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Enneagram Theory: Fixations (Habits of Mind) – Cowardice

This 7th blog in a series on how all of us exhibit the Fixations (Habits of Mind) normally associated with only one of the Enneagram styles now moves to Cowardice: Thoughts of doubt and worry that cause you to continually create worst-case scenarios. We typically associate Cowardice with Enneagram Sixes; however, all of us, not just Sixes, engage in Cowardice. We just display Cowardice about different things!In addition to Cowardice being exhibited by all 9 Enneatypes, the self-preservation sub-type for each of the 9 styles – as opposed to the social subtypes or the one-to-one subtypes – will tend to display more Cowardice on an ongoing basis. The reason for this is that self-preservation subtypes tend to be more concerned about issues of safety and security and, in general, tend to be the least trusting or most wary of the 3 subtypes.

Enneagram Ones
Here are just some ways in which Ones engage in thinking that leads to Cowardice:
Cowardice about making mistakes: Thinking and worrying so much about getting “it” right, making no mistakes, and being correct and appropriate
Cowardice about hurting other people: thinking they have done something really bad and fretting about having hurt others when they’ve been harshly judgmental, become angry with someone who was not really the source of their anger, and more
Cowardice about being spontaneous: believing that it is not OK and even dangerous to not have strict controls on their own behavior

Enneagram Twos
Here are just some ways in which Twos engage in thinking that leads to Cowardice:
Cowardice about being alone: Thinking that something is very wrong or becoming anxious and at a loss for what to do when they are alone for long periods of time (which might even be an hour, depending on the particular Two)
Cowardice about acknowledging own dependency needs: Believing that they don’t depend on others, but that others need and depend on them
Cowardice about not being “nice”: Thinking that everything they do is and must be both thoughtful and considerate, so that when they are not, thinking of reasons why what they thought, felt, or did wasn’t really so “bad” or was merely a reaction to someone else’s “poor” behavior

Enneagram Threes
Here are just some ways in which Threes engage in thinking that leads to Cowardice:
Cowardice about failure: Thinking that failure is not something that is allowed in their vocabulary or is something they have ever experienced first-hand
Cowardice about being unmasked: Worrying, often unconsciously, that they will be uncovered to be fraudulent in some way
Cowardice about intimacy: Thinking that they can’t get really, deeply close to others on an emotional level because doing so would make them overly vulnerable, less able to achieve, or test their competence (or lack of competence) in this arena

Enneagram Fours
Here are just some ways in which Fours engage in thinking that leads to Cowardice:
Cowardice about rejection: Worrying about and interpreting events as a rejection of them
Cowardice about closeness: Thinking that if they get too close to another, the other will find their intrinsic defects, become critical, and then leave
Cowardice about affirmation: Thinking primarily about what is wrong with them, with a reluctance to consider what is just fine about them

Enneagram Fives
Here are just some ways in which Fives engage in thinking that leads to Cowardice:   
Cowardice about intrusion: Thinking that others are going to invade their time, space, and privacy
Cowardice about feelings: Concerns about expressing their feelings in real time, along with being highly uncertain about what they do feel or even how to know it
Cowardice about attachments: Believing that they must not be attached to anything or anyone because if they do, their energy will be sapped and their autonomy threatened

Enneagram Sixes
Here are just some ways in which Sixes engage in thinking that leads to Cowardice:
Cowardice about others: Believing that they can’t fundamentally trust or count on others (with a few exceptions who have been tried and tested)
Cowardice about themselves: Believing that they can’t fundamentally trust or count on themselves (even when reality has shown that to not be true or true in all cases)
Cowardice about authority: Thinking that authority figures cannot be trusted or, at least, must be carefully and continuously watched

Enneagram Sevens
Here are just some ways in which Sevens engage in thinking that leads to Cowardice:   
Cowardice about pain: Thinking that “pain” is a waste of time, unnecessary, and something they are not equipped to deal with effectively
Cowardice about restraints: Believing that freedom is the absence of constraints and that no one has the right to restrain them
Cowardice about standing (sitting) still: Perceiving being still as nothing or an opening for a flood of despair and being scared by this prospect

Enneagram Eights
Here are just some ways in which Eights engage in thinking that leads to Cowardice:
Cowardice about asking for support: Believing that only the weak ask for support and that others aren’t strong enough to support them anyway
Cowardice about appearing weak: Thinking that showing any vulnerability or anxiety is a kink in their armor and that others will take advantage of that
Cowardice about being completely honest: Thinking that they are truthful, always, even though this is not always the case

Enneagram Nines
Here are just some ways in which Nines engage in thinking that leads to Cowardice:        
Cowardice with self-assertion: Believing it’s not OK to assert themselves in a wide variety of ways but, instead, thinking it’s best not to “make waves” or create controversy
Cowardice with stating opinions: Believing that either their opinions don’t matter or that it is not worth the effort to express them
Cowardice with conflict: Thinking that conflict creates disharmony in relationships and worrying when someone is upset with them or they are upset with someone else

It is helpful to remember that Sixes engage in thinking related to Cowardice more continuously than the rest of us, we all do it to some degree and in our own way.

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