Enneagram FIVE Detail

The Five appears to be the headiest of all the head types. Fives go inside the mind to find the power that they were denied, or denied themselves, in the external world. FIVEs are observers. They spend most of their lives behind a one-way mirror through which they can look out, but won’t let you look back at them. For them the world is invasive; they need privacy to regenerate. They tend to live the life of mind, characterized by emotional non attachment, often replaced by detachment. FIVEs want to be freed of emotional obligation. It’s important to them to remain calm—at least externally—and to keep their emotions under control. They value emotional control; they experience events from detached point of view. They seek connection through special knowledge, that helps them understand; they do not move until they know everything; Their home is their castle; they desire controlled contact and uninterrupted time.

In reality, most FIVEs have an intense emotional life. But at the moment something happens, it’s as if their emotions are blocked and always come limping behind. At first they register something with eyes, ears, and brain; they can stand alongside the event with seeming objectivity. As soon as they are alone, they begin to evaluate it, once again from the head. That’s how they gradually get in touch with their emotions, if they do at all.

FIVEs value autonomy; they dislike needs. Their compulsion is greed: they don’t want to let anything go so as not to be needy. They are avaricious for knowledge, thoughts, ideas, silence, and space. To them, knowledge is power and they can never know enough to fill the emptiness they feel inside. FIVEs always need yet another course, another book, another silent retreat. They are always observing, often from a safe back corner. Some sources also define the root sin as “stinginess,” a lack of generosity with their knowledge, possessions, and resources.

Detachment can be seen as the virtue of the FIVE. They can be outstanding listeners and counsellors. Their ability to withdraw themselves emotionally can help those seeking advice to appraise their own situation more clearly. But detachment can also be seen as the FIVE’s greatest weakness. Among the life tasks of FIVEs is learning commitment and action. They have to fall in love passionately. “Learning to love” is one of their great challenges because it crashes up against their wish for distance. FIVEs who won’t allow themselves to “lose their heads” in love are incomplete. Without it, they remain emotionally stingy all of their lives.

The stressed FIVE moves to SEVEN. As they move toward SEVEN, they lose their grip on order. They become restless, insatiable, and lose their ability to focus. They become flippant and disrespectful.

The healthy FIVE moves to EIGHT. EIGHT energy lights a fire, motivating fearful FIVES to actually do something. Instead of withdrawing, they socialize, and become more comfortable being visible. FIVES can become confident and assertive, and become willing to take on leadership roles.

Maturing FIVEs unify heart and head and engage in passion of life. Redeemed FIVEs link their knowledge to a search for wisdom and strive for a sympathetic knowledge of the heart. They have a quiet inner power and are tenderly emotional, loving, polite, hospitable, and gentle—while also protecting strong personal boundaries.

If you feel this describes you fairly well, then click here to explore spiritual practices that might be best suited for your type. Otherwise, click here to return to the summary descriptors of the types.