The ennea 6 & burnout,

how it develops and how to heal it

For the 6 it all starts with anxiety. It is a constant and real presence. 6 knows anxiety as a constant companion, often for no reason at all other than that the world is experienced as an insecure, scary place.

Consciously or unconsciously the 6 is driven by anxiety. It feels anxious most of the time.

To deal with this anxiety, the 6 looks for certainty and for control.

This is what leads the 6 into burnout.

This is how burnout shows up in the 6:

  • High levels of anxiety which are not always justifiable by what is happening around the 6.
  • Feels unsure but wants to be sure
  • It is trying to understand and control things around it in order to be able to cope. That is why the 6 is such a great assessor of risks, so good at being prepared and a great problem solver. 6s solve problems taking everything into consideration, all scenarios, risks and possibilities.
  • However, when burning out their trouble shooting is skewed towards the dark side: always running worst-case scenarios, always focused on risks, misses, failures.
  • The 6 experiences that drive for control also as a constant urge to do something to somehow create order which helps alleviate the anxiety. This often includes telling other people what they 'should' do.
  • Anxiety is also experienced as always having to wear mask, be nice, be friendly, keep everyone happy, be competent and efficient, anticipate and fill needs, fulfill expectations etc. After all, the 6 wants to build friendships and relationships with others so it can feel safer. But on the inside this feels very exhausting. This can make the 6 can feel empty, desperate and hopeless.
  • People around the 6 can feel the lack of authenticity. They pick up on that need for control, the urgency and they can also be put off by the pessimism of the 6. That is why the 6 often pushes people away which causes the 6 more anxiety.
  • Feeling too cautious, too terrified, too insecure to go forward and take action – and the worst situation can develop from there
  • By thinking about the possible threads and risks that could come up in the future, the 6 'lives' with them constantly.
  • 6s can try and hold on to rules or habits that worked in the past. But this can also cause it to lose flexibility. It can get stuck in behaviours that actually don't work any more.
  • 6s have almost impossible standards for trusting others (and themselves), always testing and checking, seeing if things are consistent, people are true to their word, and things from all angles check out. This is very exhausting.

5 practical ways to move from the 6 burnout spiral into healing and growth:

Replace the need for certainty and control with faith and courage through these practices:

  1. Let go of control. It's impossible to control anything but your own repsonses to things around you.
  2. Spend quiet time with yourself every day, center yourself to dissipate constant thinking and anxious energy. Ground yourself. Do whatever helps you to get there.
  3. When feeling anxious, recite this quote to yourself:
  4. Sweetheart, you are in pain. Relax, take a breath. Let’s pay attention to what is happening. Then we’ll figure out what to do. – Sylvia Boorstein. Thank you to Ian Morgan Cron to offering this quote in his clip which I cited below. Acknowledge your anxiety, but try to create more distance from it by seeing it as an affliction like a head ache. It happens, there is no direct connection to what is happening to you. It is uncomfortable but it is not the truth that I need to build my life around.
  5. Look for someone to talk through your concerns, not to solve the problem, but just to listen.

Please note that the downward burnout spiral will never lead into healing. It always takes a conscious step. You need to catch yourself and choose to see things differently instead. You need to choose practices like listed here or any others that help you.

Happily designed by Vanja Lakerveld –