Healthy, very healthy, average, unhealthy and destructive type Two Enneagram traits

Healthy Twos are deeply empathetic, unselfish, warm-hearted, enthusiastic and compassionate people. They have a remarkable ability to sense what others are feeling since they themselves are full of feeling and are so tuned into people. They are extremely cheerful, caring, thoughtful, friendly and charitable. Healthy Twos are the kind of people who like to do nice things for people just to show them how much they love them. They are great listeners and remember little details about people that most people don’t even pay attention to. They sincerely like to be of service and will gladly volunteer their time for a good cause, a good friend or even someone they just met that asked for their help, if they have the time. That is because they genuinely care about people’s welfare and willingly go out of their way to support and help others, especially in times of need. Healthy Twos have excellent interpersonal skills and seem to get along with just about everyone. They naturally look for the good in people and ways they can create rapport. When healthy Twos admire something about someone they are not shy about saying so. They like to point out the good they see in people and are sincerely encouraging of others. Healthy Twos are appreciative of all the wonderful people in their life and enjoy bonding emotionally with each and every one of them. Healthy Twos are extremely generous with their praise, time, energy, attention and affection. They accept everyone for who they are and have a gift for relating to people on their own level. They see the dignity, virtue and humanity in all people and will treat the president of the United States the same way they treat a janitor at McDonalds – with loving kindness and consideration. Healthy Twos sense that people are deeply interconnected. They are a living embodiment of the spiritual value, “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” Healthy Twos not only see the good in people but they also are able to forgive the bad. Healthy Twos are the kind of people you can count on to go the extra mile. They will stay up all night with a child (perhaps not even their own!) who feels frightened. They will be the first person in the kitchen to clean up after a big Thanksgiving day family meal. They will take off their own winter coat when it’s freezing outside and give it to someone else who looks cold while they both wait for the bus to come. You get the idea.

While Healthy Twos are more than willing to lend a helping hand or a word of encouragement to their loved ones when they need it, they also cultivate independence in their loved ones to promote their self-confidence, self-reliance, inner strength and self-esteem. They realize how debilitating it is to have anyone dependent on them so they work on empowering their loved ones so that they can thrive and make good things happen for themselves. While healthy Twos have immense good will and enormous generosity of spirit for others they also know how to say no, maintain good boundaries and take care of their own needs. Healthy Twos are loving people who provide encouragement, support and nurturing in many different ways.

Very Healthy Twos:

like Mother Teresa* are unconditionally loving, truly selfless and deeply altruistic. They realize that their giving comes from a Universal Will and not their own will. They humbly give freely and generously but have no expectation of receiving anything in return because they have learned to love themselves unconditionally. * This is my speculation based on her life and my experience with the Enneagram.

Average Twos: 

see people’s needs everywhere and focus on how they can best meet those needs. They filter out the possibility that some types might not even mind if the Two said no to their request for help when the Two was extremely exhausted. They filter out the possibility that some types might actually resent the Two’s help rather than appreciate it. They filter out the possibility that some types might be put off by the Two’s lavish attention, flattery and exclusive focus on them. Average Twos are motivated by the need to be loved and appreciated. However, because of their overdeveloped empathy, average Twos feel that they must put the needs of others first. So, much of their behavior focuses on giving to get. While healthy Twos can give altruistically for the pure joy of giving, average Twos have mixed motives with their giving. On the one hand, they genuinely like doing nice things for people but on the other hand, they need to get some form of positive attention or gratitude for their giving. Average Twos reading these words may find it hard to admit to themselves that they might have ulterior motives for their service, warmth, love and encouragement of others. Average Twos can be people pleasers, flatterers and gift givers who take pride in their ability to make people feel special and important. Ironically, while taking pride in their ability to make other people feel loved, they can fear that they will not be loved or wanted in return. Because of this fear average Twos try to make themselves indispensable, sacrificing themselves too much, giving unasked for advice and unwanted assistance just to get some appreciation or affection. They can also be manipulative, doing things for others so that they will be needed. Average Twos are often unaware of their own needs. Their attention is so focused on other people, and especially their needs, that they aren’t even sure of who they really are. That’s because they are so good at altering and adapting themselves to meet the needs of other people. There is a running joke in Enneagram circles that when Twos throw a party they don’t know which of their many selves to be. Each person at the party only knows the version of the Two that has adapted to meet their needs. Average Twos need to be liked so they can have a difficult time saying no to people, even when they are exhausted. They also have a difficult time receiving gifts or favors from other people without an immediate impulse to give something back at the first opportunity. They also have difficulty expressing any negative feelings or emotions because they want to be liked and subconsciously believe that if they expressed any kind of sadness, need or pain they would only drive people away.

While some types might withdraw when a romantic interest doesn’t even give them the time of day, Twos will redouble their efforts and pursue the person even harder. They love a challenge and will look for any way that they can to meet their love interest’s needs. Because they doubt others love for them they can be intrusive, hovering and meddlesome as a way to get closer to others. They also need to hear that they are still important to others. They can also be possessive, fearing that others don’t really need them they try to hold on them. Its ironic that average Twos see others as needy because they’re the ones that are actually needy and clingy. Average Twos can be overly intimate and have poor boundaries. They often will disclose personal information to someone they like and have just met in a subconscious effort to get close as quickly as possible. They attempt to win over a romantic interest by giving him or her seductive attention and affection. They can be quite emotionally intense, physically demonstrative and romantic when they like someone because they long for intimacy, yet fear it at the same time. At worst, average Twos can become proud and overbearing, seeing themselves as the main source of goodness in other people’s lives.

Unhealthy Twos: 

begin to fear that they are driving others away. They can feel self-important and saintly while also feeling unappreciated and unwanted. They can be self-deceptive about their motives and how manipulative, overbearing and controlling they are being. They can be patronizing and bossy, resentful and bitter, complaining that everyone is ungrateful. They often become needy and clingy or hypochondriacs (people who imagine they have some physical problem or illness) in an unconscious bid for sympathy and attention. Unhealthy Twos can overrate what they do for others yet feel like overburdened, self-sacrificial martyrs who suffer for the service they extend to those they care about. Unhealthy Twos may realize, on some level, that life is not working for them. If they can see that other people don’t share their same beliefs and yet their lives are working for them they may begin to recognize that their own beliefs and way of viewing the world may be distorted, limited or flawed somehow. This realization can be a turning point if unhealthy Twos are willing to claim some responsibility for their lives and seek assistance from a counselor, therapist or other support person. If unhealthy Twos continue to feel victimized rather than claiming responsibility for their life then they may deteriorate to the destructive level.

Destructive Twos:

s lack adequate life coping skills. They probably came from a highly dysfunctional family and/or suffered a severe crisis in life that totally devastated their self-esteem and self-worth. Their mind torments them and unless they get some kind of help they will continue to live a miserable existence. Destructive Twos try to get love from anyone in any way they can. They feel victimized and abused by ungrateful others. They become extremely self-deceptive, manipulative, coercive, guilt-inducing and domineering (like Eights). After all they feel they’ve done for others, they feel entitled to have anything they want. They won’t hesitate to undermine a loved one’s confidence, play on their guilt and shame, or coerce them into sexual behavior. They can develop an eating disorder and/or abuse medication to stuff their neglected feelings. They can develop psychosomatic problems (mentally induced physical illnesses) due to emotional issues and repressed feelings of unlovability. They may become completely obsessed with a romantic interest and stalk him/her. Their own self-denial and self-deception is so strong that they are able to rationalize literally anything they do.

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