Instincts: 5

Now that we’ve covered the basics of core type 5, lets talk about instinctual differences! If you need a refresher on instinctual variants and what that means, check out my first post on the topic.


When talking about instincts, it’s important to realize how the same instinct can look different from core type to core type. The general descriptions of the instincts (above) are much less specific than when those instincts are applied to a specific Enneagram type.

The nihilism, knowledge seeking and withdrawn nature of type 5 manifest with each instinct in a unique way.


Though different, it’s easy to see how the first (general descriptions) factor into the type specific ones.  As aforementioned, all 5’s will probably relate somewhat to all three above descriptions, but more strongly with one or two.  This brings us to the concept of Instinctual Stack, which denotes the order of an individual’s instinctual need.  For instance, Sp/So tells us that Self Preservation is preferred/needed most, So is auxiliary and Sx is the “blind spot”.  I do also think looking into the instincts of your wing (especially if it is heavy) is important to behold the whole picture.

Other great sources for more detailed reading on the instincts, are The Complete Enneagram by Beatrice Chestnut, these descriptions originally from (the now inactive) Ocean Moonshine, and the work of early Enneagram scholar, Claudio Naranjo (notes on his work on the instincts).

Have any questions about instincts, Enneagram or typing? Leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you!

Instincts: 5

Enneagram 5

Today, let’s check out an overview of Enneagram 5, commonly called The Investigator.  Click for a closer look!


5’s have a great need to figure out the puzzles of life, both to make sense of things, but also to be sure of themselves. The Investigator is located in the “head” section of the Enneagram, which brings a focus on thinking and analysis, but also on fear. Each “head” type (5, 6 and 7) has a distinct fear focus, which for a 5 is centered on the outside world. 5’s are most comfortable in their own minds, where they can sift information, analyze facts and come to conclusions– the outside world however, does not offer such solace.  5’s I have interviewed described this fear in terms of needing to be absolutely sure of their ideas, thoughts or skills before sharing them with others.  Whether it’s decades of learning an instrument behind closed doors, before they feel able to step onto a stage, or withholding an idea at a staff meeting because they believe it’s “not ready yet”. Observation is another word that is often used to describe a 5’s stance on learning, and attitude towards social constructs.

5’s can be true trail blazing visionaries when they are health-focused, because of the analytical capabilities of their minds, and their lack of concern for cultural expectations. Their true downfall is in the self sabotage of holding themselves, and their minds at bay– out of the reach of the world. When very unhealthy, 5’s tend to have less and less of a grasp on reality, and the potential for their ideas to apply to it. Usually bouncing erratically from thought to thought, and unable to make progress in any one area, unhealthy 5’s end up frustrated and misunderstood.

Investigators are often misunderstood for their puzzle solving and strong desire to understand the way things work, because they can go on when fascinated.  This can vary between a feeling of musing to one of digging, but 5’s do seem to be always thinking and present in their inner dialogue about the world around them (as a way of battling their fear of it).

If you have questions about Enneagram 5, feel free to leave them below! Otherwise, be on the lookout for Instincts of 5 in the next few days!

Enneagram 5