Enneagram Type 2 Helper

Enneagram Type 2

The Type 2 is the part of us that relates to people empathetically. If any type embodies the line from Bill Clinton “I feel your pain” it is this one. People with this fixation, E2s, are the most interpersonal and humane of all types.  Often, they are the friends or acquaintances who can talk and relate to the struggles you are going through. They seem to absorb the emotions like a sponge from people they only briefly contact. A phrase such as “You don’t understand I feel other people’s emotions in the Metro.”  might describe an E2’s social life.  In some ways, the E2 is the most traditionally feminine and nurturing of the personality types. Naturally, both men and women can test as Twos though the breakdown has not been statistically analyzed. 

Although the E2 is the part of us that wants to connect with others, E2s often expect something in return. This type views themselves and their place in the world in terms of how they relate to other people emotionally. Like the E1, they have a super-ego that has elevated levels of control over the behavior and hides feelings from the individual. The E2’s instead think they are loving, caring, compassionate, and needed by the people around them, no matter what real-world circumstances suggest.

Self-Talk – In order to be loved and cared for I must give to others. 

Basic Fear – Not being needed or loved.

Basic Virtue – Empathy

Primary Sin – Pride

Direction of Integration – Four (Individualist)

Direction of Stress – Eight (Challenger)

Examples: Princess Diana, Nattalie Portman, Deanna Troy (Star Trek the Next Generation), Richard Simmons, Ann Landers, Archbishop Desmond Tutu. 

The E2s are part of the feeling Triad and have problems with sadness or despair and a feeling of insignificance that afflicts this triad. This includes the E3 (Achiever), and E4 (individualist). The E2 derives value from emotional contact but to achieve that often the E2’s needs are sublimated to achieve connection with others. Thus, their desire to be a confidant and share in other’s experiences come with an unspoken agenda at the average and unhealthy levels. This behavior does not fill the basic needs of the E2 and puts a strain on the relationships the E2 values. The combination of not filling the void or taking care of basic needs can create downward pressure on E2 and will become increasingly fearful that they are going to be overwhelmed by the loss of their personal relationships. As this fear increases, they may become more aggressive and hostile. They move away from the spirit of their type. They start to take on abrasive attributes of unhealthy E8s that seek power to defend themselves. At the lower levels, this can turn into physical and emotional distress caused by a lack of personal connection and as a means to get the attention so desperately needed. 

Healthy Twos

The E2s at their best are the most caring and altruistic of the personality types. Even when healthy, their image as a caring person may affect them negatively. However, the ability to integrate the best elements of the healthy E4 (Individualist) of self-awareness blocks the tendency to see their actions as always positive and altruistic and let themselves accept their less noble emotions. They also get out of the trap of not letting people respond to their emotions as they see fit, but at healthy levels are very capable of accepting their relationships. They view themselves positively which gives them the strength to go into dark places with other people. Also, because they are more relationship-based they don’t have rigged moral accounting that prevents them from connecting with people. The very opposite of the unhealthy E1 (perfectionist) their enneagram neighbor. 

People respond to this type as positively when healthy. They are drawn to their empathy. Healthy E2s also often respond that they are happy in their type, they see their relationship orientation giving them real strength. This group are often the best teachers, counselors, pastors, and social workers as their innate abilities and trust they gain help them in their work. Yet they are still able to guard their basic physical and emotional needs allowing them to keep working productively. 

Average Two’s

The average E2s still have many of the positive aspects of the E2. They are empathetic people able to create deep bonds with others. But at this level, they do it both consciously and subconsciously to battle their fear of not being worthy of human affection by making themselves emotionally useful. They often want to create a group of individuals that are dependent upon them. This is done to gain validation and love but often these followers are not healthy enough to respond the way average E2s would like. E2s also become more worried about losing what they have created and can become more self-righteous.

The super-ego of the E2 begins to take hold creating a loss of self.  The healthy E4 aspects are then replaced by the E8 as the most aggressive, blunt, and interpersonally fearful of the groups. Twos will start to blurt out abrasive or insulting comments more often at this level out of fear “if you really cared you would ….” or ” I guess I do all this for no appreciation”. They also become involved in other people’s problems or issues, further eroding loss of self. This is done to burnish their self-image as good people but also to create dependencies. While they may still share in deep personal moments they tend to turn more toward gossip. They also act more and more like a jealous lover even with casual acquaintances worried about losing their emotional connection.

The E2s are often oblivious to their real emotions and fears because their super-ego tells them they are giving while their ego is now telling them the world is simply not appreciating them enough. They lose the healthy aspect of the E4. People at this stage will often try and pull away from the E2 but find it difficult. Also, the E2s as a result of their lack of self-awareness spread themselves out too thinly exposing themselves to long-term harm. Too many parties, events, and other social events while never getting others to fill up their needs. While some think E2s are less likely to go into the dark unhealthy places of the Enneagram, average Twos can cause more than their fair share of everyday conflict.

Unhealthy Two

As E2s move downward they completely lose the affectionate warmth they had at healthier levels.  They now view themselves not just as good and selfless but as an unappreciated angelic figure. This attitude fuels increasing anger toward loved ones and friends. There is an increasing need for affection along with the fear of abandonment or worthlessness. A unique feature of this type at unhealthy levels is the tendency of physical breakdowns caused by a combination of mental and physical stress. 

At this level, the E2s have become often outwardly hostile in complete contrast to the warm glow at the healthy levels. Most people no longer wish to be around them for long periods of time. Paradoxically they go from the most to one of the least amiable personalities. They have taken over the aggression of the unhealthy E8 but without the more domineering aspects of controlling the lived environment. The unhealthy E2s are focused much more on people they know reasonably well. 

They have lost their sense of personal responsibility and tend to go through life without a real sense of their motivations and the damage they are causing. Often this turns into self-destruction and unhealthy E2s have many physical ailments that are brought on by stress and lack of self-care. These events have a beneficial effect of bringing love and attention their way because they now really need attention. Thus, the E2s suck people in their life back in. 


Two with One Wing (Perfectionist)

This sub-type is unique in that it is superego driven with both types seeing themselves as servants or guardians. The E2s are focused on emotions and friends while the E1s worry more about society and order. The healthy part of this sub-type often makes the best teachers as they can relate to others and can bring order to subjects. More average sub-types can become controlling from both the E1 and E2. Also, the tension between “what is right” and “what feels right” creates confusion in the less healthy versions of this Type. While the unhealthy subtype is self-righteous as both unhealthy subtypes possess that quality. In addition, these types are inflexible and often manipulative. 

Two with a Three wing (Achiever) 

This subtype possesses two types that are oriented toward the outside social environment. The E3 focuses on achievement and image while the E2 seeks emotional connection to others. The healthy people of this subtype are some of the most outgoing and sociable sub-types. They make great company and fun at parties and from their E2 can make friends. In more average individuals the need for achievement and relationships with others make them more willing to do what it takes to be successful and feel close to others. They can be a bit shallow, name-dropping, and worried about appearance more than other subtypes. The unhealthy version gets its exploitive elements from the E3 while remaining very manipulative like the E2. In addition, jealousy and hostility lie underneath their charm which the E3 element still provides.  

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