The Heart Triad-Types Two, Three, and Four
Two, Three, and Four make up the heart center triad. The emotion that fuels their drives is grief. Other Enneagram authors also refer to this triad as the “image” triad, due to these three types’ concern with how others perceive them. Grief or sadness ensues when each feels he or she has substituted an image as full or partial replacement for the Self.
Emotion: Grief externalized
Energy: Aggressive affection
Point Two is the externalized version of grief. The Giver feels others’ feelings, empathizes with their pain, and works to meet their needs and heal them. A Two has an image of himself as the Giver and caretaker, the one without needs who can intuit and meet the needs of others. The charge of the emotional battery is externalized to others by the Two, so they don’t need to feel their own potential neediness. Of course the downside of this occurs when the Two’s battery is discharged until it is empty.
The drive for Two is pride. The Two tells a story of feeling energy coming out from the middle of the chest to another with whom they desire connection. They divine through their emotional center what the significant person needs. Unfortunately, because their life force is externalized and probing others, they are out of touch with themselves. Their pride shows itself in that they believe they know not only another’s needs, but also how to meet those needs. Another aspect of pride is reflected in the Giver’s belief that they have no needs of their own.
Those of us who attract the Two’s focused attention feel the intensity of being the center of the Two’s universe. Our intrinsic value is verified by the Two. The energy feels like a warm, aggressive force field coming from the Giver’s heart toward us, enfolding us. This can feel either wonderful or intrusive.
When a Two is overwhelmed or frenetically giving, they can fall victim to a swirling chaos of emotions or hysteria. Although this energy is like an emotional tornado, it is important for us to stay present and solid when hysteria erupts. Givers already fear we will abandon them – if we stay steady, offer focused clarity, and do not leave the room, the Two will profoundly appreciate this. And we will avoid getting caught up in the maelstrom of hysteria.
Emotion: Grief forgotten
Energy: Charismatic connection
Three is the member of the heart triad who simply has forgotten his or her grief. Performer Threes are busy, optimistic people. They set aside the emotional charge of their grief while channeling enormous amounts of energy into doing and presenting a successful image to others. The Three then appears very driven—a workaholic.
They are prodigious producers. Grief is an emptiness that Threes learn to avoid by juggling multiple tasks and projects, or adjusting their image to be seen as successful.
The Performers’ habit of deceit is mainly self-deceit, in that they deceive themselves into believing they are the image they project. “I am what I do” or “I am my image” displaces authentic desires and preoccupations. Threes trick themselves into believing they are whatever will gain them success or approval in others’ eyes.
On a deeper level, Performers believe there is no authentic Self underneath the image, so they’d better keep dazzling you with their successful performance. Otherwise you could see there is nothing but smoke and mirrors covering an empty hole.
Swirling like smoke and brilliant like mirrors, the Performer Three’s energy is captivating. It is moving and shaking, inspiring energy. We listen with bated breath—suspending our own disbelief—when Three comes toward us from the heart, simultaneously divining and making the subtle image shifts that will gain our love. A Five described a famous Three politician: “I saw him speak and I was so uplifted and inspired, I would have followed him anywhere. Later, I tried to recall what he said and I couldn’t come up with a single concrete position.
And I consider myself a critical thinker.”
Emotion: Grief internalized
Energy: Dramatic pull
Four represents the internalized version of grief in the Heart triad. Romantic Fours tell a tale of loss and longing for a pivotal missing piece that is central to their feeling whole and complete. Rather than externalize grief like the Twos (others need help, I don’t), Fours internalize and focus on their sadness. In fact, the Four may amplify or intensify the sadness in order to explore it more deeply.
An image that reveals the Romantic’s uniqueness or defectiveness in others’ eyes, serves to enhance and continue the feeling of loss that no one else can understand. The emotional charge of grief is found in the Four’s rich inner life of bittersweet longing.
Envy grows out of this grief and becomes the Four’s drive. Not only is the Four missing some elemental piece that would make life complete, but it is clear others have it. The Four longs for the completeness, the love, others have. If Romantics fixate attention on a person (or job, place, whatever) they feel will complete them, they feel the tug of their heartstrings toward the desired.
The rest of the Enneagram points feel the Four’s heart as if it were pulling at them. Romantic Fours do not want to leave their rich inner world, but rather to bring the other to them, to join and make them finally complete. Energetically, there can be a magnetic pull toward the Four’s depth. Even their energy seems special, somehow different. The difference pulls seductively.
As the object of the Four’s desire comes closer to being realized, the Four may find flaws and push it away. So energy can pull—and then push away. As the desired person or object recedes into the distance, it may become desired again, and the Four pulls it back toward him or her. It may be confusing to the desired person to experience this push- pull energetic.
The Romantic wishes to be met emotionally. Remember your own boundaries and cultivate clarity when you meet a Four’s intensity. This will make it possible to honor the realm in which they live, without feeling pulled into a vortex of emotion. Listen and stay present with the Four, work on understanding rather than helping or changing them. Constancy and steadiness will help you deal with the push-pull energy.
Lynette Sheppard has taught the Enneagram for over 25 years. She is the author of “The Everyday Enneagram” and moderates the popular Everyday Enneagram Blog.