Enneagram Type Six and Counter Phobic Six ~ Polarities
Enneagram Type 6 has the Primary Polarity of “Trying not to lose support.”
The Polarity of the Type shows a movement towards a set of qualities and a movement away from its opposites.
Like a pendulum in an old clock, the Type is sustaining this duality. Once the Type grows to its highest expression, the polarities collapse into natural wholeness.
This means that Type 6 is seeking reliable trustworthy support as a way to feel secure. Support means, “Someone who has my back” that I can trust, that won’t let me down or lie to me.”
The difference between Phobic 6 and Counter Phobic 6
Both 6 and CP6 have the same Polarities and Personality Pearl, but the CP6 has become disillusioned by life and others, feeling let down too often to trust anymore. The word “counter” means to “speak up in opposition” and that exactly describes the position of CP6.
The metaphor we use to teach Enneagram Type 6 and Counter Phobic 6 is this; Type 6 is looking for a reliable, safe chair to sit on, to finally rest.
They test the chair, question the chair and sit tentatively, checking to see if the chair is still a reliable support. This is Phobic 6, Phobic means “strong fear or dislike for someone or something.” Phobic 6 is IN their fear. Still seeking, securing and wrestling between dependence and independence.
If the chair keeps breaking or moving out from under them, the Type 6 might make a second polarized movement, away from the pain and vulnerability of their own fear.
“I’m trying to prove to myself that I’m not afraid, but the truth is I still am.”
In an act of defiance, the CP6 kicks the chair away, “I can’t trust anyone or anything, I’m on my own.” This is where CP6 can seem to display similar behaviors to Type 8, except that the deeper driver of the behavior (the Personality Pearl and Polarities) are still based on fear and seeking security, which is very different to Type 8.
A few Secondary Polarities for Sixes at their lower expression:
- It’s often difficult to know whether to trust or not.
- Sixes seek to include rather than exclude, but they can also divide into us and them camps.
- They want a lot of information to feel safe, rather than not knowing everything.
- They can question instead of letting go.
- At lower to medium expressions, they find it easier to overplan than be underprepared.
A few Secondary Polarities for Sixes at their highest expression:
- Instead of seeking only to trust others, they learn to trust themselves.
- From trying to include everyone, they see the wisdom of natural hierarchies like Parent and Child, or Manager and Team Member and stop polarizing into us and them camps.
- Instead of seeing information as a way to feel safe, they also find their peaceful inner intuitive knowing.
- From questioning everything, they learn when it is wise to let things go.
- At higher to medium expressions, they still plan but not in a way that paralyzes action, they trust themselves to know what to do if under-prepared.
Enneagram Type Six ~ Personality PearlType 6 has the InnerLifeSkills Blue Pearl of Mind + Separation + Seeking Security + Fear Continuum. This means that Type 6 is operating from a combination of mind, an unconscious trying to alleviate fear (think about the sensation of looking for someone or something to feel more secure), plus seeking ways to feel secure by separating from groups and authority, but also feeling drawn to the safety of groups and authorities. Add this to the Polarities and you understand the REASON for the behaviors of Type 6.
Examples of reasons for behavior:
- Sixes use their mind, thinking and questioning to seek trustworthy support.
- Sixes can separate and divide into “us and them” camps, to sustain their support.
- Sixes use think and worry about future threats and make many contingency plans for security.
Info-graphic for Enneagram Type 6
If you look at our InnerLifeSkills Enneagram infographic, you’ll see the question mark symbol for the stream of thinking and questioning of the type.
You’ll see the eyes closed, listening to thoughts instead of hearing clearly what others are saying. Or angry for the Counter Phobic 6.
The question mark symbol is a reminder of the Primary Polarity seeking security through questions.
Here are some voices for Type Six (from our InnerLifeSkills Enneagram Coaches)
- “I don’t want to be an authority, so I struggle in leadership roles.”
- “I look for ways to be fair, and I’m scanning to see if you are being fair.“
- “I don’t mind working in the background, just being useful feels good.”
- “My wife says that I can never just let some things go.”
- “When people are withdrawn I worry that they are hiding something from me.”
- “I find it hard to sit down and relax, my mind is always busy.”
- “It can be hard to trust, I’m looking for inconsistencies and testing people.”
- “I demand transparency and full disclosure.”
Enneagram Type 6 Map for Growth
At the lowest expression Sixes have creates a false sense of security by polarizing away from slowing down, and shifting from tuning in to thinking to tuning in to their independent knowing.
“It’s only at my highest expression that I discover what real security is made of, that real security can’t be found through the mind, or from other’s support, its in my sense of self.”
Sixes Lowest Expression
When our Enneagram Type is at its lowest expression, it tends to have a CLOSED door to its opposite polarized Type, denying the balancing qualities of that type, to restore wholeness. And it tends to have only one OPEN door to the other type, which because of the lack of balance, adds lower functioning qualities to the primary type.
- At Enneagram Type 6’s lowest expression, the energetic door to Type 9, which is their polarity opposite is closed. This means all the healthy functional qualities of Type 9 like being able to just be, letting go, relaxing and peaceful contentment are difficult to access.
- Leaving the only energetic door open to Type 3 at its worst. This lets in the heart type self-worth issues, competitive, chameleon fakeness, concern about image and endless striving for success.
“At my lowest expression, I tend to access the worst characteristics of Type 3, which means I put on an image of confidence, which feels terrible because honesty is so important to me.”
“As a Type 6, when I go to 3, it’s a driven anxiety that borders on workaholism.”
“It’s all thinking and doing, and striving, looking good, and fitting in and networking and exhausting.”
“Looking cool, selling myself and being charming instead of being my natural humble self.”
Sixes Highest Expression
When our Enneagram Type 6 is at its highest expression, it tends to have a OPEN door to its opposite polarized Type, allowing the balancing qualities of that type to restore wholeness. And it tends to then also have an OPEN door to the other type, which because of the balance, adds higher functioning qualities to the primary type.
- At Enneagram Type 6’s highest expression, the energetic door to Type 9, which is their polarity opposite is open. This means all the healthy functional qualities of Type 9 like being able to relax, feel peaceful, let things go when needed, and authentic uncomplicated salt of the earth beingness can now be accessed.
- The other energetic door being open to Type 3 now adds its best. This lets in more efficiency, solution focused thinking, action taking, big dreaming, inspired action and motivation.
“At my highest expression as an Enneagram Type 6, I feel peaceful in my skin, using my knowing and trusting myself to beat procrastination.”
“As a Type 6, when I access 9 I feel grounded.”
“I can do more, but with less stress.”
“I still question and enjoy being competitive but this feels like a healthy way to get out of overthinking.”
Enneagram Type 6 Key Words & Voices
- I’m looking for feedback and support.
- Feedback and support enable me to feel safe, but I don’t know whether the feedback I’m getting is honest and I don’t know whether I can trust you enough to be supported by you.
- I’m hoping I can trust. I want to trust and it can make me gullible, but I’m also skeptical.
- I live in the paradoxes of the mind. This can make me appear sometimes hot and then suddenly cold.
- When I’m feeling secure, I can be warm, but when I’m feeling a little insecure, I can be cold and separate.
- I’m very protective of myself and the underdogs of the world.
- I tend to identify very strongly with servants and people in the lower runs of hierarchies.
- I tend to have a natural suspicion for authority figures even though sometimes I’m drawn to them because I believe they might protect me.
- I’m good at planning and even though when I’m unsure, I tend to plan thoroughly and completely.
- I’ll defend those who are defenseless and I show real courage when I do so because I am quite anxious.
Enneagram Type 6 Common Mistyping MisidentificationsBecause Enneagram tests are limited, they are often unreliable, with a 50-60% accuracy. This is why we prefer a narrative, coaching approach to helping people to discover their types. Types share common behaviors but differ in their Personality Pearl “grain of sand” hidden reason for the behavior. Here are a few common Type 6 mistypings showing what is in common and what ultimately separates the types. We train our Enneagram Coaches to use this type of thinking as a framework to ask clients enlightening questions so that clients can weigh in on the coaching session to find their type (with the expert guidance of their InnerLifeSkills Enneagram Coach).
But first an important note on Enneagram Type CP6 vs. 8Many CP6 are mistyped as Type 8, identifying with being direct, assertive and challenging, but their WHY is very different. When you look at the Personality Pearl of fear, seeking security, Separating things with a mind center of gravity, you see how Counter Phobic 6 and 8 have very different motivations. CP6 doesn’t feel powerful they might take power to speak for the powerless. They don’t identify with the “Boss” they identify with the “Underdog” and choose to champion these causes in an often aggressive or confrontational way. They don’t lack compassion or seek revenge, which lower functioning Type 8 can, but they do polarize against authorities and can rally allies against perceived or real abuse of power.
- High functioning CP6 and 6 speak courageously for integrity, equality, human rights, inclusive groups and transparency.
- Low functioning CP6 attacks any authorities they choose to align against blindly to bring them down, feeling morally justified but lacking wisdom, where they can even become a covert violently destructive force.
- TYPE 1 vs. 6: Both are diligent and hardworking, 1 in favor of doing the ‘right’ thing and 6 to be useful and of service. 1 follows the rules 6 might question the rules but follows out of fear. 1 can be angry and harsh, 6 is afraid of aggression (except CP6). 1 is an anger type who is learning to relax and let go, 6 is a fear type who is learning faith in self
- TYPE 2 vs. 6: Both want to be helpful, 2 to feel loved and appreciated and 6 to be useful and to be of service. 2 needs to be acknowledged, 6 wants support but not necessarily attention. 2 can orientate to the most important people, 6 supports the underdog. 2 is a self-worth type who is learning self-love, 6 is a fear type who is learning faith in self.
- TYPE 3 vs. 6: Both can work diligently, 3 to look successful and 6 to be diligent and calm their fear. 3 can wing it and cut corners, 6 may be too anxious to cut corners. 3 can glance over something then get into action, 6 can over think and procrastinate. 3 is a self-worth type learning humility and service, 6 is a fear type who is learning faith in self.
- TYPE 4 vs. 6: Both feel for the broken and powerless, 4 wants to be the special savior of broken things and 6 wants to champion just causes. 4 needs to be special, 6 needs support. 4 can be stuck in wounded stories, 6 can want rescuing. 4 is a self-worth type learning to be functional and ordinary, 6 is a fear type who is learning faith in self.
- TYPE 5 vs. 6: Both seek knowledge, 5 wants deep intense understanding, 6 wants enough information to feel secure. 5 needs independence of mind, 6 needs support and feedback. 5 can be aloof and distant, 6 can vacillate between warm and cold. 5 is a fear type learning to be engaged and confident, 6 is a fear type who is learning faith in self.
- TYPE 7 vs. 6: Both are sensitive to the pain of others, 6 in service to fairness and 7 from a need to bring happiness. 6 needs support, 7 needs independence and freedom. 6 can be frightened to take risks, 7 can be a daredevil adrenaline junky. 6 is a fear type who is learning faith in self, 7 is a fear type who is learning focus and content stillness
- TYPE 8 vs. 6: Both are loyal, 6 in favor of the underdog and powerless, 8 in favor of loved ones and those they respect. 6 needs support and feedback, 8 needs to feel strong and independent. 6 can be indecisive and anxious, 8 can be decisive and harshly direct. 6 is a fear type who is learning faith in self, 8 is an anger type who is learning compassion.
- TYPE 9 vs. 6: Both are sensitive to others, 6 in favor of being fair and just and 9 in favor of keeping the peace. 6 needs support and feedback, 9 needs harmony. 6 can be anxious and untrusting, 9 can be chilled and going with the flow. 6 is a fear type who is learning faith in self, 9 is an anger type who is learning to be assertive and present.