Deeper Into Type Two (Part II)
This is part of our continuing series that delves deeper into the Enneagram Types.
Core Fears of the Two:
Fear of being worthless, being needy, unhelpful, unacknowledged, immutable, and inconsequential.
The preceding core fears have been identified by many Enneagram researchers through the years and were explored more deeply by Katherine Fauvre during her groundbreaking research on the Enneagram in 1995 and 1996.
Twos fear being worthless because it would undermine the core ego belief that they deserve love and are loving people. Thus being worthless typically crops up when the Two is not able to be helpful. Moreover the Twos fear of being worthless and unhelpful are often symbiotically tied to one another.
To not be acknowledged is the ultimate slap in the face to the Two, who hopes that people recognize the depth of their assistance to those around them. However, Twos with a One wing will be less vocal about the need for acknowledgement than the Two with a Three wing who may make more of a show of their helpful nature.
The fear of immutability ties back in with the Two's position as an image type and so to be unchanging, or seen as unchanging or immutable would suggest that the Two is not flexible to the needs of others and thus only concerned with the self.
The irony of Twos fear of being needy is that many people may perceive the Two as needy as they may pick up on the tendency of the Two to expect people to cater to their emotional or physical whims. The extent to which the Two expects this however is the extent to which they feel they have provided for others selflessly.
The core trigger for the Two is to feel underappreciated which will likely bring about a bevy of internal messages about their personal worth.
When Twos are healthy they exhibit the essence of benevolence and altruism. The Two recognizes the inherent joy in giving and can find themselves as confident servants to those in need. Healthy Twos understand when to interject their help and when it is best to let someone figure things out on their own. Very healthy Twos are both intuitive about others needs and plugged into their own emotional and physical desires.
This allows them to respond to situations out of a desire to be of assistance rather than a superego message that drives them to help in order to maintain a particular self-image. Twos are able to fill up their own proverbial love cups and thus are no longer dependent upon outside praise to feel worthy or appreciated. Supported by their own sense of innate worth Twos understand their archetypal role as helpers without becoming a slave to the needs of their ego.
If the Two wants something in the healthy ranges they have learned how to express their needs directly rather than allowing physical somatizing or emotional outbursts to speak for their perceived unmet needs. In short the healthy Two understands that unless they care for themselves body, mind and spirit first and foremost they are infusing all of the deeds they do for others with expectations, cords and fine print and thus undermining their own psychological health.
Twos often posses a variety of gifts related to their ability to empathize with others, and because of their ability to read others emotionally they can be excellent counselors or supporters when others are in need of a nurturing spirit to weather a particular storm.
A desire to help others realize the abundance of their own lives makes healthy Twos strive to help others to find the place in themselves where they can help someone else in need in order to find a sense of balance and authentic joy.
If the ego needs of Twos go unmet for too long and the Two begins to identify with the ego needs as self, then they eventually spiral into compulsive helping or rescuing behaviors that serve to satiate their growing desire to be needed.
As Twos begin to feel more and more worthless they may become internally self-aggrandizing; exaggerating their importance in the lives of others while simultaneously feeling entitled to special treatment due to their helpful nature. When the Two can no longer shoulder the weight of their ego concerns they may devolve into hysterical outbursts or histrionic dramas in order to garner attention.
Very unhealthy Twos may have neglected their spiritual, physical and emotional needs for so long that they develop mental or physical illnesses that force others to care for them. Hypochondrias (believing oneself to be ill when one is healthy), malingering (falsifying illness or symptoms in order to garner attention) or periods of compulsive or manic doing and periods of depression may become methods the Two utilizes in order to get the attention they crave.
*Much of what is said in this section is intended to illustrate stereotypes but also to break current stereotypes about 2s in order to show more common expressions and to illustrate those individuals who break the mold of predominant Enneagram literature exemplars.
Identifying Twos can be quite easy once you recognize the language usage and emotional expression of most Twos.
Because Twos belong to the positive outlook triad (279) they often display an optimistic vernacular. Twos will thus shy away from things that are too “negative” in their estimation, even when they seem to be complaining. However, some Twos can have a Spartan like streak to their personalities (particularly if they have 8 in the Tritype or are the self preservation instinct). At this point the Two may seem quite strident or even militant in their expression.
Because Twos are positive outlook types one might assume that they only express positive emotion. However, this is not entirely true. Twos express just as many negative emotions and thoughts as the other types, however Twos do not identify their own emotional content and often don’t recognize negative expression in themselves but may be hypersensitive to it in others.
Stressed Twos may spend a good deal of conversational time complaining about physical ailments or obligations to others, or may become critical, moralizing or pushy about others’ affairs.
When Twos begin to display this kind of behavior it is best to establish boundaries that allow them to authentically express their feelings without intruding upon your personal limits.
Demonstrating healthy boundaries to a stressed Two may at first insight them to anger or increased efforts to control and impose but will eventually establish a healthy dynamic that will be beneficial to the relationship.
Almost all Twos delight in the energy of giving a compliment. Of course, depending upon the ego development of the Two there may be ulterior motives for the compliment but most Twos understand the value of a well placed observation and word of encouragement in lifting the spirits of others.
Twos are often gregarious and enjoy learning about other people and may sometimes be a bit uncomfortable when the conversation turns to them. Twos excel at exploring other people’s lives and have a knack for helping someone to feel welcome or valuable.
Twos can become quite militant in their approach to daily activities and may often run their household like a well-oiled machine (depending upon other factors in their personality profile). Twos with a One wing can exhibit this most strongly as they are adept at managing the lives and environment of their families due to their ability to intuit what is needed in a given situation.
The ability to manage others can denigrate into a brusque bossiness or a pushy entitlement that forgets about personal boundaries and privacy due to their desire to be involved in every aspect of a loved ones life. Whatever the case, Twos enjoy discussing the nature of your relationship with them and appreciate praise, acknowledgement and recognition of their contribution.
Twos with a One Wing will be more perfectionistic, reserved, moral and uptight. They may be less effusive and more stoic in presentation and take greater pride in not expressing their needs to others.
Twos with a Three Wing will be more goal oriented, image conscious, dramatic or narcissistic. They may be more focused on success and image management so may seem more outgoing and visible than the Two with a One Wing.