7 Struggles of the Enneagram Six Personality Type
Loyal, hard-working, and skeptical, the Six enneatype likes to be prepared for a series of VERY unfortunate events. People with this enneatype easily imagine worst-case scenarios and make plans to circumvent them. Because there is underlying anxiety in the Six, they tend to seek out support, community, or wisdom from authorities as a way to find safety. If you know a Six, chances are you enjoy their offbeat sense of humor and loyal support. Chances also are you tend to tell them not to worry so much, or that things really won’t turn out as badly as they think they will.
Today we’re going to explore seven unique struggles that Sixes tend to face in life. I hope that this will provide solidarity for Sixes and insight for their friends and family members.
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What Are the Enneagram Sixes Struggles?
#1 – You Crave Authority, but Hate it as Well
As a six you often feel that the ground beneath your feet is unstable and breakable. Life feels uncertain and worst-case scenarios parade through your mind on a regular basis. As a result of this anxiety you crave a sense of authority or leadership in your life. You want someone to take the reigns and give you some reassurance about what to do, when to do it, or the meaning of life itself. At the same time, you’re skeptical of anyone who calls themselves an authority. You doubt people who seem self-assured and confident that their way is the one right way. Finding an authority you actually trust can be impossible because as soon as you find someone you like you start playing devil’s advocate to them.
The truth of the matter is that you need to learn to trust your own voice. This involves quieting down the “inner committee” of skeptics in your mind and actually finding your truth.
#2 – You’re a Perfectionist
You often feel a sense of insecurity about your relationships. You worry that if you fail in anything, the people you love will give up on you or reject you. Because this is such an enormous fear for you, you find yourself being overly-critical about all your endeavors. You also berate yourself over mishaps and mistakes, worrying that if anyone found out they’d reject you.
#3 – Uncertainty is the air you live and breathe
You doubt everything, including your doubts. On the outside, you may seem friendly, charming, good-humored, or even self-assured. But you’re not fooling yourself. Underneath all of that, you live on an ever-shifting cloud of uncertainty. You worry that you will screw up and ruin your relationships. You fear abandonment, rejection, being fooled, death, and everything that lies in-between. While many other types repress their fears or distract themselves from them, your fear seems to live face-to-face with you.
#4 – You Don’t Trust Yourself
In childhood, most Sixes were given the message, either directly or indirectly, that they shouldn’t trust their own instincts. As a result, you spend an inordinate amount of time looking for authorities, teachers, or institutions that you can trust. It might be a book about how to FINALLY get ahead, or it might be a pastor who puts your anxieties at ease. Maybe you’re a Six who decides to trust no one, including yourself, and live wild and free and terrified. Whichever path you choose, it’s beyond frustrating to not know where to look when an important decision needs to be made.
#5 – Your Thinking Goes in Circles
At average to unhealthy levels, your thinking and worrying only breeds more thoughts and worries. You wind up in a loop of unproductive fears, strategies, and questions. Rather than doing this, you need to face your fear of being without support or guidance. What if the worst happens? What if everyone leaves you? Then what do you still have? What resources can you still lean on? Let go of needing others to back up all your decisions. When you stop looking for outside solutions to every problem, and stop anticipating the worst, then you can become self-reliant, courageous, and brilliant in your thinking. This transformation can be shocking and profound to people who know you – and it’s an essential part of growth.
#6 – You Don’t Know How or When to Relax
As a Six, you feel like you’ll finally be secure when all your problems are solved and everything is prepared. When all the anxieties in your mind are put to rest, and all the tasks on your to-do list are completed, THEN you can relax. Unfortunately, as soon as you’ve solved one problem, a dozen more flow in to take its place! This can lead to never-ending workaholism, fear, and hyper-vigilance.
#7 – You Need Someone to Match Your Emotions
As a Six, you’re a reactive type. This means that when you experience difficulty, your immediate instinct is to respond emotionally – typically through fear or worry. Yes, you may be very rational and competent, but you still have an instinctive emotional response. Like Fours and Eights, you want someone to mirror the emotional reaction you’re having and provide solidarity. You want someone to match the intensity of your emotions as you’re having them. But the world isn’t made up of 4s, 6s, and 8s. Not everyone is going to respond that way. When your friends or family members respond calmly or even evasively to your problems or concerns, it can feel condescending or frustrating. The truth is, after you’ve had a chance to process your emotions out loud, you’re often able to move past them.
5 Ways for Sixes to Get Help With Their Struggles:
- Whenever you achieve a goal or accomplish a task, take a moment to breathe and notice something beautiful around you. Practice gratitude. Keep a notepad with you and jot down anything you can think of that you’re thankful for. The more you look for the positive things, the more thankful and resilient you will become.
- You long for a support network or a community that has your back. You also tend to worry about losing that support network. This can lead you to saying yes to too many requests or filling up your time with socializing and getting burned out. Learn to take time for yourself so that you don’t deplete your energy too severely.
- Try new things. As a Six, it can be easy to get stuck in a rut and feel afraid of change. It’s crucial for you to try new things – even if it’s just a different sandwich from your favorite restaurant. The more safe risks you can take, the more you’ll learn that the world isn’t as terrifying as you imagine it is.
- Realize how much time you spend worrying and catastrophizing. Notice how much time it takes away from the things you love or from being effective. Quiet your mind through meditation, deep breathing, or prayer. Talk to a therapist if needed. Get help for the swirl of fears and worries that are running freely through your mind. Capture them and store them away so that you can live a fuller, happier life.
- Learn to trust yourself. Other people don’t necessarily know better than you do about everything. Also, don’t let yourself get angry at them, even internally, when they don’t have the answers to the problems that are tormenting you. Realize that some answers just aren’t out there, and so you have to take some days and moments as they come. Practice being fully present in the moment.
What Are Your Thoughts?
Did you enjoy this article? Do you have any insights or suggestions to add? Let us know in the comments!
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