Grieving and the Enneagram: Type Six Personality October 31, 2019

Enneagram Six

Today let’s dive into the Enneagram type 6, often known as “The Loyalist”. As we have learned, understanding our own personality traits gives great insight on how we will respond during a season of grief. The questions then come: What is the value in knowing how we grieve? Does knowing how I may grieve help me to feel less pain?  The answer to those questions depend on each individual person. 

The question should not be how do I avoid feeling pain altogether, because pain and grief is inevitable. Feeling pain and grief over the loss of a loved one is simply the proof that love existed there. In addition, to understand ourselves and how we respond to grief is important to be able to best maintain self care during our times of grief.  For example, if you know that when in stressful situations you may lean toward being judgmental and having little grace for others you can anticipate that reaction. Then in turn, you can be aware of your need to avoid interactions you will regret later.


Traits of the Enneagram Type 6

As all humans have both strengths and weakness so do each individual personality type.  Below are some of the traits of an Enneagram type 6.

  • Hardworking
  • Fearful
  • Loyal
  • Committed
  • Vigilant
  • Skeptical
  • Charming
  • Doubtful
  • Funny
  • Courageous

Each of these qualities may be labeled as a positive trait or negative trait.  Being fearful sounds negative, being charming sounds positive. The reality is that each has its benefits and its impairments. Understanding when a strength turns into a weakness can give great clarity on how to anticipate and manage ourselves during times of grief.  


Benefits and Impairments of a Type 6 in Grief

Below is a short table of examples of how something that was a benefit can turn into an impairment. Times of grief and pain can be high stress and high emotion. It is a perfect breeding ground for allowing our personality benefits to turn into impairment. 

Impairment Personality Trait Benefit
Overworking yourself Hardworking Quality results
Codependency and being taken advantage of Loyal Strong relationships
Not trusting others Skeptical Researching to find truth


Can You Guess What Type I am?

As a Type 6 myself, I can attest to how these traits can be a benefit to myself and others. I can also attest to how without staying balanced and using appropriate self-care they can become an impairment. An Enneagram 6 is very loyal and will stand by a friend and even “go down with the ship” as they defend who they care about and stick by their side. During times of high anxiety and fear a 6’s mind may jump straight to all the reasons something will not work out. This can create an environment of uncertainty and keep a 6 from making decisions that may actually improve their life simply because they are afraid of what may or may not happen.  

An Enneagram Six When Dealing With Grief

Some of the traits that make a 6 great such as the above loyalty, being skeptical and fearful as well as hardworking will certainly impact the way they grieve. If a 6 is planning for a memorial service for a loved one they will certainly put time and effort into making it be the best it can be to honor the deceased. They will reflect on the relationship they built and will advocate for what they feel would be most in line with the loved ones desires.  They may also have a high level of anxiety in relation to getting things right. As we learn about ourselves and understand how we are likely to respond in high stress situations it will allow each of us to get ahead of the struggle and create safe and appropriate boundaries as we go through and help others through their own grief.

As we said earlier, the question is not how do we never feel pain, but how do we know ourselves and others in such a way that we can live a healthy and balanced life even during times of grief. Knowing your personality type can help with this. Make sure to check out our other articles on grief, and the other Enneagram types.

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