Type Six Personality
A consistent thinker is a thoughtless person, because he conforms to a pattern; he repeats phrases and thinks in a groove.
What is needed, rather than running away or controlling or suppressing or any other resistance, is understanding fear; that means, watch it, learn about it, come directly into contact with it. We are to learn about fear, not how to escape from it.
– J. Krishnamurti
The Type Six pattern is driven by fear. In more archaic teachings, fear is referred to as “inconstancy.” While driven to find consistency or stability in their world, Sixes ironically manifest as the most inconsistent of all the types. Sometimes Sixes say too little, other times the say too much; they withdraw or explode; they supplicate or challenge; they run away from fear or they rush into it. And, yet, Sixes experience themselves as being consistent and reliable. Indeed, they are loyal, dependable companions with people who have gained their trust. Sixes love seeing and embodying both sides, and their contradictory nature gives them a facility with holding paradox.
Point Six in all of us represents relinquishment of the self – variously referred to as letting go, surrendering, opening to grace, self-realization, emptiness, interconnectedness, etc. The Type Six, however, struggles with the energy of surrender, especially with respect to authorities. They surrender too much power to others, but then continue to question, challenge, doubt, backbite, and undermine.
In reference to their own well-being, Sixes can weaken themselves in order to remain safe, as if to say, “I am not a threat to you.” By appearing warm, friendly, and self-deprecating, such Sixes disarm potential foes. “I’m so afraid of standing out too much,” one Six reported, “because others, even friends, will get jealous and harm me or tear me down. So I keep hedging my words with verbal ticks like ‘I don’t know’ and ‘I guess’ and ‘perhaps’ . . . to the point of undermining myself.”
In personal relationships, Sixes can strengthen themselves in order to intimidate foes or beautify themselves in order to attract a protector. These Sixes often counter-phobically enact fear by rushing into daredevil situations to prove they are not afraid. “It was a long time before I saw that my risky behavior was actually me being scared sh*tless,” said one Six.
In the social arena, Sixes find safety in numbers. They become guardians of their group to such an extent that they police insiders and outsiders with rigid fundamentalism and scapegoating. Often these Sixes present as reason-obsessed and reactive against the fundamentalism of others. One such Six attacked any hint of religion with cold, cutting logic, never owning her own rigid attachment to “science” and “reason” — the fundamentalism of scientism.
When Sixes transmute fear (inconstancy) into courage, they are genuinely reliable, rather than anxiously loyal or duty-bound. Their reliability is grounded in a trusting acceptance of others and life, which in turn invites others to open and share their depths. Sixes gift our collective consciousness with an awareness of our collectivity – we are all in this together – and also the tools for working with and through fear into faithfulness.