Hello. This is a longer description of type 5 from the book, Understanding the Enneagram. Let me know what you think.
PERSONALITY TYPE FIVE: THE INVESTIGATOR
The Perceptive, Innovative, Secretive, Isolated Person
Healthy. Healthy Fives are able to observe everything with extraordinary perceptiveness and insight. Most mentally alert, curious, with an acutely searching intelligence - asking the right questions while using extraordinary fine perceptions. Able to concentrate, to become engrossed in what has caught their attention, and to "tinker" with their interests until they discover or create something entirely new. Love learning, excited by acquiring knowledge, and often become experts in some field. Independent thinkers, innovative, inventive, and highly imaginative, producing extremely valuable, original ideas and boldly creative works. Mental or creative brilliance are balanced with compassion and feeling.
At their best. Become intrepid discoverers and explorers, broadly comprehending the world while penetrating it profoundly. Deeply grounded in themselves and reality, and feel emotionally connected to the world rather than cut off from it. Visionaries, open-minded, taking in things whole, in their true context, seeing things as they actually are. May make pioneering discoveries of something entirely new or create new forms of artistic expression. Experience gnosis, direct knowing unmediated by mental constructs.
Average. Average Fives begin conceptualizing everything before acting - working things out in their minds: model building, preparing, practicing, and gathering more resources. They retreat from the world into their own inner world of concepts and imagination. Studious, acquiring technique. Become specialized, and often "intellectual," focusing on research, scholarship, and developing ideas. Much time spent on a few key interests while other areas of life are neglected. Increasingly detached as Fives become more involved with complicated ideas or imaginary worlds. Highly speculative ("What if this were to happen?"). Become preoccupied with their visions and interpretations rather than with reality. Immerse themselves in details, beginning to "lose the forest for the trees," not seeing the true broader context. Are fascinated by offbeat, esoteric subjects, even those involving dark and disturbing elements. Detached from the practical world, a "disembodied mind," although very high-strung and intense. Begin to take an antagonistic stance toward anything that would interfere with their inner world and personal vision. Can be aggressive as a defense against being emotionally involved or overwhelmed. Become provocative and abrasive, with intentionally extreme and radical views. Cynical and argumentative: others are too stupid to understand. Their extreme, iconoclastic interpretations may contain valuable insights, but also far-fetched half-truths.
Unhealthy. Rejecting and repulsing all social attachments, unhealthy Fives become reclusive and isolated from people and reality; increasingly secretive, strange, eccentric, and mentally unstable. Severe depressions and nihilism are common. Highly antagonistic and vituperative, yet fearful of aggressions from others, they become increasingly suspicious and emotionally overwrought. Get obsessed with, yet frightened by, (their own) terrifying ideas, becoming horrified by themselves and by reality, and prey to gross distortions, phobias, and hallucinations. Feel like existence is torture. Seeking oblivion, Fives may commit suicide or have a psychotic break with reality. Deranged, explosively self-destructive, with schizophrenic overtones.
Triad Issues. Identified with the Thinking Center, the Five's mind is overactive, overwhelming other functions, with the result that there is little connection with the physical body. Awareness of the emotional and interpersonal dimensions is generally undervalued and undeveloped. Thinking gets stuck in "preparation mode" - readying the self for postponed action. In this Triad we also see themes concerning anxiety and security. Fives are anxious about their inability to cope with the potentially overwhelming outside world and so retreat into their minds, which they see as safer and more secure.
Direction of Disintegration. Average Fives can become isolated and socially withdrawn to focus on pursuing whatever they believe will give them a sense of competence and mastery. To this end, they also cut off from basic needs for comfort, contact, and connection. This inevitably leads to stress, causing Fives to act out some of the average behaviors of type Seven. As such times, Fives become more scattered in their thinking, and impulsive in their actions. They may entertain themselves compulsively or suddenly try to connect with others socially, although their impulsivity often causes such efforts to backfire, leading to more withdrawal and social isolation. They may also seek to escape from painful feelings through manic activity or substance abuse.
Unhealthy Fives can become extremely isolated and incapable of acting effectively in their environment; when they go to Seven, they become even more impulsive, acting erratically and hysterically. Thinking too much has gotten them into many problems, so they no longer think but act compulsively. Deteriorated Fives become unstable and reckless, lunging out at an apparent solution to their problems, although often doing only more harm to themselves than good.
Direction of Integration. When healthy Fives go to Eight, they become grounded in their own body, feeling the power of their instinctual energy. Thus they are able to act from a realization of their own mastery; their grounding gives them a solid support for their knowledge such that they can act and lead others with confidence. (They also realize that while they do not know everything, they still probably know more than most). Fives no longer feel cut off from the world; rather, they experience the depth of their connection with everything and their ability to engage fully in life and with other people. As a result, they feel more capable and secure than they did from observing reality while trying to detach themselves from it. This empowers them to use their wisdom compassionately for the good of the world.
Security Point. Average Fives can also "act-out" the average behaviors of type Eight, but usually with trusted friends and intimates. They can become extremely assertive and defiant, pushing people's boundaries while aggressively defending their own. Disagreements or fears of control by others can cause Fives to lose their tempers. At such times, the extent of a Five's underlying anger and feelings of rejection and powerlessness is revealed.
Childhood Pattern. Fives are ambivalently identified with both parents or parent figures. At a deep, sometimes unconscious level, Fives felt rejected by both parents. The other two ambivalent types, Two and Eight, coped with feelings of rejection and fit into the family by attempting to play a complementary role to the "rejecting parent." Thus, Twos learn to play the role of the nurturer, and Eights play the role of the protector. In Fives, however, the two roles cancel each other out, leading young Fives to feel overwhelmed by the needs of their caretakers and uncertain as to what they might be able to contribute to the family. As a result, Fives begin to look for a role that has not been taken, a niche that they can fulfill that will give them a sense of place and belonging. But because they feel they do not have a niche, they focus on searching for one. Fives do not believe they can engage deeply in sustainable relationships until they have adequately mastered their niche.
Basic Fear. Of being helpless, useless and incapable.
Basic Desire. To be capable and competent. (To be able to do).
Secondary Motivations. Fives want to understand reality, to observe everything, to master something to gain confidence (find a niche), to create an inner reality that feels more controllable than the real world, to shut out our intrusions, to challenge or scare off anyone who threatens their inner world or niche, to isolate themselves from the outside world.
In Search of: Fives want to master something so that they can feel more confident and ready to meet life's challenges. To the degree that they have been damaged in childhood and their confidence (especially in their physical powers) has been compromised, they begin to create a private mental world (or an "alternative reality" of some kind) and master that. Average to unhealthy Fives might attempt to master anything from math to piano playing to chess or computer games in order to gain a feeling of confidence - and not to be intruded on in their private space.
Healthy Sense of Self. "I am an intelligent, perceptive person."
Hidden Complaint. "I am so smart that no one else can understand the things I understand or appreciate the things I know."
Key Defense Mechanisms. Displacement, projection, isolation.
Characteristic Temptation. To replace direct experience with concepts. Average to unhealthy Fives literally "think too much," in inappropriate categories and circumstances. They are convinced that by pondering everything they will attain insight and thus be able to build competence and confidence. If Fives understand their environment, they can master it - and therefore will be able to defend themselves against it, if necessary. However, as they abstract from reality, average to unhealthy Fives become increasingly lost in their own thought processes until they lose all perspective. Their intense focus on their inner worlds leads them further and further from grounded contact with themselves and with reality. Excessive conceptualizing is therefore the potential prelude to distortions of perceptions and increasing failure of confidence.
Saving Grace. Despite their intense preoccupations and increasingly dark interpretations of reality, average Fives may realize that they have begun to introduce distortions into their thinking rather than coming any closer to any real understanding. Awareness of their own thought processes may prevent them from deteriorating further and getting out of touch with reality. They healthy capacity for observation may help them reassess their ideas; their perceptiveness may help them return to a more balanced, healthier state.
Structural Patterns. The keynote is concentration. The objective world of reality is the focus of their attention; however, the more subjective world of thought is the arena that Fives inhabit. Therefore, the inner pattern is of thinking oriented to comprehending reality but impelled by subjective impulses (including aggressions). (Conflicts arise if and when their subjective impulses overpower and distort their perceptions.) Their minds are highly active, intensely driven, and yet defensive - and as their minds become increasingly overheated, Fives unconsciously project subjective ideas into their perceptions. Fives tend to go into so much depth and detail with what has caught their attention that they "disappear" socially and physically. This can make Fives characteristically awkward or even completely unaware of social conventions and graces. Outwardly, the pattern is of increasing distance from reality as Fives reject attachments with the world, particularly with other people. The overall pattern is of paradoxical curiosity and withdrawal, involvement and detachment, immersion and defense, aggression and fear of aggression, attraction and repulsion, and so forth.
Cognitive Error. To think that they can understand the world by seeing themselves as a disconnected, "outside observer." Whether they like it or not, Fives participate in the world and affect the subject of their observations.
Inevitable Consequences. The inevitable consequence of detachment and withdrawal (into mental constructs, ideas, theories, and imagined alternative realities) is that Fives undermine their Basic Desire (to be competent and capable) while increasingly bringing on themselves their Basic Fear, that they are helpless, useless, or incapable. If Fives cease engaging with reality and do not check their ideas against objective facts, they are in danger of becoming completely lost in their own inner world, and of getting out of touch with reality. Further, their disengagement from their own physicality and needs undermines their ability to feel confident to function in the world. Their increased loss of contact with their physicality, their groundedness, make it inevitable that they will feel threatened and overwhelmed either by someone else or by reality. Rather than be more safely defended by their powerful mental focus, they are literally driven mad by it.