Today, we are going to explore the Enneagram Type 2 and how we can use this personality type for our characters.
Born To Help
Type 2’s are called The Helpers. This I can testify as an accurate name, as my little sister is a Type 2. She’s kind, caring, and sensitive, and loves to help out anyone who needs it. She especially loves taking care of children and being a ‘little mother’, even though she’s just a child herself. This can get frustrating for the rest of us, especially when she dotes on our niece and nephews, allowing them to do things that we normally wouldn’t let them do. But she can’t help it, because it is part of a Twos nature to be a ‘people pleaser’. On the other hand, this can be helpful because when in dance class or doing her recitals, she keeps a close eye on her fellow classmates and is always there for them when they might need her. She is the prime example of a Two.
When in their healthy state, Twos are gentle, caring souls who like to get involved in people’s lives. They tend to let off a warm aura, drawing people to them like bees to honey. They are compassionate, generous, and always willing to lend a hand. They are open and accepting, and well attuned to others, which gives them the almost ‘psychic’ ability to tell when someone needs something.
However, when in their average state, they are still loving and caring, but they expect something in return. They can become overly friendly and clingy, driven by their need to love and feel loved. This can make them become intrusive into other people’s lives and they feel they must have some sort of control over others. At their most unhealthy state, they can be manipulative, possessive, and aggressive.
Fears And Desires
Everyone has their own core fears and desires. For Type Twos, their basic fear is being unwanted, while their basic desire is to feel loved. These could work as part of your character’s secret self, the part that they don’t let others see. For example, one of the characters in my WIP is a Type Two. She has a servant’s heart and loves to help others. However, she is very sensitive and needs to feel loved. Her greatest fear is being alone, which could also tie into the Type Two’s basic fear of being unloved or unwanted.
Each personality type has their own ‘sin’, which really is just the thing their prone to. For Twos, this deadly sin is pride. As it says in The Road Back To You by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile:
“Twos direct all their all their attention and energy toward meeting the needs of others while disavowing having any of their own. Their secret belief is that they alone know what’s best for others and that they’re indispensable reveals their prideful spirit.”
While they love to help others, they also would love for that to be returned to them, and when their servant attitude isn’t reciprocated, they can get angry and fall into passive-aggressive behavior. They can make themselves out to be the martyr, always giving and never receiving.
This can be a weapon in your proverbial arsenal, giving yourself a flaw to pull out every once and a while for your character. Showing your selfless hero as prideful can create a whole new facet, making your character believable.
Type Twos In Fiction
The one I can think of off the top of my head is Mira Minkoba, from Before She Ignites by Jodi Meadows. Another character I can think of is Mielle from The Kinsman Chronicles by Jill Williamson. I highly recommend reading these books to help write your Type Two character.
Twos are the most warm-hearted, caring, and generous people out of the nine Enneagram types. They can work best as your hero, love interest, supporting character, or even your villain (the Two’s unhealthy state, that is.)
Knowing a bit about the different Enneagram types can really help you as a writer to develop your many different characters, and is also a whole lot easier to figure out than the Myers-Briggs Personality Type system. (Though, I do recommend looking into it – if not for your characters, than for yourself.)
Sources – The Road Back To You by Ian Morgan Cron & Suzanne Stabile; The Enneagram Institute