Enneagram Type TWO

              The Helper

Twos are people-oriented, warm, and keenly perceptive about the needs, wants, and feelings of others.

At their best, they are altruistic people who can quickly empathize with the needs of others. They are highly gregarious and know how to establish instant rapport with others. They are generous people who voluntarily help others as a selfless act of support and love—not to obtain something in return.

Although they are always ready to help others, they respect and are attuned to their own needs and know how to say no and how to set boundaries. Their giving is not at the expense of their own needs. They love working with people; they have high energy and are very expressive while also being gentle, compassionate, and sensitive.

They can truly listen empathically to another person and help him or her on their own terms: they are able to give their support in the way people want to receive it.

In the Stuckness Zone, an intense desire to be needed and become indispensable to others starts running inside them. An “I must give to be loved” belief dominates their thinking. Their attention tends to go automatically to detecting and anticipating the needs of others. They may become helpers, rescuers, and pleasers, trying to feel indispensable to too many people and projects, trying too hard to obtain approval, acceptance, and appreciation for their generous acts. (Although there is always some minimum degree of selectivity in their picking whom to help.) This makes them flatterers and makes them act receptively interested in others most of the time.

Sometimes they may act intrusively, as if forcing their help and advice on others, offering their insights when not asked. They may act as if they know better than you what you truly need. They can be controlling, possessive, manipulative, patronizing, and hostile, treating others with condescension and a “you-could-have-never-done-it-without-my-help” attitude.

They trap themselves in a triple way: first, it is hard for them to request and receive from others; second, they feel guilty about being selfish when they pay attention to their own needs; third, they expect others to do the same as they do for them (to divine their needs so they don't need to ask for things).

As a result, their personal needs become further repressed and unmet.

Anger builds inside since they feel they have dedicated too much to others while repressing their own needs, and they feel used, controlled, and unappreciated. Sudden emotional outbursts, upheavals, and accusations can be common. They can be confused regarding their own needs. Stress builds and mental, physical, emotional, and financial exhaustion arise since they have often dedicated all their available resources in their quest for approval, acceptance, and love from others.

Type description, from "From Stuckness to Growth: Enneagram Coaching" (2012) by Yechezkel & Ruth Madanes