Saturday, September 8, 2007

Type 6: Security-Seeker

Examples - Description - Equivalents - Misidentifications - Variations - Wings - Instinctual Variants - Health - Levels of Development - Levels of Integration and Disintegration - Growth Recommendations


William James 6w5 sp/so
Pioneering American psychologist and philosopher.

"Action seems to follow feeling, but really action and feeling go together; and by regulating the action, which is under the more direct control of the will, we can indirectly regulate the feeling, which is not."

"Do something everyday for no other reason than you would rather not do it, so that when the hour of dire need draws nigh, it may find you not unnerved and untrained to stand the test."

"Believe that life is worth living and your belief will help create the fact. Belief creates the actual fact."

The Will to Believe
The Meaning of Truth: A Sequel to "Pragmatism"


  • Riso and Hudson's Overview "The Loyalist"

    Sixes are full of contradictions. They can be dependent on others, yet value their independence. They want to be trusted and to trust others, yet constantly test others to allay their own suspicions. They want the protection of authority, yet fear it. They are obedient yet, disobedient; fearful of aggression, yet sometimes highly aggressive themselves. They search for security, yet feel insecure. They are likable and endearing, yet can be mean and hateful. They are reassured by traditional values, yet may subvert those values. They want to escape punishment, yet may bring it on themselves. Sixes are full of contradictions because anxiety makes them ricochet from one psychological state to another. And in response to anxiety, Sixes look to structures, beliefs, allies, and authorities to put their anxiety to rest.

  • Palmer's Description "The Skeptic"

    Enneagram type 6s are the troubleshooters of the enneagram. As members of the thinking triad, they are the most out of touch with the quiet, higher thinking center and their own inner guidance. Their minds spin out of control, on future possibilities, usually imagining the worst. As a result, they are anxious and wary of their surroundings. Physically, there can be a palpable anxiety to them, and many have a wide-eyed, surprised look.

  •'s Description

    People of enneatype Six are essentially though life has never quite provided them with a proper footing, as though there existed nothing, either internally or externally, which could serve as a solid foundation. The type Six fixation is therefore deeply and fundamentally existential, and there exists at the core of enneatype Six a tight knot of anxiety, an essential disquietude, and a deep seated desire to find something or someone stable enough in which to place some trust. Given this essential dynamic, it is not surprising therefore to find that Sixes have core issues centering around the contrast between faith and scepticism, trust and distrust, and the legitimate exercise of authority versus the abuse and misuse of power. All Sixes share these core issues, but they respond to them in quite a wide variety of ways, making type Six the most variegated of all the enneatypes and the most difficult by far to describe with specificity.
  • Myers-Briggs Equivalents

    More Common:
    ESFJ "The Helper" - Foster warmth and efficiency to get self and others to get a job done.
    ISFJ "The Nurturer"- Sympathetic traditionalists quietly self-sacrificing to get a job done.
    ENTJ "The Leader" - Use analysis and strategy to use resources to meet a challenge.

    Quite Common:
    ISFP "The Asthete" - Avoid disagreements, seeking harmony with people and nature.
    ENTP "The Innovator" - Adaptable, innovative, freeing self from structure for action.
    INTJ "The Free-Thinker" - Insightful, quick individualists who trust their own vision.
    INTP "The Wizard" - Develops unusual and complex ideas, challenging accepted truth.
    ENFJ "The Sage" - Able communicators who facilitate interpersonal sensitivity.
    INFJ "The Mystic" - Have deeply felt compassion, desiring harmony with others.


6w5 - Seeking Security and Knowledge
  • LifeExplore

    Sixes with a 5 wing are generally introverted and somewhat intellectual. When healthy, they often have many realms of interest as well as surprising competencies and skills. May have an original and idiosyncratic point of view. Can be bookish; some are interested in history or feel rooted in the past or related to a long tradition. Also good at predicting the future. May test potential friends for a long time but once you're in, you're in - a friend for life. When more entranced, they may project a willed remoteness. Have a "tip of the iceberg" quality - they show little but you sense hidden dimensions, intensity and activity. Tension between needing to be seen and withdrawing for protection. Might act arrogant or cryptic or cynical when afraid. When phobic, can be diplomatic and say things without saying them. Entranced counterphobics are either cool and loners or argumentative, tending towards violence. Can brood over injustices to them, entertain conspiracy theories, spend time alone building cases. Paranoia in private. May like secretive behind-the-scenes group activity. Sneaky vengeance, passive/aggressive toward others, self-attacking and self-destructive at home.
6w7 - Seeking Security and Stimulation
  • LifeExplore

    Sixes with a 7 wing are generally outgoing and may appear more overtly nervous. More plainly want to be liked and will pursue others in contrast to 5 wing who pulls in. Can be charming, sociable, ingratiating. Have a faster tempo, stronger connection to 3. Often self-preservation subtypes, characterized by a personal warmth. Can have a cheerful, forward-looking drive and be disarmingly funny. Self-effacing, gracious and curious. When more entranced, may be self-contradicting and seem as if they want two things at once. Sometimes test others overtly, drive you crazy with mixed messages. It may be hard to follow what they're saying. When threatened, one defense is to become impossible to please. When counterphobic, they tend to be accusative. Some get caught up in big plans that they hope will result in material security. Also can be insecure, irritable, petty, irrational, chaotic. Subject to mood swings, inferiority complexes, runaway fears. May have hair-trigger flare-ups of paranoia. Falsely accuse others and then seem not to realize it. Other times they plead to be taken care of. Sometimes defensively conservative in their lifestyle. Some struggle with appetite.

Instinctual Variants

Sexual 6 - Seeking Intimacy/Intensity
  • Udit Patel "Feisty Vulnerability (Ichazo's "Strength and Beauty")"

    Sexual Sixes get their sense of security primarily from their emotional bond with a significant other. But they also have many doubts, both about their own ability to have a suitable mate and about the mate's ability or willingness to really be there for them. Sexual Sixes often manifest a tension between their gender roles: they are both masculine and feminine, "macho" and coquettish. Moreover, Sexual Six women have a tough, tomboy side to them but still come across as feminine. Similarly, the men of this Variant display a sensitivity and vulnerability while being essentially masculine. Sexual Sixes also tend to be emotionally intense, like Eights and Fours. Part of this comes from anxiety about their ability to keep a strong, capable partner. Thus, Sexual Sixes try to cultivate their masculine or feminine attributes in order to find a good partner and, later, to remain appealing to this person. Often, they feel most comfortable relating to members of the opposite sex and may feel competitive with the same sex. They also tend to test their significant others to see if they are strong enough and to make sure that they are really committed to the relationship. When more stressed, Sexual Sixes can be emotionally volatile, with their feelings about people changing strongly and suddenly. They fall into suspiciousness about their partner and can be quite jealous, while at the same time feeling a strong need to "prove" their desirability.

  • LifeExplore

    Sixes with this subtype tend to act strong or seductive when insecure. They are much more likely to be counterphobic, especially the men. May seem like Eights, take risks, talk tough. Act powerful and in control at the times when they feel most frightened. Worry about looking weak, having their fears show. May act arrogant but aren't really. Some study martial arts or seek a way of life that makes them strong. Beauty is another focus; trying to seem attractive so as to contain fear, get approval, and distract others. May consciously hide behind a seductive mask. Unlike Threes, Sixes know they are hiding. Can act cool and patrician or be flirty. Some have a focus on aesthetics. This subtype often has a stronger connection to the vanity of 3.
Social 6 - Seeking Acceptance/Belonging/Inclusion/Status
  • Udit Patel "Generating Support (Ichazo's "Duty")"

    Social Sixes look for security in the social sphere—that is, through their affiliations with different people and organizations. They are warm, engaging, and humorous, trying to send out the message that they are approachable and safe. They like to enlist people, getting others involved in projects or activities they see as worthwhile. Social Sixes frequently volunteer to work in groups and committees. They do not necessarily enjoy doing this, but they see it is necessary and so are willing to give their time and energy. They want to be regarded as regular guys or gals and may have difficulty taking stands that would be unpopular in their peer groups. They seek consensus before moving ahead with their agendas and they want to feel that others are "with them," backing them up. Although Social Sixes like being involved, they often become nervous about holding positions of responsibility because they are afraid that they will have to make decisions that others will not like, thus losing their support. When more insecure, their suspiciousness may lead them to form in-groups and out-groups in the workplace or in other social or societal areas.

  • LifeExplore

    Social Sixes tend to be dutiful and especially dependent upon authority. More often phobic than counterphobic. Often dedicated to a cause. When acting alone they will still refer to others in their mind for safety and agreement. May want to see your opinion first before they will offer their own. Could change their mind to agree with you. Often align with a group or a cause and will follow the rules loyally, trying to please the boss. "Company men." Focus on a social or work context and try to be ideal within it. Could persecute others in the name of their group's ideals. May imagine they can't live without the group's support: "If I don't play by the rules I'll be out on the street selling pencils." Later there's inevitable disillusionment. Then Six starts grumbling that they are not appreciated. Could go passive/aggressive, resent a boss they had romanticized. Connection to 9 is stronger with this subtype.
Self-Preservation 6 - Seeking Saftey/Comfort
  • Udit Patel "Responsibility (Ichazo's "Affection")"

    Self-Preservation Sixes find their security through safeguarding resources—money, food, property, shelter, and so forth—and tend to chronically worry about these things. ("Have the bills been paid?" "Have the car's brakes been checked recently?" "Do we have enough insurance?") They care a great deal about safety and thrift. Indeed, Self-Pres Sixes feel most secure when they are responsible for financial matters, and believe that their effective running of these affairs is something they can contribute. When they are less secure, however, they do not trust others to be responsible. They need to be constantly informed, if not entirely in control, of practical matters that affect them. Self-Pres Sixes can be funny and friendly and want to be involved and engaged, but they have difficulty relaxing, especially around unfamiliar others. They are more introverted and more likely to be loners than the other Sixes. When more stressed, they may stay in punishing situations longer than they should (bad jobs, bad marriages) or become concerned with having control of resources, like a less healthy Eight.

  • LifeExplore

    Self-preservation Sixes often display a personal warmth that is meant to defang the potential hostility of others. If they sense aggression or disapproval in the environment, they may counterphobically zero in on it. Use humor, charm, self-depreciation to make friends out of possible enemies. Can flatter like Twos, play themselves down, work to maintain other people's affection. Act vulnerable, invite rescue. Ingratiating, but more nervously dependent than other Six subtypes. Also less in touch with their own hostility. Their home environment is sometimes important. May feel like their house is a fortress against the outside world's dangers. Worry about their ability to survive; have scary "worst-that-can-happen" fantasies.


Levels of Development
  • Riso & Hudson's Levels of Development

    Level 1 (Most Healthy - The Level of Liberation): Become self-affirming, trusting of self and others, independent yet symbiotically interdependent and cooperative as an equal. Belief in self leads to true courage, positive thinking, leadership, and rich self-expression.

    Level 5 (Average - The Level of Interpersonal Control): To resist having more demands made on them, they react against others passive-aggressively. Become evasive, indecisive, cautious, procrastinating, and ambivalent. Are highly reactive, anxious, and negative, giving contradictory, "mixed signals." Internal confusion makes them react unpredictably.

    Level 9 (Most Unhealthy - The Level of Pathological Destructiveness): Hysterical, and seeking to escape punishment, they become self-destructive and suicidal. Alcoholism, drug overdoses, "skid row," self-abasing behavior. Generally corresponds to the Passive-Aggressive and Paranoid personality disorders.

  • Riso & Hudson's Levels of Development In-Depth

  • Healthy and Unhealthy "Loops"

    Healthy loop: controlled by Basic Desire: Need to be secure -> loyal -> security -> Need to be secure. In the healthy state, the need to be secure induces Type Sixes to be loyal to others, especially the authority. This increases their security among others, which satisfies their need and a balance is reached.

    Average state: when Sixes' are not not being so loyal to others, they start to feel insecure among others. This increases the need to be secure, which helps Sixes to again seek out authority and become loyal to it, or become more loyal to others around them. Thus the balancing loop can help Sixes to recover.

    Unhealthy loop: controlled by Basic Fear: Fear of being abandoned -> distrust others -> security -> Fear of being abandoned. In the unhealthy state, the basic fear of being abandoned can cause Type Sixes to become suspicious of others and start to distrust others. This reduces their sense of security, which further increases Sixes' basic fear. The cycle continues to build up.

    Insight: We can see from the diagram that a way to help break the control of the basic fear is to weaken the unhealthy loop. Sixes can refrain from distrusting others, and begin to be more loyal to others. This will make them feel more secure, thus reduce their fear of being abandoned.

Levels of Integration and Disintegration

Integration (Six Goes to Healthy Nine)

  • Udit Patel

    As Sixes learn to trust themselves more, they also become more open to life and to other people. They gradually learn to relax their hypervigilance and simply be with themselves or with whatever life is presenting in the moment. They gain a deeper acceptance of life's ups and downs such that they are not riddled with dread and anxiety. They are inclusive and supportive of others—and much more at peace. Integrating Sixes are able to let their minds rest in their natural, pristine state of clarity and inner quiet. They are able to stop second-guessing everything and let their own inner wisdom arise. The result is that they are more serene, grounded, and joyous—light and stable.

  • Wake-Up Call

    Awareness of becoming dependent on something outside the self for guidance—so that they can rise to become grounded in their own inner guidance and feeling of endless support.

Security (Six Goes to Average Nine)

  • Udit Patel

    In situations where Sixes feel secure, they begin to deal with stress by simply shutting down and becoming indifferent to their surroundings, like average Nines. They do not want to be disturbed or bothered by loved ones—they feel that they have been working hard and they experience virtually any kind of interaction as another source of pressure. They will be pleasant one moment, but can suddenly become stubbornly resistant and shut down in the next if they feel that others are demanding something of them. At such times, Sixes become unavailable and passive-aggressive, not wanting to respond to others or to move out of comforting but numbing routines.

Disintegration (Six Goes to Average Three)

  • Udit Patel

    Sixes are often visibly nervous, reacting with self-doubt to situations and getting caught in over-thinking a problem. When stress escalates beyond the normal level, however, they jump into action—and stay in action, trying to deal with their anxieties by working harder. If, for example, they feel pressured at work, Sixes may spend their weekend frantically doing yard chores or obsessively reorganizing the closets as a way of discharging or avoiding feelings of inadequacy. They also fear letting others know how overwhelmed they are, so they may take on a false persona of competency and efficiency, like average Threes. ("Don't worry about anything. I've got this handled.") They focus increasingly on tasks and on being efficient while cutting off from their feelings so that they can stay functional, but this can lead to major emotional problems for them and for their relationships.
Growth Recommendations
  • Riso & Hudson's Personal Growth Recommendations

  • Udit Patel

    Sixes grow by recognizing that the only real security in life comes from within. While we can work hard to build our finances, to find the right friends and the right partner, and to foresee every possible mishap, ultimately, none of the external structures that we use to give ourselves confidence will always work for us. Things can and do go wrong, and the supports that we rely on inevitably change. Therefore, growth for a Six entails finding the support of their own inner knowing. It involves finding the place inside themselves that is quiet, strong, and capable. But this cannot happen by itself. Discovering these inner resources takes time and work, although, fortunately, Sixes understand the usefulness of perseverance and dedication. Sixes will know firsthand the value of discovering their inner resources when they take time to relax their constant vigilance and find faith in themselves.
  • Palmer's Exercises

    Think about how you feel supported in life. In what ways have you looked outside yourself for support? What belief systems have made you feel secure? If you wish, write down your observations.

    Now think about how you have disowned your own inner guidance by looking outside yourself for security. Have you missed opportunities for growth because of fear? Have you ignored your own hearts desires because of fear? In what ways have you reacted against your fears?

    To access your own inner guidance, you must learn to distinguish between opinions and real guidance. Opinions need defending. Your own inner guidance comes from a quiet place, and will just feel right. You won’t feel the need to defend it; you will just know that it is right for you. To access your own inner guidance, you will need to learn to quiet your overactive mind, connect with your body and heart, and your higher thinking center.

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