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Enneagram Type Two

Updated on December 8, 2010

The world of the Two

Twos are readily recognized, as female Twos outnumber male Twos by at least 5 to 1, in this culture at least, and examples of them are everywhere.

Twos are the helpers who subordinate their own desires and plans to assist others, but they are also can manipulate others for their own ends, often without realizing it. Since these traits are so important to raising children, it seems more or less natural that so many women would be Twos. In fact, being a Two was thought to be the proper and exclusive role for a woman up until very recently in American culture, and women were pressured from every direction to conform to this psychology, to everybody’s detriment.

A look at Hollywood movies of up through the 1960s shows that almost all the female characters were Twos, or in comedies, Sevens - with the notorious exception of those played by Katharine Hepburn. In fact, one of the most common themes of the movies was the saintly, upright Good Girl 2/1 contrasted with the erotic, predatory Bad Girl 2/3, so perfectly captured in the Grandmother of soap operas, Gone With the Wind.

What motivates them

Twos live for love. They only feel “real” when they feel loved or at least appreciated. When unhealthy, they will manipulate others in whatever ways are needed to obtain love, or a satisfactory simulation - “After all I’ve done for you...” Indeed Twos are capable of the most extreme self-deception, so that when they call up their love interest at four in the morning, and he or she snarls at them over the telephone, they eagerly interpret this as proof that the other loves them.

For the 2/1, the feeling of appreciation can take the form of approval from authority or God. 2/1s may have a saintly, otherworldly quality to them and take a low profile. When healthy, they can use their confidence in their work and their sincere altruism to do great good. When unhealthy, as with the character of Livia in Robert Graves’ I, Claudius novels, the 2/1 can become a covert manipulator convinced that the evil she does is for the greater good.

For the 2/3, the appreciation must take a more practical form, such as material goods, affection, sexual worship, and devotion, or all four, preferably. Madonna, the “Material Girl”, is very close to the center point between Type 2 and Type 3. 2/3s make themselves beautiful, not for beauty’s sake, but to entice others. They may go so far as to remake themselves into what the love interest expects or desires them to be, or what they think they expect or desire. They are experts in seduction.

This all sounds very female; it is hard to even imagine a male 2/3. But they are there. The actor LeVar Burton is probably a healthy 2/3. Overall, there are only half as many 2/1s as 2/3s, but there are a few male 2/1s about: Bill Cosby is a healthy 2/1. The actors Soupy Sales and Paul Reubens are also considered by some to be 2/1s.

All four of these men have been or are involved with children. Both LeVar Burton and Bill Cosby - who has a doctorate in education - teach the young. Soupy Sales and Paul Reubens both had children’s shows on television.

What professions appeal to them

Twos gravitate to the helping professions: teaching, medicine, spiritual support groups, both traditional, and groups such as 12-step groups, as well as working with children in various ways. They also perform the traditional tasks of homemaking - cooking, cleaning, farming/gardening, and caring for animals. 2/3s can often be found in business management, especially if they have a lot of Type 3 in their makeup.

Talents and Traps

Twos, at their best, are able to give and receive love like no other type. This is love as a verb, love as an involved caring that fuses with the inner being of the beloved and supports its spirit and inner being through all the vicissitudes of life. Some twos, particularly 2/1s, realize this through inner submission to God, which can take many different forms: of a classic Christian rebirth in the Holy Spirit, or as an unlimited acceptance of the reality of the here and now, as in Taoism or Sufism, or in still other ways.

The danger for Twos lies in obtaining self-esteem, or a substitute for it, from other people instead of from within. 2/3 women are also attracted to successful and/or masculine, aggressive men, and if they pursue such relations compulsively, they can interfere with preexisting relationships. A high percentage of “stalkers” are unhealthy, obsessed Twos. 2/1s are more prone to idealistic compulsions that get divorced from real life and become self-sacrificing crusades. In such cases the victim can become remarkably impervious to reality and may need professional intervention.

What they avoid

Like everyone else, Twos avoid those whom they see as interfering with their plans. For the 2/1, this may mean avoiding “worldly distractions”. These might be popular entertainments, or perhaps even the opposite sex, a career, education, or socializing in any way whatever. The 2/3 will measure success by the people in her or his orbit, and will drop people from her or his social circle with no warning if he or she decides they are taking up space, beneath him or her, bad for advancement, losers, or otherwise unacceptable. She will avoid situations where she may be cast in the role of a shrew, home-wrecker, or other socially inept player. For her, time and beauty are her capital, and the clock is ticking.

What they seek out

As mentioned above, Twos seek appreciation and validation, whether from institutional or spiritual authority or from authoritative people. 2/3s seek it from social and sexual relations particularly.

How they handle money and resources

Neither subtype is motivated primarily by material goods, and the 2/1 the least of any type. 2/3s will keep score with toys or presents, and will not hesitate to use items that enhance their appeal or status, particularly if they are in the hunt for a partner.

How you can spot them

Twos often have soft, attractive skin, and 2/3 women in particular may have heart-shaped faces with large eyes (enhanced with makeup, of course). 2/1 women may have round faces with small chins and mouths, or long, thin faces with large eyes. Twos value elegance and ease, so they may walk gracefully and may have taken dance lessons. When they are in the hunt, there is a seductiveness about 2/3s that is unmistakable. If you come between them and their prey, they may switch from warmth to coldness in a fraction of a second.

Some famous examples of the type:

Monica Lewinski, Bill Cosby, Barbara Eden, Levar Burton, Christ, Barbara Bush, Juliette Binoche, Charlotte Rampling, Alan Alda, Jane Eyre (in the film version with Orson Wells), Madonna, Scarlett O’Hara, Melanie Wilkes, Princess Diana.


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