazing and she is my mother. But yeah... I think the deeper acceptance stuff might not be what she can do. The truth-seeing part of me is the hard part.

I think I’m a 7. Most people think I’m a 2, but I would probably look at tip-top health on there is I were a 2 and I’m only at average health as a 7... so I’m probably a 7. I identify with my tri-type much more than I do one enneagram. 7-2-1. The Teacher. I am for sure sx.... (obvious in this thread as well), wanting closeness with those I love.
Just out of curiosity, have people valued her outside of her deeds?
I'm just getting the vibe she's getting most of her sense of self-worth from helping others and doing stuff.
That certainly would explain the "always busy" tendencies. And the frantic behavior.
Since, if you do something for her then, she might feel/seem essentially worthless.
And she's probably trying to avoid that feeling. (possibly, unknowingly)

Many unhealthy 3s can become so attached to their own performance, they fear without performing there's nothing of value to anyone. (much less worth loving, potentially)

I hope that helps.
Also, with a grain of salt: I'd not only tell her, but show her you love her without her doing stuff.
Though, it might be grating, she may even try to resist it from previously learnt patterns.
That said, don't push yourself on her behalf.

3s

Question for you that hopefully might help me a lot if I can get to the bottom of it.

Lets say you said some things to really hurt someone and get them away from you in the moment. Let’s say that that is your child. Let’s say that after you cool down you know you’re still their parent.

What do you want them to do?

What do you decide to do?
No kids, so take with a grain of salt, since I'll talk more in generalities. Though it is still applicable to family.
I've broken ties with family before.

Largely depends on if I regret it or not.

Sometimes, people need a swift kick in the rear. I usually don't regret that.
Family gets no free-card. Though that usually means it was a long time in the making, and I've probably declared that to be the best course of action after months or years of pondering.
Chances are, if that's the case, you'd actually have to make changes one way or another.
Since that usually means my frustration's at an apex. I'd do nothing, in this case, until they either show a willingness to meet me half-ways (at least)...or not. What happens next? Your guess is as good as mine, lol.

If it was just a rash "in the moment" thing and I regret it. I'll sulk for a day or three, or talk to them as soon as my conscious/feelings allows. (or forces me to, lol)
You wouldn't have to do a thing. I'd come to you and apologize and make things right.

I hope that helps, if even only remotely.
 

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Just out of curiosity, have people valued her outside of her deeds?
I'm just getting the vibe she's getting most of her sense of self-worth from helping others and doing stuff.
That certainly would explain the "always busy" tendencies. And the frantic behavior.
Since, if you do something for her then, she might feel/seem essentially worthless.
And she's probably trying to avoid that feeling. (possibly, unknowingly)

Many unhealthy 3s can become so attached to their own performance, they fear without performing there's nothing of value to anyone. (much less worth loving, potentially)

I hope that helps.
Also, with a grain of salt: I'd not only tell her, but show her you love her without her doing stuff.
Though, it might be grating, she may even try to resist it from previously learnt patterns.
That said, don't push yourself on her behalf.



No kids, so take with a grain of salt, since I'll talk more in generalities. Though it is still applicable to family.
I've broken ties with family before.

Largely depends on if I regret it or not.

Sometimes, people need a swift kick in the rear. I usually don't regret that.
Family gets no free-card. Though that usually means it was a long time in the making, and I've probably declared that to be the best course of action after months or years of pondering.
Chances are, if that's the case, you'd actually have to make changes one way or another.
Since that usually means my frustration's at an apex. I'd do nothing, in this case, until they either show a willingness to meet me half-ways (at least)...or not. What happens next? Your guess is as good as mine, lol.

If it was just a rash "in the moment" thing and I regret it. I'll sulk for a day or three, or talk to them as soon as my conscious/feelings allows. (or forces me to, lol)
You wouldn't have to do a thing. I'd come to you and apologize and make things right.

I hope that helps, if even only remotely.
This is the problem. She doesn’t want to be loved apart from her achievements and maybe doesn’t think that’s possible. That is definitely what I want to give her. She can’t take it.

I think she must not realize how really harmful she can be. Her talking to me after and me forgiving her is our Mother/daughter MO, but she must not realize how damaging what she does is. She must not think it gets internalized. It does. Not just by me. I’ve lost several close friends due to her back-biting me. But she is also in a much lower level of health than most of you. So little things set her off, and she felt competitive with me even when I was a young child which was something I wasn’t even able to know could happen until my counselor pointed it out 2 years ago. It is the only explanation that makes her behavior make any sense, but I didn’t know a Mother could feel competitive with her daughter.

Anyway, okay, thank you.
 

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This is the problem. She doesn’t want to be loved apart from her achievements and maybe doesn’t think that’s possible. That is definitely what I want to give her. She can’t take it.

I think she must not realize how really harmful she can be. Her talking to me after and me forgiving her is our Mother/daughter MO, but she must not realize how damaging what she does is. She must not think it gets internalized. It does. Not just by me. I’ve lost several close friends due to her back-biting me. But she is also in a much lower level of health than most of you. So little things set her off, and she felt competitive with me even when I was a young child which was something I wasn’t even able to know could happen until my counselor pointed it out 2 years ago. It is the only explanation that makes her behavior make any sense, but I didn’t know a Mother could feel competitive with her daughter.

Anyway, okay, thank you.
Her frantic responses indicate otherwise, IMO. She wants to be loved and respected, but:
It's similar to never learning to walk, you'll be crawling all your life.
She wants to be loved for more than that, but she doesn't know how; she's still crawling.
And her crawling, while everyone else is walking, is a truly terrifying feeling for someone so outwards oriented, so competitive. (we'd rather outperform them by running, lol)

We need a certain degree of (internalized) self-confidence to be able to accept love from others. (I believe)
Your mother seems to have fully externalized it.

Also, you're right. She doesn't realize how she affects others with this BS. When she's not putting up her "mask", persona or facade. It's likely she's at the whim of her feelings. Ironic, since 3s usually suppress them.
Furthermore, if she's as unhealthy as she sounds, her feelings and fears might have a delusional aspect to them.
This is probably reflected in her getting set off by little things.

Also her emotions are mostly centered around herself. (& her fears)
From my own experience this makes it more difficult, at her level, perhaps near impossible to see how our actions affect others. Her core fears might be exposed or under threat, it sounds like.

That all said, I'm not condoning her behavior.
I feel it's despicable to put someone else through that; especially family.
Hope you'll find some peace, one way or another. Just know it's not your job to "help" her, or save her. :)
 
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