‘Til yesterday, a club I could not join;
My Meyers-Briggs no longer seen legit.
Where INTJ used to be my coin;
Enneagram now seems to be the fit.
Discovered 6 with wing of 5 I am;
and must admit it seems to have me nailed.
I now come to The Alter not a sham;
Can speak the lingo which before had sailed
Over my head, and god knows I hate that
So “in the know” I know where I exist
Not typecast so to wear it like a hat
Just one more tool to help myself untwist
Or deconstruct, unfold, and peel a layer
As deep into myself I try to see
Am I a fake – a fraud without a prayer?
Or am I finally down to plain old me?
OK, so I won’t leave you wondering what the heck the above verses are all about (you’re welcome, Frank). I have gotten hooked on a couple podcasts/YouTube livestreams by Kate and Colby Martin.
Not gonna lie – I’m kind of a fanboy.
Yesterday, I was listening to Colby’s show “The Alter” (the “misspelling” is intentional and clever), and he talked in depth about his enneagram type as he took apart some of his behavior, asking himself if those were part of “genuine” Colby or a fraudulent projection. Here’s a link to the article he wrote that was discussed on the show, “I Don’t MEAN to be a Fraud… I Think?”
Anyhow, I was feeling left out with all of the enneagram talk (which is likely a flaw in myself I will own), so after the episode, I went and did an assessment. I did some research to find the most respected purveyors of the product (I’m not a total rube), and settled on an assessment offered by The Enneagram Institute.
Type Six in Brief
The committed, security-oriented type. Sixes are reliable, hard-working, responsible, and trustworthy. Excellent “troubleshooters,” they foresee problems and foster cooperation, but can also become defensive, evasive, and anxious—running on stress while complaining about it. They can be cautious and indecisive, but also reactive, defiant and rebellious. They typically have problems with self-doubt and suspicion. At their Best: internally stable and self-reliant, courageously championing themselves and others.
- Basic Fear: Of being without support and guidance
- Basic Desire: To have security and support
- Enneagram Six with a Five-Wing: “The Defender”
Key Motivations: Want to have security, to feel supported by others, to have certitude and reassurance, to test the attitudes of others toward them, to fight against anxiety and insecurity.
Type Six Overview
We have named personality type Six The Loyalist because, of all the personality types, Sixes are the most loyal to their friends and to their beliefs. They will “go down with the ship” and hang on to relationships of all kinds far longer than most other types. Sixes are also loyal to ideas, systems, and beliefs—even to the belief that all ideas or authorities should be questioned or defied. Indeed, not all Sixes go along with the “status quo”: their beliefs may be rebellious and anti-authoritarian, even revolutionary. In any case, they will typically fight for their beliefs more fiercely than they will fight for themselves, and they will defend their community or family more tenaciously than they will defend themselves.
The reason Sixes are so loyal to others is that they do not want to be abandoned and left without support—their Basic Fear. Thus, the central issue for type Six is a failure of self-confidence. Sixes come to believe that they do not possess the internal resources to handle life’s challenges and vagaries alone, and so increasingly rely on structures, allies, beliefs, and supports outside themselves for guidance to survive. If suitable structures do not exist, they will help create and maintain them.
Sixes are always aware of their anxieties and are always looking for ways to construct “social security” bulwarks against them. If Sixes feel that they have sufficient back up, they can move forward with some degree of confidence. But if that crumbles, they become anxious and self-doubting, reawakening their Basic Fear. (“I’m on my own! What am I going to do now?”) A good question for Sixes might therefore be: “When will I know that I have enough security?” Or, to get right to the heart of it, “What is security?” Without Essential inner guidance and the deep sense of support that it brings, Sixes are constantly struggling to find firm ground.
Sixes attempt to build a network of trust over a background of unsteadiness and fear. They are often filled with a nameless anxiety and then try to find or create reasons why. Wanting to feel that there is something solid and clear-cut in their lives, they can become attached to explanations or positions that seem to explain their situation. Because “belief” (trust, faith, convictions, positions) is difficult for Sixes to achieve, and because it is so important to their sense of stability, once they establish a trustworthy belief, they do not easily question it, nor do they want others to do so. The same is true for individuals in a Six’s life: once Sixes feel they can trust someone, they go to great lengths to maintain connections with the person who acts as a sounding board, a mentor, or a regulator for the Six’s emotional reactions and behavior. They therefore do everything in their power to keep their affiliations going. (“If I don’t trust myself, then I have to find something in this world I can trust.”)
The biggest problem for Sixes is that they try to build safety in the environment without resolving their own emotional insecurities. When they learn to face their anxieties, however, Sixes understand that although the world is always changing and is, by nature uncertain, they can be serene and courageous in any circumstance. And they can attain the greatest gift of all, a sense of peace with themselves despite the uncertainties of life.