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Enneagram type-based obstacles to relationships | type 6

Enneagram type-based obstacles to relationships | type 6

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 | Doubt of self and others
Another way to say this can be summed up in one word: trust. Real relationships are based on trust of the other, trust of oneself, and trust in the relationship itself. When Sixes doubt others – for example, doubting their motives or intentions, their future behavior, etc. the Six’s trust in that other person erodes. Why would a person, a Six, in this case, want to be real and forthcoming with someone if they don’t know for sure that they can really trust?

Because Sixes want to trust others and desire real relationships with the people in their lives, they sometimes trust too early or too readily; in a sense, this is a misplaced trust of the other person who turns out to not be trustworthy. Misplaced trust can, unfortunately, create trepidation for Sixes in terms of potential future relationships that bear any similarity to this relationship that has gone awry. In some cases, when Sixes trust too much or too early, they become watchful and on-guard for even the slightest indication that their trust is not in good hands. Often, something untrustworthy can be found or, at least, perceived, thus eroding this new relationship.

A third way Sixes deal with doubt and trust in relationships is through testing the other person, even if Sixes aren’t aware in the moment that it is a test of trust (and sometimes they are!). Sixes may ask the other person for some information that really is a violation of another’s trust. Or Sixes may share something they want the other person to respond to in a certain way – for example, support only or listening only or advice only – and the other person doesn’t respond in a way that the Six wanted. Of course, what was wanted was not made explicit.

You may have noticed that the above description describes the ways in which Sixes themselves can create obstacles in real relationships. That’s because Sixes like to remove obstacles, so why not start with some of your interior obstacles because those you actually have control over? Here’s how: start by learning to trust yourself more. When you trust yourself more, your reliance on needing to trust others lessens. Here are some ways:
1. Ask yourself this question and answer it repeatedly: What if I trusted myself more…?
2. When you are about to ask someone else for advice, ask yourself this: If someone came to me with the same question, what advice would I offer that person?

There’s even more you can do by understanding and working with the type Six primary defense mechanism of projection, the unconscious attribution of one’s own disowned thoughts, emotions, motivations, attributes, and/or behaviors onto others. We all project, but Sixes do it more frequently, and they do it in relationships – for example, thinking another person is all good or imaging that another has ulterior motives. Learn how to work with projection on this blog: https://theenneagraminbusiness.com/9-types/learn-to-lessen-your-primary-defense-mechanism-type-6/

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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