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Type TWO: The Need to Be Needed and False Humility

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Enneagram: Week 1

Type TWO: The Need to Be Needed
Thursday, April 28, 2016

TWOs, THREEs, and FOURs make up the heart triad. They are “other-directed” people, whose wellbeing depends on how their environment reacts to them. Their continuous activities secretly have no other goal than to be confirmed from the outside. We all have this same concern to some degree. It grows out of the mirroring we received or didn’t receive as a child when we were first developing our sense of identity. “Who am I in your eyes?” is a central question for all the heart types. [1]

TWOs originally know themselves as the beloved of the universe. They know the truth that they are specially loved and chosen by a beautiful and loving God. When they cannot maintain this truth, they become manipulative and needy of the love of others to “reconvince” themselves of the truth they already deeply know. “Others must and will love me!” they demand, instead of resting in the love that they already are. They are driven to love, help, and serve others, without realizing that their motivation is the need for others to love them. TWOs are extremely sensitive to the needs of others, but not aware of their own needs. What they really want is attention. Although this is a legitimate need for anyone, to TWOs it seems selfish, and they won’t admit to it.

In Russ Hudson’s words, “The root sin of the TWO is pride, not in the sense of showing off, but pride as a kind of false humility.” [2] Pride keeps them from seeing their own needs. TWOs need to be needed. For this reason they are easy to manipulate. As soon as they hear the little word “need,” they scrape together the last remnant of their energy to rush to help you.

TWOs long to be loved, to love with their whole hearts, and to be allowed to live for their beloved. They sacrifice themselves for the welfare of others. They are benefactors, givers, and helpers. They give others precisely what they want for themselves. Their seeming altruism is a “legitimate” form of indulging their own egoism.

But let me warn you: TWOs have another side. “Hell hath no fury” like TWOs who suddenly realize that they are doing all the giving and not receiving what they feel they deserve in return. They suddenly become the opposite of the person they want to be. They can say extremely cruel things. Then they may run from the room in tears when they realize they’ve turned into a “dragon.”

TWOs need a great deal of acceptance and “soft” love before they are ready to let themselves be challenged by “tough love.” Sooner or later, however, this is exactly what has to happen: a confrontation, at once loving and unsparing, with their own pseudo-love, self-pity, and egocentricity.

The gift of TWOs is genuine humility, the reverse of pride. When TWOs reach the point where they recognize their real motives (“I give so I can get”), they may cry for days. When a TWO can finally cry tears of self-knowledge, redemption (healing) is near. At such moments, TWOs realize that they have perhaps damaged and injured other people while supposedly “wanting the best for them.” This is deeply humiliating. TWOs are redeemed from themselves the more they experience God as the real lover and realize that their puny love can only consist in sharing in God’s infinite love. This insight leads through a moment of deep shame to genuine humility. I like the way Hudson says it: “Real humility is a reflection of God’s grace for us. It is allowing the holding of our own human limitation and being utterly gentle, compassionate, and real about that.” [3] Redeemed TWOs deeply and profoundly know their innate value and preciousness and so don’t need to be continually affirmed from the outside. They are finally free. As I’ve shared before, most problems are psychological and most solutions are spiritual.

Gateway to Silence:
Open me to Presence.

[1] Russ Hudson, The Enneagram as a Tool for Your Spiritual Journey (CAC: 2009), disc 4 (CD, DVD, MP3 download).

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

Adapted from Richard Rohr, The Enneagram: The Discernment of Spirits (CAC: 2004), disc 2 (CD, DVD, MP3 download); and

Richard Rohr and Andreas Ebert, The Enneagram: A Christian Perspective (The Crossroad Publishing Company: 2001), 45, 64, 66, 68-72.

Is the Enneagram new to you? Are you wondering, what is the Enneagram? How can the Enneagram help me? Which number on the Enneagram am I? Does the Enneagram work? This is just one post in a two-week series about the Enneagram. Click here for an introduction to the Enneagram and links to additional reflections and resources on the topic.

The Enneagram Diagram. CAC archives.
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