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Self-Preservation 5 In Detail

Avarice in the Preservation Sphere

The Self-Preservation twists the Avarice of a 5 into a greed for survival, a greed for refuge from the outside world. They want to endure survival by finding a safe place from which they can withdraw and observe the world. They are very sensitive when it comes to their privacy and personal space. Their greed can also make them stockpile on resources, as they never feel like they're ready to go out in the world to survive. They are also obsessed with not wasting time and conserving their energy, but they ironically often internalize their anger, leading to them not being able to stand up for themselves and develop a hyper-adaptability to outside demands, as they don't want to waste any energy on conflict.

Ichazo called SP5 "Refuge", someone who seeks for a safe place from which they can watch the world[1], attempting to reach autonomy through denying their own needs.[2] Naranjo said that these people want to retain the little of what they have because it has anesthetized and restrained their voracity, they walk through life with very short steps and stop at a lot of doorsteps, almost without breathing.[2]

The following Trait Structure are a summarized description of the original descriptions taken from the Enneagram 5 book/Avaricia: mezquinos, arrogantes e indiferentes. The Book was written by devoted followers and students of Claudio Naranjo but published under his name and supervised by him.

Trait Structure[3]


The conservation E5 keeps their emotions and thoughts to themselves. This subtype has learned to be self-sufficient, since he does not expect much from the world. They stick to themselves, being pessimistic about receiving care and protection, or being able to take what they need.

Not giving

This subtype has the fantasy that, by giving, it will lose what little it has. The conservation E5 fears commitment, since it implies a debt that he does not feel capable of satisfying. He wants to be completely free, without obstacles, without ties to anyone. They do not feel like they have much to give.


The conservation E5 withdraws from the world; detachment is a form of withdrawal. They do not feel the need to relate, nor are they interested. Deep down, they fear not being capable of filling the other's expectations.

Fear of being swallowed

The conservation E5 has the most difficulty with setting limits of the E5 subtypes. He feels used and abused, confirming his disappointment with the world. Anger is not expressed, rather, this subtype chooses to disappear. They protect their private space as much as possible, being susceptible to invasion.

Excessively docile

Over-docility leads this subtype to interfere with his own spontaneity and with his preferences. This over-docility would not be possible without a strongly repressed need for love.


The conservation E5 is independent, due to the fear of being swallowed, and due to the belief that he does not have much to give. He does not ask for help; the world is not to be trusted. This mistrust originated from the primary relationship with the caregivers, who did not respond adequately to the person. Experiencing great frustration when not being able to support others, the conservation E5 chooses to retire from relationships. Despite his self-sufficiency, his material life is often lacking, because he does not need much either. This subtype can choose low-paying jobs because he values independence above all else.

Emotionally insensitive

Despite being sensitive, the conservation E5 buries his emotions, and nobody knows about them. He has “learned” that what happens to him is not relevant, and that showing emotions will cause discomfort. He can forget how he feels, leading to anhedonia. It is difficult to express emotions.

Orientation to knowledge

Knowledge becomes a safeguard in the face of the world. It can be a way of relating to the other. Knowledge brings order and analysis to chaos. Everything is safer in the mind, where he is completely free and autonomous.


Suppressing feelings and avoiding life impoverishes the experiences of the conservation E5. He feels empty on the inside. He describes it as an existential desert. This feeling of living dead is due to the disconnection with the body and the emotions. It is also a feeling of strangeness that makes him feel lost, like a weirdo on the planet. He does not feel belonging to this world.


The conservation E5 feels guilt for existing, as if he did not deserve life, as if his existence was a mistake. This subtype will blame himself for everything. By embracing a detached indifference, they feel guilty. Guilt can manifest as a vague sense of inferiority, a vulnerability to intimidation, and shyness.


This subtype is a perfectionist who feels like a “loser.” He is very demanding of himself, and over-analyzing his actions leads to a sense of lack.


The conservation E5 is an oppositionist and a rebel on the inside. His anger manifests as passive-aggression. They can be forgetful and evasive. He does not like being told what to do.


Hypersensitivity is an introverted disposition. This subtype feels unprotected against environmental stimuli. Emotional numbness is a way to protect against overstimulation. He does not want to interfere with the world; he does not want to harm or interfere. The most obvious manifestation of sensitivity and compassion will be towards nature and animals.

Renunciation of action

The conservation E5 tends to procrastinate. Inaction can manifest as non-commitment, passivity, and apathy. Inaction can be the result of wanting to keep his intentions hidden.

Claudio Naranjo's Self-Preservation 5 Description[4]

E5 Conservation (Self-Preservation) – Refuge

The need to retreat is a clear characteristic for the conservation five. But keep in mind that every E5 subtype has some of that: some need to retreat. In the case of conservation, the passion has a lot to do with finding refuge, erecting high walls that separate you from a world that can invade you, that can take you out of a precious little world that hides inside you. The idea of self-preservation becomes clearer if we imagine them as strong supporters of cave retreat. The E5 conservation extremely limits his needs and desires, since each desire could mean a dependency status for him.

Like each conservation subtype, this one is also linked to survival and to the concrete, attached to objects and personal space; but like E5, which is the most mental of the mental characters, it is in thought, in incessant reflection on how to survive and live by limiting external disturbances, that it finds the greatest refuge.

Sandra Maitri's Self-Preservation 5 Description[5]

5+Self-Preservation – Refuge

In this case, I am using Ichazo’s term for the Self-preservation Five subtype—refuge, rather than the one Naranjo gave, home—as I think it conveys more of the feeling of what a Self-preservation Five seeks. Self-preservation Fives want to ensure their survival by finding a safe place that they can withdraw to and within which they can insulate themselves from the world. So they are preoccupied with the creation of and vigilance over a personal refuge. They guard their space and their privacy, retreating from others and the world as a way of taking care of themselves. The passion of avarice manifests within this subtype in this reclusive squirreling away of themselves, as well as in stockpiling their resources, especially money.

Beatrice Chestnut's Self-Preservation 5 Description

Self-Preservation 5 Subtype description (2021)[6]

This subtype hides away from other people and builds physical boundaries, retreating into their own houses or (usually small) personal spaces. They minimize their needs to cope with the fact that living in an enclosure is not easily compatible with human relationships and that having to spend too much time in the outside world can feel dangerous. They have a need to be able to withdraw to a place of refuge when they choose to. They tend toward minimalism and find it hard to share facts about themselves and their emotions, both good and bad.

If this is your subtype, you likely live a secretive and secluded life, but that doesn’t do you as much good as you may think. You may become intolerant when your space is “invaded” by other people and keep all your personal information to yourself, but that doesn’t help you develop beyond your ego limitations. By keeping yourself physically away from others, you become even more aloof and you avoid addressing your fears. Notice if you hold yourself back by minimizing what you communicate with others—and especially if you don’t allow yourself to express anger and engage in conflict.

Self-Preservation 5 Subtype summary (2021)[9]

The Self-Preservation Five expresses avarice through a focus on boundaries—a need to be “encastled” in a sanctuary where they feel protected from intrusion and have control over their boundaries. SP Fives have a passion for being able to hide behind walls and know that they have everything they need to survive within those walls. They are the least expressive of the three Fives and they try to limit their needs and wants so that they can avoid being dependent on others.

Self-Preservation 5 Subtype description (2021)[9]

The Self-Preservation Five:“Castle”

The Self-Preservation Five is the most “Five-ish” of the Fives. These Fives express avarice through their passion for hiddenness or for having sanctuary. The name given to this type is “Castle,” which communicates this person’s need to be encastled—to be able to hide behind or be protected by walls. Psychologically (and sometimes physically), Self-Preservation Fives build thick walls to protect themselves from the world and from other people.

Self-Preservation Fives have a need for clearly defined boundaries. This personality is the clearest expression of the archetype of isolation and introversion. They have a need to be able to hide behind boundaries they can control, and to know they have a place of safety they can retreat to, in order to avoid feeling lost in the world. In focusing on finding shelter, they learn to survive inside walls—and they want to have everything inside those walls so that they don’t have to venture out into the world. To them, the external world can seem hostile, inadequate, and brutal.

Related to this need for the protection of clear boundaries, Self-Preservation Fives also focus a great deal of attention on how to survive free from the limitation of external shocks or surprises. They have a feeling of having to be on guard and a difficulty with expressing anger, though they may communicate anger passively by withdrawing and hiding or going silent.

Self-Preservation Fives’ need for hiddenness can create difficulties with selfexpression in general; this subtype is the least communicative of the three Five subtypes. Their passion for hiddenness also manifests in taking covert action: they act in secret so their actions do not compromise their ability to keep their guard up.

The problem with this stance, especially when it tends toward the extreme, is that living in an enclosure is not really compatible with having and meeting basic human needs. The Self-Preservation Five is the most withdrawn of the Fives, and, as a natural part of renouncing needs and wants, they try to get by on very little, especially when it comes to the emotional support that relationships provide. Self-Preservation Fives limit their needs and wants because they believe that every desire could open the door to their becoming dependent on others. Desires, then, are either sublimated in specific interests or activities or erased from consciousness. Self-Preservation Fives “live little,” meaning they get by with few resources, which amounts to living small or poorly.

Naranjo explains that, normally, people have some ability to say, “I want that”—to express desires and do the work they need to do to get what they want—but these Fives cannot ask and cannot take. So they must rely on preserving what they are able to acquire themselves.

You can see these Self-Preservation Five characteristics clearly reflected in the work of Franz Kafka (who was probably a Self-Preservation Five himself), especially in the books The Castle and The Tremendous World I Have Inside My Head, and in a story titled “The Hunger Artist,” in which the main character becomes a specialist at renunciation.

In relationships with others, Self-Preservation Fives avoid creating expectations or dependent relationships. They also avoid conflict, which is another way they detach from people. They do, however, typically experience a strong sense of attachment to a few places and people. To prevent conflict and manage contact with others, they may adapt to fit in to not be seen.

One Self-Preservation Five I know who can seem outwardly quite sociable explains that she watches how other people interact and then acts in similar ways, modeling what she does on what she observes, using her ability to adapt to what is expected of her as a kind of camouflage. If people don’t see her as especially reserved, she reasons, they won’t challenge her boundaries. However, this need to adapt can cause Self-Preservation Fives to feel resentful when they feel like they have to expend energy to fit in with others.

While they may at times choose to share feelings with a trusted few people in their lives, Self-Preservation Fives have strong inhibitions against showing aggression in particular. They will very seldom show their anger. However, they do have a kind of warmth and humor that is both a genuine expression of their internal sensitivity and a defensive construction or social shield. In social interactions, this can give their superficial acquaintances the feeling that a bond has been established when the SelfPreservation Five has merely been studying or placating them, not necessarily initiating a relationship. As the most Fivish of the Five subtypes, it is unlikely that this Five would be mistaken for another type.

Stacy, a Self-Preservation Five, speaks:

I am often told that I am a good listener. The truth is that I have become an expert on asking just the right kind of questions - those that will keep the other person talking while at the same time allowing me to maintain a comfortable distance from any topic that might require me to engage more fully. Under most circumstances, I do not like talking about myself, and someone who pushes me in this regard will feel intrusive. Within a small circle of close and trusted friends, however, I will share quite deeply. These are the people whose perspectives I seek out and whose actions I study so that I can navigate my way through the emotional world.

I rarely ask for favors. While I am happy to help out a friend in need, the reciprocal nature of favor-doing feels suffocating to me. I work very hard to make sure that my life is organized and structured in a way that will require little assistance from others. Only in the most extreme of circumstances will I reach out for help, and then I will find myself immediately buying a thank you gift to absolve myself of any perceived indebtedness. In general, feeling needed by others just feels like the other person is being too needy.

My most peaceful moments are when I have limited obligations and can be on my own schedule, independent, and at home. Time by myself is rejuvenating - and spending time in my home is particularly restorative. Intrusions and unexpected visitors are difficult to manage. I keep neighbors at an arm's length and avoid the yearly block party like the plague. When we first moved into our home, a neighbor repeatedly asked me to join the book club comprised of women from our neighborhood. Honestly, it was as if she was asking me to run away with her and join a circus - the idea was that strange and unappealing. I still hide from her when I see her around.


Specific Work For The Self-Preservation Five on the Path from Vice to Virtue[9]

Self-Preservation Fives can travel the path from avarice to non-attachment by taking the risk to relax boundaries and barriers to connection more often, and by making more efforts to share their feelings with other people, even when it opens the door to fear and anxiety. People with this subtype can usefully work to notice how their beliefs about what's possible or desirable in relationships and in the world hold them back from getting the recognition or support that might help them grow. Rather than becoming fixated in resignation, challenge your sense of what's possible and imagine all the ways you might allow yourself to grow and expand if you didn't feel like you needed such high walls around you. Remind yourself that you can open up to letting people in more deeply and more often and still maintain a healthy sense of control in your life. Wake yourself up to ways in which you might be "living little," and realize that you don't necessarily have to make yourself smaller to feel okay. Open up to seeing ways you might share your gifts with the world if you were to spend more time outside the walls of your castle.

Haiki Self-Preservation 5 Description[7]

Self-Preservation Five: Refuge

This is the most timid Five and oftentimes we can call them the “Cave Five.” The passion for avarice is transformed into a passion for refuge. The basic need of the Five to withdraw is taken to the extreme in this Five. Their fixation on isolation, in a state of neurosis, can make this trait pathological. They see too many dangers in their environment, and as such, they have needed to create their own fortress.

They enjoy their alone time but if they are not able to get out of it, life passes them by and the void takes control of them. Sometimes, they can be Four-ish and be in contact with the world of creativity and art.

Carmen Durán and Antonio Catalán's Self-Preservation 5 Description[8]

SP5: Castle -> Refuge

In this subtype, we see a person who searches for a refuge, a safe space that they can watch from, creating their walled enclosure that is their territory, their world, where they have their place. Naranjo prefers the word “Lair,” which evokes a weaker position than “Castle,” referring to where an animal hides, scared, looking for protection. In this same line of thinking, we propose “Refuge,” the space where they have their belongings, they are protected from the world and they feel that their needs are taken care of; where they can accumulate whatever they may need in some moment, even if they are truly not useful things and where they can collect their souvenirs, small objects charged with emotional meaning, a place where very few can enter.


Don Riso and Russ Hudson Self Preservation 5 Description[10]




Isolation and Hoarding. In the average range, Self-Preservation Fives attempt to gain independence and separation by reducing their needs. They are highly conscious of their energy expenditures, considering what activities and pursuits they will take on, and questioning whether they will have sufficient internal resources to meet them. If not, activities will be dropped. Self-Preservation Fives also conserve their energy and resources in order to avoid needing others too much, trying to take as little from the environment as possible. Thus, they can be very private and protective of their home and work space.


Self-Preservation Fives are the true loners of the Enneagram, loving solitude and generally avoiding social contact. They feel easily over whelmed by people, especially in group settings. Although they can be friendly and talkative, they are slow to engage with others and often feel drained by social interactions. They then need time in their home space to recharge their batteries. They can be extremely resentful of having expectations placed on them. Often they will find ways to minimize their needs so that they can live on less money, thus avoiding interference with their independence and privacy. They are also the most emotionally detached variant of Type Five. While they can be warm with friends and intimates, they more generally tend to be emotionally dry and have great difficulty expressing their feelings for others.


In the unhealthy range, Self-Preservation Fives can become eccentric shut-ins, going to great lengths to avoid social contact. Isolation leads to distorted thinking and delusional ideas. They may exhibit paranoid tendencies, especially with the Six-wing.



[1] "The Arica Training according to John C Lilly and Joseph E Tart"

[2] Naranjo, C. (2017). "Ensayos sobre psicología de los eneatipos"

[3] Naranjo, C. (2021) "Avaricia: mezquinos, arrogantes e indiferentes" (Translated by u/monkeyman430)

[4] Naranjo, C. (2012). "27 personajes en busca del ser"

[5] Maitri, S. (2001). "The Spiritual Dimension of the Enneagram"

[6] Chestnut, B. (2021). "The Enneagram Guide to Waking Up"

[7] The Haiki Enneagram Website (Link To Subtype Translations)

[8] Durán, C. and Catalán, A. (2009). "Los engaños del carácter y sus antídotos"

[9] Chestnut, B. (2021). "The Complete Enneagram"

[10]Don Riso and Russ Hudson (1999),The Wisdom of the Enneagram: The Complete Guide to Psychological and Spiritual Growth for the Nine Personality Types

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