Enneagram Type 6w5 Childhood (A complete guide)

In this article, we will discuss Enneagram Type 6w5 i.e. type six-wing five ‘The Defender’ and the role of their childhood in their personality development. We will do that by initially giving an introduction to enneagrams. This will follow up by describing the dominant type six personality and its triad. We will move on to giving an overview of its subtype i.e. type 6w5. Finally, we will discuss the detailed role of childhood in their development.  

Enneagram Type 6w5: Childhood

Enneagram type 6w5 has the primary characteristics of type 6 and secondary characteristics of type 5 personality. These people are intellectual, serious, hard-working, and focused. They are cautious in their behavior but loyal to loved ones. Their core childhood conflict that makes them the way they are is ‘Apprehension and Distrust’. This means that they find it really hard to trust people and worry all the time due to it. They strive to look for answers or an authority figure that can give them a sense of stability or guidance.


Enneagrams are a map or typology of human personalities with 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. 

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. 

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 6, you can have wing 5 or wing 7. 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 6: The Loyalist’

Key traits:  engaging, committed, defensive, and paranoid. They are mostly out of touch with their thinking i.e. they either seek reassurance/confirmation for their thoughts or get trapped in circular thinking that is not grounded. It has two subtypes:

• The six with wing 5 (Type 6w5)

• The six with wing 7 (Type 6w7)

Type 6w5: ‘The Defender’

Type 6w5 has basic traits of type 6 and secondary traits of type 5 personality. Traits of type 5 and type 6 are in conflict i.e. ‘affiliation vs detachment from others’ yet both are seeking security. As a result, type 6w5 has both tendencies approaching and detaching. They are serious, ethical, and self-controlled people who can be passionate and outspoken when expressing their views.

Healthy versions of this subtype are organized, curious, perceptive, intellectual, and good speakers. They also make good educators. Fields of medicine, law, and engineering are good for them as they have established rules. They often contribute to causes, community service, and take a stand for the weak. Often, they are a spokesperson for less privileged people. These personalities possess good observational skills and perception which makes their foresight pretty strong. 

Average versions of this subtype can be anxious but mostly they try to sort it out on their own or may seek help from a mentor. They are strong, competitive, and emotionally inhibited people who like their privacy. They see the world as a dangerous place and may react aggressively upon perceiving any threat to their security. They struggle with trusting people and doubt their intentions.

Unhealthy versions of this subtype can be paranoid with regard to personal security. They can even turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with their delusions, anxiety, cynicism, and feelings of inferiority. Their patterns can be self-destructive but they carefully hide it from others. loss of life and violence can also take place.

Examples of Type 6w5: George Bush, Robert F. Kennedy, Diane Keaton, Bruce Springsteen

Strengths of Type 6w5

  • Good problem solvers
  • Detail-oriented
  • Can work independently
  • Always in pursuit of knowledge

Weaknesses of Type 6w5

  • Withdraw from others
  • Struggle with expressing emotions
  • Difficulty controlling negative thinking
  • Others perceive them as aloof, detached, and cold

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 6w5 are focused, hardworking, and cautious in their approach. They prefer to work in jobs that are safe, stable, and allow them to learn e.g.professor, biologist, chemist, banker, financial analyst, etc.

Source of Stress for type 6w5

  • Making the wrong decisions
  • Feelings of rejection
  • Emotionally expressing themself
  • Unexpected changes

Basic fear 

Type 6w5 fear insecurity, instability, and losing guidance, which explains their skepticism.

Basic desire 

Type 6w5 desire to be secure and safe. This is exhibited by their protective nature and search for stable relationships. They often defend themself by projecting their feelings on other people which may increase their mistrust and feelings of lack of safety.

Childhood in Enneagram types

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.  

Childhood of Type 6w5

During their childhood, Type six children wanted approval from the parental figure occupying the protective role in charge of providing discipline, structure, and rules (in most cases it’s the father but not always). They would feel anxious upon not getting approval. As they grew up, they started to substitute this figure with other authorities e.g. civil authority or a belief system, etc. that could give them approval and the same sense of security. 

Basically, the role of the protective figure is to help the child function independently from the mother. So as adults, sixes look for people or structures that could help them get that independence which ironically increases their dependence. 

Childhood of Type 6w5 affecting adulthood

If the father of type sixes provided support and direction, sixes would expect the same from other figures in their life as adults. They would observe rules and work to please the authority figure or institution. Whereas, if their father were abusive or controlling or unfair, they would feel they are in ‘trouble’ and act rebellious and disobey rules. In case the early environment was too dysfunctional,  sixes would become self-destructive as they would continue to play out the image of the bad child their father perceived of them in their childhood. 

Childhood patterns of Type 6w5 in adulthood

Type Sixes continue to seek approval from the protective figure, as they think it would help them become independent as they grow up. They seek reassurance and approval from others and don’t feel confident in themselves as they have been taught to not trust their judgment.

They spend most of their time trying to figure out the right thing to do. They question their choices and compare it with what their protective figure would have done. Even if they do not agree with the authority system, they continue to rely on it as they cannot risk being without guidance. Seeking reassurance becomes ingrained in them.

Type 6w5 core characteristics developed from childhood

 These personalities develop certain characteristics after learning from their childhood experiences.  These include the following:

  • They are against authority figures.
  • They experience the world as a dangerous place that is not to be trusted.
  • They spend a lot of their time in their minds.  This means that they read and analyse people,  study them and accordingly plan their next move.
  • They are more planners of experiences rather than someone who takes action and experiences it in the present.
  • They are quite introverted in terms of personality. 

FAQs: Type 6w5-Childhood

What is a Type 6 personality?

Type 6 personality is intellectual, reserved, and cautious. They fear a lack of safety or guidance. So, they try really hard to find trustworthy people and authority figures who can mentor them. It is one of the types from the nine enneagrams.

What is Type 6w5?

Type 6w5 or Type 6 wing 5 is an enneagram personality subtype. It has core characteristics of type six personality and complementary characteristics of type five personality. 

Who are type 6 compatible with?

Type sixes are compatible with type nines.

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 6w5 in detail and the role of childhood in their development. We found that enneagram type 6w5 has the primary characteristics of type 6 and secondary characteristics of type 5 personality. These people are intellectual, serious, hard-working, and focused. They are cautious in their behavior but loyal to loved ones. Their core childhood conflict that makes them the way they are is ‘Apprehension and Distrust’. This means that they find it really hard to trust people and worry all the time due to it. They strive to look for answers or an authority figure that can give them a sense of stability or guidance.

 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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