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Enneagram type-based obstacles to relationships | type 5

Enneagram type-based obstacles to relationships | type 5

In this 10-part blog series, each blog covers a different Enneagram type, focusing on one essential way – of course, there are many per type – they get in their own way of having real relationships with others. These can be seen on the graphic above. Diving deeper, the blogs will connect the particular way the type creates specific obstacles in genuine relating to the issues and dynamics of that type. In addition, there will be one activity, process or idea that can relax or relieve this ego-based way we constrain ourselves from having what we deeply want in relationships.

Biggest obstacle | Emotional unavailability and remoteness
Deep down inside, Fives crave deeper bonds with other people, with romantic partners, friends, and family. Yet these sorts of bonds can feel overwhelming to Fives who have a strong need to manage their energy and time spent with others so they do not end up feeling entirely depleted. Having strong and deep relationships with others, however, requires spending time with people to allow these bonds to strengthen and flourish. Time, by itself, is not enough for relationships to flourish; it’s also what happens during that time.

Because Fives guard their privacy, they limit both how much time they will spend with others and also both what they will disclose to others and when they will disclose it. These boundaries can limit relationships because close relationships require self-disclosure – the sharing of thoughts, feelings, and experiences in our lives. Typically, the self-disclosure is mutual. Most often, the closer the relationship, the more we share, and the more we share, the closer the relationship becomes.

In addition, what can make developing real relationships more challenging for Fives is their tendency to disconnect from their feelings in real-time. Most people don’t feel their full array of feelings in real-time all the time, but they don’t disconnect almost entirely in the moment. Although many Fives can have rich emotional lives later on when they reflect on their emotional reactions, they do this when they are not in the presence of the other person. Building real relationships does require more emotional access in real-time so that each person can “feel” the other and gain more understanding of the full person, not only what someone is thinking.

This suggestion starts with Fives wanting closer and more real relationships with others. This desire often comes from the Five’s desire to feel less isolated and more engaged. Next is the issue of selectivity. Fives can choose those with whom they’d like closer and deeper relationships so Fives don’t feel they have to extend their boundaries and be more forthcoming with everyone. They don’t! Finally, and this takes practice, is to learn to access their emotional interior more readily in real-time. There are two ways to do this:

1. Breathe more fully throughout your body and make this a regular breathing practice. Breathing throughout your body and not just into your head and shoulders gives you more access to your somatic reactions. And all feelings have a somatic sensation associated with them. You can learn to recognize that, for example, fluttering feelings in your body below the heart area might be anxiety but could be excitement. Which is it?

2. Experiment with sharing a few more feelings – the ones you are more aware of – with a few people and see what happens! If you like what happens, you can do this even more – that is, you can increase the feelings you share or increase the number of people you share them with.

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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