In-Depth Description of Enneagram Type Five

Common Descriptive Names: (1) The Observer, (2) The Investigator, (3) The Thinker
Unconscious Fear for type Five: Of being incapable, incompetent, useless and helpless
To compensate for their Unconscious Fear an Unconscious Desire arises…..
Unconscious Desire for type Five: To be capable and competent

As our personality was forming in early childhood we each developed limiting subconscious beliefs
about ourselves, others and the world. For example, your mother or father might have yelled at you
“Get your hands out of there!” or “You should be ashamed of yourself!” or “Stop being such a cry
baby!” If you had really loving parents you might have heard, “Don’t touch that, it’s hot!” or “Don’t do
that, you might hurt yourself!” We also developed limiting beliefs about others. Growing up you may
have heard, “I don’t want you to play with those kinds of kids” or “Salesmen are sleazebags” or
“Politicians are so duplicitous and two-faced.” We also developed limiting beliefs about the world.
Newspapers and television constantly bombard our minds with reports of scandals, crimes, wars,
economic crises, natural disasters, and political corruption. Does this help us believe the world is a
loving, safe place to live? Of course not. One way or another, none of us escaped childhood without
some limiting subconscious beliefs. Your Enneagram type identifies some of the strongest
subconscious beliefs that you’ve developed over time based on your distorted perception of reality.


**Limiting Subconscious Beliefs for type Five:
** People are invasive and demand too much.
• It’s best to need little so I’m not dependent on anyone.
• I’m on my own in the world, separate from the environment (an outside observer).
• Allowing myself to fully feel my emotions would be unpredictable and scary.
• Knowledge will keep me safe.
• To be loved I must demonstrate my competence and knowledge.

Core Coping Strategies for Fives: (where Fives focus their attention because of their subconscious
• Seeking knowledge to explain life and feel safe
• Detach to observe life from an internally safe distance
• Detach from feelings to prevent emotional overwhelm
• Perceptiveness
• Natural Socratic method of questioning to get to truth
• Compartmentalize my life to protect privacy
• Being self-sufficient to limit dependency on others
• Conserving energy and withdrawing to refuel
• Minimizing physical & emotional needs to preserve personal autonomy

Here’s a brief profile of some healthy, very healthy, average, unhealthy and destructive type

Five traits.

Healthy Fives are extraordinarily observant, perceptive and insightful. They’re also open-minded.
They are the most mentally curious, analytical and logical of all the Enneagram types. They love
learning all kinds of information and often become knowledgeable experts in their chosen field. That’s
because they like to explore a subject they are passionate about in-depth until they’ve mastered it.
Although generally calm and quiet, they can ask lots of questions when interested in a subject,
especially about how things works or fit together. Healthy Fives are able to focus and concentrate
when they are working on a project or figuring something out. They can pay great attention to
craftsmanship and detail. Their probing mind tends to see things on a deeper level than the average
person. Healthy Fives can be innovative, inventive and/or creative. Fives who are abstract, conceptual
and theoretical often develop new ways of seeing or doing things because they are constantly playing
with and working ideas out in their head and imagination.
Healthy Fives value their independence highly but also enjoy sharing findings, observations and
insights with others. They often make great teachers so long as they don’t talk over their students
heads. Like Fours, Fives enjoy laughing about people’s quirks and idiosyncrasies and the contradictions
and absurdities of life. They often have a dry, whimsical sense of humor too.
Very healthy Fives are highly imaginative, visionary, open-minded and exploratory, like Albert
Einstein* and Stephen Hawking*. They’re often ahead of their time. They perceive the world in its
true context and often have brilliant, original insights into how things work that lead to new discoveries
or theories. Very healthy Fives go within for their answers and have unwavering faith that the universe
can supply them with all the information they need either by direct knowing or by putting them in
touch with the resources and people they need. Rather than feeling isolated and cut-off from others,
very healthy Fives feel deeply connected with the universe and others and dedicate their life to helping
humanity through the sharing of their genius, knowledge and understanding. While feeling connected
they’re also nonattached – they can let the energy of the universe flow effortlessly through them using
only what they need.

  • My speculations based on their lives and my experience with the Enneagram

Average Fives start to lose confidence in their ability to successfully engage with the world. They
retreat into the safety of their minds and become preoccupied with their mental visions and constructs.
They can become less social and more detached from the world. While detached and aloof with people
they can be quite intense and high-strung mentally. They can focus exclusively on their projects or,
perhaps, read or play on the computer for hours. Average Fives can be perpetual students because
they love learning and are often quite intelligent, but they never feel quite confident enough to really
put themselves out into the real world. They play it safe and never really pursue worthwhile ambitions
or goals that might stretch them to interact with people more or put them in a position of authority.
They fear having their energy drained by people.
Since being incompetent and incapable is their Unconscious Fear, average Fives can put all their energy
into becoming competent and capable in one area of life at the expense of all of the other areas. It’s
as if they don’t have enough energy to expend on too many different aspects of life so they hoard their
time, space and energy. Health and relationships are often two areas that are sacrificed. Average
Fives can be cynical about relationships working in the first place. They feel that relationships are
more trouble than they’re worth because people are too needy, emotional or intrusive. Besides, they
like working on their own projects, alone. Not only that but average Fives usually lack good
interpersonal/social skills and can be secretive and private. They’re often loners. Unfortunately for
average Fives, most relationships don’t work too well without open, heart-felt communication. Average
Fives tend to live in their heads and can be completely out of touch with what their bodies and
emotions are telling them. As a consequence, they often don’t make time for exercise or eating well.
Socially detached Fives can be drawn to abstruse and sometimes dark or disconcerting subject matter.
It’s as if Fives enjoy reaching deeper into the cave-like crevices of the mind to see what they can
uncover. Average Fives can begin to get lost in alternate realities, imaginary worlds, conceptual
models and personal visions that are out of touch with practical reality.
Average Fives fear being overwhelmed by people and their needs so their lifestyle tends to be
minimalistic as an unconscious way to be as self-sufficient as possible. By conserving all of their
resources they are less likely to need anyone for anything and thus can preserve their independence
and freedom. This also gives them more time to focus intensely on their projects or acquire whatever
skills and knowledge they might need to feel more competent and capable.

Unhealthy Fives actually become more reclusive as their anxiety and insecurity increases. They cut
themselves off from the real world and people. If they feel as though people are trying to get too close
and friendly or intrude on their privacy they become provocative and antagonistic to keep them away.
They just want to be left alone to pursue their interests. Their mind becomes increasingly warped as
they jump to conclusions and distort the facts with their own twisted interpretations. They can be
radical in their viewpoints of reality. They can be iconoclastic and enjoy making extreme remarks just
to shock people and provoke a reaction out of them. Lacking self-worth, unhealthy Fives can be
intellectually arrogant as a defense to feel better about themselves. They might, for example, laugh at
what someone said, pointing out the stupidity of the statement. They can also be cynical,
argumentative and enjoy debunking other’s beliefs. They might use their innately logical mind to
critique someone’s illogical statement or to argue why believing in God is fanciful and a crutch for weak
people. Unhealthy Fives often succeed in driving everyone out of their lives and become more fearful
and strange in the process.
Destructive Fives become mentally unstable, eccentric and reclusive. Cut off from people they get
lost in their own nightmarish, fearful, horrific mind. They suffer from severe insomnia and often have
other sleep disorders because their mind is so revved up and anxious. They are completely neglectful
of their health and hygiene and become hostile if others try to help them (like destructive Nines). They
are extremely cynical, depressed, hopeless and feel as though life is empty and meaningless. They can
have extreme phobias, severely distorted perceptions, hallucinations or even psychotic breaks with
reality. At worst, they can commit suicide or go on a killing spree if their twisted mind has become