Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Exploring Personality: Part Eight -- "Give me something to believe in."

"...if you shake my hand, that's for life." -- Jerry Lewis
Enneagram types 5, 6, and 7 make up the intellectual triad of the Enneagram. These types are data based. They are information gatherers. They tend to react to situations from a more rational viewpoint, especially when compared to the emotional triad (types 2, 3, and 4). Where other types, when asked why they did something, may say, "I don't know," the intellectuals can almost always tell you exactly why they made the decision they made and hand you the numbers to back it up. Their emotional center is fear; gathering information and making informed decisions is a way of combating that fear. The intellectuals are also attracted to ideas and ideals; relationships are less important and can sometimes be a means of achieving other objectives.

The Loyalist

Of all the types, the Six can be the hardest to categorize. That's because the Six is, in many ways, a walking contradiction. For instance, the Six is known as the Loyalist, but the Six is just as likely to be the anti-Loyalist. The problem with Sixes is that they have a fear of committing to anything, a fear which stems from a lack of confidence in themselves with being able to make a correct decision. What if they make the wrong choice?

Sixes deal with this in a number of ways, but the primary strategy is in seeking a trusted companion to whom they can look when making decisions. When they find someone like that, they will willing give over control to that person and become what they are called: the Loyalist. Once loyalty has been given, they will hold to it to the bitter end, even in the face evidence that shows them the person doesn't deserve their loyalty. Or the cause. Because they will do the same thing with a cause they believe. In fact, frequently, the person the Six is loyal to is only an extension of a cause or ideal that person represents, and the cause is where the true loyalty lies.

When a target for this "loyalty" behavior can't be found, they will resort to using everyone. Every decision becomes an opinion poll of all the people the Six knows as she tries to arrive at the best decision. This network of people becomes a kind of security blanket for the Six that he uses to try to cover over his many (and often nameless) anxieties and phobias. the result of this, though, is that they become even more indecisive and fail to make decisions at all. This generally results in a pattern of blaming others for any and all problems the Six has.

Or the Six can go in the opposite direction of all of this and become what is known as a Counterphobic Six. The Counterphobic Six tends to be distrustful of everyone and everything, always doubting the accuracy of the source. There is always some hidden agenda to be found if one just looks. There is always a conspiracy around the corner. In some instances, to say that the Counterphobic Six is paranoid is an understatement. The interesting aspect of the Counterphobic Six is that it is his way of standing up to his fears. Rather than succumbing to them, this is how he fights back, how he takes back control.

Neither version of the six, though, realizes how much fear rules their lives. Like the Three can't buries his emotions under a layer of achievement, the Six buries his anxiety either by allowing others to, as much as possible, make his decisions for him or by rejecting authority.

The strength of a balanced Six is his ability to foresee problems. Since Sixes are persistently worried about what will go wrong or what disaster is around the corner, they are able to anticipate and plan for the worst well ahead of that ever happening. Of course, these are also the guys, when not quite balanced, who build disaster bunkers out in the wilderness as their last stand against the coming (zombie (or whatever flavor you like it in)) apocalypse.

At their best, Loyalists learn to trust in their own ability to make decisions, in essence becoming their own authority figure. They will still rely on a network of friends and colleagues from whom they will collate data and opinions, but they become willing to accept responsibility for their own decisions and take control of their lives. At their worst, they can be paranoid and delusional, believing that everyone is out to get them.

Basically, the Six can be boiled down to issues of trust. Remember, they are an intellectual type and seek out data to help them make decisions. They just have a hard time deciding what data to trust.


  1. I am way too tired for this But i will read it tomorrow! much love!

  2. I just bought the horror writers monthly Oct edition from your sidebar! look forward to the new read!

    makeituporfunny.blogspot !

  3. I can certainly see how you might have me pegged as being a "6". I certainly portray a lot of the described attributes in my blog persona and well as in my real life self. Then again I see myself in a lot of the other types. It's like reading symptoms in a medical book and thinking you have a number of diseases.

    I'll admit to being inclined toward the 6 if we are evaluating and coming to typing conclusions. I certainly tend to seek out data, but I also tend to forget most of that data or confuse it all. Then in the end I don't decide due to forgetting or waiting too long.

    The tests are good for arriving at certain general conclusions, but I don't know that those conclusions are always honest, not because the person taking the test is intentionally trying to mislead anyone, but due to any number of factors including misperception of oneself. I do enjoy the tests and I like to consider the conclusions. They can be very helpful.

    Tossing It Out

  4. Sounds a great deal like my dad--doctor and computer geek. Quiet, intelligent, and conservative in the # of relationships he invested in, but loyal to the death.

    Unleashing the Dreamworld

  5. Interesting that this type is part of the rational group yet looks to someone else to make the decisions.

  6. James: I hope you enjoy the read!

    Lee: As I mentioned recently, it's not about what you see of yourself in the different types. We will all have behaviors that fit multiple types. It's about core motivation, which is an important distinction. I find it amusing that even your comment here is very Six in nature: "I can't come to a conclusion, because I can't trust the data."

    Crystal: I think people undervalue the loyalty of the Six.

    Sandra: It is interesting but also completely understandable when you get to the underlying fear.

  7. This reminds me of those people you see blindly following a cult leader or marrying a convicted murderer. It's like they've traded in their critical thinking skills in order to "belong" or be loyal to something or someone else.

  8. L.G.: That's not exactly what this is. It's more like being married to someone who, then, murders someone and, despite overwhelming evidence, always maintaining the innocence of the murderer.