A Very Quick Study on Self-Preservation Twos

Last night, I was scrolling through Facebook and found an article about fraternal twins that don't look anything alike. 

Fraternal twins James and Daniel from London.  James, left, is outgoing and academic; Daniel, right, is shy and left school as soon as he could.  Photo courtesy of the Guardian

Fraternal twins James and Daniel from London.  James, left, is outgoing and academic; Daniel, right, is shy and left school as soon as he could.  Photo courtesy of the Guardian

Lucy, left, studies art and design at Gloucester College. Maria studies law and psychology at Cheltenham College.  Photo courtesy of Huffington Post. 

Lucy, left, studies art and design at Gloucester College. Maria studies law and psychology at Cheltenham College.  Photo courtesy of Huffington Post. 

The articles are pretty interesting because they detail what life is like growing up with a twin who's a different race than you. 

This is maybe a bit of a stretch, but when I was thinking about what to write about last night, it struck me that in the Enneagram world, we have a similar enigma to the twin who defies categorization, and that's the Self-Preservation Two: the Helper who would prefer to be helped.  You expect one thing, and you actually get the opposite.

First, let's look at the Type Two in general.  Commonly called "the Helper", their core identity is formed by a sadness around an early disconnection from the Source of Love, and so they go through life trying to replicate that feeling they knew at a preverbal level by going out of their way to connect with others- often by offering their help.  Being envelopped in Divine Love was rapturous, so it's completely understandable that you'd be scrambling to get that feeling back. 

They represent the heart's longing for, as childhood psychologist Margaret Mahler termed it, symbiosis- feeling one with the Mother and her breast.  "The imprint of this symbiotic relationship, then, leaves the Two with the conviction that union with Being [or Source] happens through union with another person" (Maitri, 2000).

Twos are at the beginning of the heart triad, where the search for love, value, and identity take place.  In the heart triad, there is manipulation of the inner state to suit the external environment.  The shapeshifters and chameleons of the Enneagram, Twos, Threes, and Fours ask themselves what prized qualities would make them more loveable, and seek to deliver them, at the cost of their own individuality.  For the Two, that quality they see missing, needed, and therefore most desired in the world, is love. 

Two's tend to be friendly, warm, affectionate, and giving.  I heard in an interview with Dan Siegel that Twos have more mirror neurons than other types, which accounts for their ability to sense your needs before you even know about them yourself.  In their conscious minds, the helping is without strings, but unconsciously, because Two's have repressed their agression [because that's not conducive to union], they have a backwards way of getting what they want out of life.  Refusing to satisfy their own needs (because that would be selfish), they are driven by an unconscious belief that if they can just give enough, someone will recognize their sacrifice and come and love them for who they truly are and fulfill all their needs without them having to ask.  In Jung's archetypes, they are the Great Mother or Great Goddess, hoping to finally be recognized as such so they can finally flourish and come to life, like Sleeping Beauty, as Sandra Maitri points out.  Another stereotype is that of the Jewish mother, who, as Maitri says, would say something like, "Look at all I do for you.  And even though you never call me or think about me, here I am, sacrificing for you out of the goodness of my heart.  Don't worry about me, I'll be fine."

The exquisite Sandra Maitri, who is a Type Two herself, describes them thus:

Twos, then, manipulate through giving to get what they want.  They feed you, flatter you, play to you, cajole you, and as Naranjo used to say, unlike Sixes who lick boots, Two's- to use a vulgar but apt phrase- kiss ass.  Their biggest manipulation, however, is being helpful.  They will help you out with whatever you need- whether you were aware of the need or not- whether it's financial help, doing something for you, listening to your troubles, matchmaking, counselling, cajoling, supporting you and so on. 

In a loving relationship, a Two idealises need as the quintessential quality that lovers should have for each other, and they go to greath lengths to make themselves needed. 

They try to insinuate themselves and make themselves indispensable to someone they need in this way so that they will be needed in return. 

I work in a school, and I often have little Type Twos coming into my office often asking if there's anything I need help with.  The asking frequently turns to begging.  "Pleeeeeeeeeease can we help?  Pleeeeeeease is there anything, ANYTHING at all you might need help with?"

OK.  So I'm sure you get the idea.  But now I was going to write about a particular sub-type of the Two, the Self-Preservation Two, where you get all the emotional manipulation without much helping!  But I've run out of time.  I'm just going to have to say "to be continued."

 

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