Enneagram Type 6

Type 6: The Loyal Skeptic / Devil’s Advocate

Sixes belong to the Thinking Triad. They want to be safe and secure, feel belonged, ensure things go smoothly with little or no shocks. Unsurprisingly, they function best where the rules are defined and structures and systems are set so that they can follow it closely and ensure that everyone does as well without having to confront anyone.

There can be 2 sides to the Type 6, frequently referred to as the phobic or counter-phobic Six. The phobic Six fears the worst constantly and takes precautions to try to ensure these fears are minimised. The counter-phobic Six, while still haunted by fear, chooses to fight their fear by pushing through it just so that they can convince themselves that they can deal with it although this underlying feeling never does go away. It’s inherent within the Type 6. They can sometimes resemble the tough 8s but their motivations are different.

Sixes are doubting and sceptical by nature. Their curiosity prompts them to ask a lot of questions, seek clarification that will help alleviate the doubt. But once the coast is clear, the Six feels relieved to move ahead. Their constant worry leads them to be very prepared, in fact over-prepared and this deprives them of practicing spontaneity. This can take a knock on their confidence. Their preparation does bring big advantages in the form of reliability, fluid thinking processes and contingency plans when unforeseen circumstances happen.

Early Childhood

The Type 6 child grew up having trust in their caregiver like any other child only to have that trust betrayed ,having not shown up in situations where they were supposed to. As a result, the child adapted to those situations and adopted a mindset of preparedness for the worst case scenario. The Type 6 child felt that they should be ready for unpredictability and that there are no safe places to go. They lost faith that they would receive the physical and emotional protection that a caregiver should provide. As such, they caved in to their own inner defense of doubting, second guessing, and disbelieving their own inner guidance.

Strengths

1) Type Sixes remain committed and faithful to family, friends and those whom they trust. Since the background behind Sixes are based on issues relating to trust, it remains a theme and virtue which is inherent in their lives and one which they treasure so deeply by staying true to it.

2) Sixes pride themselves as being reliable and effective team players. They don’t want anyone to be let down and hence, they do their utmost best to be supportive and hardworking sometimes to the point of sacrificing their own needs to ensure they feel trusted.

3) Paradoxcal strengths: Sixes have the ability to be a conformist and a non-conformist. The latter simply means that they must do what they fear. They can and will back up what they say with strong conviction and speak their minds but with respect. But a hidden strength (and in a way weakness as well) is this wilful fight to show bravery and not give in to fear. Almost like a fake it till you make it mentality in this context but that means some Sixes will fight it out regardless of inner fear. They confront danger bravely.

4) Observant: Even though 6s are known for throwing spanners, opening a can of worms and raining on your parade sometimes, it is with good intention. They seek to understand the inconsistencies in proposals and discussions, tighten loose ends and ensure that things are good to go. This is how they can be branded sceptical but it is for the good of everyone else if only we’d understand their intentions.

5) All these points raised can only lead to recognizing the dogged persistence a Type 6 has when they believe in giving their best for a cause that is important. If it’s care or insecurity about something, completion of a group’s task and leaving no stones unturned, rest assured, a 6 will take care of it.

Limitations

Any type becomes Unresourceful when they begin to over-do some of the thoughts and behaviours that are typical of the type.

1) Sixes are sometimes called worry-warts. They over-think about the worst possible consequences and then prepare for what could happens which stops them from sometimes just living and allowing. This lack of trust for what’s possible keep them from trusting themselves and letting go.

2) Sometimes Sixes short change themselves because of the constant worry that something is going to go wrong. As a result, they are risk averse and they avoid throwing themselves into great opportunities.

3) This then leads to a lack of confidence because making mistakes and the fear of failure stops them from even trying. The progression of this behaviour leads to lessened opportunities to fall down and pick up themselves.

4) The Type 6 can sometimes get so particular about following the rulebook that they get inflexible with themselves about bending the rules. It makes them serious, formal and law abiding and not realising that the very people who bent the rules in the past were the greatest inventors and success stories.

5) Sixes are hard on themselves and may dwell on their mistakes more than their victories. This beating up of self can thwart their attempts at recovering fast and going with the flow.

Reflections for the Type Six

1) You tend to cut short your celebrations and spend little time on relishing your achievements before you start doubting your abilities again. Learn to use these positive experiences as your anchors and focus on how you perform well.

2) Learn to differentiate between objective reality (what is actually happening) and a projection (something based on your imagination).

3) Start listening to your heart and body more especially if your mind and superego (self talk) starts to doubt peoples’ intentions. Learn to decipher the source of these doubts and compare them with what your heart feels.

4) Start learning to trust your inner authority rather than looking to someone or something outside yourself for meaning and certainty. Wisdom lives within and you have much resources already to back you up.

5) Recognize that change is a necessary strain that will build your emotional and mental muscle. Build courage to face your fears and recognize that change is and will always be a constant and it comes with making mistakes and moving on. You may not always keep up but relish in the fact that you are progressing.

6) Variety is the spice of life. Try to move out of your circles and try a different spice rather than stay in your comfort zones.

7) Have some self-time so that you are comfortable in your own skin while you stay in a state of “mindfulness”. Sixes are active in the mind but may sometimes create negative situations which do not exist. Future tripping about what will not work or how things might not work.

Self-Preservation Type Six

Known as The Family Loyalist and their Vulnerabilities / Vices is Warmth. They create safety through connections and friendships through personal warmth. This gives them a sense of protection to face danger together.

Sexual or One-to-One Type Six

Known as The Warrior and their Vulnerabilities / Vices is Strength or Beauty. They are counterphobic, appearing bold or intimidating, and overcome fear through strength, intellect, idealism, or creating beauty to create stability.

Social Type Six

Known as The Social Guardian and their Vulnerabilities / Vices is Duty. They feel it is their duty to have clear roles and rules in the group or society as well as create clear agreements with others to overcome fear.