Enneagram Two - The Helper

Enneagram Two - The Helper

Posted on November 05, 2019

BY HANNAH STAPLETON, GRACE ATTENDER

Read the Enneagram series here.

Enneagram Twos are great friends to have. They want to make sure you feel safe and comfortable. Relationships are everything to a Two. When they’re healthy, they can name their own needs and feelings without fear of being unwanted or unlovable. But when they’re unhealthy, they become co-dependent in their relationships. Part of the Shame/Heart triad, Twos control their shame by focusing on everyone but themselves. Twos will give you the clothes off their back—but want to know that they can count on payment in kind.



The Passion or Deadly Sin for Twos is Pride. They believe that others are more needy than they are and that they are the only ones who know how to meet the needs of others. To a Two, they have to be needed to be loved. Healthy Twos look a lot like Fours. They are okay with not loving everybody and can prioritize self-care and focus inward. Twos in stress look like unhealthy Eights—they become demanding and controlling.


Katie Thrust (KT) and I first met at Taylor University when we were undergrads and reconnected almost 5 years later when we both joined the same Christian blog team. Katie hails as a native Hoosier growing up in the Indianapolis area. Katie met her husband, David Thrush on Taylor’s campus. They reside in the McCordsville area and have two daughters, Aria Joy and Emery Hope. Katie enjoys writing, public speaking, and is an advocate for women in ministry. Katie is involved in leadership development and worship arts ministry at Grace Fishers.

Rebecca Heasley (RH) has been married to her husband Cameron for almost 10 years, and they have two little girls (Louisa - 4, and Maella - 18 months). Currently she is a stay at home mom and teaches an ESL class in the mornings. She serves and volunteers in Real Moms, Grace Kids Camp, LOW, and in an international ministry called Bible Study Fellowship. She and her family have been attending Grace for over 9 years.

Scott Southerland (SS) is the guy formerly known as the Associate Pastor of Grace Kids. Now he is the Associate Pastor of Community Life. His first local church ministry position was at BridgeWay Community Church in Fishers which Grace helped to plant back in the early 2000s. He is grateful to now be a part of the Grace Church staff for 4 ½ years so far. But what brings him even more joy is being Emily’s husband of 30 years, and “Dad” to Jackson (22) and Riley (20)….and our two chihuahua’s, Paco (9) and Paislee (3). He and Emily also co-founded the Love Better movement – designed to facilitate conversations on how we can all love better at home, in our communities, and around the world.

Kristen Raves (KR) has been at Grace 15 years. First as an intern in 2004. Then she moved back in 2007 and has been attending ever since. She joined staff as the Director of Digital Communication in 2013. She is married to a wonderful man and they have two amazing kiddos. They love to travel and spend as much time as they can in the great outdoors. She enjoys reading, spending time with her family, volunteering with Brooke’s Place, and trying out new restaurants.
 
What’s your favorite thing about being a Two?
KT: Probably that I can tell pretty much right away if someone is in not a healthy place or if they’re needing help. Even just a look or a feeling. I can tell if someone is off. I feel like I especially understand that with my husband. I can tell immediately if something is just a little bit off. And most of the time my feelings are pretty accurate.
RH: I love that my number has a “great reputation” but at the same time I have come to learn that my number has very prideful tendencies.
SS: I love that I’m in what is called “The Heart Triad.” I totally lead with my heart on pretty much everything. So being a 2 is totally accurate.
KR: I love being an optimist, encourager, and helper. It brings me so much joy to know that I can make a difference through everyday actions and kind words.
 
What’s the worst or hardest thing about being a Two?
KT: The most frustrating thing is having so many feelings about absolutely everything. I wish it was more like a switch. I could just turn it off and not care about certain things. But my brain likes to tell me that I need to have feelings on everything. Especially if I give someone the time of day or like anything, and there’s not anything given back. If I’m in a healthy place, I don’t feel like I need that recognition. But then there are times where I would love to get some thank you. And that’s really frustrating.
RH: The hardest part about being a 2 is that it’s easy for people to take advantage of me, or people expect me to always be willing to help.  Sometimes if I say no to someone, they seem shocked or extra disappointed.  I’ve also come to realize how much I analyze a room...when I walk into a space, I notice people’s body language, groupings, and who’s left out.  I feel very responsible to make sure everyone is happy and included.  This can become an unnecessary burden to carry.
SS: The hardest thing is the misconception that just because I lead with my heart and have a deep love for people that it means I want to be the life of the party or that I get energy from being with people all the time. Those who really talk Enneagram have told me that I’m a healthy 2 because I know when I need to be alone and refuel. And in large group settings I like to blend in more than draw attention to myself.
KR: Eeek, I over commit. Because I truly care about people and their needs, I want to say yes to everything. I also struggle to know what I want. I legitimately hate making decisions because I know I will be happier if someone else decides since it means they will be happier. When I’m stressed, I also find it challenging to see past my overwhelming feelings. My reality becomes clouded by my feelings/the feelings of others that I repress them, and they all bubble up at once…yeah, it’s not great.
 
If you could describe your number in three words, what would you pick?
KT: Emotional. Intuitive. Caring.
RH: Happy. Loving. Sensitive.
SS: Intentional authentic connection
KR: Empathetic. Kind. Caring.
 
When did you know you’d found your number?
KT: I probably recognized it when I heard about what the childhood message was, where we just want to feel loved. It’s not that I had a bad childhood, but I know that when I was younger if I wanted to feel loved by my mom or dad, I would do something in order to get that love and recognition. I started to realize that if I could do it there, I could help my friends, I could help a lot of other people and in that way, I got that recognition and love back.
SS: I took the Enneagram test when I first came on staff at Grace in 2015.
KR: I took the Enneagram about 6 years ago. As I read the results, I laughed all the way through it. Then I went on the site that pairs numbers. When I read a two and a nine (my husband) together, there was no denying it. 
 
What’s one thing about your number you think everyone should know?
KT: That even though we are known as the helper, it doesn’t mean we always want to help you. I feel like that’s the only thing for me as a two—I can help on an emotional level, but it’s going out and doing errands and stuff, I don’t feel like that’s where I am. That’s just not how I feel like I can help you. I want to be there for you relationally.
RH: For me personally, I think people should know about 2’s are just how much we love people. Sometimes our love for people can become an idol and to our own detriment.  It’s easy for me to give, give, give, and then have nothing left for myself, almost to the point of bitterness.
SS:  I’m a hugger. 
KR: I want people to know that I really want to help because I care, not because I want attention. I thrive on positive and encouraging words. Also, compliment sandwiches are the worst. I just need to hear praise without a negative being added in there. So, say something nice and leave it at that. 
 
What’s your wing? How does that play into your dominant type?
KT: [Katie is a 3 wing] They probably play well with what I like to do: writing. It gives me the motivation to write about something. So, when I have a project I really want to work on, I’ll drop ideas and figure out if they’re going to work well, what I want to achieve. And as a mom, too. I want to do whatever I can to support [my daughters] and also make things fun too. I want to be the best mom I can be, but also be realistic too.
RH: My wing is a 1.  I tend to see this wing with my strong sense of conviction and discernment.  I have this strong radar of when something is wrong.  I have a strong sense of when someone is not themselves if there’s an area that needs justice, and if something is just plain right and wrong.  I tend to see things very black and white even though I am able to acknowledge there are gray areas.
SS: My wing is a 3. Having a 3 wing means I get stuff done. I love to plan. So, the relationship between those numbers for me means that I’m super intentional about my care for people.
KR: I’m a wing 3, which means that I strive for achievement. Basically, I want to get stuff done in the most efficient way possible. As bad as this sounds, there are times I can get frustrated when people can’t keep up or do as much as me. But, I really do want to serve others and have them walk away feeling positive and fulfilled from the ways I was able to help them.
 
How does the Enneagram play into your vocation?
RH: Because I used to be a teacher, I love helping people learn something new!  Teaching is very rewarding for me because I feel valuable and needed.  I am always willing to share ideas, advice, and how to fix something.
SS: Its everything about my vocation. I believe we were created by love, for love, to love. So, when we’re talking “Community Life”, love is the foundation for everything.
KR: I serve on the Communications Team at Grace. This means I get to interact with 80+ staff and thousands of congregants. When someone needs help, I’m able to jump in and accomplish what they need. I also volunteer as a grief counselor (and used to be a part of our Teen 180 program for students who were dealing with a variety of social-emotional issues. I love being able to walk alongside someone in their greatest time of need and give them the support, encouragement, and practical help they need for whatever they’re facing. It also means when I receive criticism, I take it pretty hard.
 
How does your knowledge of Enneagram affect or influence your relationships?
KT: One thing I have come to realize as a two, I actually have a lot of friends that are 8s, which is really interesting. I think why is because I enjoy being around people that are confident in themselves and it makes me want to be confident in myself. I think that’s why I surround myself with people like that. But it’s funny because I stress to an 8. I like it, but it’s also something I [move towards in] stress.
RH: Being a 2 is great within relationships in that people tend to see me as approachable, easy to talk to, and pleasant to be with.  However, I can sometimes get into a bad habit of changing who I am to make that person feel comfortable.  Or I can idolize my relationships.  People and relationships are everything to me, so if one of them is unhealthy or hurtful, I become a mess.  I tend to think everything is my fault if a relationship is off.  Within my marriage, I subconsciously keep a tally of all the helpful things I do.  After a while, if my love tank feels empty, I will become an 8 and explode with all of my feelings and thoughts.  This can cause more drama within my marriage as my husband had no clue that I felt that way.  This is always an area that I need to focus on — communicating how I feel and what my needs are, so I don’t become resentful or bitter.
SS: I don’t necessarily talk Enneagram much. Certainly not like my wife and daughter. They can pick out someone’s number almost immediately after meeting with them. But my knowledge of the Enneagram particularly helps me understand my co-workers better which then helps me know how to most effectively care for and support them.
KR: One of the things I struggle with the most is putting my husband on the back burner and putting everyone else’s needs ahead of both of ours. Since I know he’s not going anywhere, I take him for granted at times. And, I know how terrible that sounds. But, my mind will see someone who is in need and I just go to them, oftentimes without thinking about how it might take away from my husband or others in my life.
 
How does the Enneagram affect your faith? Do you use it as a spiritual practice?
KT: I feel like as a two, it helps me feel like I can shepherd people well. Because there are some ways that people cannot recognize certain patterns and for me, I can recognize people’s feelings or the reasons why they go towards certain feelings too. So, I can break that down for them. I like to teach and I feel like as a two, that plays well into what I feel like I’m called to ministry.
RH: I believe being a 2 has helped me have empathy for those in need.  I enjoy serving others (and this also makes me feel valuable and needed...debatably a good and bad thing).  My 1 wing aids in my discernment of what’s right and wrong.  I believe God has used these elements of who I am to shepherd and encourage others through Real Moms and Bible Study Fellowship (BSF).
SS: I haven’t thought about it as it relates to my faith and spiritual practice. I’ll have to get back to you on that one.
KR: Not really. I find it fascinating, but I have never used it as a spiritual tool.
 
How does the Enneagram bring you closer to God, if it does?
RH: Being a 2 is humbling and reveals to me how prideful I am...even though I love helping others, I am always thinking in my head of all the ways it benefits me too (such as popularity, a new friend, etc.). This type of pride breeds selfishness and self-righteousness.  I’ve had to go to God with my pride issues and ask the Holy Spirit to help me have a 100% selfless heart.  And to not idolize relationships and status as I value my relationships, networking, and connections greatly.
SS: It helps me understand God’s grace so much more. Understanding how people function based on their Enneagram affects my level of empathy for them.
KR: Sorry, I don’t really have an answer to this.
 
What are some resources you would offer to other Twos?
KT: The Becoming Us book [by Beth and Jeff McCord]. It’s helped me understand not just myself, but my husband better. If you struggle with different relationships, that’s a really good resource. Also, The Road Back to You is also super, super helpful.
RH: As for resources, I don’t have any books or online resources in mind, but I do feel like the SNAP practice from The Road Back to You is helpful... or just stopping to ask myself “Do I fear God or Man right now?” ... “Does God really want me to say YES to this opportunity or commitment?” ... “Are my actions pleasing God or pleasing Man?”
SS: The Road Back to You.
KR: A mani/pedi! Kidding, not kidding. I would say that it is important to take time to understand your own needs and take time to recharge yourself. For some, that might be a spa day, for others a good counselor, and for others, it might look like a day connecting with God in nature. Whatever makes you tick, go do that and know that you’re not being selfish, you’re just doing something that gives you life.
 

Resources for Twos:

The Enneagram Institute
Typology Podcast
Sleeping at Last “Two”
Road Back to You Podcast with Michael Cusick