Personlity type 2

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Personality Type TWO: The Helper

The Caring, Interpersonal Type:
Demonstrative, Generous, People-Pleasing, and Possessive

Generally, Twos are caring, empathetic, warm, thoughtful, appreciative, generous, other-oriented, tactile, affectionate, well intentioned, and demonstrative.

Twos get into conflicts by being people-pleasing, flattering, ingratiating, clingy, worried, possessive, insincere, seductive, self-important, and self-deceptive.

At their best, Twos are encouraging, loving, self-nurturing, constant, joyous, humble, forgiving, gracious, and compassionate.

Excerpt from Type Two ITAR (4:04 minutes) 

Recognizing Twos
Type Two exemplifies the desire to feel loved, to connect with others in a heartfelt way, and to be a source of benevolence and love in our world. Twos are easily the most people-oriented of the Enneagram types. They focus on relationship and feel best about themselves when they are meaningfully engaged with others. They want to share the good in their lives and genuinely enjoy supporting others with their attention and care. Insofar as they can, Twos make good things happen for people. They will stay up late to take care of children or older folks, drive across town to bring food, or see to it that others get medical treatment. When there is practical work to be done for others, healthy Twos will be there, throwing themselves into the effort heart and soul.

Twos are genuinely interested in other people and in the details of their lives. They remember to send birthday and holiday cards long after their friends have moved away. They also remember your spouse's name and the names of your children and pets—plus who has which allergies and what their major was in college. Twos are the first in the kitchen after a party to help out with the cleanup. At the office, Twos have a bowl of candy or a tin of cookies at their desk—not for themselves, but for anyone who drops by to chat. They are constantly thinking of others, and they try to do nice things so that others will think well of them.

Twos get into difficulty, however, when they begin to attend to others' needs without adequately dealing with their own. They can get into denial about the extent of their own needs while insisting that their only concern is taking care of others. At such times, Twos may develop "boundary problems." They disregard their own boundaries, doing things for others that take them away from what they need to do for themselves, and they disregard the boundaries of others, doing things for others that they do not necessarily want done. When others feel crowded by the Twos' efforts to help, and try to set boundaries with them, Twos can feel hurt and insecure about the relationship and feel rejected.

When Twos doubt that others want them, they redouble their efforts to win people over. They get caught up with "people pleasing" and ingratiating themselves with others, looking for things to do and say that will make people like them. "Relating" with people becomes a full-time job: they are constantly making new friends while maintaining a network of old friends. Talking about "the relationship" with people becomes a habit, as Twos continually seek reassurance that their friendships and love-lives are secure and on track.

They also begin to seek ways to make themselves more interesting and useful to others. Thus, they may pursue such interests as massage, psychic readings, energetic healing, nutrition, and other ways of being of service as a way of making people feel good about themselves —and about having the Two in their life. They want to have a unique place in others' lives and to know privileged information about others that no one else knows. They want others to regard them as their "best friend," and to seek them out for personal advice, and to share special secrets and intimacies. They may begin to wear themselves out for others, giving unwanted advice and assistance, and becoming "martyrs" to get attention and affection. When Twos go too far with this kind of behavior, however, it ironically has the opposite effect on people-driving them away rather than creating stronger relationships.

In brief, Twos want to feel loved, to have intimacy, to express their feelings for others, to be needed and appreciated, to be close to valued friends and family, to "rescue" potential friends and partners, to get others to respond to them, and to get and hold on to the love they want. Twos do not want to be out of touch with loved ones, to be in impersonal settings, to be left out of social situations, or to be in situations where there is nothing for them to give.

Their Hidden Side
Although on the surface Twos appear to feel at ease with others and to be a source of emotional sustenance for the people in their lives, they also suffer from well-hidden feelings of rejection. Twos expect people to not want them around, and they often feel that they need to be extraordinarily kind and supportive to get people to accept and love them. They usually try to conceal the depths of their loneliness or hurt beneath an image of concern for others, focusing on others' needs to help them feel better. Sometimes it does, but just as often, Twos may feel that others are not appreciating them for their efforts, thus rekindling their feelings of rejection. Then they may become touchy or even openly angry, revealing the extent of the disappointment they are hiding.

Relationship Issues
Twos are the Enneagram type most focused on relationships: people are where Twos focus their energies. They are generous with their time and attention and really want their loved ones to be happy and well-cared for. Problems develop, however, when Twos go overboard with their efforts to be close to their loved ones, often in the following areas:

  • Trying too hard to please the other—selling themselves out for affection and appreciation.
  • Hovering around and not giving the other adequate space (usually caused by fears of imminent abandonment)
  • Expecting "mind reading" from the partner and being disappointed when they fail to anticipate the Two's desires or needs.
  • Becoming possessive of the partner and jealous of his or her spending time with others.
  • Not acknowledging personal hurts, needs, and anger until they are becoming damaging to the relationship.

To learn more about the compatibility issues of Type Two and their interactions with other types, click below on the Enneagram type of the other person in the relationship. This will open in a new window.

Type 2 The Helper and type:
1     2     3     4     5     6     7     8     9

The Passion: Pride
Twos believe that they will be loved only if they are completely available to attend to the needs of others. To the extent that they succumb to this belief, they fear that others will reject them if they have needs or emotional hurts of their own. When Twos find themselves unable to acknowledge the extent of their emotional needs and desires, they fall into the passion of pride. From this position, they feel duty-bound to care for others while denying that they have any significant problems themselves. But of course, under the surface, Twos really do have many problems and longings. Unfortunately, the more Twos deny their real emotional condition, the more they tend to express themselves to others with covert aggression, ulterior motives, and hidden neediness. This often leads to behaviors that unintentionally drive other people away.

At Their Best
Healthy Twos are sincere and warm-hearted, with immense good will and enormous generosity of spirit. They have an extraordinary ability to feel the feelings and needs of others. Because they are so empathetic, healthy Twos know others' sorrows, and this motivates them to go out of their way to help and support people, especially in times of need. They put a charitable interpretation on the behavior of others, emphasizing the good in people whenever they find it. But healthy Twos are able to maintain this generous approach to life because they are acknowledging their own needs and, more importantly, addressing them.

Healthy Twos do not wait around for a loving response from people in order to feel lovable. They recognize their true strengths and limitations and accept them-extending the support and love to themselves that they would easily offer to someone else. Thus, they are also able to accept others for who they are and relate to them on their own level, whether the person is the president of a corporation, the mailman, or a delivery boy. Twos see the dignity and the humanity of people and respond to that. They also foster independence in others, nurturing self-confidence, strength, and new skills so that people can grow on their own. They really want everyone to thrive and do not want anyone to be dependent on them, physically or psychologically. They are sincerely encouraging and extremely appreciative of the talents and strengths they find everywhere. Healthy Twos let people know the good they see in them, a quality that is particularly helpful to those who may not see much good in themselves.

Personality Dynamics & Variations

An explanation of the Directions of Integration (Security) and Disintegration (Stress) can be found here, which opens in a new window.

Under Stress (Two goes to average Eight)
If Twos feel that their overtures of friendliness and may expressions of self-sacrifice are continually thwarted or ignored, they may reach a point of stress in which they begin to openly express their anger in the manner of average-to-unhealthy Eights. Their resentment at having been rejected by others (in perhaps subtle ways) reaches the boiling point, and they simply cannot maintain their "loving attitude" any longer. Feeling that others are taking them from granted makes the average Two suddenly act out in an average Eight manner, becoming ego-centric, controlling, and dominating, telling people what to do and when to do it. This kind of behavior puts Twos in the center of things and virtually forces others to pay attention to them. Bossing people around and being somewhat confrontational can be surprisingly out of character for the Two. Under greater stress, it can be expressed in outbursts of temper, aggressive confrontation, and threats of withdrawing support.

Security (Two goes to average Four)
With trusted others, or in situations in which Twos feel sure of themselves and their ability to be honest about their feelings, they may risk expressing their neediness and darker impulses. Rather than keep up the image of being selfless and above feeling wounded by the ingratitude of others, they can become moody, self-absorbed, and temperamental, revealing to intimates the true depth and extent of their emotional needs, self-doubts, and disappointments-particularly with others. At such times, they can be extremely touchy-easily hurt by statements that others would see as harmless or even positive. They may also become more self-indulgent, giving themselves "goodies" that are not very good for them as a way of compensating for all of the sacrifices they feel they have been making for others.

Integration (Two goes to healthy Four)
Integrating Twos become aware of how much they have denied their needs and their darker feelings-and how much they have deceived themselves about their motives. At Four, they begin to accept themselves more completely-not rejecting any aspect of themselves they find. Even their destructive feelings toward others can be held compassionately. They are more honest with themselves (after the manner of a healthy Four) and discover humor and humanity in whatever feelings and impulses they have. This gives Twos the ability to see themselves objectively and without shame-and with love and balance. They are also able to support others from the fullness of who they really are and to have greater intimacy with them because integrating Twos are more intimate with themselves. Gradually and naturally, they become more authentic, expressive, sensitive, and creative in ways that are enriching to themselves and others.

The Instincts In Brief
An explanation of the three Instincts can be found here, which opens in a new window.

Self-Preservation Two: Entitlement (Ichazo's "Me First")
Twos typically deal with their own self-preservation needs by first taking care of others' self-preservation needs. They feel that they will win others' love by providing them with nurturing and caretaking. They derive a great deal of satisfaction from feelings of service to others or to causes. They are able to anticipate people's needs and then try to fulfill them. ("You poor thing, you look hungry.") Of course, after taking care of others for a while, Self-Pres Twos begin to expect that others will reciprocate and take care of their needs. But because they are Twos, they feel that they cannot ask directly for what they need. They must drop hints and continue to take care of the other person with the hope that he or she will eventually respond with care for the Two. Over time, this gives Self-Pres Twos a feeling of entitlement. ("After all I've done for them, I deserve this treat.") The problem is that Self Pres Twos feel ashamed of having physical needs. Thus, when others fail to reciprocate in the way that Twos hope, they may privately overindulge in self-preservation "goodies"—comfort foods, sweets, drink, and prescription medicines are frequent choices. They keep hidden stashes of their favorite indulgences as a way of compensating for feelings of loneliness and rejection. Unfortunately, the rewards that Self Pres Twos give themselves often endanger their health and well being, which ironically, undermines their ability to help others.

Sexual Two: Craving Intimacy (Ichazo's "Aggression")
Sexual Twos feel that they will feel loved by attaining complete, profound intimacy with someone. Thus they are driven to be as close to their loved ones as possible. They attempt to win a place with people by focusing intensely on the other's needs, hopes, and interests. They enjoy the process of learning about potential partners and make it their business to become acquainted with the other's world. It is as if the Sexual Two was seeking to get "in synch" with the other in as many different ways as possible. Similarly, the Sexual Two will enjoy finding out what the other likes, whether it is a favorite food, cologne, style of music, or favorite place for vacationing. Needless to say, Sexual Twos will then do their best to provide these things for their intimates. Moreover, most people love to be the center of attention, and Sexual Twos know this, lavishing the other with attention, affection, and praise. In this sense, they are seductive-getting others interested in spending time with them by making the other their object of adoration. Sexual Twos also like to touch and be touched by the people they are drawn to, often initiating physical contact in a relationship—even in a friendship. When less balanced, Sexual Twos can become obsessed with a lover and can have great difficulty letting go of a relationship.

Social Two: Everybody's Friend (Ichazo's "Ambition")
Social Twos feel loved by having an important place in the lives of their friends, family, and colleagues. They fear being left out of social events and gatherings, so they try to make themselves indispensable to whatever groups they are involved with. They often become advisors, mentors, matchmakers, and social-event coordinators for many people in their lives. They enjoy introducing people to one another and generally act as the "social hub" of whatever they are involved with. They derive great satisfaction from giving advice to trusted friends and often initiate new relationships by offering some kind of service or counsel. Social Twos have a subtle "radar" for people in need of a sympathetic audience and may appear with a smile and some kind words. They especially like to give counsel to people they see as important. While the pride of the Two does not allow them to have social ambitions of success and fame for themselves, they often achieve these things indirectly by becoming "the power behind the throne." Thus, they are able to rise socially by attaching themselves as advisors and primary supports to someone who is successful in some way. Social Twos tend to be outgoing and high-spirited, often resembling Sevens, and to get energy from their interactions with their friends. Indeed, Social Twos think of all of their colleagues and acquaintances as friends and their friends as family. They usually know the names of all of the local shopkeepers, the mailman, the waiters, and bartenders at their favorite restaurants and bars, and so forth. When less balanced, Social Twos can scatter themselves in a large number of social commitments-trying to serve many people, but often causing primary relationships to suffer.

The Levels of Development
An explanation of the nine Levels of Development can be found here, which opens in a new window.

Below is the complete Levels of Development diagram for Type Two. The levels range from most healthy, Level 1, to least healthy, Level 9. To understand these charts, start with the Basic Fear, at the top right of the chart. This fear gives rise to the Basic Desire, which is the Desire at the second level of health, the Level of Psychological Capacity.

The Desire of each level gives rise to the internal Attitudes (the A-Terms) of each level, which create the external Behaviors (the B-Terms). Over time, due to internal conflicts, these behaviors and attitudes create another layer of Fear at that level.

Each new Fear generates yet another desire at the next lower level, which gives rise to a new set of attitudes and behaviors, creating a spiral structure in which a person becomes increasingly enmeshed in self-destructive reactions and increasingly terrifying fears. The process of growth is to become aware of each of the cluster of attitudes and behaviors as they occur, bringing conscious awareness into the moment. As we do this, the underlying fears and desires also begin to emerge into consciousness, and the person begins to shift up the levels.

For more about this process see Wisdom of the Enneagram, and Personality Types.


Parental Orientation: Rejection with the Protective-figure

        Self-Actualization:   Basic Fear:
1. Level of Liberation
Loving Unconditionally
truly charitable
"tough love"
Lets go of their identification with a particular self-image, that they are not allowed to take care of themselves and their own needs  

Of being loveless, of being without love

        Basic Desire:    Secondary Fears:

2. Level of Psychological Capacity


intuitive capacities

To feel loved (and to feel like a source of love

  That their own needs and negative feelings will harm their relationships
        Secondary Desires:    
3. Level of Social Value



To do good things for others (to reinforce their positive feelings and self-image)   That what-
ever they have been doing for others is not enough to gain their love (others will not come to them, they must go out more to others)
        Social Role: The Special Friend
4. Level of Imbalance
need physical contact
To be wanted — to be close to others   That the people they love will love someone else more than them

5. Level of Interpersonal Control

"checking in"

ulterior motives
"stuffing feelings"

To be needed — to make themselves necessary to others   That they and their help are being taken for granted
6. Level of Overcompensation
complaining/    martyr
taking credit

terms of
To be acknowledged, to have their virtue and goodness recognized   That they are driving others away
7. Level of Violation
eating disorder

terror of

To hold onto people at all costs (while maintaining the belief that they haven't done anything wrong or selfish)   That they have permanently estranged their loved ones
8. Level of Delusion & Compulsion
sexually act-out
obsessive "love"
no boundaries
To get love from anyone in any way they can  

That they are bad, selfish and have violated others

9. Level of Pathological Destructiveness
broken down

Feel Victimized
feel abused
psychosomatic    disorders
deeply bitter

To vindicate themselves by falling apart and suffering   Basic Fear is realized: they have become unwanted and unlovable

Personal Growth Recommendations
for Enneagram Type Twos

Twos grow by recognizing that caring for themselves and caring for others is not an either/or proposition. They can care for others effectively only when they are also caring for themselves and recognizing their own needs. Further, they come to understand that they can achieve real love and intimacy with others only if they truly have love and intimacy with themselves. For Twos, this means acknowledging their real feelings, even if they are not pretty or pleasant, and expressing their needs as they arise. It also entails recognizing when they are tired, lonely, or overextended. By paying attention to their own feelings and inner states, Twos naturally grow into finding a balance between taking care of themselves and their natural inclination to help others. Once grounded and clear about their motives, they are able to abide in the fullness of their hearts and to share this with others.

  • First and foremost, remember that if you are not addressing your own needs, it is highly unlikely that you will be able to meet anyone else's needs without problems, underlying resentments, and continual frustration. Further, you will be less able to respond to people in a balanced way if you have not gotten adequate rest, and taken care of yourself properly. It is not selfish to make sure that you are okay before attending to others' needs—it is simply common sense.

  • Try to become more conscious of your own motives when you decide to help someone. While doing good things for people is certainly an admirable trait, when you do so because you expect the other person to appreciate you or do something nice for you in return, you are setting yourself up for disappointments. Your type has a real danger of falling into unconscious codependent patterns with loved ones, and they almost never bring you what you really want.

  • While there are many things you might want to do for people, it is often better to ask them what they really need first. You are gifted at accurately intuiting others' feelings and needs, but that does not necessarily mean that they want those needs remedied by you in the way you have in mind. Communicate your intentions, and be willing to accept a "no thank you." Someone deciding that they do not want your particular offer of help does not mean that they dislike you or are rejecting you.

  • Resist the temptation to call attention to yourself and your good works. After you have done something for others, do not remind them about it. Let it be: either they will remember your kindness themselves and thank you in their own way or they will not. Your calling attention to what you have done for them only puts people on the spot and makes them feel uneasy. It will not satisfy anyone or improve your relationships.

  • Do not always be "doing" for people and above all do not try to get people to love you by giving them either gifts or undeserved praise. On the other hand, do not pointedly withdraw your service when others do not respond to you as you would like. Do not make what you do for others depend on how they respond to you. Help others when they ask for it, especially helping them to become more capable of functioning on their own.