Enneagram Type 2 - The Helper
Twos are a feeling-based type with a focus on relationship. They excel at making connections and empathizing with the needs and feelings of other people. They are usually good at supporting others and helping bring out their potential. However, turning their attention toward themselves and knowing what they themselves need is much more difficult. They want to be accepted and liked by others, and they will adapt or change themselves to earn this approval.
A bit like emotional sponges, Twos have to be very careful what they absorb from the people around them. Getting angry or setting personal boundaries can be very hard to do, although they may have emotional outbursts to relieve the pressure. While being a special person or earning the approval of others has its advantages, it doesn't substitute for being loved for oneself.
Strengths: Caring, popular, communicator
Problems: Privileged, naive, dependent
Speaking style: Being nice and sympathetic, giving advice, sometimes militant for the cause
Lower emotional habit: Pride about being special, important, or indispensable in relationship. Or poor self esteem when approval is not forthcoming
Higher emotion: Humility, which is being able to know and hold onto the experience of self-worth without either self-inflation or excessive self-judgment
Archetypal challenge: To find oneself in relationship, balancing dependency and autonomy
Psychological defenses: Twos use the defense mechanism of repression to avoid their own needs and feelings and to maintain the self image of being "helpful." (Repression is putting one's unacceptable feelings out of awareness and converting them into a more acceptable form of emotional energy).
Somatic patterns: As feeling types, Twos experience a buildup of energy, and sometimes tension, around their chest and diaphragm. Although full of energy in their upper bodies, it's hard for them to sense their lower bodies and stay grounded. They tend to discharge their anxiety thru talking and emoting. It's easy for them to "somatize" or convert hidden/repressed feelings into physical symptoms.
Tips for Relating
To create rapport: Step forward to make contact; give approval or appreciation when possible.
Try to avoid: Hurting their feelings by being too critical or not taking them seriously.
Join them: In valuing warmth, personal contact and partnership.
To handle conflict: Ask them to take responsibility for getting what they want rather than indirectly blaming others or evoking guilt. Head off outbursts by bringing out their dissatisfaction or resentment.
To support their growth: Help them pay attention to their own needs and feelings and to set boundaries with other people; encourage them to take time out for themselves; remind them to breathe into their belly and feel their feet on the ground.