Enneagram Type 5w6 Childhood (A complete guide)

In this article, we will discuss Enneagram Type 5w6 i.e. type five-wing six ‘The Problem Solver’ and the role of their childhood in their personality development. We will do that by initially giving an introduction to enneagrams, their structure, and wings. This will follow up by describing the dominant type Five personality and its triad. We will move on to giving an overview of its subtype i.e. type 5w6. Finally, we will discuss the detailed role of childhood in their development.  

Enneagram Type 5w6: Childhood

Enneagram type 5w6 has the primary characteristics of type 5 and secondary characteristics of type 6 personality. These people are practical, rational, and independent. They strive to use their knowledge to solve problems in the world. Their core childhood conflict that makes them the way they are is ‘Intimacy-Rejection’. This means that they try not to get too close to people for fear of being perceived incompetent. So, they make an effort to develop mastery in a particular area in order to live fully and survive.

Introduction to Enneagrams

Enneagrams are a map or typology of human personalities. It has its roots in spirituality, philosophy, and psychology. Multiple people contributed to its development among which George Ivanovich Gurdjieff, Oscar Ichazo, and Claudio Naranjo are the most prominent. 

It is divided into nine personality types that are spread across 3 triads i.e. Feeling triad, Thinking Triad, or Instinctive Triad. It describes a person’s fundamental psychological orientation in the form of good or bad traits and sees which triad quality i.e. emotion, intellect or instincts is most characteristic of his or her personality. 

An enneagram gives a personality type that is fluid and explains its change across time i.e. personality integration (during health, self-actualization) or disintegration (during ill health, neurosis). In other words,  a personality can become more healthy or unhealthy as it moves in different directions from its basic type. Enneagram also links one personality type with other personality types.

The structure of Enneagram

Enneagram symbol is a circle that has 9 points (each point is a personality type) present on the circumference. Each type is related to another as represented by the connected lines. Points 3,6, 9 forms a triangle. They are primary personality types that are blocked in some way from feelings, thoughts, or instincts. Whereas 4,2,8,5,7,1 form an irregular hexagram and are secondary personality types since they are mixed and not blocked from feelings, thoughts, or instincts. Each type is the result of a dialectic. In every triad, one type over-expresses its characteristic quality, another under-expresses it, and the third is mostly out of touch with it. 

Wings in Enneagrams 

The Basic Personality Type is the most characteristic of a person. Whereas wings add elements to the overall personality i.e. it is the second side of it. 

Example: If you are a personality type 5, you can have wing 4 or wing 6. So, such a personality can be understood by knowing the traits of the basic or main type and the secondary types. Usually, each personality has two wings, and both influence a person. However, at times people have one dominant wing along with their basic personality type.

The Thinking Triad: Personality Types Five, Six, Seven

• The positive and negative traits of these personalities are dominated by thinking.

• When these types are healthy, their thoughts make them distinct and admirable for their introspective qualities, insights, and ideas that have scientific, creative, and practical applications.

• When they are unhealthy, they are out of balance with respect to their thoughts and are difficult to interact with.

• All three personality types have common problems linked with insecurity and anxiety.

Enneagram Type 5: The Investigator’

Key traits:  original, detached, eccentric, and perspective. They over-express their thoughts i.e. They think more than they take action. It has two subtypes:

• The five with wing 4 (Type 5w4)

• The five with wing 6 (Type 5w6)

Type 5w6: ‘The Problem Solver’

Type 5w6 has basic traits of type 5 and secondary traits of type 6 personality. Such types have been popularly associated with science, facts, and technology. These people make good analysts and cataloguers of their environment. They try to break down things to understand how they work. 

Since type 5w6 are thinkers, it is difficult for them to connect with people at an intimate level. They are also disconnected from their feelings and have difficulty trusting others which makes relationships for them ‘a risk’. Their coping style is erratic as they either withdraw (due to type5) or cooperate with others (due to wing 6).

Healthy versions of this subtype are more extroverted than introspective. They have good observational skills and can draw meaning from their environment. This ability enables them to make predictions and draw conclusions. Subjects like philosophy, engineering, and science appeal to them. In their work, they are persistent, cooperative, and disciplined and can be innovative yet practical in their approach. Their attention is drawn more towards objects than people. 

In interpersonal interactions, emotionally they are restrained but have an intellectual sense of humor which makes them attractive to others in a unique. They have the capacity to have long, committed, and meaningful relationships. Furthermore, they have an underlying need to be accepted by others even though they seem detached or withdrawn. 

Average versions of this subtype can have problems in relationships especially related to anxiety and being overwhelmed by feelings. They have trouble expressing their feelings and being sensitive about their own and others’ emotions. Their poor social communication skills make things more difficult. 

At times, they are very occupied with theoretical and intellectual ideas and can get pretty immersed in their work. This pattern repeats when a conflict is going on where they get busy in work rather than resolving matters. People can find them being argumentative, rebellious, and cutting anyone off who does not agree with them. They can even turn to nihilism i.e. rejecting all meaning in life when they are in such states. 

Unhealthy versions of this subtype can be suspicious, emotionally volatile, fearful of intimacy, unstable, and with paranoid ideas. They often isolate themself and push others away due to fear of intimacy, feelings of inferiority, and possible delusions of persecution. They may see danger everywhere and get phobic to social interactions. They can even turn violent. Psychotic breakdown or madness can also happen.

Examples of Type 5w6: Sigmund Freud, Bill Gates, Charles Darwin, Stephen Hawking

Strengths of Type 5w6

  • Good problem solvers
  • Skilled at crisis management
  • Willing to learn and grow
  • Focused and well-organized in their work

Weaknesses of Type 5w6

  • Struggle to understand others and relate with them
  • Reserved and Defensive
  • Others perceive them as aloof, detached, and cold
  • Struggle to take action when feeling uninspired

If you’re facing this, it may be a good idea to seek the help of a therapist or other mental health professional. You can find a therapist at BetterHelp who can help you learn how to cope and address it.

Workplace and job 

Type 5w6 are good problem-solvers who are organized and intelligent. They prefer to work in jobs that allow them to gain knowledge, be logical, analytical, and give them a chance to grow e.g.professor, biologist, engineer, physicist, etc.

Source of Stress for type 5w6

  • Spending time with others
  • Feelings of rejection
  • Emotional vulnerability
  • Self-doubt and insecurity

Basic fear 

Type 5w6 fear being incapable and of no use. They prevent that from happening by trying to contribute and improve the world around them.

Basic desire 

Type 5w6 desire to be useful and capable. For that, they pursue knowledge and get new skills. To cope with stress, they withdraw which can create feelings of loneliness. 

Type 5w6 Childhood/development

We become any personality depending on how we have learned to respond to the world growing up. Our early childhood particularly our relationship with our parents governs how we unconsciously adapt to our family and the world. Genetics and temperament have their role as well. A person remains one personality type throughout life but may change and grow to develop healthy or unhealthy traits.  

In their childhood, fives feel ambivalent towards their parents. They found it difficult to identify with them and felt they had nothing to contribute, nothing they wanted or needed. So, in order to get nurturance and protection, they turned to find something new. This was so they could give/contribute back and feel like an equal. Their fear of being helpless and incompetent, drive them to master skills and new subjects that can give them confidence. 

Consequently, most of their time is spent in acquiring new information and skills to feel competent. Such children find it difficult to get emotionally close to other people. Possibly because of their experiences with their parents who could not provide them the nurturance, love, and reassurance they needed; due to a loveless marriage, emotionally disturbed parents, or erratic parenting style. 

To resolve this, fives turned to their thoughts which gave them safety, unlike the outside world which made them feel insecure and scrutinized. Often, they also feel detached from their physical bodies and materialistic things. So, they shift their entire focus on areas they can master. 

Such personalities find the world, their parents, and people quite interesting and they spend their time trying to understand them. They keep other people at a safe distance to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Finally, they have a sharp split between their inner and outer world which affects their life throughout. 

FAQs: Type 5w6-Childhood

What is a Type 5 personality?

Type 5 personality is creative, reserved, and introspective. They fear incompetence. So, they try really hard to acquire new knowledge and skills to prevent that from happening. It is one of the types from the nine enneagrams.

What is Type 5w6?

Type 5w6 or Type 5 wing 5 is an enneagram personality subtype. It has core characteristics of type five personality and complementary characteristics of type six personality. 

Who are type 5 compatible with?

Type fives are compatible with type ones and twos.

Can your Enneagram number change?

No. Enneagram type or number remains the same as we have the same personality patterns ingrained in us. However, a person’s traits may change over time.


In this article, we discussed enneagram type 5w6 in detail and the role of childhood in their development. We found that enneagram type 5w6 has the primary characteristics of type 5 and secondary characteristics of type 6 personality. These people are practical, rational, and independent. They strive to use their knowledge to solve problems in the world. Their core childhood conflict that makes them the way they are is ‘Intimacy-Rejection’. This means that they try not to get too close to people for fear of being perceived incompetent. So, they make an effort to develop mastery in a particular area in order to live fully and survive.

 I hope you found this article interesting. If you have any queries or comments, please state them in the comment section 😊




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