Enneagram SIX Detail

SIXes are loyalists, troupers. They value order, structure, authority, and predictability. This is because their core need is for security. they often play the devil’s advocate; The compulsion of the Six is fear, a sort of primal anxiety. As if their original state of faith had been injured by a world not to be trusted. They are always scanning, in vigilance. They quest for safety, search for predictability; they always check what can they expect from their environment; also, they often don’t feel they can meet the environment’s expectation. Fear is core passion of the SIX; it’s always fight or flight. There seem to be two kinds of SIXes: those that flee their threatening situations, and those that charge at it to fight it. The first, phobic SIXes, withdraw, assess and may then fight. The counterphobic SIXes live life on the edge of disaster; face their fear head on to prove that they are not afraid.

SIXes often suffer from uncertainty and procrastination, because they wonder if their decision in any situation is the right one.

Most Sixes are phobic. To overcome their fear, these Sixes align themselves with a strong leader, institution, or government. They need an outer authority to protect them and tell them what to do because they constantly doubt themselves. Phobic Sixes are naturally humble, teachable, reliable, and loyal. Once they decide to trust you, you’ve got a friend for life—even when others turn against you. Phobic Sixes are by nature careful, hesitant, and mistrustful. They have a hard time trusting themselves and their “instinct.” They continually sense danger. In their most immature forms, they are victims of paranoia. Every new situation is so threatening for them that the memory of earlier victories is useless. Phobic Sixes are also prone to scapegoating because their primary defence mechanism is projection. The pessimism and mistrust that they harbour against themselves leads to imagining their own negative motives present in others as well; they project hostility, hatred, and negative thoughts onto other people. Instead of facing their own darkness, they see it, attack it, and kill it “over there.”

Counter-phobic Sixes are a different breed altogether. They may seek out risky situations because they prefer taking the bull by the horns to continually torturing themselves with their anxieties. They disguise the fear that is the actual driving force of their actions and compensate for it with a put-on hardness, strength, and daredevil behaviour. The counter-phobic Six is a classic scapegoater. To control their constant anxiety, they focus the danger and evil in one particular race, nation, religion, or gender.

If they can relax, wait and reflect on similar past situations, they may avoid the natural response of fight or flight. SIXes can also struggle with authority. They live with an ambivalence: they know there is huge security that somebody is in authority; but they can also resent it. SIXes need to trust their experience and their ability to make sense of it, whatever “authorities” say.

SIXes prefer to be behind scene; they are great at troubleshooting, but they can also sabotage, or be wet blanket. They often suffer from paranoia: others may not wish best for us. This paranoia can show itself especially when a SIX is successful. Leadership roles makes SIXes uncomfortable; am I really loved? When they feel loved, they are very loyal.

Under stress, the SIX reverts to a THREE. They seek to allay their inferior feelings by becoming overachievers. Their inferiority is masked by an inflated ego that attempts to convince others that they have it all together.

The healthy SIX moves to a NINE. Anxiety diminishes, and the SIX is able to see the whole of a situation, allowing him/her to become emotionally stable and confident. They can engage in more interactive rather than reactive relationships.

The mature SIX can move from relying on outer authority to knowing and trusting their Inner Authority. They move from needing certitude and answers to having faith, which demands not knowing and not being certain, but rather being able to hold some anxiety and ambiguity. They have returned to the Ground of their Being and to their primal knowing: It is all okay already! “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31). Hence, the virtue of the Six is courage. Redeemed Sixes know how to combine holding on to sound traditions with the readiness to take new paths.

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.