The Questioner


Sixes are head types and they try to make themselves feel safe and competent through thought. They like to ask questions and examine options as a basis for decision making. The tendency to ask questions and to question ideas and information, in hope of finding sustainable and safe choices, is such a central characteristic of type six that we name this type “The Questioner”.

If you are a six questions will occupy your mind. You will be examining you own behavior and thoughts. At bottom you will be asking: Do I know? How is this supposed to be done? What would a normal person do? And even; Am I normal? You will feel the need to ask others in order to quieten your worries and your guilt. You long to be stable, to look stable and to be approved of by stable people.

If you are a six you often feel dependent on other people and groups. You are afraid of standing on your own. In order to become free a six must give up that dependency and trust herself.

Swedish society is dominated by six values. People strive to belong and fit it. There is a group mentality, you do not want to stick out and look strange. You feel sorry for, and admire, people who are marginalized. The Welfare State was like an idea of a safe home where everyone belongs. Fitting in or not is an internal conflict for a six. She may have a longing to break free from that pattern, but not dare take the risk to really break free and be her own.

Big decisions will stress a six out. If you are a six you may find yourself pondering over questions that leave you no peace. At times this will keep you from fully plunging into life. Instead of enjoying what you are doing at the moment you are asking inwardly: Is this the right job for me? Am I going to the right school? Do I really love my wife? And, in every situation, is my behavior right, and normal.

Once a six has no big decision to make she may suddenly find herself enjoying life. When she stops worrying about whether she knows what she is doing and how it should best be done, she experiences a very nice logistic flow. Like she does not have to know, the knowing just presents itself when needed. That makes her feel safe and capable. Simply put, when a six stops thinking, she can enjoy life.

Sixes want to be good. And respectful. Sixes are the good girls and boys of the Enneagram. The worst fear of a six is to suddenly discover she really is a bad person. In reality, a six typically never harms a fly.

A six does not like things being hidden or covered up. Paradoxically others may get the impression she is hiding things, because she confuses herself to the point that she really has no idea what she feels and wants. She feels pressure to give the honest report about how she feels and thinks about things. And she feels the same urge to know the real and honest status of the other. There is almost a compulsion to report and be accountable.

A six will avoid telling it all if she foresees conflict. A six hates it when someone is mad at her. It stirs up a lot of fear. That same fear is what underlies her need to report. She will avoid conflict at any cost, for she fears not being able to cope and she feels she will be in the hands of the perpetrator. She does not want to feel like a puppet on strings. An unfree six idealizes safety, and absence of conflict. All in order to avoid being put on the spot, and experience fear.

A Questioner will also ask questions because she does in fact avoid being sure. For if she is sure, she can be put on the spot and made accountable. She prefers placing the responsibility on someone else, whome she makes her authority. In this inner logic, being sure makes you liable to exclusion from the group. It feels like a threat of being left alone. In reality, a six longs to contribute to the group. She wants to be able to stand up for herself and take authority, but her fear holds her back.

Sixes look to knowledgeable authorities to guide them, hoping to escape fear, doubt and indecision. A six may ask all her friends for advice, and then feel even more confused, contrasting all the new information. She will listen to, and then question, authorities, because this is a way to avoid being the authority herself.

Work is the sensitive area for a six. To her, work is a sense of community. More than anything else, she wants to feel she is at the right place, and with the right people. To have found that right place, where she can really flow and pour the best she has into it, is a sixes dream of fulfillment. And since work is so dear to her, the six has an extra hard time making job decisions.

Unfree sixes are very worried what others think of them. This wanting to be liked is always serving the deep seated need to be safe. Until a six accesses her own power, and finds her limits, she will be very dependent of the approval of others. Her need to be normal, fit in, be like the other kids, is fueled by the longing to belong somewhere, somehow.

A six wants to be safe, and comfortable (that is her inner nine child). Sixes also have an eye for quality. This always has to do with being comfortable and safe. They like status, which is also a form of safety seeking. You can hide behind your title or your position, for lack of authentic authority.

Communication 

If you are a six you rely very much on verbal (and written) communication. And you believe it can solve most things. You simply do not imagine people would hide things, for you believe everyone wants all cards on the table, like you do.

A six tries to have a clear communication with people. If she does not succeed, she thinks she is not being clear enough. And tries to clarify things, communicating more. Sixes dislike vagueness and covering up. They want clarity and honesty and that is what they offer. Only when afraid of an angry reaction, will a six bite her tongue.

Most sixes feel uncomfortable with things being hidden, covered up or unnatural. To some even make up and fixing your appearance can feel that way, and many sixes look and act natural, uninterested in having a “style”.

Sixes love jobs where they communicate. They love to listen to people, and help them sum up what is important to them. They are out to clarify. Or to clearly convey things that inspire them to others. A six also loves it when others care about what she is trying to communicate. Clear communication is a sixes idea of a great relationship.

If you are a six you like to explore reality. If you find that your partner in conversation is covering things up, pretending, or just playing with words, you will get bored and not see the point to the conversation.

When communication breaks down, it is very stressful to a six. She needs to find out what happened and make sure all is clear, before she can let it rest. If there is anger, or merely lack of clarity, she cannot really drop the issue. A six feels more uneasy than most around people who are angry and discontent for reasons that are unclear to her.

When a six is afraid in a situation, she will typically lose her ability to communicate clearly. Which feels like a great loss of power to her. The focus of a six is very here and now, and she will find it difficult to draw on experience in a tense situation. Instead, she may start an investigation based on what she feels here and now and get quite lost in a thinking that confuses her more than it clarifies.

She needs to allow herself to drop down and relax, before she tries to respond. When fear takes over she may experience confusion that may intensify into an experience of black out. Once she grounds herself the information she needs will again be more accessible.

Looking for know how

As a head type, sixes rely on ideas to feel safe and capable. A six wants to know how things are. A positive idea or theory that she feels is authentic and will stand the test of time, will make her feel safe and good. Ideas that make her uncertain or that are negative make her afraid.

What mainly makes a six afraid, is the idea that she lacks know how. It is not a realistic knowing that others may know more. Rather, it is a fantasy of know how more substantial than your own, that others supposedly possess. And a lack of trust in oneself to have enough know how when one needs it.

If you are a six you will simply forget that you know. And if a piece of knowledge is not conscious in your mind at a particular moment you do not trust that it is there. You will also see others do things and hear them speak, and think that they know more, or better.

Doing new things, a six does not really trust she can do it until she gains some experience that shows her she coped fine. When that happens she typically forgets all about it and takes it for granted that she knows how, as long as she is performing that particular task with some regularity. But if some time passes, she may actually forget, and again not trust she knows how.

When a six gets into worrying because she doubts herself, she can really stress herself out. Generally it is enough for her to calm down that someone tells her with conviction that she does know. Then the block goes away, and the six starts to remember pieces of trustworthy knowledge.

A six also feels pressured to know right away and to be accountable. She hates to feel put on the spot and not be able to explain or clarify things. She will normally take it upon herself to be clearer. It is hard for a six to understand that others may not know enough on the subject, or not make much effort to follow.

If you are a six you will often take the role of the student, the one who does not know. This can be an asset when you are in fact gathering information. But when you really do know, and maybe more than most, on a subject, it becomes a trap.

Sixes and relationships

If you are a Questioner you will need to look at your tendency to try and think your way to safety and to seek guidance from others. Just like the other fear types a six will look to others to provide thoughts and information. In the case of a six she will listen too much and believe others to know more than herself.

That is a distortion of reality and it will cause those relationships where she takes the student role to be unequal. She simply needs to let that illusion go, and give up hope about outer guidance. Ideas may inspire you if you are a six, and support is a fine thing, but you are responsible and you must be your own authority.

A six who is in a relationship, or is raising a family, is very focused on the logistic wellbeing of her partner and children, and on the logistic details of the home. Just like a two, also an adaptive type, is focused on the emotional state and the emotional wellbeing of her partner, a six cares that everything run smoothly for her loved ones, as well as for herself.

When everyone is comfortable and things are on track, the six can fully engage in and enjoy her own comfort and flow. Sixes sometimes neglect their own interesest because they believe everything must be safely and well organized first.

Sixes doubt their know how at work, and work in the broadest sense. To a six a relationship or being a parent is also work. In the sense of a logistic task. The six takes upon herself to make it function well and smoothly, for all involved. She is not focused on emotion or the body, but thinks that if everything is well organized and comfortable, the persons involved will be able to feel good and relaxed and take care of their own needs.

A six may find it too much to look after the family logistics and get around to hanging out with her friends as well. To hang out with friends is something that sixes enjoy. There does not have to be anything special going on, like parties or events. Actually, even better if there is not. Sixes like smooth communication and interchange of helpful information. When that happens and you are comfortable and enjoying quality food or drink, or other pleasures, or just the simple pleasure of good, focused conversation, a six is enjoying herself greatly.

A six may keep up friendships that do not feel good to her anymore. The tendency of sixes to underestimate their own knowledge and contributions enhances their tendency to stay and not acknowledge being bored with the company. When it comes to love relationships sixes are better at knowing that they are not satisfied, simply because they are more focused on work that love.

The practical aspects of coming together (cooperation) comes so natural to a six that she does not always stop to consider whether this coming together is really nurturing to her. The same thing goes for relationships. A six will invest her best cooperative efforts. And sometimes end up in bewilderment because the other is simply not into cooperation, nor communication, the way she is.

Fear in type six

Types five, six and seven are the so called fear types, or head types, of the Enneagram. The underlying emotional atmosphere, and that which is avoided, is fear. As we said above, fear in the six is about broken communication and lack of know how. A six will also be afraid when she thinks things about herself and reality that are not true, or when things are not clear. She will not be able to rest until she has clarified and knows the truth of the matter.

Like fives and sevens, sixes rely on their thinking to find safety. That is a trap. A six needs to sink deeper, let go of thinking, and rely on her deeper knowing, her gut feeling. Then she will feel safe and grounded. She also needs to access her anger. Unless she does she will be unclear about what she wants and feel powerless. When a six is afraid in a situation she will typically lose her ability to communicate clearly. Which feels like a great loss of power to her.

Sixes suffer from the so called amnesia of succecss. They need to make a point of remembering that they were capable and sufficiently knowledgeable the past.

If you are a sixes you are much more down to earth than a seven. You feel good when the washing machine is on, and can do things at a nice, relaxed, pace. You do not fantasize, or look for special or intense experiences. You typically like to do and see things, but being comfortable and at ease is much more important to you than having specific experiences.

Compared to a five you will be more into people and cooperation, and less into science. Your interest in knowledge is very linked to its practical application. It is essential to the well being of all three head types to be grounded and present in the body. Your gut feeling is a very good guide, and when you let your emotions flow freely it comes easy and authentic. Once a six gives up relying exclusively on her intellect, she feels more capable and sure of herself.

Trust and inner guidance

Knowing that you are a six can help you become free. Understanding your pattern will make you see how your focus on know how really keeps you from discovering and trusting you have it already.

You will be able to see through your tendency to think others know better than you and accept that you yourself are the most reliable authority in your life. You will also see the illusion of a “right” choice in all matters for the ghost that it is. In order to enjoy life fully you will have to give that up and allow yourself to experience, try out and make new choices based on your actual here and now experiences.

If you are a six, the direction of integration is toward point nine in the Enneagram. Your inner child aspect is nine. This aspect is within you, you need only listen to it and let it guide you.

These are aspects of type nine that are helpful for you:

– Trust. You will know when you need to know. The nine energy can help you just relax and trust. The know how will be there available to you when you need it. And if not, you can go get it. There is nothing to worry about. Your gut feeling, is a great guide, when and if your truly trust it, emotions like anger and lust, included.

– Passivity. A nine waits. That passive attitude can be too much in a nine, will create balance in you. Let your inner child slow you down, and just be. Enjoy the moment. Maybe others will take more responsibility!

– Trust the gut. A nine does not stop and argue intellectually about what to do. She does what feels right. Being a body type she goes with her gut feeling. That will work great for you.

– Laziness. Your inner nine child likes to be comfy and just hang out. She does not care to be focused all the time. Wait and see. It is not all up to you. If you lean back a bit, others may get more active. Things may solve themselves.

– Don´t listen. Nines are somewhat distracted  Allow yourself to be uninvolved and carefree. Most of the things that worry people are of no significance. That resistance to responsibility that is too much in a nine will create a fine balance in you.

– Let it be. Let everything be, is a good way to deal with fear. To passively endure the fear and just experience it as an energy in the body is a good nine way of becoming brave. You can sit through the fear, there is nothing to do. And it will subside.

– Be unimpressed. A nine is not impressed or alarmed by the discontent or anger of others. She just waits till the tantrum passes, making a cup of tea. It is not your job to clarify things.

– Do not be accountable. You need not tell nor explain to anybody. Do not listen to people who encourage you to do more instead of less. You do not have to give reasons. Just happen to forget all about it. Like a nine would.

– Looking for peace. As a six you are sharp. You see every angle of a matter. Even when you yourself is actually fine and have nothing to gain by thinking about it. Drop it. Enjoy your own inner peace and well being. No need to figure out how about or for others.

As a six becomes freer she will turn her attention to the real source of know how, which lies within. When she drops down, she discovers that she does indeed stand on very firm ground. She can relax and improvise. She understands that there is nothing to miss and nothing to fear.

Trusting life itself, or God if you will, a six becomes realistic about her own responsibility. She can be brave and at ease, for she knows nothing can really threaten who we ultimately are. We can just let things happen through us, and enjoy it.

 

Advertisements

6 Responses to “Type 6”


  1. Great article, you start to talk about type nine towards the end of the post.


    1. Yes it the path to freedom for a six, that is why we focus on the inner child at the end of it. Nine is the inner child of a six.

  2. Suzan Says:

    Well written and very informative. Thank you.


    1. Thank you Suzan we try our best :)!

  3. Luisa Rodriguez Says:

    This is one of the best and most thorough explanations for a 6 that I have seen. Thank you, especially for your emphasis on the inner child work–I never saw it that way before. I would love for you to do a post on enneagram relationships. I’m a 6 in relationship with a 9 and some of the things you put here and on the 9 page make so much sense for why we get along so well!


    1. Hi Luisa, thank you for your comment. I am so happy to hear your feedback. I would love to do something on relationships in the future./ Kind regards Ulrika

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s