Enneagram Type Two: The Helper or Caregiver
Enneagram is a model of human psychology that describes nine fundamental personality types. Here comes the basic characteristics of the “Two”.
Focus of Attention
- The needs, desires and feelings of others.
- To be Unloved
- To be Loved
- Low Self-Esteem
- Can’t say No
- Feeling Entitled
- Dependent on Other’s Approval
Two, as this personality type is called, is everyone’s dream friend. They exist to give, and they place a high value on their relationships. They are helpful to a fault, and will readily volunteer their services if you need it. Nothing is too bothersome for Two. Your needs come first – that’s how selfless they can be.
They remember everyone’s birthday and anniversaries. They’ll do your reports for you. They’ll babysit your kids, and even stay and take care of you when you’re sick. It’s in their nature to give and put the needs of other people above their own.
Is Two, the Mother Teresa type? Are they saints? Do they give for the sake of giving, and ask for nothing in return? Unfortunately… no.
Don’t misunderstand. Twos are usually genuinely happy when they serve others. They totally believe in their selflessness and their whole self-image revolves around it. They thrive as nurses, caregivers, doctors, homemakers, and in any profession that helps someone. They spend a lot of their time and efforts in their relationships with people, they sacrifice their own needs and desires for others… but they expect to be appreciated in return. Two’s loving has an ulterior motive. They need to be needed to feel worthy. Their sense of worth is based on how helpful they are to someone.
In the act of helping others, they feel good about themselves. They feel important when somebody needs them. Selflessness makes Two feel virtuous. These are the issues that gets satisfied by the acts of helping and giving. It’s unacceptable when these needs are not being met.
In the best light, Twos are popular, expressive, friendly, welcoming, and quick to lend a helping hand. They believe they know what’s best for others, and they take pride in being able jump in and assist people in some way.
Twos find it hard to say no, to anyone. They can’t risk being unworthy of love. They will adapt and change what they need to, to earn approval. They have no concept of personal boundaries. They are so wrapped up in other people that they can’t tune in to their own feelings.
It’s not unnatural to see Two going through an emotional outburst to get some relief. It’s hard to repress your own needs to avoid looking needy, and maintain a capable and helpful image. This repression can lead to burnout, resentment, and emotional exhaustion. You can’t give others water if your own well is dry.
On the darker side, Twos have a tendency to develop a sense of entitlement. Since they’ve given so much to others, they demand gratitude. If this need is not satisfied, they can be demanding and intrusive, even manipulative. Like the psychos that you see in movies. They feel justified in their actions since they have earned the right. After all, haven’t they done so much already?
Once they realize that they will never get the love and appreciation they deserve, even after all their efforts, that’s when Two can come undone. They can become irrational, hysterical, and physically abusive.
How to Get Along with a Two
- An appreciative word for Two, can go a long way.
- Give assurance that you value them even if they do nothing for you.
- Take an interest in them for a change. They have needs and feelings too. (Even though they’d probably shift the attention back to you.)
- Be gentle when you criticize. Twos are very sensitive.
- Tell them they’re special, and do something nice for them every now and then.
- If they’re on the verge of an emotional outburst, acknowledge their resentment and dissatisfaction.
Although the Love of Two has a price, it’s a small price to pay for what this personality type is willing to give. They just want you to show that you like and appreciate them. Surely, that’s not too much to ask?
How to Overcome the Negative Effects of Being a Two
If you took the test and found out that you’re a Two, know that the world is a better place because of people like you who give of themselves to help others. But don’t fall on the dark side of this personality type. Focus on your strengths and check that you’re not being an extreme Two.
- Acknowledge your own needs and feelings, and nurture yourself first. You need to be balanced and whole, before you can truly help others.
- Develop your personal boundaries. Learn how to say no when you’re tired, or your schedule is full. It could be a challenge at first, but you must do this so you don’t start resenting people, and feeling like they’re taking advantage of you.
- Allow yourself to be loved without being needed. It is possible. Your fun and loving nature is enough for people to like your company.
- Replenish yourself by doing things that YOU enjoy (aside from helping other people!)
Read about the other eight types of Enneagram Personalities:
Criticism of the Enneagram model
The Enneagram model of personality has been criticized as being subject to interpretation and difficult to test or validate scientifically. You can read about The Big Five model of personality that has gained more scientific consensus here.
- Enneagram: Type Two, The Giver
- International Enneagram Association: Enneagram Systems and Types
- 9 Types – Type 2. Helper
Personality: What Makes You the Way You Are
Read about the Big Five Super Traits in "Personality: What Makes You the Way You Are" by Harvard graduate Shawn Achor. The book includes five dimensions used to describe the human personality.
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