Enneagram 2: We All Need a Little Help

Enneagram 2 Under Stress

Healthy Enneagram 2: Healthy Enneagram Type 2’s can name their own needs. They give freely of their love in whatever form the other person best receives it. They create a sense of safety where deep relationships form best.

Unhealthy Enneagram 2: Unhealthy Enneagram Type 2’s fear that telling others how they feel will threaten a relationship. If they do tell others how they feel, they resort to manipulation. If they choose to withhold how they feel, they will resort to unhealthy ways to protect themselves while maintaining a shell of those relationships. In short, they only understand themselves through others’ eyes.

Healthy Stress Move to 8: Healthy stress for Type 2’s looks like positive Type 8 characteristics. They have unusual persistence and stamina in caring for others while setting and holding healthy boundaries. They see and love the vulnerable for who they are rather than out of pity or virtue signaling. They change lives because they know and lean into the power of a relationship.

Unhealthy Stress Move to 8: In an effort to protect themselves, they become controlling and demanding. In extreme cases of internalizing and co-dependency, they may nurture grudges. Their lack of healthy stress responses leads to self-fulfilling results – they become more and more distant from the relationship they crave most.

What’s hard about grief for a Type Two? The hardest part of grief for a 2 is feeling their own grief, instead of someone else’s.

Enneagram 2 and Church Leadership

Enneagram Type 2’s who are leaders in their churches are beloved. They show up at bedsides. They know each person by name. They know which questions to ask that will make each person feel seen. They wear their heart on their sleeve, yet feel (relatively) safe leaving it out there.

COVID-19 has affected them more deeply than most. There is no physical space in which to truly BE with someone. There are no hugs to share. They have lost touch with some who they know need others’ physical presence. They hurt for others’ loneliness in part because they feel that same loneliness. Loneliness is a hole in the soul of an Enneagram 2. The question is, what will they choose to fill it with.

An Enneagram 2 can take a positive stress move to 8 and turn it into smarter compassion. Compassion that asks logical questions as well as feeling ones; compassion that has reasonable boundaries. They’re the ones who will make sure you don’t skip checking up on each other before moving on to the business at hand, even in online meetings. They’ll help mobilize other helpers so that people are cared for and their own sanity stays in tact. 

Our pandemic also gives the Type 2 many ways to fill that hole that will hurt them and others. Physical isolation is unavoidable at the moment. There is no visible enemy with which to express their anger, and so a general resentment about our entire predicament may find its way into their relationship with themselves (self-pity and shutting down) and with others (misplaced anger). They may also burn out in an attempt to eradicate anyone and everyone’s loneliness.

Type 2’s will cry tears of great joy when they can finally be present with those they’ve been separated from during COVID-19 in part because they will have felt others’ absence more deeply than most. They’re the feelers in our churches. We need them to stay healthy so that as some of us become numb or too accustomed to the distance we’re experiencing, they remind us of the humanity we feel when are seen for who we are, not as a face on a screen.

Enneagram 2’s, here are a few questions you should ask yourself:

When it comes to showing others love, what is mine to do? What must I release?

Who knows me like I want to know others? Am I staying open to that person?

Am I feeling any resentment or anger? From where is that resentment coming? Is it spilling out into my capacity to show genuine care and affection?

Who needs to be shown love right now? What unique way can I show it, even if we can’t be present together?

Recent Posts

We Wanted to Be Like God

“For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God…”Genesis 3:5 Like many of my white brothers and sisters in recent weeks, I want to be part of healing racial pain in our country. And similarly to many of my white sisters and...


Humans have always tried to organize time into categories in order to better understand their experience. There is the Ancient period, the Middle Ages, and the Modern era. We sort information in order to manage an overwhelming topic—the history of the humankind....