An Enneagram Type Two in health is a glorious creature to behold! They are warm, empathetic, kind, and generous. They are others-focused, meeting needs, and giving out of genuine love with no reciprocity expected. Twos know how to relate to others with a magical unicorn level of depth and understanding. They are usually very social and enjoy parties, retreats, nights out, and anything fun with lots of people. Integrated Twos are also quite attuned to their own needs and easily set and enforce healthy boundaries. They will be your best friend for life, but also tell you a firm “no” when appropriate.
A Type Two in autopilot takes their magical unicorn gift of special understanding and becomes obsessively attuned to meeting the needs of others. They push their relational, emotional, spiritual, and physical needs aside in order to spend all their energy helping someone else. Everyone else. The day of a Two is one giant quest to meet all the needs!
When stressed, Twos can become intrusive in their need to be needed and offer help “because they know better”. They can ask questions that are way too personal, ignoring the boundaries of those they love. Unconsciously, Twos in stress tend to seek out relationships with people who are a bit of a mess, in order to latch onto someone who will always need them. They want to be loved and helping makes them feel loved. Twos often get stuck in their pride of helping. They also get stuck wanting to be perceived as a good person, which makes it very hard for them to consider any kind of criticism. They do not take rejection well.
“But I’ve given you so much, how dare you say that about me!”
They can exhaust themselves in giving to get and take on a persona of the perpetual martyr.
It is very difficult for a Two to stop the “giving to get” approach to love. As children, they were either taught or absorbed the idea that if they presented their need to be loved, it would be rejected. During their formative years, a message was enforced that in order to be loved you must repress who you are and focus on others. Twos are quite often unaware of their own needs—and afraid that if they do express their needs to another, the need will be unmet. And if it is met, what about next time? Is this a safe relationship in which my needs will always be met? And round and round they go!
Also, this type of giving to get approach works for them—but only a surface level. They see how admired and needed they are. They are affirmed and adored. And what will happen if they stop? It’s pure terror for a Two to stop giving because it opens them up to the worst possible scenario—of not being loved for exactly who they are.
Richard Rohr says the path toward vibrant life for a Two is an intention to: “[Set] other people free and be thankful for the intimacy and attention that is possible in relationships. Mature Twos are glad when people about who they were once concerned go their own way in freedom.”
It is then that Twos become the best kind of helpers, the ones who give joyfully to both themselves and other people. They are the bearers of grace, gratitude, and abundant hearts.
Are you a Type Two? Would you like to be interviewed for the Enneagram Paths Blog? Please fill out the form on the contact page. I’d love to hear from you.