In-Depth Description of Enneagram Type Six

Common Descriptive Names: (1) The Loyal Skeptic, (2) The Loyalist, (3) The Questioner
Unconscious Fear for type Six: Of being unable to survive on their own; of being abandoned; having
no support
To compensate for their Unconscious Fear an Unconscious Desire arises…..
Unconscious Desire for type Six: To have safety and security; to have support

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 Six:
• The world is a dangerous and threatening place.
• Most people have hidden agendas and are not to be trusted.
• My safety depends on knowing people’s intentions.
• I must rely on something (like a religion or belief system) or someone outside myself for
security.
• To be loved I must be loyal and supportive ALL the time.
Core Coping Strategies for Sixes: (where Sixes focus their attention because of their subconscious
beliefs)
• Looking for something and/or someone outside the self to believe in and put loyalty into
• Vigilance and alertness; looking for hidden agendas
• Doubt/mistrust others; Test other’s loyalty
• Question others’ intentions; Question authority
• Cope with fear by acting strong (or smart) to win support and/or by acting sexy or
coquettish to attract support
• Being dutiful and aligning with others to feel safe
• Being prepared emotionally for worst case situations
• Being warm/pleasing to disarm potential hostility
• Fitting in to society and working for common goals
Here’s a brief profile of some healthy, very healthy, average, unhealthy and destructive type
Six traits.

Healthy Sixes are trustworthy, responsible, dependable, loyal and sympathetic to underdog causes.
They’re engaging, friendly, endearing and genuinely likeable people. Healthy Sixes are able to create
camaraderie with people because they enjoy making pleasant and harmonious connections. They like
creating strong personal bonds of friendship with others and having a sense of belonging. Trust is
extremely important to all Sixes not just healthy ones. That’s because of their unconscious fear of
being abandoned or left without support. Even healthy Sixes question people and their motives to
make sure that they are trustworthy. Their alert and vigilant mentality allows healthy Sixes to be
intuitive and insightful about people. Healthy Sixes are warm, personable and even playful once they
can trust someone, but that trust is not given blindly. Once you’ve earned a Sixes trust, however, they
will be the best friend you’ve ever had – truly committed, compassionate, supportive and reliable.
Healthy Sixes are the bedrock and foundation of any society. They work well with people, treat
everyone as equals and believe in cooperation. They are extremely hard working for common goals
and like to provide, as well as have, stability, security and loyalty in all areas of their life, especially
home, relationships, job, community, etc. Healthy Sixes like being part of some cause or movement
greater than themselves, especially those that support the underdog. They want to make a
contribution to the world and enjoy being of service to others. They are honorable and conscientious.
They are also meticulous, good with details and have an eye for seeing potential problems before they
arise. Their self-discipline enables them to organize people and resources, prioritize tasks to be done
and see projects through to completion. Healthy Sixes are persevering and can be counted on to be
right by your side when difficulties or even calamities occur. Healthy Sixes, while having occasional
self-doubts, generally are able to trust themselves and their decisions. In short, healthy Sixes are
deeply devoted and committed to the well-being of their family, friends, and community.

Very healthy Sixes, like Robert F. Kennedy* and J. Edgar Hoover*, are courageous, self-confident,
positive thinking and self-reliant. They have unwavering faith in themselves as well as other people
and the universe. They are self-affirming and trust their own inner guidance and abilities implicitly.
They often become strong, cooperative, expressive leaders that work exceptionally well with others for
the good of humanity. Since Sixes’ greatest fears are being without any inner strength, guidance,
support or security, very healthy Sixes become powerful channels for helping people find these inner
resources within themselves. Very healthy Sixes are serene, emotionally balanced and open-minded.
Much to their surprise, some very healthy Sixes discover a well-spring of undiscovered creative talent.

  • My speculations based on their lives and my experience with the Enneagram
    Average Sixes become self-doubting, fearful and anxious. They’re not fully sure of themselves or
    who or what they can trust. They have a difficult time trusting their own mind even. While all Sixes
    instinctively anticipate where danger might arise so they can protect themselves, some Sixes are
    phobic and befriend others or withdraw to protect themselves while others are counterphobic and
    confront others or fearful situations head-on, even seeking them out. Both phobic and counterphobic
    Sixes have underlying feelings of fear and anxiety and both can be defensive, mistrustful and
    suspicious that others may turn against them or take advantage of them if they’re not careful. They
    fear the worst and are hyper-vigilant. They anticipate problems.
    Phobic Sixes look outside themselves for guidance, support, stability and reassurance all the while not
    wanting to feel dependent on anyone. They invest their time and energy in people and organizations
    they think will be reliable, trustworthy and give them security – people and organizations who they feel
    safe with. Unfortunately, the more Sixes depend on these people the more anxious they feel inside.
    They can lose their sense of inner strength and faith in themselves in the process. Average phobic
    Sixes often look to authorities, self-confident people and/or belief systems to provide them with some
    semblance of security. Counterphobic Sixes are more independent. They can be more reactionary,
    tough, and rebellious.

Average Sixes can easily get themselves overextended with too many commitments. That’s because
they tend to feel responsible to everyone important to them (often their boss, spouse or partner,
children, parents, church leader, etc.) and try to do what is expected of them. Average Sixes want to
feel accepted and fit in but they can feel ambivalent and indecisive about their commitments. They
easily get stressed out and worry when they realize they can’t fulfill all the commitments they’ve made,
especially when these important people ask for their (the Six’s) help at the same time. When this
happens Sixes can get nervous, insecure and anxiously react to the perceived “demands” being made
of them by getting defensive, passive-aggressive or being evasive. They feel pressured yet fear that
they’ll undermine their own security if they give up any of their commitments to key people in their
life. What to do? Despite wanting predictability in their life, average Sixes can be quite unpredictable
in their emotional reactions (due to their inner confusion and apprehension) when they feel trapped or
they’re afraid. They have a tendency to complain and blame others for their own problems. They can
also be pessimistic and tend to see the glass as half empty rather than half full. Average Sixes can be
very indecisive and procrastinate on tasks when their anxiety is high or they fear that others are going
to get mad at them.
Unhealthy Sixes feel more and more insecure and unconfident in themselves so they blame others for
their own problems and anxieties. They feel a strong need to escape from the pressure of their own
doubts and inner anxiety. Unhealthy phobic Sixes can become stubborn and defensive. They oscillate
between being explosively reactionary and clingingly dependent. They can explode under pressure but
then react by clinging for fear of undermining their security by what they’ve said or done. Some
phobic Sixes will blow up at “safe people” rather than those closest to them so that they won’t
undermine their security with key people in their life. They can appear independent and defiant at
times but this is only an overcompensation for feeling insecure and needy inside. Unhealthy
counterphobic Sixes tend to react aggressively to perceived threats to their security. They can be
rebellious, belligerent and very short-tempered. They can often seem like Eights when unhealthy.

However, unlike Eights, they are confronting others out of inner doubt and fear. Whether phobic or
counterphobic, unhealthy Sixes feel the need to be tough and stand up for themselves.
They are extremely wary of who might be a friend and who might be an enemy. Due to feeling unsafe
inside, they will defend who or whatever gives them security and be derogatory (phobic Sixes) or
aggressive (counterphobic Sixes) towards perceived enemies. They can also scapegoat others for their
problems and anxieties.
Destructive Sixes are extremely insecure and anxious. They are filled with feelings of inferiority,
worthlessness and incompetence. They feel cowardly, panicky and are plagued by irrational fears.
They can be chronically depressed and may abuse drugs or alcohol as a way to escape their intense
anxiety. They are paranoid that others are out to get them and overreact to everything. Phobic Sixes
can become extremely dependent on others with occasional displays of impulsive defiance. They can
stay in abusive relationships fearing that their partner/spouse will punish them if they leave or do
anything wrong. Counterphobic Sixes can become hysterical and lash out at others. They often
become loners. Destructive Sixes have an incredible fear of abandonment. At worst they can be
masochistic, self-destructive and suicidal. They may act on their paranoid fears that someone is out to
get them by getting them first (homicide).

 

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