“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.”
Today on Enneagram Paths we have Brittany Straub, an awesomely inked lady (check out the picture of her sleeve below) who also happens to be an Enneagram Type 2w3. Just as a reminder, Don Riso and Russ Hudson — Enneagram gurus — roughly define Type Twos as people who, “are either the most genuinely helpful to others or, when less healthy, the most highly invested in seeing themselves as helpful… The love and concern they feel — and the genuine good they do — warms their hearts and makes them feel worthwhile.” Twos are generally concerned with emotions, relationships, and finding love/deep connection.
Welcome, Brittany, we’re so excited to hear from you! Thank you for such insightful responses, I know I learned a good deal about you and being a Two from all you’ve shared.
1. Talk to us a little about what it feels like to be intensely attuned to other people’s needs. How does this attunement play out in your everyday life?
Sometimes it feels like I can look at someone and they are begging for help through their smiles. I like to think that when I notice it, it is real, but it isn’t always. There are times that I have been completely off in regards to what that person needed or wanted. In those times I find myself still looking for clues because there’s no way they wouldn’t need me.
Before I was aware that I was a Type Two, and what that meant, I thought I really had my stuff together, and people really trusted me. However, on the flip side, I now realize that most of the time I was pushing myself on people; even some who truly did not want or need anything. And what makes it worse, I wasn’t actually helping to benefit them. It was all for self-gratification so I could say they needed me. I love black sheep — I am one —and I love making another black sheep feel like they belong even more.
Fast forward to today… I still feel like I can “read” people, especially those struggling with something, but instead of prying until I’m allowed to intervene, I listen. I’ve found that just genuinely caring about someone will help us both.
2. What do you feel like would happen if you took time for self-care, for silence and rest, and/or invested in activities that made you feel happy and fulfilled?
This question comes at a very peculiar time for me. I’m recently divorced and have a ten-year-old son that I’m essentially raising on my own. I have NEVER been this kind of exhausted before. Lately, I find myself searching for just a second of silence so that I can do absolutely nothing. I feel like if I were to take any extra time for just myself, then some aspect of my life would unravel. I can’t even go shopping for myself without putting everything for me back and replacing it with something for someone else. I latch onto the sense that I’m not the center of attention and someone else (my son especially) deserves that attention that I almost thought about giving myself.
Being a single parent adds a lot of different layers to this. There will be judgment from family members or people surrounding me that feels like I’m pushing my child aside if I take even one night to go out with friends. This cycle has been very harmful. I’ve stated this is a peculiar time because recently I’ve noticed that I feel like I’m drowning. I actually do need time to myself, for myself! And more importantly for my son. I think I’ll still struggle with feeling like I don’t deserve that free time, but I’m starting to recognize that it’s absolutely necessary for me to stay mentally healthy.
3. Type Two’s are in the Heart Triad, which means you experience the world through emotion/relationship. How does this lens of heart impact your actions and thoughts? Are you aware of thoughts and do you feel your body much?
Absolutely everything that I do is centered around how I feel. My attitude is determined by the kind of love I feel I’ve received from the people most important to me that day. I’m a very emotional, passionate person, and I cannot hide how I feel, whether it be overly happy or the inevitable resting bitch face. (Can I say that? Melissa: yes you can!)
When my relationship is struggling, I struggle. But it’s not just struggling in one aspect of my life, it overflows into everything and will consume me until I can fix it. Usually, waiting is out of the question when there is a problem. I need to know I am loved, and everything will be okay almost immediately after an issue has been exposed and resolved.
I’m aware of my thoughts, and I’m always thinking. When I do feel my body, it’s when I’m at the very end of my rope, which usually means I just need sleep.
4. How do you deal with boundaries? Do you set boundaries for yourself? Do you feel like you respect the boundaries of others well?
Boundaries are the hardest thing in the world for me. They make me feel like I am untrustworthy or unwanted. I do have boundaries for myself, but they are easily crossed because I don’t want to upset anyone by letting them know I’m not comfortable with something. As far as other people’s boundaries go, I do feel like I respect them unless I feel disrespected, then EVERYTHING is out the window.
5. What happens in your relationships when you’re stressed and move to your Arrow Type Eight? What happens in your relationships when you’re healthy and move to your Arrow Type Four?
I do not like myself when I am stressed. I become the exact opposite of everything I believe myself to be, all of the inner self-work, therapy, meditation, prayers… all of it has zero impact on me and how I handle stressful situations. When stressed, I make people feel my presence because I have to be in control, I have to be strong, and I cannot ask for help.
When I am healthy, I am at peace. I strive to stay in that space. The kitchen can be a mess overnight, my son can go to sleep without taking a bath — it doesn’t matter. When healthy, I listen to people when they speak, and HEAR what they are saying. I’m soft around the edges, and easy-going. The struggle for control and power ceases. Honestly, when I feel loved and wanted, I willingly relinquish those things to the person I’m with. Being in control is something I consider myself to be good at, but it’s not what I want.
6. Do you know your wing? How does your wing number enhance or contribute two aspects of being a Type Two?
I have a 3 Wing. I feel like it exaggerates a lot of the self-gratification aspects of my personality/Type. I have to be successful, I have to achieve whatever it is I am set on doing. If I’m able to keep that drive focused on work or my family then great!! However, the 3 Wing energy usually ends up back on relationships, and then I become overbearing and smothering, needing to be right.
7. Do you feel like in your formative years you somewhere picked up the message that to be loved, you had to put your own needs aside? That meeting others needs were the path to love and security?
100%, absolutely, yes yes yes. I felt like to truly love someone you had to be willing to bleed out to that person. And if they would not do the same for you, then they could not possibly love you the same. If I loved someone enough, took care of them, paid their bills, cleaned their house, cooked for them, and prayed hard enough, then it would be reciprocated, and that person would, in turn, do those things for me — which is what I wanted to make me feel safe and secure.
8. What would make you feel truly safe and secure in yourself? In a relationship?
Honestly, this has changed drastically for me very recently. I’ve always wanted someone to take care of me, to be “the man of the house”, be strong. I had all that, and it was the loneliest I’ve ever been — surrounded by people. I now want someone to look at me with affection, to tell me everything will be okay when I screw something up, and that they will be next to me to help me figure out how to fix it together. I want them to smile and be happy around me. Then I will know I’m loved and wanted and appreciated. I feel like I have the same requirements for me to feel secure in my own self. I need to know that when I walk into a room, people are happy to see me, trust me to do my job, and trust me with their thoughts/ feelings.
9. What do the words True Self, rage, and voice mean for you today?
True Self: The me behind the thing… the me that doesn’t need to be needed, but is wanted, and not because I’m good at something. The me that is happy and silly and confident.
Rage: The absolute worst possible reaction, uncontrollable emotions/words/expressions. Nothing makes sense, talking in circles. The need to be right, and noticed. Unnecessarily irrational.
Voice: I don’t think I can answer this 100% just yet. It’s something I’m still working on. I am easily guided by external voices and influences, and listening to myself is proving to be very difficult.
10. What do you love about your number? What do you dislike about your number?
I took the test probably six times praying that I would not be a Type Two! I was a Two every single time. I can tell you what I dislike about my number easily: I don’t like that I’m selfish with my actions, that my motivations are self-fulfilling, and that I’ll use my emotions to manipulate situations, so they are easier for me to navigate and be in control of.
I’m learning to love my number right now. I do genuinely care about people. I love that I am able to separate my need to be needed from their actual need of assistance. I’ve learned to love when someone comes to me for help! I appreciate being asked to do things now, instead of just doing them and then becoming upset because I wasn’t acknowledged for doing it in the first place.