Enneagram Type 5 The Observer

 

Fives are mental types who focus on intellectual understanding and accumulating knowledge. They are often scholars or technical experts because of their keen perception and analytical ability. Privacy and personal autonomy are very important to them, and other people may be experienced as intrusive. The ability to detach from other people and from emotional pressure confers personal freedom, but may also create loneliness.


Some people of this type may be intellectually brilliant or knowledgeable, while feelings and relationships present an enormous challenge. For others, family and friends are very important, but they will still need lots of time alone to pursue their own interests and re-create themselves. Fives need to balance their tendency to withdraw or withhold from people by reaching out to others, even if this involves discomfort or conflict.


Strengths: Scholarly, perceptive, self-reliant


Problems: Isolated, overly intellectual, stingy


Speaking style: Rational and technical, most comfortable in their area of expertise. Not big on "small talk."


Lower emotional habit: Avarice or hoarding, which means holding back and holding on to information, time, and other resources based on the fear of scarcity, either in oneself or the environment.


Higher emotion: Non-attachment, which is letting go in order to be available for replenishment.; trusting that there is enough. 


Psychological defenses: Fives use the defense mechanism of isolation to avoid feelings of emptiness and to maintain a self image of being "knowledgeable" and self sufficient. (Isolation can be physical separation, but it also means being cut off from one's emotions.)


Somatic patterns: Fives tend to get stuck in their heads. It takes effort to bring attention to the body and the emotions. Energy is withdrawn from the periphery of the body and collects in the middle. Very sensitive to sound, touch, people, etc. they hold most of their tension in the gut rather than in the musculature, although the rib cage can be quite rigid depending on the level of fear in the body. Fives tend to "go away" behind their eyes.

 

Tips for Relating

to Fives


To create rapport: Approach them slowly and thoughtfully. Give them room to think things over.


Try to avoid: Pressuring them for immediate contact or fast decisions


Join them in: Talking about ideas and valuing the inner life


To handle conflict: Don't make assumptions about what's going on with them. Ask them for direct communication. Agree to disagree. Emphasize the importance of relationship. Watch out for control by withdrawal. Challenge them to be more warm and generous. Give them lots of information.


To support their growth: Support Fives in getting into their bodies and accessing their instinctual energy. Make it safe for them to share themselves, especially their feelings. Remind them to let others know that they care, and that they will return to the relationship or project after a break. Help them deal with feelings of emptiness.

Copyright 2010-2013, EnneagramWork, Peter O'Hanrahan