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Learn to lessen your primary defense mechanism | Type 6

Learn to lessen your primary defense mechanism | Type 6

After our most recent 9-part blog series on the topic of how our defense mechanisms serve as guardians of our type-based ego structures, many people asked for ideas about how to work with and lessen our defense mechanisms. This new 9-part series responds to that request. Please note that we all use many defense mechanisms, each type has a particular defense that arises when we are the most throttled, anxious, sad or angry. In addition, defense mechanisms serve a protective function, so it is neither realistic nor even desirable to try to remove them completely, lessening them and relaxing them, however, can be beneficial in reducing our ego-structure’s hold on our development and transformation, both psychologically and spiritually.

The Six’s primary defense mechanism | projection
Projection is a psychological defense mechanism in which individuals unconsciously attribute their own unacceptable, unwanted, or disowned thoughts, emotions, motivations, attributes, and/or behaviors to others. While the projection may be positive, negative, or neutral, it occurs because the individuals who are projecting perceive the projected attributes as difficult to acknowledge or threatening to believe about themselves. Because Sixes make these attributions unconsciously, they imagine that they are true, although at a deeper level they are not entirely certain about this. Although Sixes use projection as a way to create some certainty and thus reduce their anxiety in ambiguous, uncertain, or potentially dangerous situations, these projections – particularly if they are negative in nature – ironically raise the Six’s anxiety level. In addition, when Sixes project either something negative or positive that is untrue, they create a false reality without knowing they are doing so.

How to lessen projection
Learn how to trust your intuition more
Because you have a continuously operating antennae you are likely quite insightful and even intuitive. At the same time, what you are picking up may actually be inside you, a projection of your own thoughts, concerns, feelings and more. How do you know the difference between a true intuition and a projection? An intuition has no emotion of any kind associated with it. Projections are laden with many emotions. So, if what you are thinking is emotion free, it is likely an intuition and you can trust it. If your thought is fraught with emotion, it is likely to be a projection of your own inner state. If your thought has some emotion but not intense ones, it is likely both an intuition and a projection. In this case, you can sort out what part is the projection and then explore these thoughts and feelings by asking yourself: In what ways are these thoughts and feelings actually inside me? What remains after this self-exploration is most likely intuition.

Ginger Lapid-Bogda PhD, the author of seven Enneagram-business books, is a speaker, consultant, trainer, and coach. She provides certification programs and training tools for business professionals around the world who want to bring the Enneagram into organizations with high-impact business applications, and is past-president of the International Enneagram Association. Visit: TheEnneagramInBusiness.com | ginger@theenneagraminbusiness.com

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