A few weeks ago a coworker of mine told me to look into the Enneagram, which she swears by. I’m not sure what exactly it is, but I had to take a long test which involved a serious of yes/no questions that I answered depending on if they were 100% false, 75% false, 50% true/false, 75% true, or 100% true. I feel like I took the time to think through the questions and answer them honestly.
According to the Enneagram there are 9 personality types. The type that I most strongly resonated with was Type 2: The Helper. Here is a breakdown of the personality type of a helper. I bolded/italicized the parts that really rang true for me.
Type Two in Brief
Twos are empathetic, sincere, and warm-hearted. They are friendly, generous, and self-sacrificing, but can also be sentimental, flattering, and people-pleasing. They are well-meaning and driven to be close to others, but can slip into doing things for others in order to be needed. They typically have problems with possessiveness and with acknowledging their own needs. At their Best: unselfish and altruistic, they have unconditional love for others.
- Basic Fear: Of being unwanted, unworthy of being loved
- Basic Desire: To feel loved
Key Motivations: Want to be loved, to express their feelings for others, to be needed and appreciated, to get others to respond to them, to vindicate their claims about themselves.
When Twos are healthy and in balance, they really are loving, helpful, generous, and considerate. People are drawn to them like bees to honey. Healthy Twos warm others in the glow of their hearts. They enliven others with their appreciation and attention, helping people to see positive qualities in themselves that they had not previously recognized. In short, healthy Twos are the embodiment of “the good parent” that everyone wishes they had: someone who sees them as they are, understands them with immense compassion, helps and encourages with infinite patience, and is always willing to lend a hand—while knowing precisely how and when to let go. Healthy Twos open our hearts because theirs are already so open and they show us the way to be more deeply and richly human.
However, Twos’ inner development may be limited by their “shadow side”—pride, self-deception, the tendency to become over-involved in the lives of others, and the tendency to manipulate others to get their own emotional needs met. Transformational work entails going into dark places in ourselves, and this very much goes against the grain of the Two’s personality structure, which prefers to see itself in only the most positive, glowing terms.
Perhaps the biggest obstacle facing Twos, Threes, and Fours in their inner work is having to face their underlying Center fear of worthlessness. Beneath the surface, all three types fear that they are without value in themselves, and so they must be or do something extraordinary in order to win love and acceptance from others. In the average to unhealthy Levels, Twos present a false image of being completely generous and unselfish and of not wanting any kind of pay-off for themselves, when in fact, they can have enormous expectations and unacknowledged emotional needs.
Average to unhealthy Twos seek validation of their worth by obeying their superego’s demands to sacrifice themselves for others. They believe they must always put others first and be loving and unselfish if they want to get love. The problem is that “putting others first” makes Twos secretly angry and resentful, feelings they work hard to repress or deny. Nevertheless, they eventually erupt in various ways, disrupting Twos’ relationships and revealing the inauthenticity of many of the average to unhealthy Two’s claims about themselves and the depth of their “love.”
~~~ In short the point of the Enneagram isn’t to stick one person to one personality type. People can have the traits of several personality types at the same time. However, I think my results were pretty spot on in most places. I’ve been doing some self analyzation, specifically looking at my past relationship and my relationships with my coworkers.
In the former I can look back and recognize patterns of low self worth and dependence on the other to fill a void, hence creating an unconditional type of love. If my needs of love and reassurance weren’t met I would become angry and resentful. I’m not sure this is a type 2 problem, but more than anything a human problem.
I recognize that I am a people pleaser. At work I go out of my way to help people. I cover a shift whenever someone needs it to be covered. I stay after my shift to help someone out when I know that I’m not getting paid. I offered to let a coworker take my computer to use for the semester because hers got stolen. I come in early to relieve someone, even if that’s not something I want to do. I don’t even think about it, I just offer to help in anyway I can. I’m not sure how I feel about this trait. I think the thing I need to take away from this is to make sure my own needs are met first before I go out of my way to help another.
I have this song on repeat right now