Enneagram 2s are the quintessential givers of the enneagram community. These types are known for their empathy for others and their willingness to go above and beyond to take care of the people they love. They easily relate to people and usually have many friends who count on them for their generosity and loyalty. Caring and warm, Twos get a great sense of satisfaction from infusing life with kindness and friendship.
Even though Twos are so often well-liked, they still grapple with some issues unique to their type. Those struggles are what we’ll be exploring today:
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7 Struggles of the Enneagram 2 Personality Type
#1 – Struggling to Say “No”
The core desire of the Two enneatype is to be loved. They tend to feel that they have to earn love through selflessness and generosity. However, they can take this tendency too far and wrestle with putting up boundaries for themselves. When people ask them for a favor, they worry that by saying no they will be considered selfish. Their self-esteem revolves so much around being giving and good that they have a terrible time trying to protect themselves from the incessant demands of people who come to rely on them or take them for granted.
#2 – Overdoing it for Others
Twos at average to unhealthy levels experience an inner battle between wanting to help themselves and wanting to help others. Their core fear is that they are worthless or unlovable unless they serve others sacrificially. As a result, Ones may say yes to things they don’t want to do or they may push themselves to the brink of exhaustion to take care of people close to them. Twos frequently have schedules that are filled to the brim with commitments and obligations that revolve around meeting other people’s needs.
#3 – Being Taken for Granted
Initially, people are surprised by the generosity and enthusiasm of the Two. But over time, people can become used to their caring ways and forget to affirm them for their efforts. Many Twos feel taken for granted by the ones that they love, and many harbor resentment towards the very people they serve. It’s crucial for loved ones to speak up and say thank you and acknowledge the generosity that Twos so readily bestow upon others. It’s also vital for Twos to set healthy boundaries and realize that they aren’t required to serve constantly. Some people are best served to handle their own problems and meeting their own needs.
#4 – Feeling Misunderstood
Because Twos are so tactful, sensitive, and perceptive about what other people need, they can feel like their true selves are constantly buried under the desires of others. Twos can struggle to express their true selves, ask for what they need, or communicate their true longings. Often seen as the “perfect hosts,” Twos can walk away from social engagements feeling empty and unseen. They may have spent the entire time being a dumping ground for other people’s emotional baggage. Alternatively, they may be seen as meddling or overbearing by people who prefer more privacy and space.
#5 – Berating Themselves for Acts They See as “Selfish”
Twos have a terrible time asking for help or taking care of themselves because they have to grapple with their need to be seen as unselfish and giving. When they do say no, express a need, or become sick and unable to help others, they can wrestle with feelings of worthlessness, self-criticism, and humiliation. At unhealthy levels, they might worry that the people they love will abandon them if they don’t get back to their normal, selfless self soon.
#6 – Feeling Unloved
At average to unhealthy Levels, Twos struggle with the fear that they aren’t truly loved for themselves. In childhood, Twos often felt that they had to serve others or put others’ needs before their own to be worthwhile. This feeling pervades their adolescence and adulthood, and they often worry that people only love them for what they do and not for who they are as individuals.
#7 – Selfishness in the Name of Selflessness
At unhealthy levels, the “selflessness” of the Two comes at a high cost. Not only do they burn themselves out trying to serve others, they can become manipulative and overwhelming to others. They want reciprocation for their acts of service, but rather than ask for the things they need, they just lash out at others when they fail to reciprocate their generosity. They may “guilt trip” other people and remind them of all the generous things they did for them in the past. They may remind people of how much they “need” them and wouldn’t be able to get by on their own without the Two’s help. They can become co-dependent, lonely, insecure, and controlling in an effort to feel needed.
6 Things That Can Help with the Enneagram Two’s Struggles:
- Remind yourself that the people who love you love you for YOU, not for what you DO. Remind yourself that it’s just as important for you to receive love as it is to give love.
- Go slow when entering new relationships and friendships. Be objective and open-eyed about what you see, and try to refrain from rescuing people. Try to stay away from unavailable or overly-needy people.
- Set limits. Say things like “No, I can’t do that right now,” or “No, this isn’t a good time to talk right now.” Don’t be afraid of saying no – you can even role-play it with a close friend!
- If you feel that you are being taken advantage of, speak up! Don’t let resentment fester.
- Find some solo activities that bring you joy and satisfaction. Exercise, meditate, take a walk, journal, listen to music. Take care of yourself!
- If you find yourself resenting others for what you do for them, take some time to assess whether they asked you explicitly for your help. Sometimes at average to unhealthy levels Twos can wind up taking on a lot of tasks and responsibilities that nobody asked them to do in the first place. The resentment can cause bitterness to grow and spoil potentially positive relationships.
What Are Your Thoughts?
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