SIXES are known for their loyalty and for being excellent trouble-shooters. They use their analytical ability to discern what could be threatening to their well-being, or that of the group or family. They then begin exploring alternatives to head off hazards. No matter how well things are going, part of their attention is always on what could go wrong. This comes from a belief that the world is an unsafe place and cannot be trusted. In order to feel safe and secure you have to be vigilant. The driving energy behind this cautious outlook is fear of worst possible outcomes. Many SIXES say they do not initially identify this energy as fear, but they concur that the mental habit of doubt is virtually always present. SIXES report having a hard time making decisions as they search for certainty, and are often procrastinators. They say they do everything to avoid dependency in a world that cannot be trusted. The focus of attention is on what could go wrong, and on figuring out if others are trustworthy. When discomfort is present, SIXES automatically use the defense mechanism of projection in which they put their worst fears onto others. Ironically, this continual vigilance and quest for certainty interferes with ever experiencing a basic sense of trust in the world.
SIX is the only enneagram type which has two different responses to the basic belief. Some SIXES (phobic) respond to fear or doubt by being exceedingly cautious and aligning with authority. Other SIXES (counter-phobic) respond by aggressively moving towards that which they fear in order to stop feeling the fear. Counter-phobic SIXES often look like EIGHTS.
What pushes SIX’S buttons?
Being controlled by others
How do others experience SIXES?
The Good: Others love that SIXES are warm, funny, loyal, and great trouble-shooters. Their warmth and caring assure a safe environment. SIXES are very present in relationships.
The Bad: Anxious, over-analyzing, untrusting. Can be cutting. If they do not know what’s going on with you, they will assume it is the worst. Sometimes playing devil's advocate gets out of control.
The Better: When SIXES get to know their patterns, they can ask themselves if the worst outcome is all that unbearable. They learn gradually to have faith in their capacity to prevail.
SIX with a FIVE wing (6w5) is more analytical. Interesting hobbies, may be a big reader with specific areas of interest. Loyal friend.
SIX with a SEVEN wing (6w7) is more outgoing than 6w5 and can be more volatile under stress. They can be charming and funny.
SIX'S healthy connection to NINE'S groundedness can bring much-needed faith in SIX'S capacity to prevail.
SIX'S connection to THREE can bring healthy follow-through and productivity. Unhealthy connection brings phoniness in order to be liked.
Self-preservation SIXES are warm, friendly and charming to disarm potentially hostile people. Can be self-deprecating and humorous. May look like TWOS.
Social SIXES will align with the group or cause and be loyal. They say they play by the rules for the group's support.
Intimate SIXES, in order to manage fear, will act strong or beautiful to distract others.
Famous SIXES: Woody Allen, Ellen DeGeneres, Richard Nixon, Mary Tyler Moore, Jon Stewart, Janet Reno, Krishnamurti
SIXES in the movies: Martin Landau in Crimes and Misdemeanors; Bill Murray in What About Bob?; Humphrey Bogart in The Caine Mutiny; Diane Keaton in Annie Hall; Bert Lahr (The Cowardly Lion) in The Wizard of Oz