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  1. #1
    Post Human Post Qlip's Avatar
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    Default 6s, are you really afraid?

    My behaviour patterns are clearly 6, but what I can't wrap my head around is this idea that I'm supposed to be afraid all of the time. I've read people mentioning that counter phobic 6's aren't really brave, we're just secretly scaredy cats inside.

    I guess in a way, you can say that me making a contingency plan, or steping up to something I dread is rooted in fear. But I don't experience it as proper fear, just as being alert or facing things head on. What I do is typically reactive, but I resent being seen as essentially timid. I just respond to things that I'm alerted to as potentially dangerous.

    If you're a 6, how much fear do you really feel? Do you think feel you're essentially a mouse? Even if you're in a lion costume?

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    RETIRED CzeCze's Avatar
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    You need to mention 6s to get them to come to the party. :P So @Stephen, @Patches, @Randomnity, @The Great One...this forum has a lot of 6s and 6wings.
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    Phobic 6 here, and even I don't know if I would really call it "fear"... Oftentimes for me it's just paranoia, which I suppose is rooted in fear. Though I suppose on some level I do fear consequences (and I'm incredibly thankful for that), but I don't really think I'm afraid of that much... I don't know for sure though, I have a tendency to sublimate my feelings, so fear could just be coming up as something else...
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  4. #4
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    I think I'm anxious/kind of paranoid. "Fearful" seems a bit too much (unless I'm in the grip of one of my phobias, yay me.)

    I think a lot of it is to do with being alert and not stupidly oblivious, which I think a lot of people are. I'm definitely a phobic 6 though, or closer to phobic on the sliding scale (though I see more and more counterphobic moments in myself...). So I'm probably less worried about being called "scared".

    I'm not sure if in recent years people have particularly called me "scared." Probably not since I was a child. And I wouldn't have shown it much then, either. I have phobias around flying and thunderstorms, and most people wouldn't know I was afraid. I might get pale and fidgety but it would have to be bad before I started screaming and crying - I mean really really bad. I look calm the vast majority of the time so people might actually think I'm fairly brave. I prefer to look calm because if I freak out too much I feel like I'm running around with no clothes on.

    I do know though that people have sometimes implied, if not that I'm scared - at least that I'm too paranoid, too much of a worrier, etc etc. The funny thing is, these go-with-the-flow people who I thought were being stupid and actually feared that they were placing themselves in harm's way - it often turned out that something very much along the lines of what I feared would happen, happened. (ie. my friend who ran off to Yemen and married someone she didn't know that well. She claimed she wasn't telling me about it so I "wouldn't worry", which was kind of a lie - she just didn't want people to know what she was doing. I knew right away she was going to end up with all kinds of financial and visa nightmares, at the very least, whereas she was more like "I don't worry about money when I choose who to be in a relationship with, and all the visa stuff will work out." Almost two years later, her husband still can't get into this country, she's in a total financial hole, and she now has twin babies which at least for now she's effectively raising as a single mom. Fortunately I am not quite horrible enough to say "I told you so.")


    EDIT: I love having adventures. Moving away to live in another country (or countries), exploring, travelling, all that kind of thing. But I like there to be an element of control. Some kind of firm basis, or I'm with someone I trust, etc. I think what I really fear in life is finding myself without family/friends/systems/etc that ground me and that I rely on. Because I rely on them A LOT. I look a lot more independent than I am, put it that way.
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  5. #5
    Klingon Warrior Princess Patches's Avatar
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    Thanks for the poke, CzeCze.

    I tend to describe myself as more of a phobic 6. I wouldn't describe myself as 'governed by fear' so much as just 'driven by security'. I make choices and weigh decisions based on which choices are 'safest' and are least likely to venture into territory that causes me anxiety. By making sure I always have safety nets around me I don't live as some fearful, timid mouse. I can operate in a cool/confident manner.

    Now, there are times in my life where I've had to make decisions that were the 'less safe' route. And in those occasions I do feel anxiety about it, because it really goes against my nature.

    In the case of counter-phobic 6's, and certain aspects of myself in which I get more counter-phobic-ish... I think that "lion" attitude you describe is mostly an effort to maintain control of a situation. At least that's how it manifests for me. By maintaining control, I feel safer. I can come off as a lot more "RAWR!" when I get like that, but it's really a fail-safe because I don't feel comfortable not being in the driver's seat.
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  6. #6
    insert random title here Randomnity's Avatar
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    lol, yeah you got me @CzeCze.

    Quote Originally Posted by Qlip View Post
    My behaviour patterns are clearly 6, but what I can't wrap my head around is this idea that I'm supposed to be afraid all of the time. I've read people mentioning that counter phobic 6's aren't really brave, we're just secretly scaredy cats inside.

    I guess in a way, you can say that me making a contingency plan, or steping up to something I dread is rooted in fear. But I don't experience it as proper fear, just as being alert or facing things head on. What I do is typically reactive, but I resent being seen as essentially timid. I just respond to things that I'm alerted to as potentially dangerous.

    If you're a 6, how much fear do you really feel? Do you think feel you're essentially a mouse? Even if you're in a lion costume?
    My best guess is that I'm a phobic 6. I wouldn't say that I'm timid overall (some situations yes) but I am fairly (low-level) anxious internally a lot of the time. I don't feel much actual fear, just an awareness of the many things that could go wrong and some background levels of stressing about it, which doesn't usually affect my outward behaviour. I do try to think of contingency plans, particularly if the consequences of things going wrong are severe.

    I feel a lot more secure if I have (figuratively) several layers of safety nets under me even if I am strapped into a harness - you never know when the harness will fail. So I spend some mental energy arranging those safety nets and will sometimes avoid situations where no safety net is possible (depending on the gain vs. risk). I don't really have phobias, although some things make me very uneasy (a few types of insects and heights, mostly). I can ignore them if I have to so I don't think they count as real phobias.
    -end of thread-

  7. #7
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    I like the way this description differentiates the common use of "fear" from fear as the vice of the type 6.

    In the traditional enneagram, the passion of the Six is fear, the vice is that of cowardice and the corresponding virtue that of courage. As with all of the vices and virtues associated with the enneatypes, the vice and virtue of the Six must be understood as being distinct from what is commonly understood by those terms. Many Sixes are no more cowardly than individuals of other types when we consider the term according to its common usage, and, according to common usage, but not the theory behind the enneagram, many of the behaviors of counterphobic Sixes would be considered courageous.
    In order to get a better grip on this, it's necessary to have a more precise grasp of key terms. Up to this point, we have been using the terms "anxiety" and "fear" more or less interchangeably, but at this juncture, it's important to refine our understanding. Fear is always of something definite, of some danger which requires our attention. Fear is the natural and often useful response which we experience in the face of some external threat. It is that which triggers our primal "fight or flight" response.
    Anxiety, however, is a truly existential emotion and in order to better understand it, it is perhaps helpful to turn to the existential philosophers who made a point of studying anxiety in all its forms and all its manifestations. Kierkegaard defines anxiety as the "dizziness of freedom" and describes it as the underlying, all pervasive, universal condition of human existence. Anxiety is then, not fear of any one thing, but of the very condition of being conscious and of having to make choices in a world which does not make its meaning or goals transparent to us and which frequently enough seems inimicable to human aspirations and to human existence. It is this more fundamental emotion which most directly characterizes the core emotional state of type Six, not any of the more immediate fears, which often enough are simply place holders in the consciousness of the type Six personality. It is as though the Six feels their anxiety bubbling up to the center of consciousness and then scans the environment for something external to fear; this feared, but potentially manageable thing, can then occupy the Six's attention and avert it from that nameless horror that they sense might exist at the very heart of human existence.
    According to A. H. Almaas, the type Six personality most directly experiences and suffers from a loss of "basic trust" in the goodness of the universe. This loss of basic trust is the very condition of fallen existence, and thus attaches to all of the fixations, but Sixes experience it at the very core of their consciousness. And it is this most basic and fundamental emotion which must be dealt with directly and defeated if the Six is to achieve true liberation. It is, like the journeys of all the enneatypes, a true "hero's journey."
    Many Sixes succumb to their anxieties and fears. Some of these settle for a simulacra of true courage and attempt to find peace of mind by convincing themselves of the truth of some contrived system of belief. To this end they might surround themselves by a chorus of voices from like-minded others, while projecting their own unacknowledged shadow onto those with whom they disagree. Then there are those Sixes who choose to over identify with the role of "rebel" and adopt a defiant and oppositional stand against whatever exists, which often enough succeeds in sowing little more than negativity.
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  8. #8
    Rainy Day Woman MDP2525's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Qlip View Post
    My behaviour patterns are clearly 6, but what I can't wrap my head around is this idea that I'm supposed to be afraid all of the time. I've read people mentioning that counter phobic 6's aren't really brave, we're just secretly scaredy cats inside.

    I guess in a way, you can say that me making a contingency plan, or steping up to something I dread is rooted in fear. But I don't experience it as proper fear, just as being alert or facing things head on. What I do is typically reactive, but I resent being seen as essentially timid. I just respond to things that I'm alerted to as potentially dangerous.

    If you're a 6, how much fear do you really feel? Do you think feel you're essentially a mouse? Even if you're in a lion costume?
    Every type has a core fear (helplessness, dependence, etc). No one is immune to that. 6's react to the anxiety that fear produces. It's a generalized reaction than specific like other E types. So 6's have a lot of reactivity because fear is so general.

    CP's react by confronting the fear - getting it before it gets you. Phobics deal with it by trying to avoid its impending reach. I don't know how much either really works but it's how the type deals with it.

    I'm a CP and I don't remember feeling afraid of anything. Honestly. After learning about CP 6's, a lot has changed. I can see how my reactions were driven to irradiate what made me uncomfortable. There's been a lot of freedom in knowing that about myself. I'm much more relaxed. Maybe leaning a bit toward my E9. Im embracing fear not trying to overcome it - but live with it. Im much happier.
    ~luck favors the ready~


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  9. #9
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    No, 6s are only constantly afraid when they're unhealthy. I was diagnosed with GAD a few years back. However, one thing I learned is that it's just a chemical reaction from my body and that that kind of anxious worry won't help or change any dangerous scenario, and in fact, my body will propel me to ACTION when there's REAL DANGER and all the rest is just silly beyond reasonable caution.

    However, since I'm a counter-phobic 6, all of this popped up suddenly in my 20's like a disease, since I'd been facing my fears head on and taking risks in my teens and early twenties, to counter any anxiety I'd had as a child. My counterphobic nature means that until I absolutely HAD to face my anxiety and fears, I pretended (to myself even) that I actually had less than the average person, not more. I used to drive way too fast, flipped a car, did a 360 in the middle of the freeway, smacked a purse snatcher upside the head and did various other things that a lot of people wouldn't do...while I was a counterphobic adolescent. I became extremely phobic while I was diagnosed with GAD (and I had some symptoms of social anxiety).

    So I have had a lifelong personality swing between anxiety and risk taking, but what I've learned are to take more reasonable risks instead of being one extreme or the other. That's a healthier six.

    I've also learned to address root causes of anxiety with things like meditation and yoga.

    So what 6 mainly struggles with is not real fear (I love horror movies) but anxiety or mistrust, like @Orangey posted there. I've taken great strides in actually dealing with my anxiety without just avoiding it or pretending it's not there (like I did in my teens and early twenties, which is not the most mature 6 response, obviously) and one of the main things I think I deal with is my reactive mistrust to certain people or ideologies, which you've probably noticed on the forum.

    Unhealthy 6s are either very anxious or very immature in their risk taking; average 6s mainly just seek security and trust through externals, like being around safe people who agree with their ideas for the most part or being deeply involved in community building projects (as one example); the highest level 6s actually develop a level of interdependent trust and peace - integrating at a healthy 9 - and find this from internal instead of from external, and still honor their basic need to live in or be supported by groups or communities, but they don't freak out if they are by themselves, because their trust is coming from within, not from the external structures like the average 6.

    So my meditation and yoga and stuff is working on being a higher level 6, so my trust and calm comes more and more from within.

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    There is no doubt that fear is a part of me. But it should not be something that I allow control over, rather as time has gone by its something that I've learned (and still learning) to face little by little. There will never be an end to the anxiety, but I can face against the causes of it anyway; that is courage.

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