Enneagram Type 5 Description

Type 5 ~ The Observer

The Basic Proposition of Type 5

The original, omniscient state of directly knowing that the flow of universal energy meets real needs goes into the background in a world that you perceive demands too much and/or gives too little. You come to believe that you can gain protection from intrusion and insufficient resources and assure life through privacy, self-sufficiency, limiting desires and acquiring knowledge. Concurrently, you develop avarice for time, energy, knowledge and possessions. Your attention naturally goes to intrusion and detaching in order to observe. Isolation of affect glues the structure together by helping you detach or cut off from feelings and intrusion from others. Your ultimate concern or fear is ending up completely depleted, drained, or lacking sufficient resources to cope with life. As compensation, you sometimes control and dominate by becoming inaccessible, detached, overly self-sufficient, withholding, withdrawing, and miserly with your feelings.


What stresses you and makes you most personally reactive: Unwanted intrusions or demands upon your time and energy; an overload of emotional input, insufficient private time to restore; dependency; and trying to learn everything before taking action.

These reactions block you from staying engaged and connected in the security and support that love provides and ultimately blocks your experience of life a energy that flows freely.

Your Strengths: Being scholarly, knowledgeable, thoughtful, dispassionate (calm in crisis), respectful, keeper of confidences, appreciative of simplicity, dependable and ascetic.

The Central Theme for Your Healing and Development: Healing and development for you involves coming to grips with deep concerns regarding potential scarcity, with having to many draining emotional demands and with not having sufficient material supplies needed to sustain your life and well being. As a consequence, you retracted into the mind, learned to detach from feelings and emotional claims, and practiced conservation of energy by reducing needs and pursuing self-sufficiency. In doing this, you didn’t realize that the energy it takes to retract actually leads to unrequited loneliness and even an impoverished life. For you, healing means reversing this process, although it may be counter to the way you learned to feel comfortable in the world. Moving forward into life-giving energy and building emotional contact represent the key developmental issues. In associating into feelings, experience, and connection, more of life energy naturally becomes available.


Strategies for Your Self-Development and Fulfillment Relationships
  • Recognize and release the avarice for time, space, energy and knowledge
  • Make the counter-instinctive move forward into life and feelings
  • Stay present and engaged with others
  • Share or give more of yourself, while taking in more support from others
  • Recognize there are ample resources, and practice abundance
  • Realize that the flow of a universal energy is there to meet life’s real needs


How Others Can Assist Your Relationship Development
  • Encourage your Fives to welcome their feelings in the here and now, to express concerns, confront conflict, and release control of time and energy
  • Provide moderate feedback about your own feelings and concerns
  • Respect their need for privacy (understanding this is not rejection)
  • Make distinctions between requests and demands


Need help finding your Enneagram type? Take the scientifically validated Enneagram test online or through the paper-back book version found in Dr. David Daniels’ The Essential Enneagram.

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