Enneagram Type 2 - The Helper
The Helper is the second personality type on the Enneagram. They are people that love to nurture and care for others. They often volunteer to help the needy and work in caring professions. This all sounds good, but the motivation for their seemingless selflessness can be a problem. Uncovering and understanding their own reasons behind their generosity can help Type 2s in their personal growth.
Related Enneagram articles:
Enneagram Type 1 Personal Development Plan
Enneagram Type 2 Personal Development Plan
Enneagram Type 3 Personal Development Plan
Enneagram Type 4 Personal Development Plan
Enneagram Type 5 Personal Development Plan
Enneagram Type 6 Personal Development Plan
Enneagram Type 7 Personal Development Plan
Enneagram Type 8 Personal Development Plan
Enneagram Type 9 Personal Development Plan
Click here for a more complete personal development planning process.
Contribution To Others
The best thing and the defining quality of the Helper is their willingness to come to the assistance of others. These are the people that everyone runs to in a crisis. They will offer you with endless food and drink, and still give you a cookie and a glass of milk even if you say no. You can talk about your problems for hours and they will listen and make you feel comfortable. Their home is always open, and no favor you ask is ever too great. They never stop giving and usually ask for nothing in return.
Type 2s often love children, animals and plants, and looking after them. Empathetic and understanding, they would never say a bad word about anyone, unless of course you were badmouthing someone and they were agreeing with you to make you feel good. When you spend time with them, you feel looked after and cared for. They would never insult you and would be mortified if they ever hurt your feelings unintentionally.
However, there is often a flipside to the Type 2 generosity, even though they often can't see it themselves. Type 2s very much enjoy seeing themselves as warm, compassionate, helpful people that meet others' needs, but they often neglect to recognize their own needs. They can end up feeling used and unappreciated because their mammoth efforts to make others feel loved and safe are not reciprocated. They can feel like martyrs, the only person strong enough to bear everyone else's burdens. They wish that other people would care for them in the way they care for others. Helpers often fail to see that the reason they are helping other people is because they want to be approved of. Their generosity can sometimes come from a place of neediness. They can find it hard to express their own needs as they feel that would put them in a vulnerable position. Being the giver gives them a feeling that they are in a position of power, but it means they can't shake the feeling of being shortchanged.
The more Type 2s feel their needs aren't being met, the more they will involve themselves in other people's lives. They can often overstep the mark and become meddling, controlling and overbearing. If feeling unloved, they may also resort to flattering others to gain friendship or approval.
A great opportunity for self-development in a Helper is to allow themselves to recognize their own feelings and needs. The usual approach of a Type 2 is to turn their need into an action that helps others, with an unconscious desire for the help to be returned. For example, if a Type 2 felt down about themselves, they would go to another person and help boost that person's self-esteem. But for this to be a genuine act of kindness, the Type 2 has to expect nothing in return. The only way they can do this is to use their kindness and generosity on themselves. The nurturing and protecting and caring they have been doing so eagerly for others now needs to be focused on them. Once they have met their own needs in this way, they can give to others, but from a place of plenty rather than a place of need. Then they can focus on building more equal relationships, in which help and support is reciprocal. For Type 2s experience real personal growth, they must let go of any feelings of guilt or vulnerability about having their own emotions and feelings. If they can treat themselves with the same empathy and kindness they show with others, they can release a lot of painful burdens and improve their lives.
Type 2s who make sure to meet their own emotional needs can be excellent carers, teachers, nurses, support workers and therapists. They are natural givers, and when they take good care of themselves, they are free to give love, support and nurturing to others from a place of genuine love and altruism. They are often pillars in their communities and touch the lives of many people with their generous hearts and giving hands.
- Iman Mohiki
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