Enneagram Type 6 - The Loyalist

Conflicted between trust and distrust

Enneagram type 6 - The LoyalistPeople of this personality type essentially feel insecure, as though there is nothing quite steady enough to hold onto. At the core of the type Six personality is a kind of fear or anxiety. This anxiety has a very deep source and can manifest in a variety of different styles, making Sixes somewhat difficult to describe and to type. What all Sixes have in common however, is the fear rooted at the center of their personality, which manifests in worrying, and restless imaginings of everything that might go wrong. This tendency makes Sixes gifted at trouble shooting, but also robs the Six of much needed peace of mind and tends to deprive the personality of spontaneity. The essential anxiety at the core of the type Six fixation tends to permeate the personality with a sort of "defensive suspiciousness." Sixes don't trust easily; they are often ambivalent about others, until the person has absolutely proven herself, at which point they are likely to respond with steadfast loyalty. The loyalty of the Six is something of a two edged sword however, as Sixes are sometimes prone to stand by a friend, partner, job or cause even long after it is time to move on.

Sixes are generally looking for something or someone to believe in. This, combined with their general suspiciousness, gives rise to a complicated relationship to authority. The side of the Six which is looking for something to believe in, is often very susceptible to the temptation to turn authority over to an external source, whether it be in the form of an individual or a creed. But the Six's tendency towards distrust and suspicion works against any sort of faith in authority. Thus, two opposite pulls exist side by side in the personality of enneatype Six, and assume different proportions in different individuals, sometimes alternating within the same individual.

The truly confounding element when it comes to typing Sixes is that there are two fundamentally different strategies that Sixes adopt for dealing with fear. Some Sixes are basically phobic. Phobic Sixes are generally compliant, affiliative and cooperative. Other Sixes adopt the opposite strategy of dealing with fear, and become counterphobic, essentially taking a defiant stand against whatever they find threatening. This is the Six who takes on authority or who adopts a dare devil attitude towards physical danger. Counterphobic Sixes can be agressive and, rather than looking for authorities, can adopt a rebellious or anti-authoritarian demeanor. Counterphobic Sixes are often unaware of the fear that motivates their actions. In fact, Sixes in general, tend to be blind to the extent of their own anxiety. Because it is the constant back drop to all of their emotions, Sixes are frequently unaware of its existence, as they have nothing with which to contrast it.

Because Sixes so frequently fail to appreciate the extent of their own fear, they often mistype themselves. It is common for instance, for female Sixes to mistype as Twos, especially if they are identified with a helper role, but Sixes have a much more ambivalent attitude towards relationships than do Twos, who generally know exactly what they want. Sixes, failing to recognize their anxiety, can mistype as Nines, but Nines have the ability to relax and to trust in others, neither of which come easily to Sixes. Sixes can mistype as Fours, especially if they have artistic inclinations, but they lack the Four's self-absorption. They can mistype as Fives, especially if they are intellectual, as many Sixes are, but unlike Fives, Sixes tend to be practical. Finally, conterphobic Sixes can easily mistype as Eights, but they lack the Eight's self-certainty.


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