As their personalities disintegrate, Fives suffer from excessive mind chatter and a debilitating lack of self-esteem. They no longer trust their own judgment or their ability to navigate life. In addition, because their exceptional mental abilities allow them to see all sides of a problem, they over think and confuse themselves to such an extent that they end up not doing anything to solve their problems. Instead of clear thinking, they get distorted, jumbled thinking that amplifies their inability to make decisions or take action. They often dramatically switch from being intellectual and theoretical to being defensive and aggressive.
Secretly they fantasize about having a real life, but they have grown too complacent to wish for, or to expect, anything to occur. Eventually, pathological Fives resign themselves to living a limited life that is devoid of passion, lust, or desire for anything or anyone. As they become increasingly passive and isolated, they feel dried up, wasted, and of no use to anyone, not even themselves. Pathological Fives frequently lose their vitality, including whatever fragments of their sex drive remained.
According to The Wisdom of the Enneagram, Fives on a downward slide live an increasingly hermetic life, rebuffing all social opportunities. They compartmentalize their life and become apathetic, exhausted, and neglectful of their own daily physical needs. They appear trapped in their overactive mind and become both bitter and spiteful. They appear schizophrenic or obsessive-compulsive, and eventually approach a catatonic state.
Some pathological Fives become dictatorial, impatient, petty, hypercritical, and blame others for things that go wrong. Sadly, they themselves become victims of their own crushing superego, which punishes them regularly and harshly for failing to meet its high standards. Unlike a One, who integrates or identifies with her superego, a Five's superego berates, belittles, and nags him constantly, making him feel even worse about himself. In a desperate attempt to control his environment, a longing for order turns into obsessive-compulsive behavior in which both his thinking and his actions become rigid.
Disintegrating Fives often feel empty inside and do whatever they can to avoid actually feeling the emotions connected to their own sense of deprivation and poverty of spirit. They become increasingly antisocial and withdraw from work, social, or family events. When asked personal questions, they clam up and refuse to share their feelings. They appear frozen or paralyzed with fear and often act as if nothing matters and nothing can change, as if they have lost all hope that their lives will be happy or fulfilled.