If you’re anything like me and my girl gang, you love learning about and supporting one another. One tool we use, in addition to researching horoscopes and the Meyer’s Briggs Type Indicator ( I will follow up on this one) is the Enneagram. The Ennea-what? (In-e-uh-gram). The Enneagram is such a helpful tool in understanding not only one another, but understanding yourself. It might sound cliche to take a test and have a computer tell you about your personality, but this one is worth sharing. I think it has great potential to help with personal growth and mental health- all while helping you to understand the people around you. I highly recommend you take the Enneagram test and find your own Type and Wing- its pretty shocking how accurate and deep to your roots it gets. Unlike astrology or MBTI, the Enneagram can seem negative, pointing out all of your flaws- tough crowd, I know. BUT I like looking at it as a coaching tool- it tells you exactly where you struggle and why so you know exactly where to focus your energy to improve and become healthier in life and relationships. I love learning about the different Enneagram types in my girl group- not because its an excuse for behavior or to dismiss or submit, but because you can really learn a lot about the people around you when you understand what makes up their framework and foundation, what motivates them and when people act or respond out of fear. It’s a tell all of what’s in your heart and your mind, even if you don’t know it yet. You can use this awesome resource I found, where began my research, to Take the Enneagram Test Here! Some other resources I used include two podcasts I listen to regularly; Enneagram for Idiots and Enneagram and Coffee- both of which you can find and download for free on Apple Podcasts!
As an example of the type of things you will learn once you take the test for yourself, I’ve included the research I have read (and listened to) on my own type- 2 wing 1, The Helper. Feel free to give it a read, this will probably make the jaws drop of the people who think they know me personally. This description of the 2 wing 1 is shockingly accurate for myself and it has helped me come to terms with some of the things I can’t control- in both myself and others.
- Basic Fear: being unwanted, unworthy of being loved
- Basic Desire: To feel loved
- Enneagram Two with a One-Wing: “Servant”
- Key Motivations: Wants 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
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.
We have named personality type Two The Helper because people of this type are either the most genuinely helpful to other people or, when they are less healthy they are the most highly invested in seeing themselves as helpful. Being generous and going out of their way for others makes Twos feel that theirs is the richest, most meaningful way to live. The love and concern they feel—and the genuine good they do—warms their hearts and makes them feel worthwhile. Twos are most interested in what they feel to be the “really, really good” things in life—love, closeness, sharing, family, and friendship.
Perhaps the biggest obstacle facing Twos, Threes, and Fours in their inner work is having to face their underlying Center fear of worthlessness. 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.”
-The Enneagram Institute
When the 2 wing 1 is Healthy
Level 1 (At Their Best): Become deeply unselfish, humble, and altruistic: giving unconditional love to self and others. Feel it is a privilege to be in the lives of others.
Level 2: Empathetic, compassionate, feeling for others. Caring and concerned about their needs. Thoughtful, warm-hearted, forgiving and sincere.
Level 3: Encouraging and appreciative, able to see the good in others. Service is important, but takes care of self too: they are nurturing, generous, and giving—a truly loving person.
When the 2 wing 1 is Average
Level 4: Want to be closer to others, so start “people pleasing,” becoming overly friendly, emotionally demonstrative, and full of “good intentions” about everything. Give seductive attention: approval, “strokes,” flattery. Love is their supreme value, and they talk about it constantly.
Level 5: Become overly intimate and intrusive: they need to be needed, so they hover, meddle, and control in the name of love. Want others to depend on them: give, but expect a return: send double messages. Enveloping and possessive: the codependent, self-sacrificial person who cannot do enough for others—wearing themselves out for everyone, creating needs for themselves to fulfill.
Level 6: Increasingly self-important and self-satisfied, feel they are indispensable, although they overrate their efforts in others’ behalf. Hypochondria, becoming a “martyr” for others. Overbearing, patronizing, presumptuous.
When the 2 wing 1 is Unhealthy
Level 7: Can be manipulative and self-serving, instilling guilt by telling others how much they owe them and make them suffer. Abuse food and medication to “stuff feelings” and get sympathy. Undermine people, making belittling, disparaging remarks. Extremely self-deceptive about their motives and how aggressive and/or selfish their behavior is.
Level 8: Domineering and coercive: feel entitled to get anything they want from others: the repayment of old debts, money, sexual favors.
Level 9: Able to excuse and rationalize what they do since they feel abused and victimized by others and are bitterly resentful and angry. Somatization of their aggressions results in chronic health problems as they vindicate themselves by “falling apart” and burdening others. Generally corresponds to the Histrionic Personality Disorder and Factitious Disorder.
-The Enneagram Institute
I think the description of 2 wing 1, The Helper is so accurate it’s scary, but it really helped me understand some of the things that may be considered negative traits. Like, how Two’s can be selfish- while doing things for others but in reality are manipulating others to make themselves feel wanted. A 2 wing 1 acts out of the fear that they are unwanted and unloved- it stems from childhood feeling like the only time they were wanted and loved was when they were being helpful. I also find it interesting how Two’s are emotional, which doesn’t sound like me at all. After diving in deeper you learn the 2 wing 3 is explosive with anger and the 2 w 1 redirects their emotions by projecting their help onto others. I find it extremely accurate when that help is unwanted or unappreciated, the 2 wing 1 internalizes that as rejection and can have a lot of resentment towards feeling unloved or unwanted. Resentment is another big flaw when it comes to Two’s, they can be generous, unselfish and love unconditionally. A part where I have truly struggled is loving certain people unconditionally, people who didn’t deserve it and creating resentment issues. Two’s go out of their way to do things for others because they value love and family and friendships. I particularly see this characteristic in myself presented during certain situations, I will never be able to understand someone who does something for someone else and stops to ask, ‘wait, what’s in it for me?’ 2 wing 1 believes the best things in life are those relationships. Another part I really resonated with was the 2 wing 1 berates themselves all day long, guilt tripping themselves like an angel and devil on their shoulders- constantly trying to do the right thing. We are our own toughest critic.
When it comes to characteristics of the 2 wing 1 , they tend to be more task oriented and technical. I really see this similarity in myself through the MBTI and Virgo astrology, I think they all just have different ways of saying the same thing, breaking them down for you to understand all around. One thing I thought was interesting is that the Two is generally a people person- when one person is unavailable to “be helped” the Two will essentially call up another person. BUT the 2 wing 1 is less sociable and can be independent. When I first learned of how dependent the Two can be I thought, this isn’t me at all- I’m wildly independent. BUT it makes so much sense that a Two needs to be helping another person to truly be themselves, hence the dependence on other people, and that’s where the manipulation piece comes into sight. Two’s are generally horrible at self care, we will have our hearts and hands full while completely drowning in stress and will still say, “do you need help?” I heard one of the most perfect examples regarding self care for a Two from Stephanie May Wilson on the Girls Night podcast (y’all should check it out!) She shares self care for a Two looks like when the flight attendants are going over safety regulations before take off- you put the safety mask on yourself before you help others. And I think this is so important in saying that we can’t help others unless we help ourselves first. Y’all non- two’s might be reading this like, DUH, but for a Two this is easier said than done (the guilt thing, remember?)
Wow, that’s heavy, right?! It was so accurate I was dying to find out more! Valuing relationships most, I turned to my closest friends to discuss. Most of the girls in my girl gang took the Enneagram test and shared their results too, its really refreshing learning all about the people around you, especially when we can all be vulnerable to criticism and open and upfront about our struggles. Working through these things with such awesome people in your corner makes the journey for valued and more fun! Naturally, I made Jon take the test too. As it turns out, Jon is a Five- The Investigator more specifically a 5 wing 6– The Problem Solver. A little insight into Type Five without giving too much information away (FYI- a true five’s biggest pet peeve) :
Basic Fear: Being useless, helpless, or incapable
Basic Desire: To be capable and competent
-The Enneagram Institute
Type Five’s are extremely private people, I know this, I’m dating a Five and he’s probably peeved I used his real name and not an alias. Can you imagine how tough it must be for The Helper to date someone who just wants to be left alone?! HA! So I obviously did some research on Two/ Five relationships. The conclusion I came to was basically that the Two repeatedly pushes the Five’s buttons- they are total opposites. Opposites in the sense that The Helper can be overwhelming to the Five, causing them to withdrawal- which feels like rejection (the Two’s biggest fear, remember?) Fives need space and Twos keep pushing the boundaries. Relax, it’s not all bad! Jon and I aren’t doomed! One great characteristic of the 2 wing 1 is being good with respecting boundaries. One other great thing about Jon’s subtype, 5 wing 6, is that unlike the true Five separating themselves from people in general- his wing 6 values small groups of people of his choosing, he values relationships with the people he finds both intellectually stimulating and have integrity.
Enneagram Twos and Fives are double opposites, as it were—a people person versus a loner, a feeling type with a thinking type. Twos and Fives come from different points of view on what is important in life and in a relationship. And yet, because they are so different, there can also be an intense attraction to the mystery of the other. Twos and Fives are a more common pairing than might be expected: Twos can see Fives as challenges—distant, mentally preoccupied, not giving many outward signals, and difficult to charm easily because they are so private. It is hard to know what pleases Fives which makes Twos only try harder. Twos bring to the relationship a willingness to take the initiative and to pursue the Five—to be the first one to call or to ask for a date, no matter which gender they are. When healthy, Twos bring warmth, physical comfort and ease (something Fives typically lack), a desire to improve the Five’s living conditions, style of dress and eating habits—and many other marks of thoughtfulness-as signs of affection and genuine interest. Fives are usually not unaware of these, though they may not outwardly react to the expressions of affection of Twos, Fives are secretly pleased that anyone cares and is being attentive to them.
For their part, Fives are usually very loyal: they find relationships complex and difficult, so they tend to value one that begins to work, and they tend to put energy into it. Fives bring stability and quiet, dispassionate good judgment and objectivity, particularly in crises. When Fives focus, they are good listeners and give undivided attention. They are not as attached to outcomes, and so can often make decisions more wisely and be good advisors to more emotionally volatile Twos. Fives are often more calm than Twos, and this gives them both types a feeling of steadiness and of hope. In short, Fives stabilize Twos’ emotionality, while Twos warm up Fives’ coolness. Twos enjoy seeing that their attention and affections have had positive, visible effects on the Five. Fives secretly like being doted over and finally finding the nurturing they have unconsciously been seeking (but may have almost given up on).
Many of the issues that this couple faces have to do with their boundaries and how respectful or not each is of the other. Twos tend to become frustrated by the Five’s lack of immediate response to them—sometimes Fives are so taciturn and involved in their own mental world that there is no response at all—which hurts the Two’s feelings and feels like a rejection to them. Feeling rejected triggers deep anxieties in Twos relating to the fear that they are unwanted and unloved. This may make them redouble their efforts to get some kind of response from the Five. They may become more talkative, more curious and questioning of the Five, and more demanding-physically hoisting the Five from her desk, or barging into her library to drag her out dancing or to a movie because she needs a break from work. Much of the Two’s activities become a form of intrusion that has at its root the need to reassure himself that the Five is still connected with him.
But the more intrusive Twos become, the more Fives internally withdraw and detach emotionally from what feels like a threat to their autonomy and competence. Fives start to lose confidence in themselves and are actually harmed by being overly helped. Lower functioning Twos, however, feel that they have no value unless they are actively involved in every aspect of the other’s life. But the more they feel intruded on, the more unsafe Fives begin to feel, and they may start to fear the Two (because they seem irrational and out of control to the Five). Fives can also become cynical about the value and viability of relationships—and cynical about the possibility of finding one that works for them. Fives tend to walk away from the entire question, losing interest in having an intimate relationship often for years at a time. But the more distance Fives put between themselves and Twos, the more this brings out the Two’s obsessions and the more aggressive they become in their pursuit of the Five. It is a prescription for disaster, or at least loneliness, for both.
-The Enneagram Institute
When I shared this information with Jon, he too found the Five description and the Two/ Five relationship to be extremely accurate. I know a lot of these things sound negative and can be challenging at times, but a great way to look at it from a coaching standpoint is now we can truly understand each other, understand the foundation of withdraw and boundaries and the need to feel wanted and loved. If we remind ourselves of each other’s natural habits and personalities, we can be a little more understanding a patient (HA! Me? Patient?!) One of the greatest characteristics both the Two and Five possess is loyalty, and that is one of my favorite things that I’ve read so far.
I encourage everyone to take the Enneagram test, to answer honestly for yourself and not what you wish you could say the answer is. Have you already taken the Enneagram test? What is your type and wing? What does the Enneagram say about you? Is it accurate? Do you find it helpful? I’m so curious to know about everyone’s Enneagram experience, I genuinely want to learn about all nine types! Comment below or send me a message!