unfiving: an enneagram 5 in progress

unfiving: an enneagram 5 in progress


My name is Monica, and in the enneagram of personality I’m a self-preservation 5w4. Long story short: I tend to self-sabotage by avoiding vulnerability, observing rather than participating, doubting my knowledge, overanalyzing, minimizing my needs, and being stubbornly independent. But I’m tired of getting in my own way. So here I am: opening myself up, taking risks, and sharing reflections and wisdom along the way. With plenty of mixed metaphors and minimal editing—by design and out of necessity.

First, more thoughts on the enneagram frame as I experience it:

– Subtypes/instinctual variants: self-preservation (individual), sexual (one-to-one), and social (collective). My attention stack goes in that order: self-preservation first—so I’m a self-preservation subtype of the 5—then sexual, then social. These days I’m focusing more on the social level after leaving it on the back burner for a long time. What does your stack look like?

– (un)fiving: using the enneagram to facilitate change, self-awareness, and acceptance

– 5 things: reading/consulting a bunch of books and having a ton of browser tabs open at any given time

– 5 thing: using imagination to both escape and complement tangible reality

– 5 thing: disappearing, minimizing my presence when I’m stressed or people around me are stressed (and I get the sense I can’t help or have reached the limits of my helpfulness)

– 5 thing: carrying an implicit belief, from the deep past, that I shouldn’t take up space (because I’m not worthy, it’s selfish, it would impose on someone else, yada yada yada—minds make up stories like it’s their job)

– 5 thing (moving toward 8): learning to boldly take up my space, assert my opinions and desires, ask for what I want and need, accept kindness (maybe even compliments, but that feels harder—more on trust soon!) and generosity from others


A nod to Martha Beck and a small instance of synchronicity / good timing amidst the exhaustion of parenting a toddler.

Appreciation for a kind stranger in a purple sweater.

Gratitude for the sentiment of “no rush”, forever and always.


I would absolutely love to hear from any other fives, five-adjacent, five-curious, or really anyone inclined to share about if and how these themes play out in your lives too.

Find me on Instagram @un.fiving

Music by Sleeping At Last

Production by me, Monica Bahan

Accompanying photos on Instagram @un.fiving

Recent Episodes

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  • 10. Dismantling personality, building self

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  • 8. A wet wing moment

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  • 7. You can’t go back

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  • 6. Dating and decluttering

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  • 5. The brain, the enneagram, human design, and a story

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    5 months ago