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As with all double-type relationships, two Enneagram Sixes generally bring the same qualities to each other. Therein lies both a main source of the attraction as well as one of the main pitfalls. Thus, the Level of health of each person is especially important for these types of relationships as are their dominant instincts. Strong Six couples understand each other deeply and make a point of trying to understand what they don’t understand. Two Sixes usually bond with each other very quickly sensing a kindred spirit, and there can rapidly develop a playful, bantering, buddies-in-arms kind of excited collusion and relief, like two kids who have found each other in the woods and can help each other to safety. A double Six couple will have a sense of shared secrets and values, of intellectual stimulation and questioning that they find both useful and stimulating.
Trust is extremely important to both Sixes, and once it has been established, it allows them to relax and enjoy themselves as they do with few others. Trust allows double Six couples to think aloud to test ideas, voice doubts and suspicions, and to discover what they really feel about various things. They give each other a lot of support and mutual protection, and are ready to come to the other’s aid without hesitation. Loyalty, commitment, and a “You’re my friend—no questions asked” attitude reinforces the feelings of security and safety that they build together. There can also be a great deal of unspoken sensitivity and delicacy in a double Six relationship. Sixes are generally not adept at talking about their feelings directly, so their feelings and attitudes are mostly expressed in their actions and in the depth of their dedication and steadfastness. Each person also inspires the other as each works for the other’s welfare and happiness—often more energetically than they would for their own alone.
Double Six couples (whether in intimate or professional situations) tend to be emotionally reactive, and once a spirit of negativity or scarcity enters the picture, their fears can begin to feed off of each other. Double Six pairs can get into worst case scenarios and other forms of catastrophizing, each magnifying problems until they both feel like crises are everywhere and that they are doomed. Sometimes extreme reactions will cause them to act impulsively, without thinking through their situation or finding an adequate solution to their problem. They may arbitrarily take an action—any action—that promises to relieve their anxiety. On the other hand, double Six couples can become indecisive and fall into a feeling of stalemate and confusion, unable to act and unable to get some perspective on their problems. Since they are also emotionally reactive, they tend to become edgy and argumentative with each other, often blaming the other for the situation and for not providing the solution. Shifting blame back and forth can be like a ping pong match whose main objectives are to keep connection with the other by keeping them in the argument—and to buy time to work through their anxiety so that a solution may appear.
Double Six couples can thus be one of the most keyed up of pairings with lots of yelling, outbursts, arguments, blaming—and making up—in the mix. In the lower Levels, there can be an openly worried, semi-hysterical atmosphere that keeps everyone on edge with nervous pessimism. And yet, it is difficult to break the pattern because so many of the double Sixes’ fears are irrational and based on speculations about the future. There is no way to settle them logically until the future happens. Double Six couples therefore tend to wear each other out with negativity, worrying, suspicion, and eventually mistrust of each other. Accusations and feelings of betrayal or lack of support can be part of the picture as this couple sours and finds it almost impossible to reestablish trust and the old friendly, playful spirit that they once had.
For further understanding about this type combination, read more about the Stress Arrow and how Sixes behave when they are moving along it.
Private consultations are available to discuss your relationships issues, or to ask questions about your type and its compatibility with other types.
The accuracy and usefulness of these Relationship Combinations pages are made possible by The Insight Approach of Don Riso and Russ Hudson. For the only in-depth Training Program that covers all elements of the complete Enneagram system, consider coming to the Enneagram Institute Training Program.
Copyright Notice: All the relationship combination materials given here, including those that have previously been published on this website are copyrighted for the current year by The Enneagram Institute, and are not available for commercial use or publication by others. See our Guidelines for use of Riso-Hudson materials.
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