I'm reading the high side of each of the Enneagram types. They're all such beautiful descriptions of us at our best, but I thought the Type Two's high side was such a nice meditation on the nature of love, I would repost it here. This is from Don Riso and Russ Hudson's Description of the Type Two at Level 1 in their Personality Types book. It's not their newest book, but I actually turn to this one more often for some reason.
I like to write about the kids at work. For me, the Twos are some of the toughest types to work with. They come to my office and lean on my desk. Their eyes drift over my important papers and the screen I'm working on. They ask personal questions about other students. As I'm turning a
Several years ago, two of my friends aged about 25 and 45 worked for the same employer, and they held the same job title- the older one being a Self-Preservation Two. In time, the younger woman applied for a promotion, and I asked the Self-Pres Two how she felt about potentially having to report to someone younger than her. To my surprise, she cried, "I'd love someone to tell me what to do! Love it! Love it! All I want in life are people to tell me what to do."
As I wrote last time, Twos present themselves as kind, generous, friendly and accepting, but underneath the presentation, unconsciously, there's a denial of personal power, which means she goes after things in a round-about way- heaping flattery and kindness upon certain desirable people, and complaining and piling guilt upon the recipient when the attention isn't returned.
This, however, is only the modus operandi of Social and Sexual Twos- giving to favored others in hopes of having the love and acceptance returned. Self-Preservation Twos, the countertype of the Twos, don't want to be loved for what they do or how much they give; they want to be loved for who they are, so according to Beatrice Chestnut, they unconsciously adopt the archetype of the helpless, yet adorable- child who naturally engenders care, love and attention; the flip side to their child archetype being that they suspend their judgement in favor of those of others.
Self-preservation Twos grow into adults like we all do, but they keep the supports in their lives in place by maintaining a childlike demeanor (Chestnut, 2013). They even look younger than other people their age, and may have "young"-sounding voices. Because children, due to their inherent helplessness and loveability, automatically become the family's first priority to feed, clothe, and give attention to, Self-Pres Twos see themselves as the cute dependent in a group, and want to be acknowledged as such without having to give and flatter others like the other Twos do. Failure to appreciate these Twos may result in pouting and withdrawal.
These Twos don't want to have to prove their importance to be important. Despite wanting to be the centre of attention, they experience no accompanying feeling of having to do anything for it. They want to be seen without showing themselves.... They "unconsciously [aim] to attract love and attention through being cute and expressing a childlike sense of need" (Chestnut, 2013).
To bolster their right to dependence, although they actually may be quite competent, they seek out partnership scenarios where they won't have to take care of themselves (often financially), won't have to make adult decisions, and will be on such a pedestal that they'll never have to ask for things.
There is an ambivalence, however, about the freedom they give up for unconditional love and support. On the one hand, they desperately want to be singled out to be nurtured, cuddled, petted, and adored, and on the other hand, they long for their freedom, much like a child might long for theirs.
Because it's nearly impossible to maintain that carefully placed scaffolding throughout their entire lives, Self-Pres Twos, like all Twos express bitter frustration, complaining that nobody loves them. Frustration is a core feeling with Twos who depend on it to feel like "themselves". Thus is the life of someone who doesn't ask directly for what they want, nor do they pursue what they want directly out of life.
This same woman I mentioned at the beginning lights up and talks animatedly in anticipation of being old enough to enter a nursing home so people will take care of her. Such is the fate of a Two who hasn't become self-aware enough to see her pattern and start making her own decisions.
Last night, I was scrolling through Facebook and found an article about fraternal twins that don't look anything alike.
The articles are pretty interesting because they detail what life is like growing up with a twin who's a different race than you.
This is maybe a bit of a stretch, but when I was thinking about what to write about last night, it struck me that in the Enneagram world, we have a similar enigma to the twin who defies categorization, and that's the Self-Preservation Two: the Helper who would prefer to be helped. You expect one thing, and you actually get the opposite.
First, let's look at the Type Two in general. Commonly called "the Helper", their core identity is formed by a sadness around an early disconnection from the Source of Love, and so they go through life trying to replicate that feeling they knew at a preverbal level by going out of their way to connect with others- often by offering their help. Being envelopped in Divine Love was rapturous, so it's completely understandable that you'd be scrambling to get that feeling back.
They represent the heart's longing for, as childhood psychologist Margaret Mahler termed it, symbiosis- feeling one with the Mother and her breast. "The imprint of this symbiotic relationship, then, leaves the Two with the conviction that union with Being [or Source] happens through union with another person" (Maitri, 2000).
Twos are at the beginning of the heart triad, where the search for love, value, and identity take place. In the heart triad, there is manipulation of the inner state to suit the external environment. The shapeshifters and chameleons of the Enneagram, Twos, Threes, and Fours ask themselves what prized qualities would make them more loveable, and seek to deliver them, at the cost of their own individuality. For the Two, that quality they see missing, needed, and therefore most desired in the world, is love.
Two's tend to be friendly, warm, affectionate, and giving. I heard in an interview with Dan Siegel that Twos have more mirror neurons than other types, which accounts for their ability to sense your needs before you even know about them yourself. In their conscious minds, the helping is without strings, but unconsciously, because Two's have repressed their agression [because that's not conducive to union], they have a backwards way of getting what they want out of life. Refusing to satisfy their own needs (because that would be selfish), they are driven by an unconscious belief that if they can just give enough, someone will recognize their sacrifice and come and love them for who they truly are and fulfill all their needs without them having to ask. In Jung's archetypes, they are the Great Mother or Great Goddess, hoping to finally be recognized as such so they can finally flourish and come to life, like Sleeping Beauty, as Sandra Maitri points out. Another stereotype is that of the Jewish mother, who, as Maitri says, would say something like, "Look at all I do for you. And even though you never call me or think about me, here I am, sacrificing for you out of the goodness of my heart. Don't worry about me, I'll be fine."
The exquisite Sandra Maitri, who is a Type Two herself, describes them thus:
Twos, then, manipulate through giving to get what they want. They feed you, flatter you, play to you, cajole you, and as Naranjo used to say, unlike Sixes who lick boots, Two's- to use a vulgar but apt phrase- kiss ass. Their biggest manipulation, however, is being helpful. They will help you out with whatever you need- whether you were aware of the need or not- whether it's financial help, doing something for you, listening to your troubles, matchmaking, counselling, cajoling, supporting you and so on.
In a loving relationship, a Two idealises need as the quintessential quality that lovers should have for each other, and they go to greath lengths to make themselves needed.
They try to insinuate themselves and make themselves indispensable to someone they need in this way so that they will be needed in return.
I work in a school, and I often have little Type Twos coming into my office often asking if there's anything I need help with. The asking frequently turns to begging. "Pleeeeeeeeeease can we help? Pleeeeeeease is there anything, ANYTHING at all you might need help with?"
OK. So I'm sure you get the idea. But now I was going to write about a particular sub-type of the Two, the Self-Preservation Two, where you get all the emotional manipulation without much helping! But I've run out of time. I'm just going to have to say "to be continued."