It Takes All Kinds     Type Six

 

Some people are easier to appreciate than others, at least at first.

 

At times we think there is no way to value a certain person’s perspective. But when we get a glimpse into their world view we not only understand but begin to see the internal logic of their point of view. And when we understand our own habitual ways of thinking and feeling, we can see the pathways to healthier interactions.

 

In this column we are looking at nine archetypal personalities, one each month. Last month we talked about the Observer who values knowledge and wisdom above all else. This month, as we tour the personality system of the Enneagram, we turn to the Loyal Skeptic who is anxious, warm and funny.

 

The first five articles in this series appeared in the most recent issues of Mueller Living. You can find parts 1-5 at muellerpsychotherapy.com.

 

If I identify with the Loyal Skeptic I am prone to worry and anticipate worst-case scenarios so I can feel prepared. You will find me to be warm and funny, loyal, anxious and mistrusting. I’m analytical so I can arrive at the best decisions, but then it is hard not to second-guess my choices.

 

My attention goes to scanning the environment and the future in order to identify what can go wrong.

 

Somewhere deep inside I believe the world is a threatening place and I need to remain vigilant. Dutiful, loyal people like me can be counted on and together maybe we can keep negative things from happening.

 

At home I worry about safety and security. I think of how anything could go wrong and I try to anticipate worst-case scenarios. I’m very present in relationships but I don’t want to be dependent on anyone because the world is so untrustworthy. My home is safe and secure and loving. I tend to procrastinate while I explore all my options.

 

At work I’m the one who doesn’t accept a decision right away. I think about it from all angles and tell co-workers where things can go wrong. I’m the trouble-shooter on the team. I believe authority is supposed to take care of everything, but I don’t think they can be trusted to do so.

 

In the community I’m outgoing and friendly and usually funny. I play by the rules and support the group.

 

What pushes my buttons? You trying to control me. Betrayal.

 

Something people who love me often say to me: Is there something you can take for that anxiety? It’s going to be okay.

 

The things I need to be aware of so I can grow: Playing devil’s advocate is useful but can get out of control. Maybe the worst outcome is bearable and I can handle it. I’ve handled other problems and prevailed.

 

Don’t confuse me with another type who is very warm and giving, They don’t understand everything that could go wrong.

 

Unlike the other personality types, the Loyal Skeptic has two different ways to respond to this belief that the world is an unsafe place: Fight or Flight. Some respond to fear by aligning with authority and being overly cautious. Others respond by moving aggressively toward that which they fear. They look much more courageous than they feel, but they’ve decided that nothing feels worse than fear itself.