I was thinking today about my enneagram number as I was listening to podcasts to better understand my type, my wing and my subtype … I’m a 5W4 (sexual) for those of you who might know what that means and yes, I’m as bothered by the subtype name as you are. I don’t think I’ll ever shake someones hand and admit that I’m a Sexual Type 5 on the enneagram with a 4 wing. That sounds … off.
I digress, because the reason I was even listening to hours and hours of conversation about this is because tomorrow I’m being interviewed about being a type 5. Which of course means I need to know everything there is to know about it so I can do it justice when asked.
Here’s what I learned and loved: I am very shotgun-shy in conversation because I need more time than most to respond thoughtfully. A Type 5 will often look up or away (or up and away) when asked questions because we’re going through all our mental files, or tabs, to best formulate our response. I do this all.the.time in conversation, and I’m aware of it and very self conscious about it. I do much better with long hand communication. Writing (emails and messages – not over text) because I don’t have expectancy or social pressure to perform.
(Aaron is an 8W7 on the enneagram and one of the things I am constantly impressed with his how fast he is. In response, in conversation, in mental capacity. He’s like the roadrunner. When I’m in a healthy mental space and have habits of rest in my life – I operate like an 8, I can be very quick in all the same ways, but this is something I’m always in awe of about Aaron.)
I’m almost 50/50 with my Type 5 and Type 4 but I dominate in the 5 space because of the beliefs as a child (fear of being incompetent, called stupid etc.) which I live with to this day. This is my biggest fear and her cousin is abandonment (which is the 4 fear).
I’m a very private person, so this space on the internet has always confounded people. However, I’m always alone when I’m writing. It’s just me and my keyboard – this is the most free place for me. It’s how I process, how I feel, how I know my emotions are real.
Like most Type 5’s; I don’t ask for help because being self sufficient is a core value of mine. I do not need anyone else, I will carry myself and I will be autonomous.
I’m not a negative person, by nature, I’m a cautious one who has learned how to say yes and wants adventure. But I always start with the negative. You want a memory of mine? Here are the bad ones … we have to unearth this before I can understand the good ones. There is such a ying and yang in me that I don’t know how else to put this: I do not experience joy without knowing true sorrow.
It’s not a rule I was taught, not something that was modeled for me. It’s not a belief I developed, it just is. This is just the process for me. I will get to the joy – and there is so much joy – but first I have to see the underbelly. I have to know WHY there’s joy. I have to see her receipts.
I’ve really struggled with the enneagram, am I a 4? Am I a seven? I wouldn’t describe myself as anxious, but thats only because I’ve been this way my entire life – I don’t know another way. So, am I a 6? I’m well prepared for almost everything. But I don’t do the avarice with information like all the material talks about for a 5. I have areas of interest that I understand many facets of, but I want to share those things, not keep them to myself.
If I do hoard – it’s resources, mainly my time. I am very, very picky with how I spend my time, with few exceptions. My family (Aaron and my kids) have full access to me, all the time. They are where I spend my energy first, even if I’m already on reserve. They get to bankrupt me (and, honestly, they often do) but this is my gift to them. I will give them all of me, even when nothing is left. They get me first.
I hoard ideas and secrets, but not the ones you trust me with. More like – the end of this street is the most peaceful view of Lake Michigan. I won’t advertise this (or I’ll delete it soon after if I do) because those nuggets are mine.
Because I’m so comfortable being alone, being silent, being with myself … I don’t waste a lot of time thinking about what other people think of me. Do I want to be liked? Yes. Do I want to be invited? Of course I do. But without invitation, I’m already happy with myself.
Like most 5’s, I’m different in that I am social, or when I am comfortable with you – I share easily. I WANT to be known but I will not advertise this. I’ve shared very sacred parts of my story with a lot of people – but the ticket is that I was the one sharing it. If you hear my story second hand and then come to me for confirmation, fuck off.
I am not here to serve as your ATM of information on my life nor will I be the access you desire to your own thoughts and feelings. I have exercised my capacity in this way for many relationships and they always end. Some end badly, others just end. Either way, they end. Because I can’t see my way out of being someone else’s access to themselves, or myself … and I don’t have the capacity to carry anyone but myself. (Exception is my own family, who again, breaks all the rules and is allowed to.)
My pet peeves are incompetence or people who waste my time. I know this is starting to sound very 5-ish and I own this part of me. I am not down with surprises, the worst thing you could do to me is invite me to do something and then hours before said event surprise me with new details or other people. I need (and I’m serious) all the information first. Who’s going to be there? Is this a group thing, just you and I? Will I be expected to perform?
I prefer one on one conversations or very small, previously agreed upon gatherings. I can, and have, stepped in to leadership roles but I much prefer pulling the strings behind the curtain. I will prop you up to do your best and if you could just whisper how much you appreciate me, that’ll do.
I read all the time. I consume a shitton of information but I have access to my feelings about it. I’m generally being an anthropologist on my own experience and welcome conversation about it. I’m constantly confused about people who don’t choose authenticity.
Watching movies and listening to music are the number one ways to get me to unleash the emotions I’m working hard to avoid, this is why I prefer documentaries or, unless I’m well rested, cannot handle live shows of any kind. Dance, especially. I am 100% emotional and all it takes to unlock me is someone on a stage doing what they were made to do. I am undone at this. This is the ultimate beauty for me.
I’m not divorced from my body, like most 5’s. In fact, being Type 1 Diabetic doesn’t lend me this escape, I am constantly thinking about my body. But if I could see her through another lens, maybe? Ask her what she needs or how she wants to move, instead of performing the task of taking care of her? I could move from my head to my heart about her … and this is the work I’m currently doing.
Are you new to the enneagram? Do you know your number?? I’d love to hear from fellow 5’s! Are you out there?