It happened. The moment you've feared has arrived and your relationship just ended. Your heart has relocated to the pit of your stomach and now all that's left to do is to pick up the emotional pieces. How do you even face it, though, and get through the pain of a broken heart? Well, depending on how your Enneagram type copes with heartbreak, your healing process might look very different than how you've seen others get over breakups in the past.
If you're new to Enneagrams, it’s a system that breaks down nine interconnected personality types based on things like what people are motivated by, what they fear most, and how they prioritize things in life. They can offer a lot of insight and understanding of what drives you, but also how you deal with problems as they arise. How you cope with heartbreak is going to be impacted by the way you perceive and internalize your emotions, but also what kinds of activities or emotional responses offer you comfort. In other words, the following ways of processing heartache are likely to sound very familiar depending on your Enneagram type.
Type 1: The Perfectionist
Heartbreak's especially difficult to process for Type One because it can represent a failure in their eyes. They strive to be the best in all things and see the world as very black-and-white, right or wrong. As a result, they can struggle to understand the nuances of why a relationship simply wasn't the right fit. It either worked or failed, and the latter's not acceptable to them. Rather than dwelling on sadness, Type One's more likely to get angry and resentful, or to avoid their feelings entirely. Neither's an especially efficient way to heal a broken heart.
Type 2: The Helper
Type Two pride themselves on being able to be there and care for others, sometimes to the point of neglecting their own emotional needs. They fear they're unworthy of being loved, so they work overtime to make sure everyone in their life sees their value through their acts of service. Two tends to see a breakup as confirmation that they're not good enough or didn’t try hard enough, rather than just the natural end of a relationship. That can be challenging to get over for this sensitive type. To deal with these feelings, Two throws themselves into projects and activities where they can attend to the needs of others.
Type 3: The Performer
Type Three is very driven and goal-oriented. What they do and how much they succeed is everything to them. For an Enneagram type who puts so much value on achievement, heartbreak equates to failure. It hits on their greatest fear of somehow being worthless (which, by the way, couldn't be further from the truth). It's no surprise, then, that when Three's heart is hurting, they turn to what always makes them feel the best: setting goals they can achieve — or, better yet, exceed. This reinforces their self-image and helps them move on.
Type 4: The Romantic
Type Four is a creative. They're in tune with their emotions and love to express themselves through the arts. They also tend toward the melancholy, so a broken heart can hit them especially hard. At first, their instinct may be to wallow and feel all of their feelings, but, eventually, Four will take all that emotion and pain and turn it into something beautiful through whatever medium they prefer for self-expression.
Type 5: The Observer
Five thrives in their intellectual pursuits. They tend to have a few hobbies or topics of interest that they put all their energy into exploring. They're typically introverted and can be a bit reluctant to let people into their inner circle. As a result, a broken heart can lead to them feeling like they've wasted their time. To deal with the pain and frustration, they go back to what they love most: learning more about the subjects that fascinate them. They preferably do this in isolation, as they're also fairly adept at shutting down their emotions — at least for a while.
Type 6: The Loyal Skeptic
Six can be a tough nut to crack, as they're slow to open up to new people. They have a natural suspicion, driven from a desire to protect themselves and the people they care about. They're very cautious and a bit anxious, mostly because they don't feel comfortable with change and are constantly on the lookout for threats to their community. They tend to be a bit pessimistic as well, so they aren’t shocked when a relationship ends. That doesn’t stop it from hurting this sensitive personality type. As for how they cope, they turn to their community for support and channel their energy into projects and good works that benefit the people they care for.
Type 7: The Epicure
While no one's immune to heartbreak, Type Seven tends to be the least affected by it. That's because this type has a natural optimism and is likely to subscribe to the belief that everything happens for a reason. They don't take things too seriously and it's rare for them to get overly attached to people. If things don't work out, they can rationalize and intellectual why it wasn’t meant to be, and that allows them to avoid most of the pain of heartbreak. Then they move on to whatever catches their attention next.
Type 8: The Protector
Eight's a bold type who's comfortable taking leadership roles and confident they know how to handle any situation. When a relationship doesn’t work out and Eight’s heart gets broken, it's shocking and confusing to them. Because of this, they process the situation through a lens of fairness and justice. If they see it as a just breakup, they process it by taking pride in being strong while weathering the grieving process. However, if they feel like it was unjust, like someone cheating, Eight's darker and more vengeful attitude can arise.
Type 9: The Mediator
Nine is the peacemaker type and avoids conflict whenever possible. They also struggle to make decisions, so their breakups often go on much longer than they should. In part, this comes from their deep desire to find common ground and see things from everyone else's perspective. When they can’t bridge that gap, it's very hard to swallow. To deal with the pain and disappointment, Nine tends to retreat to creature comforts, whether that’s crawling into the bed with a pint of ice cream or spending a weekend marathoning The Office — again. They just need to check out for a bit and let time heal their emotional wounds.
Breakups are hard for everyone; the key is to just take it easy on yourself and do whatever you need to get through the pain, because you will. You got this.