Enneatype Six

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52 Comments on “Enneatype Six

  1. The seven wing really fits me and I love the idea of seeing the entire glass! Until now I only had a general idea of my seven wing as an adventurer. This is the first time reading a concise statement about my seven wing and reading it leaves me feeling as though I have learned to smooth out my rough edges via my wing over the years: less worried, more optimistic, higher energy, more cheerful. This fits with my self image, even if I don’t always live up to it.

  2. Actually, I thought I was a six with a seven wing but as we move into this I am more confident about being a six but that I am more likely a Five Wing. I was thinking of the seven wing because of the tendency to avoid difficult or painful situations but I am more of a reluctant adventurer. I enjoy the adventure once I am in it but I am more a reluctant adventurer. I am still working on it. I found the discussion of subtypes by Dr. Tom LaHue to be quite a revelation. I notice he has a video on the wings too. I don’t think it is assigned but I am going to look at it too. I tend to withdraw under stress and I seem to be more introverted than I thought I was. I thought at first glance I was a social subtype but in watching the video I gravitate much more to the self preservation subtype. When the subtype was described by LaHue I felt transparent.

    • Hi John,
      Yes, please explore Dr. Tom LaHue’s materials. He has so many excellent videos! That description of feeling “transparent” is an extremely insightful way to describe that “oh my, that’s me” realization.

      • Gwen, when I came away from his discussion of the type it felt like for self preservation types it is more about relationships and for social types it was more about structures and systems. For me it is definitely more about relationships. I make myself aware of the rules and customs of a place more to ingratiate and connect. At least that is the way it seems. Your use of the term “tribe” really resonates. I am having some “wing” confusion but I’ll come back to that.

        • I would say one-on-one subtypes are about individual relationships. Is that what you meant? To quote the Integrative9 website: “Self Preservation Subtype – This instinct, therefore, focuses us on physical safety, well-being, material security and comfort. Anxiety or stress may combine with this instinct to drive us to conserve or hoard energy and resources in response to demands from the environment or other people.” This is their description of One-on-one subtype “This instinct focuses on the intensity of experiences and one-on-one relationships, driving us to actively seek out opportunities that promise strong energetic connections with others.” As far as wings – remember, wings can be quite flexible. You tend to use one more than the other, but there is access to both. For some, their wings are very lightly used.

          • Gwen, the description of Social and Self preservation types by Tom LaHue talks about how the Self Preservation type forms alliances with others for safety, tends to be friendly and may come off as a two but with different motives. I have a good friend and coworker who is a former apprentice and a two. In our talks I have noticed that when someone needs help she is instantly and reflexively there to help. I will pitch in and help but there is this moment of calculation – do I have time, do I want to get involved, am I overstepping my bounds, etc. Then after I answer the questions which takes a second or two, I pitch in. I think I have done that for years but I have only been aware of it since doing the Enneagram and paying attention. Very head space, I guess. Much of what he said about that, as well as what he said about being afraid of other peoples anger and my own anger, really resonates. If I just listen to his three descriptions and don’t try to analyze too much I gravitate toward his description of the Self preservation type. I carry some aspects of all of it.. I am also trying to experience how I would have felt about all of this 20 or 30 years ago.

  3. Gwen, I left this comment on the main page, Perhaps it fits better here. Can you comment on my confusion please? Thank you, Elayne

    When diving into the enneagram several years ago, the first test results were evenly split between 1,3,6 and 8. It took a long time to figure out I was a 6. Taking your suggestion, I have retested several times since we met. The main Enneagram test consistently shows me as a 6w7, with 1 as a close second. I understand that. The subtype test, however, consistently shows me as a 3w2sx. The possibility of me being a 6 on this subtype test was well down the line in 7th place, in other words not very likely.. How is that possible? I definitely live in my head and have difficulty accessing my heart. My partner also took the tests with me in mind and came up with the same results. And the journey continues…

    • My primary advice is not to take the tests very seriously. They are a hint, an indication of where to start looking. They are wrong more often than they are right. The real work is looking at the discussions, questions, descriptions around each Enneatype, wing, and subtypes. No test will give you a completely accurate picture. I suggest you start with the centers of Intelligence. In times of stress and conflict, do you respond with anger, shame, or fear? For some it will be obvious, for some it will be more difficult to parse that out. For me it was obvious. I don’t respond with shame, despite growing up in a shame-based religion. I have always prided myself on not responding with anger, even if someone is yelling insults at me (which I’ve now realized is wrong – I should be angry in that situation!) I definitely respond with fear. When someone can pin down their Center of Intelligence, it is down to three Enneastyles. With a close look, one of those three usually becomes clear. That same kind of exploration helps with wings and subtypes. What description makes you feel seen and known? What description makes you think “oh boy, that’s me”? That’s how you find the fit. Take the tests as a place to start and then let it go.

      • Thank you Gwen.. That is very helpful. I have been reading both the 6 and 3 types to consider this dilemma and the 6 definitely fits, There is a lot of three in me, however the fear factor is strong which initially surprised me as a counterphobic six.

  4. Thank you John for your suggestion of Listening to Dr. LaHue. He is new to me and very helpful also. Until this time in life I really thought I was a social subtype, however with this assignment and test taking, the sexual component shows up strong. As I do further reading it really resonates. People have often said I can be intimidating. I really don’t understand that since I think I am just passionate about my pursuits and strive for excellence. Haha. The word intimidation comes up again and again in the descriptions of the sexual six. Hmmm… must be something there. As I really come to better understand the differences between the social and sexual subtypes I realize that within social situations it is the one to one connection I am seeking out. It does fit. Also as I read and listen to these descriptions I see why I had so much confusion with determining out whether I was a 1, 3, 6 or 8 to begin with. These subtypes are easy to confuse with the other types. Motivation seals the deal. Although reluctant to admit it, fear is the driving factor. I wish I could feel the warmth that is described for the self preserving six. Say are there any other sixes in our group in addition to John and I?

    • Yes no fear ! You are not alone , there are others out there like you and I AM one of them .
      I Recently listened to an older video of Richard Rohr on the enneagram he believes half the world are sixes .
      Not certain I agree , yet Humorous .

      • Hi Paula. That is funny~half the world sixes. Although given our current state of divisiveness, perhaps there is something to that! We are loyal to our tribe. Haha.

  5. Okay moving on. I am really struggling with the “tragic gap” assignment. It seems that things are as good as they can be in these times of Covid. There have been tragic gaps in my life at various points, the strongest one being the power of a Dr. Jeckle, Mr. Hyde father figure in my life. The hole in my heart still exists to some point, however i came to the conclusion he couldn’t give what he didn’t have and the hold the absence of his love (and security?) had over me diminished. I seem to be of acceptance of that now. Am I missing the point. Can you give me a nudge in the right direction please.

    • Hi Elayne, I think the tragic gap can be quite simple – it just needs to be something that isn’t exactly how you want it to be. You can look at a habit that bothers you. You want it to be different, but it seems difficult or impossible to change. It can be a relationship that has an element of difficulty. You want to be closer to your daughter-in-law, but her aggressive nature makes it difficult. It doesn’t have to be a huge issue.

  6. There seem to be a number of ideas coming together. In the video on subtypes the teacher tells us that the fear of the six is that he or she will be attacked, and the different subtypes relate to how we protect ourselves from that. From the article about the harmony triads we hear among other things that those in the Earth triad struggle with the notion that just “being” is enough and that sixes struggle with faith. We hear that those in the head space work to develop wisdom out of the need to manage the world. In the Life Energy triads, we look in part at how the 6s work to see the dangers in moving on in the world. In the section on emotional regulation, the sixes try to move ahead by discussion, voicing concerns, trying to make sure things go ok. I am also ready Rohr’s book “Everything Belongs” at present and many of the ideas there – the idea of losing your attachments and being stripped down, letting go of self righteousness and ego, and getting down to the naked self.
    I am oversimplifying but this has come together into a realization that I put a tremendous amount of energy into this. Figuring out what I am supposed to do, what I am supposed to say, where I draw my value from, and trying to know what is expected of me. I don’t want to elaborate on my sacred question here, but it has a “who am I and what makes me me” feel to it so that fits in. For the first time I am getting a true glimpse of how much energy and worry I put into that effort. It is hard for me to just relax into the idea that things will unfold. Ironically, the time I feel the pressure ease is when I am truly in a crisis, when I know what the danger is. There is actually a part of me that settles in and says, “ok, here we are, let’s just do what we need to do?” At those times I feel a kind of clarity. Another note – the crisis is rarely the one I anticipated. I am wondering if others have had experiences like that. It’s somewhat exhausting.

    • Absolutely John. I can relate to what you said about settling into the crisis and how exhausting all this head work is. One of the Thanksgiving exercises had us reflect on a time when we felt at peace, While I know there are times I really do feel peace, I was unable to articulate a time I could remember, just a generalization of being remote in nature with absolutely no responsibilities at the moment other than to put one foot in front of the other, I am aware through these exercises how exhausting living in my head really is. As I talked through a tragic gap with my husband and moved into my body I was amazed to feel my entire body relax. Maybe that is a simple practice I can do when I am aware of the committee meeting going on in my head. Okay, granted that is a constant, however I now have a way of calming that. Perhaps?

  7. Okay teammate sixes. I will try a stab at harmony and not harmony per this weeks assignment. This weekend I had a unique, spontaneous, opportunity to share time with my two sisters, We also have five brothers and a multitude of family members that often gather, This may have been the first time it was just us and no one else and with no outside distractions or activities to attend to, As I check in with my body, it is relaxed and light. As I check in with my feelings, I am beyond grateful for this time. Back to my head and I am really present to the moment. On the other hand for not feeling in harmony, I have had my wings clipped during this time of Covid. As we move indoors and into another shut down phase, and everything is getting put on hold, I am not in harmony with this world! I so want to continue the one on one get togethers I have managed with friends up until now and was so looking forward to our youngest son and his partner coming home for Thanksgiving after we all got Covid tested, Now all of that has been called off, one by one, as people are really trying to isolate. It is a bummer! Check in with my body and my shoulders are slumped in defeat. Feelings – very sad about it all. Resigned. Not sure what to do with it but sit with it and busy myself with catching up on the Enneagram work. Peace.

    • This is a big challenge. We would like to connect and it is harder to do so.. Do you think the process we discussed today would be helpful in “being with” these feelings.? There is a lot of difficult energy afoot at present. That presents an opportunity but sometimes you just want to be with your tribe. I struggle with taking up residence more deeply in my head these days. I will say that for me, doing something physical to take me back out of my head sometimes helps. This idea of taking the situation around the circle from thinking to acting to feeling and back to think can bear fruit. Richard Rohr, I believe, has described defeat as a sacrament. Grace and Peace Elayne.

  8. The question was raised today as to what “deviance” meant on the context of our avoidance. It’s a tough term because how it is used in everyday life. For me it starts with the sensation of not being enough and looking for something greater to give me some sense of being ok. In that context the most frightening thing could be separateness. Standing separate from the group. Being all alone. For me this can come from standing out in a positive or negative way. There is a real fear of being left completely to my own devices. I am more comfortable blending in. I want to be in the band but I don’t want to be the front man. I want to be good at whatever I do but I would be anxious if I were considered the best – farther to fall. That is what makes “deviance” scary to me. I am not sure how others see it.

    • Yes. I am still unsure of the deviance meaning. When I looked it up in the dictionary the definition is: “the fact of departing from usual or acceptable standards, especially in social or sexual behavior.” Yikes. That feels extreme to me. When I asked the question in the forum today the replies seemed more applicable: “coloring outside the lines:” “knowing the rules but also knowing how far you can go in safely breaking them”. Wow!!! That one describes me to a T. This situation show cases that idea: I am stopped for speeding. My husband accurately predicts and internally is cringing, silently begging me not to go there, when I ask the officer just how fast I could be going above the speed limit and not get stopped. Haha. Bingo! Also the example of the story of the Emperor’s Clothes ~ standing outside naked, alone, and separate. That sounds like what you are describing John and that makes sense as well, Our deepest fear to be unsupported. So is deviance our actions that lead to more separateness?

  9. For me it is the fear of deviance, of being outside the group. I have heard Richard say that your avoidance is the thing that makes you go “tilt” when you think about it. The situation you would avoid at all costs. For me I think it is a fear that what I say or do would place me as separate or outside of the group. That I would say or do the wrong thing. When I was very young I was actually known to say whatever was on my mind, which didn’t go too well in parochial school. When I got older It seems I swung to the opposite extreme. Some of that is maturity but it can go to the extreme where I can return several times to whether I asked the right question or said the wrong thing. I can be very preoccupied with being understood correctly. What I don’t think I recognized until very recently is how much energy that takes.

  10. Regarding DEVIANCE ( the confusion understanding it yet )

    Thank you all ✨
    I think I get what you are saying John and
    Not being understood correctly , and It can be confusing ,
    For example
    When I know what I am saying is “my truth” ,
    yet simultaneously
    I feel it may be “out there “ , that it is
    too much for some people ….. that are not on same wavelength.?

    It seems To be part of accepting who I really am , (that my truth may be Misunderstood/ not understood,) And Is somehow also connected to acceptance of myself and Who I really am , I am different !

    I am Still learning how to communicate my thoughts and ideas and once in a while finding people who understand me and get me is a GIFT!

    Independence , and marching to a different drummer has begun to solidify more as I get older , there is more certainty (in my body mind heart ) That who I am is OK …..

    This whole area of deviance is so new to me thst I think I need a new therapist to figure it out ( humor ?)

    Looked it up and found this helpful hint ::

    You avoid deviance, uncertainty and anything that is different from any group or idea to which you ascribe. You are highly motivated to avoid disappointing friends or authority figures. Fear and doubt can undermine your sense of safety. You are afraid of fear, submission and cowardice, so you vacillate between loyalty and rebelliousness by puffing up and backing down. You fear anything unproven or radical. You also are afraid of deviating from the norm or being different from your peers.”

    But now I know it’s ok to be different , and it may also be that we are not different ,
    Depending on the lens of perception!

    Still confused ??

    • Thanks for sharing that Paula. It rings pretty true for me and I have definitely vacillated between loyalty and rebelliousness. I have been reflecting on this a lot this week. In trying to find the gift in all of this I came upon something important. I think this avoidance has actually made me more empathetic. I have a very strong space in my heart for the outcast. If I see someone being humiliated, ostracized, or what have you it immediately triggers a compassionate response. I respond similarly if I see a fearful person. Nothing makes me feel that we are all in this together and need to look out for each other than seeing people in those kinds of situations. I will not even watch a movie if someone is being terrorized. It hurts too much. So again, it’s not a question of this being good or bad. Lens of perception, indeed. I think it’s also ok to still be confused. If we reach the point that we think we have figured it all out, then I think we should be worried.

  11. Yes
    ” I will not watch a movie if someone in it is being terrorized “
    So true for me ,
    Thank you for verbalizing that

  12. Aha ! I have a different lens today that I would like to share with you all in understanding “sixes avoiding deviance .“
    (Looking through my files I came across this from Enneagram contemplation course several years ago. )

    They see life as governed by laws rules and norms . Out of Responsibility to the demands life makes on them they strive to avoid any neglect of their duties . They are preoccupied that all regulations be observed, especially those given by a person in authority or set down in writing . They see this in terms of loyalty to the group or groups to which they belong .

    • That feels right, Paula. Based on earlier teachings I remember when we were reading about the harmony circles the author mentioned (I think) that sixes have trouble feeling that they are enough. Externals like rules provide a (false?) sense of security because there is a checklist and if we meet all the checks on the checklist, then we will be ok. I have felt that I am way motivated by a sense of responsibility than an ambition. I am semi retired and one of the things I struggle with is that on the one hand I enjoy having fewer responsibilities but struggle with that loss of external guidance of telling me whether I am doing ok. This actually goes to the heart of the sacred question I am working with.

      • Isn’t it interesting that sixes struggle with feeling like they ARE enough and sevens struggle with feeling like they HAVE enough. Both generate fear. “Enough” is a message I try to give myself every day.

        • Gwen that resonates with me. I try to remind myself that I live in a world of abundance everyday and that I have more than enough. Now can that translate to I am enough???

          As I go through the stacking of the subtypes, I am more convinced that the sexual social is spot on. Originally I got confused by the wording of competition for attracting the right mate, however the testing to see who is worthy of trust sure resonates, especially with a very dear friend who is distancing right now. I can see that my attempts to reach out may really be testing. Hmmm. Do I like to have control in my relationships, I don’t think I do but if I really examine the relationship with this friend right now, along with my behavior towards my sister on Thanksgiving Day, I have more than enough evidence to see clearly that I do want to be in charge, My family doesn’t call me Dorthy Director for nothing. Haha, The idea of intensity still niggles at me, although the comment about appearing four like in our desire to express ourselves and give into our passions is spot on. I really throw myself into my pursuits so I get that intensity.

          The part that said we identify ourselves in accordance with the prevailing gender norms really threw me, since I am not a very feminine female, However on a walk recently puzzling over this, I realized that at a very early age I figured out I couldn’t compete with my beauty and started competing with my strength, which is the masculine norm. Isn’t that interesting? Appearing strong is very important to me and has been a common thread throughout my life when I found out I could get attention and “atta girl’s” by being an athlete. What started as a standout high school athlete, translated into a two sport D1 athlete, and in these more advanced years into mountain climbing. Any intensity there? This has been a week of good insights and clarity.

          • Sometimes I think we do look at an aspect of our personality that we are drawn to and decide to go in the opposite way. My soul child is a type five. I’m sure my parents would have loved for me to show my “five-ness” but I think I rejected it because I felt I would never be seen. My mom is a nine and my dad is a five. They are both very withdrawn types. Rather than parental figures rejecting my soul child – I think I did!

  13. On another note, I really found the Parker Palmer videos about standing in the gap fascinating, When I asked myself if I had ever stood in the gap, one example came to mind. Normally if a gap presents itself I very quickly try to solve or fix the problem. Is that contrary to standing in the gap? I am wondering if this incident was standing in the gap?

    Walking home in the dark one winter day after a long day of teaching, a parent walking in the opposite direction crossed paths with me in a confined stairwell. He was distraught, having alcohol on his breath, I listened to his distress about actions of his teenage son, trying to give his some assurance they would find their way through their current troubles. At some point he leaned in to kiss me. I pushed him away and said we weren’t going there, or something to that effect and continued to walk home, hoping against all hope he wouldn’t pursue or escalate. He didn’t. What I did next was very unlike me. Normally I would personalize someone else’s bad acts, obsessing about what I had done to bring this on, or would condemn the person to the trash heap of life for their bad actions. I did neither. This person was also a neighbor so I was bound to see him either socially or in the parent/teacher context at some point. I decided that I would let his next actions be my guide to my decision on how to proceed. So for the time being I did nothing, again very different for me, and perhaps standing in the gap? When I did next see him, a social gathering, I felt very calm and allowed him to make the next step. He approached with an apology which I accepted and thanked him for. He was quite amazed and wondered how I had this presence of mind. When he put himself in my shoes, he didn’t think he would have be able to to that, His actions helped me see that he was remorseful to a bad decision and it didn’t have to define his entire being. I liked the way I handled this and the outcome, In a way, doing nothing allowed others to find a solution. Could this example be a guide for times to come with tragic gaps? Thoughts about standing in the gap please.

    • Yes ,
      Holding the tension between both sides ,
      Standing in the gap ,
      Responding with silence
      Versus reacting
      Held the space ?

    • Wow, what a story! Thank you for sharing that. I’m also very bad and just holding my tragic gap. I feel a desperate urge to fix things that feel wrong or broken. Learning to wait and trust that a “third way” will appear is an enormous spiritual practice for me.

  14. I wonder if any sixes can comment on this
    From (our) my enneagram of the day

    As a Six, having certitude about where you stand is important to you. But why? What’s so important about certitude? Think about this today.

    Thank you ?

  15. Hi All, I’ve been a bit out of touch with my Enneagram studies as I have been actively planning and preparing for a long cold COVID winter.
    I couldn’t resist the question, “What is so important about certitude?”
    I interpreted certitude as knowing where I am.
    I need to know where I am to know where I’m going.
    If I’m in a situation or somewhere that I can’t leave; I need to know where I am to make the most out of just being there – stuck.
    I need to know where I am to recognize where I’ve been and what I’ve accomplished. That helps be recognize that I have grown and that I am enough.
    I need to know where I am to set goals and make plans to avoid the barriers, which might hamper my progress.
    I need to know where I am to appreciate what I have and what I no longer need to cling to, or strive for. To know that I have enough.
    I need to know where I am to let go of a lot of things I don’t need anymore and to learn to enjoy the moment.
    I’m working hard on that last one.
    I’m actually a five wing. When I’m stuck or things get to tough I just withdraw. I may still be there physically. The part that is threatened, or sometimes just bored, will leave. The smile may leave my eyes. Or, I may just “ah ha” the conversation. I had a friend, who was a psychologist. He told me that whenever he didn’t know what to say; he say, “That’s interesting. Because, it means absolutely nothing and people are free to interpret his comment however, they want.”
    I feel blessed to have this wonderful opportunity to learn and share the Enneagram and look forward to being free to do more of it.

    • Dorothy
      What you have said resonates , I have read it several times , and it is deep and obvious that you have been paying attention to your self .
      It would be great to discuss it sometime !
      I am also a 5:wing I believe , resonant with you .

      Hoping you all get the enneagram for the day
      This is ours for today :

      Type Six EnneaThought® for December 13th

      The “missing piece” is the last quality of our psyche that we need for dissolving the habitual identity that we have had. As a Six, you most need to learn from the healthy Levels of Three to be inner-directed and to respect yourself. This finally dissolves your typical insecurity and lack of faith in yourself. Think about this today. (Understanding the Enneagram, 321)

      Peace peace peace

  16. Thank you to everyone here at the SIX forum .
    It was nice to have a place to communicate with others out there like me!
    I appreciate the communication and understanding ?✨
    Best to you all .

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