Enneagram Type 2

Type 2 ~ The Giver

Basic Proposition

The original state of freedom in which needs are met according to a universal will goes into the background in a world that Type 2s perceive is based on the phrase: “to get, you must give.” Type 2s, or “Givers,” come to believe that they can gain love and approval, and fulfill their personal needs, through their own giving to others. Concurrently, Givers develop a sense of being indispensable and a prideful energy of knowing what others need best. Their attention naturally goes to others’ needs and desires. Repression glues the structure together by helping them blank out their own needs and desires. Givers’ ultimate concern or fear is being utterly useless to others, or dispensable. As compensation, Type 2s sometimes attempt to control and dominate others by becoming prideful, needed (indispensable), dramatic, intrusive and even rejecting. Twos also tend to provoke guilt and create dependence from others.

Where Your Attention Goes

Type 2s’ attention goes into focusing selectively on the needs and wants of both others and themselves, especially those needs and wants that are most important to others. To do such, Type 2s frequently immerse themselves in an experience, altering themselves to meet the needs of others so that they can augment the present (and future). With such a focus on feelings, they find it difficult to give and receive rejection. After giving so much of themselves to others, Type 2s resent when others fail to return the favor, leaving them uncared for and unappreciated. As such, Type 2s attention falls heavily on their own unmet needs and the fear of appearing too needy. They also resent those who do not actively care for or support others. 

To self-develop, Type 2s should work to diminish these preoccupations, as such reactions block their ability to give and receive freely with grace and love, and ultimately their experience of humility that comes with this freedom.

Type 2’s Stressors: What Makes Them Most Personally Reactive

Type 2s’ fixation on others’ needs results in numerous stressful preoccupations. They obsess over gaining the acceptance and approval from important others, especially in romantic relationships. Because they worry about creating good feelings and avoiding conflict, Type 2s sense the emotional needs of others and meet them by altering, changing, and molding themselves, sometimes at their own expense. In constantly attending to the needs of others, Type 2s may experience a lack of freedom that they desire. They might also experience feelings of confusion, repression, and indirected expression regarding their own needs and the many “different selves” they have created with others. 


Type 2’s Strengths and Weaknesses

Type 2’s Strengths

  • Giving and Generous
  • Helpful
  • Romantic
  • Sensitive to Others’ Feelings
  • Appreciative
  • Supportive
  • Energetic and Exuberant
  • Willing

Type 2’s Weaknesses

Difficulties Produced for Self

  • Overemphasis on relationships, especially challenging ones
  • Making yourself vulnerable to rejection and loss
  • Repression and indirect expression of your own real needs, which may lead to eruption of anger and emotion
  • Manipulating others to get your own needs met
  • Allowing your feelings to grow and overwhelm you (feelings such as hysteria, distress, and somatic complaints)
  • Repressing questions regarding your real self  (e.g. who am I, really?) 
  • Feeling controlled by others who have developed dependency issues, and longing for freedom

Difficulties Produced for Others

  • Perceiving that a Type 2’s giving is manipulative, with the goal of receiving something in return – Type 2 may be perceived as complaining and guilt provoking
  • Experiencing Type 2’s underlying dependency on you (as they want for too much from you) and then becoming disenchanted
  • Feeling overwhelmed by the abundance of Type 2’s giving and their feelings
  • Wondering whether you are actually loved
  • Feeling insignificant after being excluded by a Type 2


Personality Dynamics

When Type 2s suffer from personality biases, the resulting features are biased mental and emotional dynamics. Fortunately, if Type 2s work to diminish their personality biases, they are able to return to their Essential Qualities and, consequently, attain a higher mental and emotional capacity. 

Mental Center Dynamics: Flattery and Will | Freedom

Mental Preoccupation (or Fixation): Flattery

Essential Spiritual Quality (or Holy Idea): Will | Freedom

When a Type 2 has a biased mental dynamic, they experience a Mental Preoccupation (or Fixation) called Flattery. In Flattery, Type 2 will repress their own needs in order to excessively please and praise the needs of significant others, in an effort to make the others feel special and, in return, attend to aType 2’s needs. In short, Type 2 will give flattery in order to get their needs met by others. 

When a Type 2 restores their mental dynamic, they experience an Essential Spiritual Quality (or Holy Idea) called Will / Freedom – the realization that real needs are not met by the self or others, but by the universal will that provides the “Grace of God.” In Freedom of the Will, Type 2 recognizes the position of its small will in relation to the greater will.

Emotional Center Dynamics: Pride and Humility

Emotional Reactivity (or Passion): Pride

Higher Emotional Capacity (or Virtue): Humility

When a Type 2 has a biased emotional dynamic, they experience an Emotional Reactivity (or Passion) called Pride – the belief that others are dependent on their giving, and Type 2’s resulting desire to be needed and indispensable. In Pride, Type 2’s assertive energy goes into manipulating others through emotion. As a result, this energy can be punctured or deflated. 

When a Type 2 restores their emotional dynamic, they experience a Higher Emotional Capacity (or Virtue) called Humility – the ability to give and receive without pride, expectation, or questioning of one’s real worth and capacities. In Humility,  Type 2 knows the power and position of people in the larger cosmic sense. 

Instinctual Center & Subtypes

When any of the Enneagram types suffer from biased passion and emotional reactivity, they can either contain or compensate for the associated preoccupations through their subtypes. 

Self Preservation (Self-Survival): Me First | Privilege  

Type 2s with a self-preservation subtype with emotional bias by indulging in the pride of possessing a privilege for serving others, which makes them deserving of associating with powerful people. They pride themselves on all of the little things they do to tend to others, but then, as a reward, want their “needs” met to survive. Pride of deservingness.

Sexual (Pair Bonding Survival): Seduction | Aggression

Type 2s with a sexual subtype cope with emotional bias by winning the attention and affection of others, thereby indulging in the pride of being wanted personally. They aim to captivate and capture fondness from others in an “I can go out and get it” attitude. Pride of Triumph.

Social (Group Survival): Ambition

Type 2s with a social subtype cope with emotional bias by recognizing who has status and winning their attention, thereby indulging in the pride of giving to position, authority, and power. They wish to simultaneously be protected by those in power, and be needed by them. Pride of Indispensability.

As the Enneagram types are quite dynamic and intercorrelated, Type 2 is influenced by:

Left Wing Type 1: The Perfectionist

Right Wing Type 3: The Achiever

Security Point Type 4: The Romantic

Stress Point Type 8: The Protector


Self-Development Strategies: Attaining Higher Personality Qualities and Reuniting with Essence  

The Central Theme for Type 2s’ Healing and Development

For Givers, development involves reclaiming their freedom from the addictive tyranny of a need-driven world which will only approve of them – and, therefore, love and care for them – if they fulfill its needs. This makes developing a separate self, and thus a sense of freedom, a difficult proposition. Since the needs and desires of others are endless, it is impossible for Givers to gain a sense of their own freedom by fulfilling others’ needs. To gain freedom, Type 2s must learn to give what is needed and no more, pay attention to their own needs, and receive from others. They must come to realize that, ultimately, needs are met by a greater or universal will and that self-worth does not depend upon being the agent of others’ fulfillment. Then, giving can be done with the pure joy of giving for its own sake, freely and lovingly.

How You Can Self-Develop and Fulfill Your Relationships

  • Develop and maintain your separate, integrated self
  • Release from the pride of indispensability
  • Freely give and receive without pride and expectations
  • Balance your active force which goes out to others’ needs with the receptive force which allows own needs to be met
  • Spend time alone to develop independent interests and activities as well as develop the the separate, distinct self and voice
  • In meditation, notice attention going out to sensing needs of special others and associated feelings of importance in relation to others 
  • Observe how you alter yourself to provide for others
  • Ask yourself, “what do I really want? What really is important to me?” and recognizing that these questions may produce anxiety
  • Recognize your anger and rising hysteria as signals to your repressed self-needs 
  • Observe reliance on big feelings
  • Practice consistency
  • Separate love from the pitfall of approval and attention 
  • Realize that love does not require molding and altering the self

How You Can Help a Type 2 Self-Develop and Fulfill Their Relationships

  • Help your Type 2 develop, integrate, and own their true separate self and overcome the addiction of meeting the needs of others as a way to be taken care of and loved
  • Encourage Type 2 to appreciate themself separate from giving and to claim their own voice
  • Avoid becoming the wonderment and being seduced by Type 2’s over-giving
  • Stay constant and provide steadiness, paying attention to their often real, unmet needs


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