3 mistyped as a 5 due to childhood wound?

3 mistyped as a 5 due to childhood wound?

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  • 1 Post By baitedcrow

This is a discussion on 3 mistyped as a 5 due to childhood wound? within the What's my Enneagram type? forums, part of the Enneagram Personality Theory Forum category; Growing up, I acted like a pretty stereotypical Five. I grew up in a pretty volatile home with constant loud, ...

  1. #1

    3 mistyped as a 5 due to childhood wound?

    Growing up, I acted like a pretty stereotypical Five.

    I grew up in a pretty volatile home with constant loud, painful arguments and fights between my parents, and between my parents and sibling. It was too much for me to handle and I was overwhelmed, so I pretty much spent most of my time in my room to hide from it all and almost place myself out of the situation, and out of my family.

    Things pretty much only got worse as I got older, and by middle school/early high school life pretty much revolved around my older sister's issues. I was established as the least dramatic one in the family, I was smart and logical, serious, thoughtful, responsible, mature, independent, a loner, didn't talk about my feelings, kept my head down, and I just focused on school. My way of dealing with my family's problems was to isolate myself from my family and others so that I wasn't vulnerable to being hurt by them or looked weak by showing that I was in pain (or even having to acknowledge my pain existed at all).

    As I've gotten older and recently went away to college and am now finally out of the home which had caused so much pain, I've become much less withdrawn and instead have become outgoing, sociable, and assertive. I actually have become comfortable around people, I prefer spending time with others instead of being alone, and started to go towards people instead of going away. My few close friends from high school have all said that while I am still a very straight-forward, honest, and critical person, I have become much more outgoing and sensitive towards others. One friend even said that I have become more emotional, which I agree that I have on a superficial level, but am still lost when it comes to the deeper more hard to deal with feelings.

    When I first took the enneagram test a couple of years ago, I scored as a Five and related to many of its characteristics. Now, however, I am not so sure. I have taken the test many times, and nearly every time I score equally to a 3, 5, and 7, and I relate to all of them.

    The childhood wound of the 5 is highly relatable to me, and I can definitely see myself building up walls to protect myself from what I felt I couldn't handle. However, now that I have grown and matured as a person, am out of the home and my family situation has greatly improved, I can now see a lot of 3 in me, more so than the 5.

    The SP 3w4 is a nearly a spot on match for how I think I am: highly driven, feels unworthy of validation/love without success, afraid of failure or having weaknesses exposed, focused on goals, more reserved than the average stereotype of the popularity/fame-seeking 3.

    However, because of my childhood and the way I coped, coupled with my logical side, not wanting to be seen as weak or emotional, striving to become competent and knowledgable, and lack of interest in expressing true feelings or emotions, I think that it is also highly likely that I am a SO 5.

    Are there any deciding factors or vastly contrasted qualities in these two types that would help distinguish which I am?

  2. #2

    My current favorite, easily accessible descriptions for Enneagram types are the descriptions from Naranjo's Character and Neurosis (3, 5, 7) and the descriptions and articles on this site (1, 2) which borrow a lot from Naranjo, but in a more digestible way.

    The root of a type is its egoistic drives, insecurities and defense mechanisms. So focus on observing which pattern you fit best in that regard, not so much on other adjectives like "logical," etc.

    Everything else I'm going to say is derived from my own experiences talking to people who initially typed as 5 and later typed as 3 or 7. I've hung around typology communities long enough to have met a handful of each.

    1) All three of these types can dodge their feelings, but usually not in the same way or for the same reasons.

    5s typically don't want to be too overwhelmed by their own strong feelings, negative or positive. As a result they are often more likely to be equal opportunity detachers/emotional intellectualizers than other types. Detaching can become the internal counterpart to their external tendency to withdraw.

    7s worry about boredom/introspection leading to restriction or painful emotions. They rationalize and pursue external stimulation to distract themselves from or cover up unpleasant feelings. They're more likely to be sanguine/cheerful than 5s are as they don't particularly avoid good feelings even if strong. Rather the opposite, really.

    3s repress emotions selectively, in a way that's geared toward helping them achieve success or cultivate a successful image. If it's an emotion they can use as fuel/motivation, like enthusiasm, it can stay. If it gets in their way or will weigh them down, like grief or worthlessness, they don't want it. Or, if it's an emotion they believe successful people (whatever that means to them) display in spades, they want it - if displaying a certain feeling would telegraph something negative about their status, they don't want that one so much.
    (#Blessed > #Depressed)

    2) When 3s and 7s mistype as 5 it's usually for different reasons.

    3s that have internalized a template for "success" or "achievement" that necessitates developing a lot of superficially 5ish qualities, like being information sponges indifferent to the scorn of society or what have you, may mistype at 5. 3s can identify so hard with an image of success, or pursue it so forcefully, that they forget about or overwrite what's really there underneath. "5s are ideally suited to Silicon Valley and billionaire technologist is the definition of success." --> "I'm a 5, let's do this" or "5s are ideally suited to science and being a tenured professor at a high ranking research university is the definition of success" --> same.

    More intellectual, asocial, or socially anxious 7s may pursue knowledge in a way that looks very 5ish. Information-seeking can become their preferred form of distracting external stimulation or expanding their horizons. So you have to look at the underlying reason: are they doing it to avoid being bored/stuck and introspecting in a way that would lead to painful feelings? Or is it a way of withdrawing and "observing" in place of experiencing, out of a sense that just doing would deplete them? In fact base level of comfort with introspection, including the serious/dark kind, can be a pretty good way to tell a 5 from a 7.
    Last edited by baitedcrow; 07-15-2019 at 09:30 PM.

  3. #3


    Congratulations on getting out of home/surviving challenging years.

    It's 3s that imagine they might be 5s rather than the reverse:

    If this applies:
    "Basic Desire: To feel valuable and worthwhile
    Key Motivations: Want to be affirmed, to distinguish themselves from others, to have attention, to be admired, and to impress others."

    I wouldn't worry about how you were.


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