Sixes and Being Defined by Fear

It’s theorized that sixes make up over half of our population, and part of the reason for that is sixes really are such a broad group.  They not only have wings and subtypes, but there are also phobic and counter-phobic sixes.  

Despite the knowledge that sixes are so diverse and can look exceptionally different from one another, the stereotype that we continue to see prevalent – especially in online enneagram communities – is that sixes are debilitated by fear.  Fear is the deadly sin for sixes, and it is true that all sixes experience some form of anxiety, but the misconception is that the fear looks the same for all sixes and that it is a fear of just about everything.  The truth of the matter is the reason sixes are so diverse is because they all struggle with different fears and manage them in different ways.  Counter-phobic sixes will dive head-first into their fears to counteract their anxiety, and while phobic sixes might be more cautious it would still be fallacious to say that fear controls every aspect of their decision-making across the board.

To help give some insight as to what is actually going on inside the head of sixes, we asked different types of sixes a few questions to help us better understand them:

Sixes are often portrayed as anxiety-ridden and afraid of everything. As a six, is this something that bothers you?

“Yes, it really bothers me. Many people point out that we are always anxious and that is not true. I deal with anxiety regularly, however I’m not anxious about everything and not all the time. Sixes learn to trust God and we grow as well.

The fact that I worry also allows me to have an outcome other than anxiety, because it allows me to see problems and find possible solutions.

Another aspect that social media tends to group us together on is that sixes are always traveling to the same places, going to the same restaurant, etc.  This could be the case for some, but not for everyone. I like to discover new flavors and visit new places, and I get bored if I do the same thing over and over. Playing it safe doesn’t allow me to have new adventures, learn, and step out of my comfort zone.”

“It definitely gets old and I feel like it not only paints a false image of sixes but makes people who are new to the enneagram and trying to find their type not want to be a six or not fully identify with it. There is so much more to being a six that is barely even touched on it seems.”

What does fear/anxiety you struggle with in your own life actually look like?

“It feels like times when we should be resting but instead our running. We aren’t physically running, but our minds our racing. In those moments I need to do something physical such as journaling, walking, or cooking and get out of my head for a bit.”

“My anxiety is largely social and having to do with relationships.  The core desire for sixes is security, and my security comes from knowing all my relationships are in good standing because only then can I rest.  It was hard for me to identify as a six because my anxiety doesn’t really have to do with my environment or surroundings.  That being said, I am always very aware of my surroundings, but I’ve never seen it as a fear thing, for me it’s about being vigilant and in tune with those around me.  Sometimes that heightened awareness does fuels my anxiety via sensory overload, but again I’ve never been the six that was worried about rising crime or e. coli in my lettuce.”

What is something about being a six you with more people new?

“If they could just give us some space and time, they would see how trustworthy and loyal we are.  In addition to “loyalists”, we are also “the guardians” – we are always trying to prevent harm not only against us but others too.”

“Despite the anxiety and despite the individual fears, there isn’t anything we wouldn’t do for the ones we love.  

I would face everyone one of my fears a thousand times over if it meant protecting my family and friends.

We love deeply and are fiercely loyal, and so sometimes we feel hurt if we don’t feel that same level of loyalty in return.  We actually feel a lot more deeply than we let on.”

Written by: Stephanie Martin of @6ish_andiknowit


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