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Enneagram Type 2: The Helper and Friend

The focus of the 2s, often called The Helpers of the Enneagram, is on relationships. They thrive in connecting with others and empathizing with their needs and feelings. However, directing their attention inward and determining what they require is considerably more challenging. They will alter their personality or behavior to win the approval of those around them.

2s strategically use connections, earning favor, and enticing others by helpfulness to satisfy their wants for being rejected. To increase the likelihood of a successful connection, 2s aggressively read the people around them and align with their moods and preferences.

Their blatant desire for outside approval breeds pathological dependence. In trying to gain the support of others, Enneagram 2 disregards their own needs. They anticipate receiving a sign of affection after being of service to others; otherwise, they’d feel deeply discouraged.

They may express their anger, grief, worry, or hurt when they can no longer suppress their emotions. These conflicting inclinations may cause 2s to experience emotional turmoil. 2s also display joy to make themselves seem like likable people.

2s have a predisposition to be positive, vivacious, and sociable, but occasionally these traits can hide repressed needs and a propensity for sadness. They can be persistent and devoted, especially when working on a cause or project they care deeply about, but they can also be indulgent. 2s may also take on the role of martyr to win over others, giving up their own needs and goals in exchange for pain.

Key Characteristics

Below, we’ve summarized some of the key characteristics of The Helper.

Personality Traits

  • Even though they are naturally sensitive to their feelings, they have trouble showing how they feel
  • Use their charms and generosity to get what they need from other people
  • Look for enjoyable sensations and sensory fulfillment
  • Have an affinity for all things romantic
  • Like to be perceived as indispensable
  • Invest time and effort in cultivating their relationships

Motivations

In contrast to other personality tests, the Enneagram takes a deeper look at each type’s motivations which stand behind our desires and fears, to understand how and why we behave the way we do.

Note that desires and fears are intrinsically linked because wanting to be something means being terrified of not being that thing.

Fears

According to the Enneagram system, personality traits are only coping mechanisms that are ultimately motivated by certain fears. For The Helper, their fear is centered on being wrong and not good enough.

Desires

Each Enneagram type has corresponding desires that are deeply interconnected with their fears. For The Helper, their desire is centered on being appreciated, wanted, and loved.

Strengths

The Helper has many strengths. Here are just a few:

  • Make people feel special due to their appreciative nature
  • Sacrifice their needs and wants for others’ sake
  • Likable by many
  • Focus on improving their relationships
  • Anticipate the needs of others

Weaknesses

Some of the weaknesses The Helper has to work on are:

  • May pay attention but lose interest rapidly
  • Tendency to be a people-pleaser
  • May not establish healthy boundaries with others
  • May not realize the secret meaning behind their giving, love, and support. Helpfulness can mask deeper motives
  • Resentful if their support is not reciprocated

Directions of Growth and Stress

The Enneagram’s nine personality types are not fixed labels but reflect how we develop and shift throughout time. One’s personality will react differently depending on the circumstances.

In the Enneagram system, these shifts are determined in two directions: Direction of Growth and Direction of Stress.

Enneagram 2 -Directions of Growth and Stress

Growth Arrow to Four

When Helpers work toward growth, they turn into Enneagram 4s, corresponding to their growth number. In other words, when the Helpers are strong and developing, they begin to adopt some of the Individualists’ positive attributes.

Note that a healthy Helper will still be an Enneagram 2 at the core but can use the healthy traits of Enneagram 4 in their own way.

An Enneagram 2 in the direction of growth will:

  • Understand that taking care of oneself is beneficial and not selfish
  • Learn to love themselves and realize it is unnecessary to act as though they love everyone else.
  • Approach themselves with pure honesty
  • Help others for the sake of helping others with no hidden motive

Stress Arrow to Eight

A Helper will turn into Enneagram 8, the Explorer when moving in the direction of stress. They take on the negative traits of the Explorer, although they are still an Enneagram 2 at their core.

An Enneagram 2 in the direction of stress will:

  • Lose their innate sensitivity and tenderness
  • Experience irritability, rage, and impulsivity
  • Have an impression that others are taking advantage of them
  • Be entitled to gain the respect that they believe they deserve

Instinctual Variants

Self-preservation, sexual, and social instincts are the three types of instincts. Knowing your Enneagram subtypes can help you better understand how different people react instinctively to situations, people, and life in general.

Self-preservation (SP) instinct controls our needs for personal safety and security.

SP 2s indirectly safeguard their survival by satisfying the demands of others to be at an advantage. Being amiable, loving, and supportive of others contributes to developing a sense of entitlement.

Their pride manifests as a belief that they are entitled to have their wants met. They may become irritated or agitated if they do not receive special treatment. In this manner, they safeguard their reputation as selfless givers while ensuring their own needs are addressed.

Social (SO) instinct influences our need to be part of a larger group and community and to feel like we belong.

SO 2s present themselves in the social realm by contributing to people in positions of authority or influence, ensuring prominence, if not indispensable status, within particular groups. They get respect and a good reputation thanks to their relationships and alignment with leaders, mentors, and authorities.

They gain fame by playing essential roles in well-known social groups, professions, or causes or by coming to represent the family. They make sure the group is cared for in each of these situations, making them feel more lovable and deserving.

Sexual (SX) instinct controls our sexuality and personal romantic and platonic relationships.

SX 2s think they are the only ones capable of satisfactorily meeting the needs and requirements of others by getting their approval. They seduce by meticulously altering their conduct to match the mood of their intended target and imitating other people’s emotional tones.

They attract and capture a potential partner by taking on their interests and making them feel beautiful and unique.

Healthy vs. Unhealthy Enneagram 2s

People are ever-evolving; they may be more emotionally open, feel at ease, and more rooted at one point. At another, they may be restless, resistant, receptive, emotionally unstable, and less at ease.

To understand an individual fully, it is necessary to assess whether a person is in their healthy, average, or unhealthy range of functioning.

Healthy

  • Support others and develop a more nuanced understanding of the needs of people around them.
  • They become well-aware of their limitations and can better choose their battles and follow through on the ones they pick.
  • Confident in asking others to take care of themselves and doing so themselves.
  • Accommodate many, yet they do so not out of weakness but rather out of strength and unselfish love.

Average

  • Friendly and eager to develop close relationships with others.
  • Intrusive and might overstep boundaries.
  • Too available and giving so that others would depend on them, but expecting to get something in return.
  • Full of oneself, exaggerating their efforts on others’ behalf.

Unhealthy

  • Manipulative by playing the victim and claiming they have given too much to another person but did not get anything in return.
  • Dominant and controlling, believing they have the right to demand from others.
  • Play the martyr and might engage in severely destructive behaviors in hopes that someone would save them.
  • Believe that everyone is greedy and doesn’t care about what they do.

Growth Recommendations

Here’s how 2s can become a better version of themselves:

  • Put yourself first. Twos frequently assist others in meeting their needs, which makes it easy for them to neglect their own needs, resulting in physical exhaustion, emotional weariness, and emotional instability. Twos must understand that being healthy, balanced, and focused on themselves is the only way they can truly serve others. Making sure they’re okay comes before worrying about anyone else, and that’s not selfish.
  • Ask yourself what you really want. As generous as you are, there is probably something you want in return. It’s natural to want to be appreciated and loved. However, if the desired response doesn’t come back, you may experience intense disappointment and self-doubt. You need to know that your self-worth is not dependent on other people’s opinions.
  • Resist the need to draw attention to yourself and your charitable efforts. Never remind someone of anything you did for them after you’ve already done it. Let things be, and let them decide whether or not they will remember your compassion on their own and express their gratitude in their own way.
  • Displays of affection can take many forms. Type Twos long for love and approval, but you have trouble identifying it when you get it. Some people have unusual ways of showing affection for others. Just because it doesn’t work how you imagined it should,  doesn’t mean the others don’t appreciate you or what you did for them.

Enneagram 2 Wings

An Enneagram wing(s) are the other two Types in the triad that sit next to your dominant Enneagram personality type. Technically, everyone has two wings. In this case, Type Twos may have either Type One or Type Three wings.

Enneagram Wings 2 -2w1 and 2w3

2w1

Given the contrasting natures of both types, this pairing is truly one of a kind. They are more selective about the company they keep, pay closer attention to the finer points, and aren’t afraid to stand their ground and say no without worrying about the consequences.

They are selflessly giving without neglecting their own wants and needs. However, it can also mask a tendency toward harsh self-criticism when out of balance.

2w3

Those who are a Two with a Three wing have higher aspirations. They are more open about wanting to succeed, and they often aim to be respected in addition to being liked.

The three wing has a noticeable effect on Type Twos, making them more confident, courageous, extroverted, and competitive. This combination is likely to be very creative and to have a holistic perspective on the world, similar to that of a Type Three.

Enneagram 2 Careers

Those of Enneagram type 2 are at their happiest when they have opportunities to connect with others and make a difference. For them, the ideal job is one in which they can use their skills to benefit others and build meaningful relationships with customers or coworkers. Their bosses must be able to recognize their efforts through giving recognition and awards.

They would be unable to serve others or develop meaningful connections if their work environment was not conducive to Type Two’s personality. Assuming a high level of responsibility in an unappreciative setting brings out the worst in them.

Jobs and careers that typically suit an Enneagram Type 2 are listed below:

  • Counselor
  • Social Worker
  • Nurse
  • Aid Worker
  • Paramedic
  • Life Coach
  • Careers Adviser
  • Teacher
  • Veterinarian
  • Psychologist

Enneagram 2 – Compatibility and Relationships

Enneagram 2s are most compatible with Enneagram 3 Type, the Achiever, and Enneagram 8 Type, the Explorer. 

Because 2s have difficulty expressing their wants, it would be in their best interest to date someone who can reciprocate intimacy and will not take advantage of their generosity. Enneagram 2 and 3 make for a high-energy match as they share similar interests, energy levels and charisma.

They contribute vibrancy, aspiration on a social and personal level, interpersonal skills, and the capacity to make others feel special. Twos make intimate connections and dedicate a lot of attention, while 3s bring adaptability, charisma, practicality, and a focused vision for how the relationship might advance.

3s enjoy being in the spotlight, whereas 2s enjoy shining the spotlight on others. 3s can be content, while 2s like being the force behind the throne. Their relationship can be successful if the 3s are in good health and appreciative of the nurturing side of the 2s.

Enneagram 8, the Explorer, is another type that works well with Enneagram 2. Both are driven by action and want to make a difference in the world. They can be nostalgic and highly emotional, with a sensitive side that is frequently more concealed than obvious.

Their needs and wants complement each other. The Explorer is practical and results-oriented, whereas the Helper is more people-oriented and charitable. Both types thrive in taking responsibility, showing up for others, and often quarrel about who will take the lead in the relationship.

Enneagram Two is least compatible with Enneagram Four, the Individualist. 

It’s easy to assume that these two would make a wonderful couple, but there’s too much emotion and expectations behind this pairing. 2s and 4s frequently share emotional concerns. That might make it easy to understand each other, but that’s often what gets in the way and the reason why issues and disputes arise.

2s tend to think that 4s are too moody and emotional and follow their feelings and unconscious urges too much. They also think that 4s are too sensitive and self-centered and that they don’t care enough about other people or their well-being.

4s tend to think that 2s are too sweet, fake, flattering, and insincere; not just that, but they also believe 2s are emotionally needy and desperate to be liked and sought out by other people. They can see that the help 2s offer is just an attempt to buy love, which is something 4s detest.

Famous People who are Type 2

Here’s a list of famous people who are Enneagram 2s. As you can see, most of them are artists and part of the entertainment industry.

  • Margot Robbie, Australian Actress and Producer
  • Mother Theresa, Catholic Nun
  • Giuseppe Verdi, Italian Opera Composer
  • Susan Neiman, American Moral Philosopher
  • Stevie Wonder, American Singer-Songwriter
  • Tom Hiddleston, English Actor

Conclusion

In their quest for affection, Enneagram 2s may neglect their own needs in favor of those around them. However, if raised in a supportive and encouraging environment, they have the potential to mature into positive role models and mentors.

As Enneagram 2s strive to fulfill the demands of others, they may forget about their own. If they feel compelled to offer help to someone, they first need to ask themselves if they’re in the right mental state to offer it. Ultimately, to progress and become more self-aware, 2s need to understand the risks involved in always making themselves available to others.