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Thread: Phobic 6s

  1. #11
    insert random title here Randomnity's Avatar
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    I guess I'm probably mostly phobic with a touch of counterphobic, depending on the situation. More of a Ti-based istp than Se-based. Which I guess makes sense as sp-dom.

    I identify with this, too:
    Quote Originally Posted by SilkRoad View Post
    I think whether you're mainly counterphobic or phobic you're likely to have aspects of both. I identify most with the description of 6 sp/sx that I read on Enneagram Underground, which includes the following:

    "Their intimates are very important. Their issues with security are focused on their loved ones; their anxiety is closely tied to the pulse and feedback of the people closest to them. They are less outwardly fearful than the self-pres/social. While mainly phobic, their counterphobic nature shows in their sense of fun. They are drawn to intensity, and are likely to overcome fear in order to engage in adventures."

    Certainly sounds a lot like me - I am definitely anxious but I generally look calm and non-fearful (those who know me better know more about my fears and anxieties), and I know I have a good sense of fun and adventure, which others also comment on.
    Kind of interesting that we have pretty different MBTI types (sort of - I guess both are Ti/Ni/Se/Fe just scrambled) but pretty much identical ennea-types.
    -end of thread-

  2. #12
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Randomnity View Post
    I guess I'm probably mostly phobic with a touch of counterphobic, depending on the situation. More of a Ti-based istp than Se-based. Which I guess makes sense as sp-dom.

    I identify with this, too:


    Kind of interesting that we have pretty different MBTI types (sort of - I guess both are Ti/Ni/Se/Fe just scrambled) but pretty much identical ennea-types.

    I think 6 is considered a not uncommon type for ISTP. It makes sense that being more Ti-based and probably sp-dom that you'd be a bit more on the phobic side.

    To me it actually makes quite a lot of sense as a type for INFJ, although there don't seem to be a lot of INFJs who identify as 6, at least on TypeC. I have a theory though that a lot of people who are type 6 are identifying themselves as something else.

    I'm a fairly "SJ" kind of of INFJ (ie. my next closest type seems to be ISFJ rather than INTJ.) I have no doubt that I'm an Ni user but...I question my own Ni-based conclusions a lot, which in some ways makes me more grounded, and in some ways makes me even more confused. It seems as though for someone like me, Ni is very interesting, but its action tends to raise my anxiety levels and not be very useful. Perhaps partly why I've really developed my Fe.

    I agree that ISTP and INFJ seem so different, but there are so many flavours of either MBTI types or enneagram types, and that seems to be particularly the case with type 6.


    EDIT: As a side note, I think I am becoming more aggressive (counterphobic?) when I feel threatened, certainly when I feel emotionally threatened, which is probably the primary way I feel threatened... Not sure if that's good or not, but it may result in me protecting myself a bit more in an area where I am vulnerable.
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    in different ways both ISFJ and ISTP make sense for 6... i don't know how ENFP falls in. i think the tendency of Ne overuse to get "lost" in a field of information overlaps with 6, as does Fi and having a fine-tuned sensor on others.

    Quote Originally Posted by SilkRoad View Post
    Skylights, I didn't relate to all of your comments but the above, DEFINITELY. I can get freaked out and self conscious by things that should be routine and hardly bother anyone else. I was like this as a child too, hated making a fool of myself in social situations, talking on the phone, stuff like that and often assumed that I would. By contrast, if confronted with a tricky or pressurized situation when traveling alone or something like that, I can be so calm and cool and just do what needs to be done, even if difficult. Also when handling difficult people in a professional or private situation, people will be blown away by how cool I am and knowing the right things to do and say. In a travel situation, I'm actually more likely to become visibly anxious if I'm in a group and a difficult situation comes up. I'll feel like I don't know what to do and I want someone else to take all responsibility. Not always, but a lot of the time. Although I'm a good "team player" and work and interact well with friends and colleagues, I often feel more confident when left to my own devices, in some ways. In a group, I want someone else to take the lead and be strong and decisive. Group settings can somehow make me less confident and more insecure-seeming.
    i associate with this completely. i think at least for me there's an aspect of knowing the group may not like my decisions and reject me for it... but when i'm alone it's easy, because there's no concern of rejection. or when there's a crisis, and no one's doing anything, well that's easy too because no one else is doing anything so no one else can judge. even if i try and fail it's better than not acting at all.

    Quote Originally Posted by Elfboy View Post
    I couldn't resist:



    yeah!! GRRRRRRRR

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    Quote Originally Posted by skylights View Post
    in different ways both ISFJ and ISTP make sense for 6... i don't know how ENFP falls in. i think the tendency of Ne overuse to get "lost" in a field of information overlaps with 6, as does Fi and having a fine-tuned sensor on others.
    6w7 is a very common ENFP typing, along with 7w6. 4's and 2's aren't as common as you would think. I have actually read somewhere that 6w7 is the most common etype for ENFP's. Fi is a very, as you said, fine-tuned sensor, a very delicate instrument. And if you combine that with the manic Ne-energy, you get a very jittery, hyper person. Also Ne-Fi is very sensitive to being controlled or stifled, which is also a sixish characteristic.

    I am a big time phobic ENFP 6w7 sp/so. I constantly seem terrified, I flinch when people raise their hands, as if they're going to hit me. I am always using my Ne-Fi to read people, scan for threats, trying to imagine how other people are perceiving me. In group settings I hate the high visibility of a leadership position, because I know everyone will be watching me, and if I screw up, they'll criticize me, laugh at me, etc. I am a bit paranoid really, because I used to get made fun of a lot when I was younger, and now I tend to think people are laughing/ridiculing me, even when they're clearly not.

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    I think I'm a mix. I can be either, depending on the situation.
    Sometimes I go more phobic because I want to avoid the counterphobes.
    Counterphobes can be annoying. I don't like to raise anger in myself, where it seems that many counterphobes enjoy it. I prefer peace these days. It actually leads to growth, because it frees up time and energy.
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    I'm starting to think I might have more in the way of "authority issues" than I had suspected

    I do agree that the Enneagram can be vague so I wouldn't necessarily say that any "issues" I have in this area make me necessarily a 6. And it does seem likely that phobic 6 has less obvious authority issues than counterphobic 6. But while I have no problem respecting authority which is legitimately and properly exercised, I am pretty hypersensitive to injustice and any abuse of authority, especially against anyone in a weak position. I've reached the point as an INFJ where I have quite a violent reaction to anyone seeming to take advantage of me - which is a general issue for INFJs - it's been an ongoing problem for me so if there's any hint of it from you I will probably cut you off, lash out, or lose respect for you (or all of the above, but it depends on the context.)

    Although I'm not really a child person I am really angered and upset by anything to do with the abuse and exploitation of children, because they are so weak, vulnerable and pure. I find it extremely painful to contemplate. And one of my number one pet peeves is the sad fact that people who abuse their power, exploit others and behave badly often seem to profit, at least in the short-term.

    I tend to feel uncomfortable myself being placed in any kind of position of authority and I want to be very careful not to abuse it. Seriously, even if it's just something like asking someone slightly junior to me at work to do something for me. I tend to overcompensate a bit because I don't want anyone to feel that I'm just throwing stuff at them because it's my right and position to do so. Ie. I ask them very politely and thank them more than once (not to the point of looking stupid, I don't think, but I do notice it in myself.) It also makes me mad when bosses throw their weight around and apply double standards - ie. being extremely rigid about timekeeping, but themselves being always late, out of the office and the rest of us aren't kept in the loop why, etc.

    In terms of relationships, including my own and those I observe, I am (again) hypersensitive about being taken advantage of or treated unfairly - though I sometimes set myself up to get into those situations. You will certainly lose my respect if you are someone who seems to prey on weakness, take advantage of others or ensure that you're always dominating and in control of your relationships and friendships. At the same time, although I like my independence and autonomy there is a major part of me that would just like to hand it all over to someone strong and decisive. I know that if I could find someone safe and strong to be in a relationship with I would probably hand over a lot of my autonomy to them, perhaps too much, but I'm also extremely aware of how dangerous that can be, especially because emotionally I do tend to do that. I think it's one reason why I tend to get angry and either hide or lash out if I feel someone has betrayed me, let me down, taken advantage of me etc. I may have handed over more control to them, in a sense, than they are even aware of...

    Again, these could be pretty widespread attitudes and feelings, not just among 6s, obviously...but for me it fits.
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    A type 6 is phobic when they have faith in the individuals/systems. They are counterphobic when they lack faith in the individuals/systems.

    Quote Originally Posted by skylights View Post
    in different ways both ISFJ and ISTP make sense for 6... i don't know how ENFP falls in. i think the tendency of Ne overuse to get "lost" in a field of information overlaps with 6, as does Fi and having a fine-tuned sensor on others.
    For a great example of a 6w7 ENFP, see pinkrasputin on PerC (if she is still mad enough to use it). 7/w7 is a very 'E' dichotomy enneagram with its focus on the coherence of people, 5/w5 is a very 'I' dichotomy enneagram with its focus on the coherence of systems.
    Last edited by InvisibleJim; 07-21-2011 at 06:36 AM. Reason: wrong order, fixed

  8. #18
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    I found this on the Personality Cafe forum. Not sure if it's been posted here before. It's a massive wall of text, but I found it really interesting about both phobic and counterphobic 6.


    THE DYNAMIC ENNEAGRAM – SIXES
    By Thomas Condon

    “People born to be hanged are always safe in water.” – Mark Twain’s mother Out on the plains of Africa there are water holes where clusters of animals come to drink. There zebras gather in small herds near their worst enemies: the lions. Whenever lions are present, the zebras gravitate toward them, maintaining a safe distance but keeping the lions in view. If the lions get up and move, the zebras follow them. Lions hunt in short swift charges; if the zebras lose sight of them, the lions could sneak up and attack. So the zebras keep the danger close. Six is the most explicitly fearful style in the Enneagram. Sixes are especially aware of life’s dangers and wary of hazards that may lurk beneath everyday appearances. To varying degrees they keep danger close to them in order to stay safe.

    Some of this danger may be real but most of it is imagined. There are two types of Sixes: phobic and counterphobic. Their reactions to being fearful are so different that they can appear to have separate personality styles. When phobic Sixes sense danger, they lay low. They may act cautious, compliant or ambivalent in order to avoid potential attack. When counterphobic Sixes sense danger, they often deliberately provoke it by acting outspoken and aggressive – wanting to handle trouble before it handles them. Phobic Sixes can be charming, modest and meek while counterphobics can seem tough, challenging and punchy. A nervous phobic Six I know has a bumper sticker on her car that says, “Disappear Fear.” A counterphobic Six’s bumper sticker reads, “Fear is Never Boring.”

    Healthy phobic Sixes are steady, loyal and idealistic. They are usually committed to a tradition, group or cause but in a voluntary, dedicated way. To that end, they are dependable, hard working and unusually professional. They keep their promises, are faithful in marriage and make honorable, protective friends. Healthy phobic Sixes are gracious and diplomatic. They put people at ease and are often well-liked for their discretion and manners. They can be very funny and have vivid imaginations. Healthy phobic Sixes handle power with integrity and are fair-minded leaders partly because they sympathize with underdogs. They’re not pushovers and will take unpopular stands when necessary. Generally, though, they work toward solutions that benefit all parties and allow everyone to win. When phobic Sixes are less healthy, caught in what I’ll be calling a trance, they can become blind conformists even as they avoid personal responsibility. They subtly shift their power onto outside authorities and begin to romanticize those who seem surer of themselves. The Six may strike an unconscious bargain with a hero, a bargain that says, “I’ll do what you want me to do if you’ll protect me from danger.” The Six then hides under an imaginary umbrella, pledging fealty to this outside force, growing addicted to the security that this arrangement seems to offer.

    The Six’s positive capacity for loyalty is double-edged – when less healthy, Sixes can be loyal to the wrong people or simply codependent. When they give away their power, phobic Sixes start to worry and feel helpless. To compensate, they become cautious and wary, trying to anticipate the motives of others. They may also try to check their own aggressive or powerful impulses, so that they don’t deviate from the submissive role they have agreed to play. They could have trouble finishing what they start, worrying about who will criticize the finished product. They may seem friendly, but can be passiveaggressive or give off contradictory messages as their resentment breaks through.

    Entranced phobic Sixes can be skeptical, tense and indecisive, hesitantly stutter-stepping their way through life. “He self-flagellates,” explains the friend of a Six. “He has tremendous energy, but he doesn’t like uncertainty. So he’s like a bouncing ball, up and down – he gives himself a lot of angst.” When deeply unhealthy, phobic Sixes become addled with fear and openly dependent upon others. They might surrender their life to work, becoming an abject slave to a job or a boss. They could act like weak, powerless losers and yet demand coddling from friends, tyrannizing others with their helplessness, placing strict, narrow limits on what they will risk or try. Deeply entranced phobic Sixes avoid all risks, terrorize themselves and may persecute others who deviate from norms. They can also be chronically cowardly, litigious, petty, intolerant and dogmatic.

    There’s an old story about three pilots watching a plane taking off during a hurricane. The first pilot says, “There goes a brave man.” The second says, “There goes a fool.” The third pilot says, “What’s the difference?”Healthy counterphobic Sixes are often courageous, willing to take a tiger by the tail and yank. They can be physically brave, highly skilled and have a real passion for living. If they participate in a tradition, it is usually in the role of constructive gadfly, serving the tradition by stirring it up. They consider themselves team players who offer useful alternatives, using the old as a springboard to the new. To this end, they may be energetic, honest, assertive and have many good ideas.

    If a healthy counterphobic Six is not serving a tradition, he or she is often creative and original. Their ability to look past appearances and to question assumptions leads them deeper into a unique point of view. They can be attracted to art as a way to express themselves and resolve their general sense of alienation. Less healthy counterphobic Sixes often have an edgy, restless quality. Some channel their energies into physical activity; they could enjoy sports and tend to be more openly competitive than phobic Sixes. Some counterphobics hide their insecurities with cool or tough masks. They may seek physical challenges to expel their fears by facing danger.

    Entranced counterphobic Sixes are afraid of being afraid and to beat their fears they take preemptive action. Because they act impulsively they are prone to making bad decisions. When unhealthy, their preoccupation with taking risks can devolve into a recklessness that verges on self-destruction. A counterphobic Six with vertigo defined it as “the fear that you’re going to somehow uncontrollably hurl yourself off a precipice.” Another Six tells how he used to pump gasoline into his motorcycle with a lighted cigarette in his mouth. A counterphobic journalist says: “Every time I get a new assignment I’m convinced that this is the one I’m gonna blow. But pulling out of what feels like a nosedive is really exhilarating.” Another Six, a stage actor, describes going on stage as “parachuting behind enemy lines. My job is to get out as quickly as I can.” Another counterphobic Six enjoyed fly fishing – for piranhas.

    Back on the plains of Africa, one zebra has begun acting strangely. While the others remain in their intermediate zone, not too far away from the lions but not too close, this zebra can’t stand living with the constant, potential threat that the lions pose. To the horror of the other zebras, it raises itself up and charges the lions.

    Counterphobic Sixes are often defiant or rebellious towards authority and can habitually challenge imbalances of power, feeling that the world is unfairly biased against them. Some have a ranting quality, especially when they talk about gov-ernments and power structures. Many counterphobics are wryly funny and good at satire. When insecure, however, their humor can sting and bite. Zoo workers say that zebras are far more dangerous than most people realize. Like horses they frighten easily but they are also ill-tempered. When zebras bite they hang on, sometimes until their victims die. Deeply entranced counterphobic Sixes can be aggressive, unstable and senselessly contentious. They may be fruitlessly hyperactive, as well as accusative and vengeful. Some counterphobics are provocative and obnoxious; they prize their hatreds and can be belligerent or even persecutory; adopting a dangerous, vigilante-like mentality. Deeply unhealthy counterphobics generally behave much worse than the authorities they accuse of abusing power.
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  9. #19
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    Continued...


    Fear and Doubt
    Sixes are part of the emotional trio who oppose themselves, project their power
    onto others and have trouble taking action. In the trance of their style, Sixes project their core capabilities – their fundamental ability to live independent lives and assert their own point of view. Unlike Fives who fear being socially entrapped, Sixes believe that more general forces oppose them. These can be authorities, institutions, the church, the government, bosses, spouses – whoever is the Six’s particular bogeyman.

    One Six joked, “My mother is Puerto Rican and my father is black. We lived in a large Jewish tenement in an Italian neighborhood. Whenever I left the house, the kids would point at me and say: ‘Get him! He’s all of them!’” Some Sixes existentialize their fears in that they see the universe as a bleak, spectral void capable of random, unpredictable hostility. “Fate” is a frightening, impersonal force that can snuff out the Six in an eyeblink or rain down misfortune upon them.

    Entranced Sixes can complicate daily life, ambivalate about decisions and baffle others with their apparent helplessness. While this behavior can seem pointlessly self-defeating, Sixes believe they live in a universe that is out to defeat them anyway. By defeating themselves first, Sixes at least control the time and place of their defeat and perversely take a kind of default power. The good thing about being self-defeating is that part of you always wins.One Six grew up next door to a dog kennel that raised Doberman Pinschers and remembered being frightened daily by the neighbor dogs. Each morning he would walk out his front door to go to school, carrying his lunch pail, open-hearted to the world. Suddenly the dogs would begin barking violently, terrifying the boy. This went on for some time until one day something different happened: the young Six began hearing the dogs barking in his mind before he left the house. This scared him but also helped him feel prepared and in control, eliminating the element of surprise when he walked out the door.

    As adults, Sixes can habitually scare themselves in the same way that they were once scared by others. Although an adult Six might believe that the outside world is poised to attack him, Sixes are actually self-attacking. They either scare themselves with invented fears, recruit others to scare them or unconsciously engineer events so that they confirm the Six’s negative expectations. In other words, they set themselves up.

    A friend of humorist Robert Benchley’s once said of a mutual acquaintance: “There’s no doubt about it, Robert, he’s your worst enemy.” “Not while I’m alive!” Benchley shot back. To an unhealthy Six, the way to be your own best friend is to be your own worst enemy.

    A man is chased over a cliff by tigers. As he falls, he grabs on to a vine while the tigers crowd above him snarling and swatting. As he clutches the vine more tightly, the roots start coming out of the side of the cliff. He looks below and sees fog. Desperate the man looks heavenward and yells, “Can anyone up there help me?” A deep booming voice replies, “Do you have faith?” The vine comes a little farther out of the side of the cliff, and he looks back up and yells, “Yeah, sure! I have faith.” “Then let go of the vine!” comes the booming reply. The man pauses to think this over. Meanwhile the vine comes further out of the cliff while the tigers are still snarling above him, the fog billowing below him. Finally he looks up again and yells, “Can anybody else up there help me?”

    Sixes control through doubting, what NLP calls finding counter examples. A Six’s central defensive habit is to question reality in order to discover its hidden potential dangers, to find strength and safety in negative anticipation. Meanwhile they distrust their own instincts and the evidence of their senses. “It’s like I can’t count to one without a second thought,” one Six joked. Another said that her childhood nickname was “Yabut” because of the way she would react to any assertion with the words “Yeah, but...”

    Let’s say a Six is driving one night down a dark highway. Suddenly a car pulls out in front of her. She swerves, successfully avoiding a collision, and continues driving. Prior to the emergency the Six was feeling calm, confident and secure. The way she reacted reflected her mood; when the car surprised her, she responded reflexively and effectively, without a second thought. A minute after the near miss the Six has a delayed reaction. She suddenly starts thinking about what happened: “That was a nasty surprise! The next time I might not be so lucky. I’ll bet he was a drunk. Didn’t I read somewhere that this is the most dangerous road in the region? It’s full of drunk drivers because there are bars around here. Haven’t planes crashed on this highway?” The scared Six driver is now second-guessing herself, imagining future emergencies and rehearsing how she will handle each one. As she does so she makes herself anxious, fills her mind with vivid images and pays less attention to the task of driving. The irony is that she is trying to feel as calm, confident and secure as she was before she scared herself.

    If you cut out a cardboard silhouette of a hawk and sweep it over a pen filled with baby chickens, the chicks will scatter in terror. Sixes defend against their shadows with the defense mechanism of projection – disowning their own feelings or unwanted qualities and seeing them in the environment or in other people, something like the pot calling the kettle black. Unlike Fives who give others the power to overwhelm or emotionally invade them, Sixes project their fundamental power to pursue their own destiny, make independent decisions and take overt responsibility for their thoughts, feelings and actions. Instead, they give this power to outside forces and then unconsciously hope to be rescued or protected in return.

    Six is a very romantic personality style but the subject of its romance is power, in both its positive and negative aspects. Just as Fours can dress up a beloved person in their emotional imagination and feelings, Sixes romanticize powerful peo-ple, institutions or entities, imbuing them with a significance they don’t necessarily have. Sixes can either deify these forces or demonize them but, in either case, the Six is seeing his own power in the other and then unconsciously living in tension to it. A Six who is angry might only be conscious of how angry others seem. A married Six who is attracted to someone other than her spouse might begin to suspect her husband of having an affair. A Six who wants to make art but lacks the courage could idolize artists.

    One Six told this story about projection: “I’d had a difficult frustrating day and was in a bad mood. So I went to the gym and began lifting weights to work off my anger. After a while, I noticed a heavily muscled young man who was looking in my direction with narrowed eyes. I looked away and went on lifting weights. A little while later I noticed the same thing. The kid was still staring my way with narrowed eyes. “I resisted the impulse to glare back at him. But I started thinking about how much I resented these kinds of testosterone-based challenges. I remembered having that much to prove when I was young. It reminded me of wolves urinating in snow marking out their territory. How glad I was that I wasn’t young anymore! I continued grumbling to myself like this and went on with my exercising. “Later, on my way to get a drink of water, I came face to face with my nemesis. Despite my feelings, I decided to be friendly and said “Hi.” The young man smiled pleasantly, narrowed his eyes and replied “Hi, how are you?” I suddenly realized that he had bad eyesight. He’d been squinting because he wasn’t wearing his glasses. I’d painted my bad mood on his face.” In the novel The World According to Garp, the main character buys a house after he watches a light plane crash into it. His rationale? The odds of another plane ever crashing into the house are astronomically slim. Sixes who project their power onto existential forces can be superstitious or believe unduly in “fate.” They could watch the world for external signs that tell them what they should do or perhaps refuse to make decisions without consulting their astrologer. A Six who has a daily breakfast of cereal with sliced banana says, “I always cut the banana into seven slices. And I count them and recount them to make sure there’s seven. Because my life has gone well with seven slices, and I don’t want to tempt fate by having six or eight.”

    Positive and Negative Hallucination
    The writer William Burroughs once said, “A paranoid is someone who knows a little about what’s going on.” Most entranced Sixes aren’t truly paranoid but rather suspicious, approaching life and new situations with a generalized attitude of bad faith. They look for what can go wrong, expect the worst and attribute their own negative qualities to others. But the inner strategy common to both paranoia and suspicion is based on what hypnotherapists call positive hallucination – seeing things that aren’t there – and taking a minor menace and magnifying it into an outright danger. “People think that I’m a hypochondriac,” one Six explains, “but I’m not. I’m an alarmist. I never imagine I have an ailment when I don’t have one. On the other hand, if I’ve got a hangnail, I think it’s a brain tumor. I always cut to the worst possible conclusion.”

    In the Six trance, “what if?” is always a more compelling question than “what is?” A Six’s positively hallucinated fears are based on possibility which, by definition, can’t be disproved. This makes a Six’s fearful conjectures difficult to refute and explains why it is generally pointless to try to talk an entranced Six out of his or her fears.

    Positive hallucination and projection are also at play when Sixes give their friends or intimates the “third degree.” Say, for instance, you are married to a Six who senses that you are angry. Maybe you are unconsciously angry but out of touch with your feelings. If you are a Nine, for example, you might be suppressing your anger to avoid being disagreeable and creating conflict. But your Six spouse senses your latent anger and begins to probe. “Are you sure there’s nothing wrong? You seem upset. There must be something bothering you. What about what I did the other day, are you angry about that?”

    If the Six is counterphobic he or she might aggressively try to provoke you. When you finally express the anger that you didn’t know you had, the Six might seem happy or relieved and perhaps say something like, “Oh, that’s all it is; I
    can deal with that. I can see why you would be angry, that makes sense.” It’s a relief to the Six, because he or she was hallucinating something far worse. A further variation on this pattern comes when a Six successfully irritates a truly un-angry friend or spouse, creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. As a man says of his Six wife: “Sometimes she goes to great trouble to get me angry. Then she acts like what I say in anger is my true opinion of her. Actually it’s only my true opinion of her when I’m really angry. But somehow she seems pleased.” Ski instructors say that novice skiers see downhill mountain slopes as steeper than they really are, as if magnified by their inexperience. When

    Sixes see scary images of negative possibilities they not only magnify those images but also see them as close, bright, vivid and in motion. The most important quality of a Six’s internal imagery is size. In English we say we “look up to someone” or put someone we admire “on a pedestal”, phrases that imply size as well as height – the admired person is both larger and taller than the speaker. Entranced Sixes often see others, especially authority figures, as larger and taller than themselves, roughly the same height difference as between a child and a parent. This is a contributing element to the Six feeling not only small and helpless, but dependent and young.

    While Sixes positively hallucinate danger, they negatively hallucinate good feelings, including times when they are confident, capable and successful. A Six comedian says, “When I’m onstage, if the whole room is laughing and there’s one person just staring at me, I’m gonna go home thinking, ‘How come he didn’t laugh?’” In baseball this is called having “rabbit ears:” If 50,000 fans cheer a player and one person boos, the player only hears the boo. Another Six adds, “I have a reputation with my friends as being this eternal pessimist, a groaner, a doom predictor. And I probably am, to be fair about it. I just tend to concentrate on the doughnut hole instead of the doughnut. Because I think if I do that it will help me plug it.”

    I once watched a Six and a Seven talking. The Six was complaining that everything in his life was difficult while the Seven kept cheerfully reframing the Six’s complaints. The Six looked uncomfortable with each positive suggestion from the Seven. He would pause for a moment and then say “yes but” and come up with a renewed argument about why his life was so bad. The Seven, in turn, kept finding positive counter-examples while the Six found negative ones. Growing desperate, the Six grabbed a magazine that lay on a nearby table. On the magazine’s cover was a two-paneled photograph advertising the magazine’s feature article. “Look,” the Six said to the Seven, “this is how you see things, and this is how I see things.” The left panel of the photograph showed a beautiful young woman sunbathing on a tropical beach. The right panel featured a close up picture of a skin lesion. The magazine’s feature article was about skin cancer. Other Sensory Distinctions

    Entranced Sixes often talk to themselves and show themselves bright, vivid, frightening images, then talk to themselves some more and then get anxious feelings which are usually experienced in the Six’s upper chest or the midline of their torso. Occasionally a Six will report experiencing anxiety in the belly but this is less usual. Sensations in the belly – the area of the body often associated with will and power – are more typically cut off and the area may be experienced as numb or tense. “It’s like I’m wearing a belt of steel,” one Six said, echoing many others. Some scared Sixes have slightly widened eyes, which give them the shocked, I’ve-seen a-ghost look that people have after bad plastic surgery. “My husband always tells me, ‘put your eyes back in your head,’” one Six reports, “because I tend to get bug-eyed when I get scared. And then I think, ‘Oh God, now everyone knows I’m scared.’ Then my eyes bug out more.”

    A percentage of Sixes are prone to panic attacks and the description of the symptoms can match elements of a Six’s general experience: dizziness, heart palpitations, a churning stomach, choking sensations, weak knees and chest pains. A self-panicking Six is essentially caught in a continuous “fight or flight response” and their bodies adapt to their emotional habit with chronic tension, which then becomes their kinesthetic baseline, what somatic therapists call “body armor.”

    Panic is, of course, a Six’s believed-in form of control even though the Six feels and acts helpless. If unhealthy Sixes start to relax, they may also start to feel vulnerable or uncertain and suddenly begin inventing fresh fears. After making themselves anxious again their tension returns, but they may also feel back in control.

    Some phobic Sixes fear their own sexuality. The energy present in sex is reminiscent of the instinctual animal power that some Sixes try to avoid feeling. A rush of sexual energy could feel to a Six like a power surge flowing through an electrical cord not made for it. And like a surge protector, the Six defensively shuts the feeling down.Some very counterphobic Sixes are people of action who climb mountains, race automobiles and trek across deserts. Typically, they are aware of their physical body feelings but have little or no idea that they are emotionally afraid. The fact that they are driven by fear can be surprising to them.

    By middle age, counterphobic Sixes can have ailments due to youthful risktaking or possibly a series of colorful stories about past accidents. While not necessarily socially extraverted, some counterphobics are physically extraverted in that they find their center through motion.

    A few Sixes are absolutely phobic or counterphobic, but most exist along a continuum where they are more one than the other. An extreme phobic Six would be considered clinically paranoid while an equally unhealthy counterphobic Six could be a raging anti-authoritarian. An indecisive phobic Six could be occasionally aggressive but return to his cautious, phobic mode when the episode has passed.

    Sooner or later most phobic Sixes develop some counterphobic strategies. The sheer difficulty of living daily with chronic fear gradually spurs them to find a more active form of coping, especially if the Six has an inkling that he or she is producing the fear. This doesn’t mean that counterphobic is better than phobic – both are rooted in a habit of fearing that is itself distorted. All Sixes have an inner defense of doubting, of disbelieving reality and their own instincts. When healthy, the two types of Sixes tend to grow towards each other, with phobics becoming more courageous and counterphobics more accepting of their fears.
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    oh no, silk, that's embarrassingly revealing about things i try to hide

    By defeating themselves first, Sixes at least control the time and place of their defeat and perversely take a kind of default power.
    yeahhhh

    steel yourself against the worst, and reality will be easier to stomache...

    When you finally express the anger that you didn’t know you had, the Six might seem happy or relieved and perhaps say something like, “Oh, that’s all it is; I can deal with that. I can see why you would be angry, that makes sense.” It’s a relief to the Six, because he or she was hallucinating something far worse.


    Some very counterphobic Sixes are people of action who climb mountains, race automobiles and trek across deserts. Typically, they are aware of their physical body feelings but have little or no idea that they are emotionally afraid. The fact that they are driven by fear can be surprising to them.
    i like physical challenges. i want to swim the english channel someday, run marathons, be really toned and fit, etc. it's totally counterphobic - i want to be ready for anything physically.



    here's some stuff on the subtypes. it seems so is most likely phobic and sx most likely counterphobe.


    Self-Preservation Six
    Best Defense is no offense

    When I taught high school, I noticed that if a boy didn't know how to answer a question, he would look irritated or glum. Girls, however, would usually smile and frequently giggle. In the beginning I was irritated: there was nothing funny about my question. But I learned something that helped me understand self-preservation Sixes. When some people are afraid, they smile. When I was much younger I would walk through the park and inwardly rejoiced at how many women would smile at me. When I studied self-preservation Sixes, I learned once more that when people are afraid, sometimes they smile. The women in the park were not flirting, they were defending.

    Self-preservation Sixes do this as a lifestyle. They use smiling and warmth to make friends with what they perceive as perceive as a hostile environment. Tom Condon is a movie buff and told me that Julie Roberts, a six, goes around to all the camera operators and set helpers and makes friends with them. Then she can relax and get to work.

    Because they see other people as a threat to them, they make sure they do not appear to be a threat to you. They may be excessively modest and shrink from any comparisons (unless they have a strong connection to Three). If they are working for a boss, they will work hard but make sure the boss knows they don't want his job.

    The belief that the world is a dangerous place shows up also in their homes. They are often homebodies, creating a sanctuary to which they flee. I know one Six who lives in a small safe rural town. He locks and deadbolts his doors. What he doesn't find incongruous is that his doors are largely glass! The locks are largely symbolic, and that is usually a tip-off that an Enneagram style is in play.

    Self-preservation Sixes specialize in lurid inner scenarios, a kind of horror film they direct that always ends up with the worst that can happen as the most likely to happen.

    Self-preservation Sixes combine both a strongly negative world-view with a warm and positive personality. No wonder they are perceived as contradictory.

    The Social Six
    The Keepers of the Flame

    Subtypes are important because they often enable you to recognize yourself more easily, but even more so because they are a real source of "juice." If you know your subtype, you'll soon see that when your subtype (often called instinctual by some of the major authors) is threatened in some way, you get a lot of energy.

    Your subtype changes the preoccupations but not the major mechanisms of the type. The Six will react with fear and practice hyper vigilance in a fearful world, no matter what the subtype. But what frightens them and how they react to the fear will be subtly different.

    Let's look at the social subtype of Six. Each subtype has been given a key word by the tradition. The word for the social subtype of Six is "duty."

    Social subtypes in general have a preoccupation about where they stand in the group. They want to know who belongs: who is in, who is out, who's on top, and in the case of the Six, what are the rules of the group.

    Social Sixes sees the authority in the group as critical. They may easily play devil's advocate, but they will never ignore authority. The group may be family, church, school or tradition. An Enneagram teacher who is a Six will learn what the teaching of the tradition is and will want to make sure you get the authentic tradition and not just their private interpretation. A Six researcher will find out what all the authorities say before making a judgment. They may attack those positions, but they will never ignore them. When a social Six breaks rules (and they certainly might), they never break them accidentally. They know the rules. They do it on purpose.

    This attitude toward group and authority can make them quite traditional. These folk are the keepers of the flame. They're the ones that show the home movies of when their children were babies - often. They never forget anniversaries, they know just how Thanksgiving dinner ought to be done and they insist on using their mother's favorite recipe.

    In the workplace, these are the company men who work 35 years for the same company and wear the jacket with the company logo on it after they retire. They may not like their job, but they'd sooner stay and complain than leave. It just isn't right to leave the group. Nor is it safe. They can over identify with the group and even shun or persecute others who do not share their group's ideals. Sometimes you'll find religious fundamentalists with this subtype. They love to quote "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life," and then say that everyone else is going to hell. (I love to quote the opposite text to them, ""Who is not against us is with us. Mark 9:40) social Sixes can be overly conscious of boundaries in order to make sure they belong. It's a small step from making sure "I belong" to being sure that "I don't belong."

    They can tend to exaggerate their dependence on the group. This makes them great team players because they can put the group's needs ahead of their private good. I once did a survey of Nuns and found that 40% of them were Sixes. My group sample was small, about 400, but it does seem to fit. Community life is probably more attractive to social Sixes than many other styles.

    The downside of group loyalty is that communities don't appreciate the contribution of the social Six unless the authorities give concrete form to that appreciation. The workforce is filled with complaints about how the company or community doesn't appreciate what they have done for 20 years.

    Social Sixes love to work in a group but usually prefer not to be the leader. The belief from childhood is that all attention is bad attention so they prefer to be down the ladder of authority a ways. Number two is fine, three is just as good, as long as they are important to the group and supported by the authority. Sixes know that it is the tall strands of grass in the lawn that get mowed down.

    Sixes can work forever if they believe in the cause. The cause hooks their idealism, they feel united to the group in some way or other and the cause usually has a lot of rules. For example, if a Six is an environmentalist, they can do a million earth-friendly things and feel part of the group with every recycled can.

    Because Sixes are simultaneously idealistic and skeptical, they often idealize an authority or a cause and then set themselves up for disillusionment. One has to have illusions before one can be disillusioned. Social Sixes have them. But they also have an attention style that looks for danger, conspiracy, inconsistency and patterns behind the data. So if the authority is doing anything wrong on any level, the Six will certainly catch them at it. That can cause disillusion.

    The Intimate Six
    Anticipatory defense

    The phrase usually associated with the intimate subtype of Six is "strength and beauty."

    Within this subtype there is a tendency to develop strength, either inner or outer. Sixes are often quite disciplined anyway - it is a type of defense at times. So within this subtype you often find body builders and martial artists. The discipline it takes to become a martial artist is fueled by the belief that if I become strong enough, I won't have to worry about someone or something attacking me. In fact, at the pinnacle of martial arts is the learning how not to have to fight. The motivation is self-defense, not aggression or competition, as it would be within an Eight or Three Enneagram style.

    The inner strength can be created by physical discipline, but especially if the Six has a strong Five wing, they may acquire knowledge as a way becoming strong. However, because fear resides in the mind and strength is more often a physical feeling, the usual way is to develop physical strength.

    Many Counterphobic Sixes actively seek physical challenges in order to experience conquest. I watched a mountain climber being interviewed. He gave the usual answer to why he did it - because it was there - but his real reason was that he was afraid. When asked how he dealt with the fears involved with dealing with the dangers, he gave a classical Six answer. "You have to constantly be aware of your environment." This is how Sixes deal with fear. They constantly scan the environment for possible danger.

    The feminine counterpart of this is beauty. The understanding is that if I am beautiful enough, I will not be attacked. Beauty does not get destroyed nearly as quickly as ugliness and beauty is valued. For many women, too, beauty is extremely valuable in gaining protection from powerful men.

    But artistic endeavor is another route to beauty. intimate Sixes will often see arts and crafts as a way of shutting down the committee in their heads. Further, art is way of non-verbally reaching beyond what they can think. There is a sense of having reached the end of what they can figure out, they reach into painting or drawing or music to reach a level of integration they can't quite accomplish just by the compulsive think they are so often plagued with. They will often report long periods of peace - in their case freedom from fear - when they are engrossed in artistic endeavor.

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