Local – Storm Warning: 5

Thinking Type 5: “The Observer”
Orientation: Thinking
Expression: Feeling
Subordinate: own Acting
Seeks: Competence
Short circuits in storm state:
Feeling – Thinking
Acting – Acting

rev storm 5
emphasis in storm state
type 5 sunny
emphasis in sunny state


With thinking type 5, we now leave the emotionally oriented types and visit the “thinkers”. In storm state, those are the cerebral narcissists. Their childhood distress was lacking security: The development of their identity was threatened. Thinking type 5 is the one who solved this problem by enforcing his thinking (FT). In order to deal with the chaos in his environment, to figure out what’s important an what not and avoiding losing himself in the mess, he withdrew into his head, thought about it and sorted his experiences and feelings. His two other short circuits supported this withdrawal: distancing from feeling (TF) and controlling actions and needs (AA).lolita_ver4_xlgAs soon as this pattern exceeds its function of childhood self-protection and a person gets triggered back into it as an adult, there is storm warning. And if a person is permanently trapped in it, it is considered a personality disorder. In the following, the character Humbert in “Lolita” (1997), played by Jeremy Irons serves as an example of a thinking type 5 with storm warning.


List 5 FT

Thinking type 5 in storm state retreats into his head. He amplifies his thinking, takes a very distanced position and looks at the events “from the outside”. From there, he gathers information which he processes instantly if possible or later if necessary. Although he may seem “there”, although you seem to get some emotional and reactionary feedback from him, this has nothing to do with him as a person. While his soul is sitting silently in his head, actions and emotions are running on autopilot. With his Feeling – Thinking short circuit, he enforces his detachment. He enforces his ability to recognize logical coherence and drawing conclusions in order to tidy up the chaos – this ability was of great help to survive his childhood.

Thus a thinking type 5 with storm warning constantly lives in mental cutback and his only perspective seems to be the retrospective. His conduct of life is lacking his conduct. He allows others to make his decisions and opportunistically takes what he can get along the way without playing a role in the process of life.

This distanced way of life is illustrated by the following scenes. Humbert gets informed by his landlady: she wants to marry him and if he stays, he agrees. Because Humbert is secretly interested in her daughter, he stays and marries. His true thoughts and feelings about his new wife are written down and locked away inside his desk. As she finds the key, his interpersonal double-life is exposed. This flight into a secretive detached mental world is typical for a thinking type 5 with storm warning.


List 5 TF

To support the main short circuit – to remain undisturbed while drawing his conclusions – Humbert distances himself from feeling. This doesn’t necessarily mean he seems robotic. But in storm state, his feelings have nothing to do with him as a person or his values. He hides behind a characterless in-tune mask. Thus, he turn himself into a emotional marionette who doesn’t get it if someone is playing with him on this level. Here, he is totally suggestible and emotionally “survives” from what he can get coincidentally. This short circuit is observable as a fawning dependence which can develop into obsession.


List 5 AA

Humbert controls actions and needs. And because, as a type 5, this short circuit serves a detached way of life, it is expressed mainly in passive forms and is directed inward: he adjusts his own wants according to what fits the environment and aims at getting his hidden needs met somehow in the long run. He “lies with his gut” and acts as if the wants of others were also his own. This is expressed big and small flatteries and sometimes in more dramatic ways in which he is able to instantly adapt his will and anger to changing circumstances.

This is how a thinking type 5 with storm warning functions.

Why is this dangerous to families?
Because children depend on parents who are there for them. A person who functions like this may have lots of theoretical ideas of “a good upbringing”. But it’s impossible to them to emotionally care for their children and foster their autonomy. Instead, they are emotionally dependent on their kids and expect them to supply the security they missed in their own family. Like this they reverse the familial chain of providence and thus damage their children’s psyche.

Why is this unsatisfactory in relationships?
For the same reasons. Although as an adult, one is not as dependent on the partner as a child is but the mutual happiness relies on the functionality of both. How can one relate to someone who lives in a secretive mental refuge? To someone who detaches emotionally and makes themselves dependent? Someone whose wants are not their own but adapt to the surroundings like a chameleon-like war tactic? It is possible. But it’s unsatisfactory.

What helps?
For Families: Family-Systems Therapy
For Couples: Couples Therapy
This description with the aid of the enneagram is not meant to serve diagnostically. This should by done by professionals alone. And there is also no key with which the types of the enneagram can be translated to the DSM definitions. At best, some hints can be made in which directions to seek: Dependent Personality Disorder, Avoidant Personality Disorder, Schizoid Personality Disorder, Codependency.

Sunny greetings

All clips shown in this post are quotations from the movie “Lolita” (1997) and are used for the purpose of illustration only. The copyrights for this movie and its film poster belong to: Pathé, The Samuel Goldwyn Company

Local – Storm Warning: 5

3 thoughts on “Local – Storm Warning: 5

  1. Angela says:

    I am very intrigued by this article and want to know more. I, myself, have been on a path of self discovery for about a year and a half after an abusive and chaotic relationship with a Narcissist. Been diagnosed with Borderline and I’ve learned a lot about myself through reading, psychotherapy, etc. I’m aware of how much overlap there is between NPD and BPD. That’s possibly one of the hardest things to come to terms with. I devalued him, the Narc, because of what he did to me. So to be able to identify with the monster scares me.

    I’m wondering if I possibly for the traits described above. I’ll need to do some more research on it. But I know I intellectualize and observe from outside perspective in harsh situations as a coping skill (depersonalization? Emotional detachment?). I have a hard time listening to my gut (be it intuition, emotions, spirit). It’s like I have to have concrete ideas to feel stable. I don’t like grey area, makes very anxious and “out of control”).

    Oddly enough, control or dependence for my own life and decisions is something that I continue to “lose”. Lately my need for autonomy and individuality has become so strong, I find myself overreacting during times I feel as though they are being threatened. Yet when I’m in a relationship (friend or lover) once I become emotionally attached, my abandonment fear is triggered. I become afraid of true intimacy, to let them know how dependent I am or emotionally attached because I feel it will push them away. I start little by little ignoring my needs and become very accommodating to their needs. This is absolutely the most baffling part of my condition. I don’t know how to stop it.

    As well with my children, I see now how much I wanted them as a way to relieve unconditional love. After having my first, I had great intentions. I would love her so deeply and give her everything I never had so well, that she would be fulfilled and better than I am. She essentially was a mirage image of myself as a child. I saw hurt and loneliness because that’s what I felt. I failed because what I needed as a child and what she needs are separate things. Essentially she did not get those secondary needs met. I held unrealistic expectations of the type of mother I could be to begin with. I don’t know if a mother like the fairytale image in my head even exists, the mother I wished for myself as a child. And I see now a lot of emotional distance between us was because I was resentful to what I perceived as rejection by my own child. I’m sickened and heartbroken to see all of this now. I’m working on all this but it’s a very long process. And things are getting better between both of my children. I feel like I’m seeing signs in her though of withdrawing into self. She rarely acts out. And she rarely speaks her emotions even when asked. I never could tell my mother how hurt I was by the things she did. Or how mad I was either. Felt like I would hurt her too bad.

    Anyhow, a book I’m reading on BPD explains of studies that show we are very susceptible to other PDs. I’ve been liking into Avoidant PD and Dependant PD, especially the former. So much of it fits.

    If you have any insight you’d like to give, I’d greatly appreciate it. I’m hoping not to receive a lot of backlash from others who’ve dealt with BPDs. I understand that unsympathetic position because I tend to feel the same about Narcissists. But I’m trying to learn to hate the disorder rather than the individual. Though that doesn’t mean to allow and accept abuse of any form or fashion, just that we are all products of environment, biological and genetic factors. And the human mind copes through various methods with the intention of survival all based on temperament and experience.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Angela,
      Thank you for commenting and your interest in the article! But i’m afraid i can’t give you a lot of further insight as i am no professional. But it seems you are already on the track i try to encourage affected readers to go: research, self-reflection and getting psychological help.
      One additional thought could be interesting for you: if you had bad relationship experiences with a person who functions in the described pattern, it is likely that one of your parents also functioned like this. Because in adult life, we feel attracted to what feels like home, even if this is hurtful. But with therapy there is a great advantage in this: if the current relationship is a mirror of the problems one had with their parents, the childhood feelings can be addressed and the old pain can heal.

      All the best to you,


  2. Angela,
    I think you are a very deep and honest person. It is not easy to judge our short comings in anyway. But I think you are far on your way to figuring out your answers. Question is will you follow them when they are clear to you? I hope so you seem like a lovely person, and I agree with Michael we do tend to look for chararistics of the parent that arouses the most emotional needs in us as a child. We will forever look for a like mate to fill that void left open by the parent who we feel did not love unconditionally. Therefor we will repeat the pattern with our children. Idolize the wrong parent. Blame the one who was emotional and physically available to us..because we were so young to young to understand emotion and physical rejection. And it is so painful to us , a lot of times we will project our anger on to the other parent blaming them for all our hurts in our childhood and put the emotional abusive or distant parent on a pestadal still trying to be worthy of their love.
    Keep doing what you’re doing Angela. And try to be open with your daughter regarding why you are as you are. It’s very important to Stop the pattern from repeating from generation to generation. But you can only do your best if being open and honest and loving, along with apologetic doesn’t work the first time if you are completely sencere then it’s probably to late to change the situation without outside intervention.
    Good luck I will be hoping for the best for you, Rita


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