6: Cowardice, Paranoid Character and Accusation

Contents: Please use these links to jump to the relevant sections.

The Enneagram 6

The dominant ruling passion in the phobic 6 is fear, or an attitude of “heroic striving” in the face of it (counter-phobic). They live with a persistent form of anxiety—fear without the perception of external or internal danger. The 6 has an attitude of self-invalidation, self-opposition, and self-blaming, becoming an enemy to oneself rather than meet an outer enemy. 6s worry unduly about events that may never transpire, depleting their inner energies by anticipating impossible negative outcomes.

The 6 is the only type to have three distinct ‘manifestations’: the phobic 6, the counter-phobic 6, and the rigid 6. Phobic 6s have an avoidant and dependent personality; counter-phobic (cp) 6s a paranoid and obsessive one. The cp6 indulges in paranoid hatefulness as a defense against love, or a complete surrender to another. The phobic 6 offers love and obedience to parental authority, the rigid 6 obeys absolute principles to an ideology, and the cp6 defends himself violently against surrender by avoiding doubt, ambiguity, and indecision with excessive certainty. Rigid 6s may appear cold, humorless, and overly serious. They pride themselves on being rational, unemotional, and objective, “true believers” who will lay low those who disagree with them.

6s may be cold and quarrelsome, warm and affable, or both. They can be over-aroused, over-motivated, hypersensitive to potential rejection, shame, and humiliation, and unwilling to enter relationships without guarantees of unconditional acceptance. They may socially withdraw despite a desire for attention and acceptance, and have low self esteem.

Unlike the 5, who has trouble attaching to others, the 6 is cautious yet open to attachment. They possess greater emotionality in their ability to feel pain, and more outward warmth. They feel their loneliness and isolated experience deeply, especially being “out of things” as painful, and have a strong desire for acceptance. They long to relate and be active participants in a social life, but fear giving their welfare into another’s hands.

The phobic 6’s reactive behavior limits self to avoiding situations originally wished for (they may want love, marriage, children, friendship, or success, but be too fearful to initiate or pursue that course).

Rigid 6s are dutiful and authoritarian. Despite their refusal to conform, they are rigid and prone to perfectionism, grim, humorless, tense, controlled and inflexible, small-minded, legalistic, and self-righteous. They are independent through habits of over control and faultlessness. They seek rules, regulations, and to impose order and system in their life. They are their own ruthless slave drivers in search of power and order. These 6s are more inner-directed and introverted. This 6 also has ruthless logic, because it relates more to the subject than the object. They focus on disarming all opponents, lest they prove themselves a nuisance. This 6 is stubborn, headstrong, and un-amenable to influence or persuasion.

6s may be melancholy, morose, despairing, distant, suspicious, inclined to take things ill, irritable, misanthropic, or cowardly. The 6 carries a sense of deficiency, fault, or flaw. The phobic 6 shows clear signs symptoms of fearfulness, insecurity, dejection, and a sense of being forsaken. They become irritable under duress, combined with their own weakness and environmental sensitivities. If this 6 expresses their feelings and frustrations in an angry outburst, they fall into later remorse.

Phobic 6s are modest, shy, and fainthearted. They act only after considering every possible consequence and weighing every step to know precisely where they stand and what they think. The 6 improves once made aware that inaction also brings consequences, so they may as well assert themselves and enjoy it!

CP6 Traits Shared with Paranoid Personality Disorder: a pervasive and unwarranted suspiciousness or mistrust of people, hypersensitivity and restricted affectivity, hyper-vigilance, take precautions against any perceived threat. Avoid blame even when warranted. Guarded, secretive, devious, and scheming. They question others, always expecting trickery. They are concerned with hidden motives and secret meanings. They struggle to relax, appear tense, and lash out or counter-attack when feeling threatened.

Identifiable Traits:

Fear, Cowardice & Anxiety: fear of change, making mistakes, the unknown, letting go, hostility or trickery, not being able to cope, not surviving, betrayal, of loving, and aloneness in a threatening world. Paranoid jealousy, insecurity, hesitation, indecision, tentativeness, being paralyzed by doubt. Mobilized impulsivity. The 6 may be out of touch, decision-avoidant, compromising, over-careful, cautious, never quite sure, lack self-confidence and over-rehearse. They struggle to adapt in an unstructured environment without a guideline for behavior. The 6 fears spontaneity may lead to disaster. They fear the outer world and the future consequences of their present actions. They dread giving free reign to aggressive or sexual impulses. They distrust their ability to cope with situations, and face constant insecurity and a need to rely on others.

Over-Alert Hyper-Intentionality: a suspicious, over-cautious disposition. On the lookout for hidden meanings, clues, and the usual. Excessive deliberation. An exaggerated need to rely on rational choices.

Thorough Orientation: driven by uncertainty to want to know more. Wants and needs but also distrusts guidance. May appeal to logic or reason itself. The 6 is the most logical type in its intellectualism. Is inclined to develop a fanatical allegiance to “reason.” 6 is a questioner and potential philosopher. The 6 problem-solves but also problem-creates, by seeking problems in the first place. For the phobic 6, seeking refuse in mental activity is also a sign of fearful holding back, indirectness, vagueness, and beating around the bush.

Ingratiating Friendliness: the warmth of the 6 is actually a dismantling mechanism intended to make others like and not “harm” them. 6s are warm, generous, faithful, considerate, sensitive, and in need of support and validation. They are prone to sadness, forlornness, and a sense of abandonment like the 4, and seek a stronger partner that gives them security.

Rigidity: general dutifulness, such as obedience to the law, living up to their responsibilities, and role-following. Rigid 6s want clear cut rules and guidelines and are intolerant of ambiguity. They prefer the rules of a past or present authority. They are controlled, correct, and well-informed, hardworking, punctual, precise, and responsible.

Argumentative: cp6s are aggressive, fight parental authority, and later use a position of authority to feel safe and pursue what they want. If the 6 uses competitive tactics to “take” from another, they will feel guilt, fear of retaliation, and paranoid insecurity. They are argumentative, critical, skeptical, and analytical, pressuring others to conform, blunt, strong, courageous, and grandiose.

Orientation to Authority & Ideals: all the 6s are drawn to, skeptical of and distrusting of authority, yet the 6 often submits to those above them in the authority hierarchy and shows aggression to those below them. They both hate and love authority, being the most explicitly ambivalent of all the types. They have traits of submissiveness, a demand for obedience and love, hate, and ambivalence; the 6 obsesses over authority figures, either in individualized hero-worship, in a generalized attraction to those “great and powerful,” or in an orientation toward impersonal greatness. In this way, the 6s are idealistic.

Defense Mechanisms

Accusation of Self and Others: the guilt-prone nature of the 6 accompanies a tendency toward projection and the creation of outer enemies. The 6 appeases guilt through appeasing their potential accusers, through submission to personal or intellectual authorities, or through an assertive bluffing to hide their weakness and imperfections. In becoming an authority, the 6 self-protects and avoids blame. Guilt can become defensiveness, self-justification, and insecurity. The 6 self-accuses and becomes their own enemy. This developed as a consequence of fear and becomes its root. To avoid guilt, the 6 will cast their blame on others, assuming them to have the same fears, tendencies, weaknesses, or motives the 6 has or fears. 6s are suspicious and critical, feeling entitled to pronounce judgment on others.

Doubt and Ambivalence: the 6 both invalidates and props itself up, feeling both grand and persecuted. The 6s doubts itself and doubts its doubt; is suspicious of others but fearful of being mistaken. This creates chronic uncertainty toward choosing a course of action, and the 6’s need of support and guidance. At times, the 6 will take on an attitude of total belief to combat this, but is inwardly unsure. The 6 is more unsure about people, ideals, beliefs, and where to place their trust than any other type. Their intellectual doubt becomes split in a desire to please and move against, obey and rebel, admire and invalidate.

Defense Mechanisms: paranoid projection. Attributing one’s own unacknowledged thoughts, motives, or feelings to others. The 6 may disown their own self-accusation, blaming it as coming from an outside source. The 6 feels watched and judged. Self-condemnation becomes an accusation of others. It’s an avoidance of guilt. The 6 chooses to placate their ‘enemies’ by becoming an enemy of itself. They assume it prudent to adopt a self-accusing attitude, to avoid trouble with others. Self-accusation sees monstrosity where there is only nature, and the 6 tends to magnify it beyond its due. Their inhibition prevents them from knowing themselves and vulnerable to self-vilification.

What formed them: the 6 child sought protective alliances and to find intellectual life through reason and ideology. They feared punishment and emotional rebukes, and had issues with their authority-bearing parent. The phobic 6 became the most yielding, and the cp6 the most competitive and rebellious. In being cautioned to be careful and make good choices, the 6 child may have learned to distrust their own internal resources and the world around them. Circumstance or trauma may have made the 6 want to avoid hurting their parents through dutiful obedience.

In love, the cp6 demands obedience, but the phobic 6 equates love with protection, a source of security to compensate for their insecurity—a strong person to lean on. The rigid 6 is too uncertain about individual people to give them power, so chooses an impersonal system of authority.

“Fear of doing” for the 6 means they are out of touch with themselves. They project negativity onto the future and carry a sense of fearful anticipation borne of the terror of looking within and finding nothing and nobody there. The 6 does not quite look, rather than ignore it altogether or dwell on it. Their concern with security is not rooted in physical or emotional fear so much as excessive clutching at outward security out of an insecurity that is “not of this world.” They avoid risk, and have excessive concern with power and authority, choosing a life of fantasy rather than the ordinary.

The 6 must learn to look inward, believe there is ‘someone home’ in them, and force themselves out of ambivalence toward certainty—not of a rigid variety, but a willingness to make mistakes, take risks, and to accept that most of what they fear likely will never happen.

The 6 must learn to look inward, believe there is ‘someone home’ in them, and force themselves out of ambivalence toward certainty—not of a rigid variety, but a willingness to make mistakes, take risks, and to accept that most of what they fear likely will never happen.

Enneagram 6 Wings

Enneagram types often have influences from the number on one side of them, more than the other. While it’s possible to have balanced wings, or no wing at all, most people can relate to one wing in particular.

6w5: The Defender

Healthy: 6w5s often excel at various kinds of technical expertise, making them outstanding practical problem-solvers, analysts, social commentators, teachers, and opinion leaders. They are attracted to systems of knowledge where the rules and parameters are well-established, such as mathematics, law, and science. They possess greater powers of concentration than the 6w7 but are narrower in their concerns and interests. They often serve as a spokesperson or champion for disadvantaged groups or individuals.

Average: They are more independent and serious than 6w7s, and less likely to go to others for reassurance or advice. They are often loners. They get reassurance from systems and beliefs, while remaining skeptical. 6w5s tend to see the world as dangerous, leading to partisan stances and reactionary positions. Secretiveness can fuel suspicion. They usually see themselves as rebellious and anti-authoritarian while being constantly drawn to system, alliances, and beliefs that contain strong authoritarian elements. They are reactive and aggressive, typically tending to blame of scapegoat perceived threats to their security.

6w7: The Buddy

Healthy: Engaging and funny, 6w7s are less serious than 6w5s—they tend to avoid “heavy” topics and restrict their focus to their security needs. They are serious about commitments and make sacrifices to ensure the safety and well-being of their family and friends. They enjoy good company, kidding around, and emphasizing their connections with others. They combine interpersonal qualities with energy, humor, and a zest for experience. They can also be self-deprecating, turning their fears into occasions for joking and bonding with others.

Average: They are eager to be liked and accepted, but hesitant to speak out about themselves or their problems. While sociable, they are also visibly insecure and depend on loved ones for reassurance and advice before coming to important decisions. They have problems with procrastination and initiating projects on their own. They tend to get into diversions and distractions to quiet their anxiety, including sports, shopping, and “hanging out” with others. Overeating, drinking, and substance abuse are possible. They can be opinionated and vocal about their likes and dislikes. Anxiety about personal failings or important relationships can lead to depression.

Social Variants:

Read through each to determine which resonates the most with you.

The Self Preservation 6: Responsibility

Average self-preservation 6s attempt to ally their survival anxieties by working hard to build up security through mutual responsibility. They offer service and commitment with the expectation others will reciprocate it. Although they seek secure partnerships, these 6s tend to make friends slowly; they observe others over time to see if they are trustworthy and truly on their side. They are more domestic than other 6s and are frequently concerned with maintaining the stability of their home life. They often take care of the security needs of the household: bills, taxes, life insurance, etc. Much of their anxiety may relate to their state of health and how they feel, toward neurotic worries about their physical health and safety.

They do not disguise their neediness or anxiety, and may use it to gain allies and supporter—because vulnerability can elicit help from others. They fret about small things, which can lead to catastrophic thinking and worst-case scenarios (“the rent is five days late! We’ll get evicted for sure!”). They are frugal and worry a great deal about financial matters. Conflicts with others over resources are common.

In the unhealthy range, these 6s are extremely clingy, dependent, and panicky. They stay in punishing situations (bad marriages or overly stressful jobs) because they are terrified of being without support., They may grasp at relationships with such forceful anxiety, they end up alienating the very people with whom they want to bond. Paranoia may drive them to become more aggressive: they exaggerate dangers and strike out at “enemies” to ensure no one will be able to threaten them. This often ends up destroying their own security systems.

Self-preservation 6s can thus look like 2s in that they are warm, friendly and put a lot of energy and attention into the development of relationships with others. Like 2s, these 6s lead with affection and accommodate others as a way of forging connections, but unlike 2s, their deepest motivation is to create safety, not to gain approval in support of pride.

The Social 6: Generating Support

Average social 6s handle anxiety by looking to friends and allies for reassurance and support. They project friendliness and attempt to create bonds with others, disarming them with warmth and humor. They often make fun of themselves while offering support and affection to others and can often be mistaken for 2s. They are the most concerned about fitting in (“there’s safety in numbers”). They are fairly idealistic, enjoying the feeling of being part of something larger than themselves, such as a cause, movement, or group (even if it’s just their family or friendship circle)—and are willing to make major sacrifices for those people.

They look for reassurance through commitments, obligations, and contracts—insurance that their hard work will not be taken advantage of. When they are more insecure, these 6s look for places of safety where like-minded individuals help each other out. Although able to make major efforts for others, these 6s struggle with working for their own success or development. Anxiety can cause them to look for a consensus before they act or make decisions. It can also lead them to lead them to reference the potential responses of others in their imagination. Their own indecisiveness bothers them and leads to ambivalence about depending on allies or authorities. They fear losing the support of the group or authority but chafe at the bit. If frustrated, they can develop passive-aggressive issues with authorities or friends. Under stress, they can easily feel pressured, overworked, and underappreciated, and turn negative and pessimistic.

Unhealthy social 6s become attracted to fanatical beliefs, causes, and groups. They may develop an “us against the world” mentality, feeling besieged by a hostile environment (somewhat like an unhealthy 8). They can be unquestioning of their beliefs (even if others find them questionable) and slavish to a particular authority, while being extremely paranoid about authorities not in alignment with their own belief systems.

These 6s have many characteristics in common with 1s. They follow rules and tend to be controlled, critical, hardworking, punctual, precise, and responsible. But while a sense of their internal standards guide the 1s, the 6’s fear of making a mistake has more to do with getting in trouble with an external authority. The love of precision and the efficiency of this 6 also make them resemble 3s; however, their main motivation is to avoid anxiety by finding a sense of authority in reference points, not to accomplish goals and look good through efficiency.

The Sexual 6: Power and Connection

This 6 seeks a partner who they can devote themselves to fully; a partner who will prove faithful and committed in return. There is an intensity within their intimate relationships, primarily with their significant other. This intensity stems from their passionate seeking for a solid, dependable bond. They wish to partner with someone whom they can trust completely and depend on when in need. They subconsciously believe if they were to manifest this ideal, they could finally put their fear of being alone in the world to rest. If this dream goes unrealized, their insecurity grows.

The sexual six eases their growing anxiety by striving harder to prove their desirability as a partner. The strategies they use to attract a partner and keep them devoted depends on which side of the dichotomy they fall on. The sexual six may fall anywhere between the dichotomy of strength and beauty. Sexual 6s can appear to be in stark contrast to one another depending on which side of this dichotomy they are on.

This tends to reveal itself differently in the male and female sexual 6.

If he is on the strength side, he will appear tough and intimidating to others. This is the way the overcompensation shows itself. Their macho-ness and staunch bravado covers their fear and anxiety. This is so unconscious to them, they may be oblivious to it. For this reason, this 6 will probably see himself as an 8 because he appears to have the tough guy attitude who is ready to confront anyone. From the outside looking in, their anger seems to come from a more reactive place than an 8. Their intimidation tactics are to deter you from messing with them. It serves as an unconscious means of testing whether people are friendly or hostile towards them. This is counter-intuitive because being hostile towards others breeds hostility from others. However, in provoking people to respond to them, they gain certainty in who they can trust and who they need to be wary of, and also what the power dynamics are between everyone.

Hidden beneath the bravado exists the other side of the dichotomy, which reveals a more feminine energy. They may switch from being strong and edgy, to kind, soft-spoken, and gentle. They may feel sympathy for those who are frightened or need support such as children or animals. They may rescue a kitten stuck in a tree, come to someone’s aid who is being bullied, or adopt an abandoned child. All of this being symbolic of their own desire for support and their fear of abandonment. The strength 6 is working to improve their desirability by becoming a strong, dependable partner capable of protecting and providing for his nest. Once he has selected a partner and commits to them, he devotes his efforts to maintaining the relationship by continually proving himself to be capable and caring.

If he is on the beauty side, his focus may be more towards cultivating a sensitive, romantic demeanor to attract a partner. The male beauty-six is a more feminine six with machoistic tendencies hidden in the background. They typically have a caring, sentimental nature, and they long for an intense romantic connection. They are kind, affirming, and encouraging towards others. They reveal their vulnerabilities to make them seem sensitive to the needs of others. They seek the ideal lover; someone as equally romantic and faithful as they are. This is the male peacock. They place more weight on being physically attractive but are more insecure about how they look. More than this, they create the appearance of being a sensitive, kind, idealistic, romantic partner who sees his role as being the selfless and tender lover, always catering to his partner’s needs. When speaking to women, he seems to be especially kind, as if he were saying “look what a pleasant guy I am.” While looking for a partner, he may become competitive with other males who might steal away her attention. While he is probably not aggressive, jealousy may enter the picture. For the male beauty-six, competition becomes a performance where he must strut his brightest feathers to prove he is the more attractive mate.

If she is on the beauty side, she also has the inclination towards beautifying herself to attract a mate, perhaps more so than the male. This may be a beauty queen who adorns herself with makeup and pretty accessories. She has the warm, lush aura of a sweet but diffident angel. Gorgeous, but modest. Perfect, yet normal. She’s glamorous but not beyond reach like the sx 3. This makes them appealing because they are attractive yet approachable and kind. There is a sense of them being a prize doll. They use beauty to cover over the fear of being undesirable or unattractive. They may seem to lack confidence, but this is only to give the appearance of being someone who needs protection. By combining beauty with modesty, they create an appealing charm which elicits the opposite sex to chase after them.

If she is on the strength side, she may have a tomboyish demeanor; being more masculine than the average female. She may get along with males easily as she identifies with them. Similar to the male strength-6, there is an impulsive risk-taking bravado. Both males and females may be accident prone because of this tendency, especially with a 7 wing. The female strength-6 can appear diffident and disarming to others, similar to the female beauty-6 but with a rougher exterior. Their charm is because you can you can be real with them, as if they are just one of your pals. They give off a playful, mischievous vibe which makes them interesting to be with.

Average sexual 6s develop physical strength, power, or their physical attractiveness to feel safe. The more aggressive ones rely on strength and displays of toughness that can resemble 8s (“don’t mess with me!”) while phobic sexual 6s use their coquettish behavior to disarm others and attract support in ways that resemble 4s. They mask their insecurity through open assertion and defiance of authority or through flirtation and seduction.

These 6s are highly aware of their physical attributes and use them to attract a powerful mate. They frequently test their significant other, to see if the person will stick around, and give them time to assess their character and fortitude. They are openly defiant of authority, especially when anxious. They are the most doubting of others and themselves version of the 6. They explode when when others expose their insecurities or they feel threatened. When anxious, they may assert themselves against their own supporters or third parties rather than at the true source of their anxiety. Attempts at sabotaging others, undermining their reputation, or spreading rumors about them, are typical.

Unhealthy sexual 6s can be depressive and erratic, especially if they feel being impulsive and reactive has undermined or ruined their intimate connections. They alternate self-destructive and impulsive behavior with irrational lashing out at people. Paranoia toward particular, personal enemies, may become part of the picture.

The Counter-Phobic 6

The counter-type of the 6 subtypes, the cp 6 turns against the passion of fear by assuming a stance of strength and intimidation. Instead of actively feeling fearful, these Sixes have an inner belief that when you are afraid, the best defense is a good offense. As Naranjo explains, anxiety in this Six is allayed by skill and readiness in the face of a possible attack. They often appear bold and even fierce. They go against danger assertively, and even aggressively, as a way of denying and coping with their (often unconscious) fear. Through denying their feelings of fear to one extent or another, counter-phobic 6s go against danger from a position of strength; therefore, they have a passion for searching for or securing a position of strength. It’s not just a strong character they seek, but the kind of strength that makes somebody else afraid–they want to assume a powerful enough form to hold the enemy at a distance. These 6s display a forcefulness that comes from no wanting to be weak, and they don’t allow for weakness in themselves.

These 6s walk around with the idea that anyone can become dangerous, so they do everything they can to not feel cheated, manipulated, taken advantage of, or attacked. If you are someone who thinks and feels this way, you need to be prepared to be strong and mount a resistance. That’s why they not only develop strength but also intimidation–in the service of resistances, of being prepared to scare someone off, rebel, or be contrary. They give off the impression that they could get violent with anybody at any time, but that doesn’t mean that they have no fear. It is precisely out of a sense of fear that their anticipation of an attack comes–there is a somewhat paranoid imagining of danger, a belief that anyone can turn into a threat. However, these 6s usually do not look afraid; their visible character could hardly be called “fearful” from the outside.

In contrast to the phobic 6, who backs away from threats, the cp 6 tends to move toward risky situations, feeling a sense of safety in confronting danger rather than hiding from it or avoiding it. They convince themselves (and others) they are not victims of fear; they are convinced that fear is an emotion that should be eliminated systemically. The fact that these 6s regularly move against danger (or perceived danger) can, at times, give them the appearance of a rebel, a daredevil, a risk taker, an adrenaline junkie, or a troublemaker. In some cases, they are prone to megalomania or having a “hero complex.” In their own way, they seek to be “good guys” to avoid being punished.

These 6s tend to be contrarian: they always have an argument at hand to refute and contradict an opinion. Instead of thinking in terms of “best-case” or “worst-case” scenarios, they think in terms of contrarian scenarios–if the trend is for others to focus on the worst, they will focus on the best; but if everyone is focusing on the best, they will assert the worst. Although they may seem certain in their assertiveness, these 6s may hold doubt in their minds for along time–doubting which road to take and so getting caught between choices. They often believe there is only one truth, and they prefer concrete and pragmatic ideologies because they feel safe and allow control of the world. They fear making an error, and the consequences of doing so.

The cp 6 can look like an 8 because both types can appear intimidating, strong, and powerful. However, in contrast to the 8, who tends to be fearless, the cp6 is motivated by an underlying fear, even when they don’t consciously feel it or show it. Also, while 8s like to create order, cp6s like to disrupt order by stirring up trouble. They can also look like 3s in that they are action-oriented, fast-moving, assertive, and hardworking. They differ from 3s, however, in that they have more paranoid fantasies and their assertiveness has its basis in fear rather than in the need to achieve and accomplish goals in the service of looking good.

Note: Most 6s are either phobic or counter-phobic most of the time (phobic 6s are more fearful and avoidant), but can shift between them.

Spiritual Growth Suggestions

As 6s work on themselves and become more self-aware, they learn to escape the trap of intensifying their fear (through their attempts to reduce it) by doing the following: seeking to embody faith and courage, becoming aware of how they create self-fulfilling prophecies, learning to trust themselves (and others) more, and owning their power and authority instead of projecting it onto others.

Notice when you are…

Using doubting, testing, questioning, and watching to gain a sense of control and security. Observe your doubting mind in action and notice the thinking patterns involve. Notice your habit of questioning yourself and others. What does it help you to do? How might it hinder you? Notice the ways in which you test other people. Does this clarify things for you or put up barriers that prevent you from forming connections? Examine your thinking for mental loops.

Projecting fear, anxiety, and power onto others. Try to catch yourself in the act of disowning your fears and your power. When do you look for people and situations in which to attach your anxiety so you can convince yourself they are to blame instead of owning your feelings and the reasons behind them? Are you dwelling on them as the cause of your feelings as a distraction from your own anxiety? What are you projecting onto them?

Acting out fear in different ways instead of owning it, being with it, and managing it. What is acting out in fear? Over-thinking situations, creating worst-case scenarios, building negative fantasies about others’ intentions, being indecisive, unable to take action, and procrastinating. Consciously notice how you see fear and anxiety motivating your behavior, and what form it takes. Notice also if you aren’t feeling much fear and anxiety.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • How and why did these patterns develop?
  • What emotions are these patterns designed to protect me from?
  • Why am I doing this?
  • How are patterns of projection and fear operating in me?
  • What are my blind spots, because of these patterns?
  • What do they keep me from seeing?
  • What are the consequences of continuing to be this way?
  • How do my coping mechanisms trap me?


To counter-act using watching, doubting, testing, and questioning to find a sense of control and security.

  • Recognize that uncertainty is an inevitable form of life. Instead of allowing yourself to fall into a relentless cycle of questioning, take yourself out of your head and watch what you are doing from a distance. Remind yourself the search for certainty won’t get you anywhere.
  • Remember we tend to find what we seek. Instead of seeing problems to fix, look for the positive side of things. Challenge yourself to think optimistically and counter-act negative thoughts with positive ones.
  • Get out of your head and into your body. Physical exercise can help ground y7our awareness in the present moment, shifting you out of the mental default of mental activity. Breathe deep. Feel your body.

To counter-act projecting fear, anxiety, and power onto others.

  • Learn the difference between intuition and projection. You may think you know what someone else is doing or saying, but you don’t. Ask yourself often if this is something you know for a fact (supported by evidence) or something you are assuming? Learn to ask someone before assuming they are mad at you or judging you. Explain the situation to unbiased others and ask for their input.
  • Consciously claim whatever you are projecting. Notice the ideas you have about others and see how they might reflect your own disowned feelings, experiences, and qualities. Inspect the stories you are making up about others. Notice if you are making yourself powerless in the situation.
  • Work to become aware of your authority issues. Refrain from displaying an over-reliance on outside authority as compensation for your own insecurity and learn to see, accept, and own your own power, vulnerability, and the power that comes from being able to be vulnerable.

To counter-act acting out fear instead of owning it, being with it, and managing it.

  • Recognize fight, flight, and freeze as fear reactions. If you learn to see your reactions to threatening situations, you can start making conscious choices about how to respond to them. Create clarity, space, and compassion for yourself. Learn to see how fear is motivating your reactions.
  • Learn to feel, manage, and release fear. Observe what causes fear, and its consequences on your relationships. Check out the evidence, if you feel fearful. Honestly evaluate the threat level. Once you learn to recognize fear-responses, you can learn to calm yourself down, or more clearly explore or evaluate it.
  • If you transform your fear into anger, and do not feel fear, recognize that the anger is a fear response. Look underneath your over-working, aggression, or defiant feelings to figure out what unconscious fears are driving this behavior.
  • Use faith to combat fear. If you suspect everything will go wrong, learn to let it go and trust that it will all work out fine. Use getting out of your head into direct action or your body to self-soothe.

Using your integration and disintegration numbers for self-growth:

Move to 3 by using goals and relationships as supports to overcome fear, take action, and achieve results. Shift away from your fears and focus instead on the worthiness of your goals, the positive aspects connected to impressing others with your good work, and sincere pride in achievement. Instead of getting caught up in inaction or indecisiveness, set a goal and work toward it. Focus on self-confidence, the ability to manage your feelings, and devote yourself to results. Enjoy what you do, expect a positive reward for your hard work, and anticipate a good outcome.

Move to 9 by learning to relax in your connection with others and go with the flow of life without worrying about bad things happening. Instead of moving away and distrusting others, use your line to 9 to trust others, find a place of security and comfort, and establish a healthy balance between staying safe and relaxing within supportive relationships. Allow yourself to merge into your relationships and relax your defenses; don’t fear allowing others’ agendas to become your own. This will help you lower your defenses and be more approachable on an intimate level. Open up to and confide in others and cultivate an appreciation for others’ perspectives and lives.


Main analysis from Claudio Naranjo: Character and Neurosis. Wings and Subtypes: Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson, The Wisdom of the Enneagram. Look-alike section of Subtypes and growth sections: Beatrice Chestnut, The Complete Enneagram: 27 Paths to Greater Self-Knowledge. Sections have been quoted but some are heavily edited. Please purchase the original books for more information.