The Intimate Two
Start with an American classic: the sexual seductive type. In popular culture and in the movies, this is usually a feminine role. Adolescent males (of every age) show a cultural preference for this type and often pay dearly for this preference.
These are the seductresses. What is the difference between being attractive and being seductive? The seductive Two has unconscious hostility, even hatred, for the person she is trying to attract. She is not inwardly clear about the distinction between being sexually desirable and being loved. When she (and I'll use the feminine because my examples from the movies are both women) offers herself to men sexually, she expects true love in return. She is invariably disappointed.
Psychologically, this is rooted in fatherlessness. This may be actual or perceived. A distant or frequently absent father who then periodically showers inappropriate attention on the little girl can create the polarity. "Either I'm totally lovable (which will later mean sex) or I'm overlooked." This prompts the little girl to work hard to please men. With her natural radar, she learns that sex is how to please men. But by sex she intends an exchange for lavish attention and love. The men in question may mean something else entirely.
Hell hath no fury
This discrepancy between expectancy and actuality infuriates the Two and she moves to vengeance, which in Enneagram understanding, is the low side of Eight. "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned" was probably written about a vengeful Two. The thing to watch for and understand is the oscillation between deep dependency and hostility --and both done in the name of love. "I want you, I need you, I hate you." "You can't do this to me, you can't just throw me aside after using me." One of the ways you can tell it is connected to the absent father is the frequent reference to the man's duty to be responsible and take care of his obligations. His duty always includes taking care of her. She is functionally a child, she is his responsibility. "You seduced me. I was basically a) innocent, b) helpless c) acting in good faith that you would "follow through on your promises." Seducers believe the promises of the person they're involved with. Sometimes those promises are explicit ("things were said") or implicit in the case of sex. No matter what the context, in the mind of the seducer, sex always means "You love me and will take care of me." (As a good father should).
The seductress is culturally the opposite of the girl next door. She (and of course he, with certain modifications) is distant, she is not there for conversation and shoulder to shoulder sharing of tasks. She oscillates between intimacy and distance, with sexual energy the only bridge across the chasm. It is sexuality without emotional context. This makes it more passionate and less dependable.
Boundaries are a problem for Twos. Intimate Twos will invite more intimacy than is appropriate. She will encourage you to take advantage of her, especially but not exclusively sexually. Sometimes it is financial. We all know of women who put their husbands through school, where upon he immediately leaves her, the cad. She doesn't have a clue that she may have set it up. Then she will want revenge for the abuse. She'll take him to the cleaners or destroy him emotionally, or get pregnant or whatever works. She will do anything.
To see this acted out vividly, watch Angelica Houston (the doctor's mistress) in Crimes and Misdemeanors. Then watch Glen Close in Fatal Attraction. If you watch those two movies you will get a vivid demonstration of what the dynamics are. Notice that both women are abjectly dependent on men they hate -- and want. Both see themselves as really having no power, yet exercising considerable power. Both see themselves as nothing without the man, while at the same time scorning him. Both see themselves as little children. Neither of the women have a life independent of the man. They are obsessed with him precisely to the degree they have no substance of their own. He and only he can give them inner reality. His responsibility is in direct proportion to her need. Guilt is the currency of love.
The seductress wants love in the worst way and gets it. She begins by defining love inwardly with painful narrowness. "If you love me, you will take me sexually." No other form of love will do.
Control is the issue
Then, because seduction is a way of life, she includes Divine Love in the same dynamic. "God, my father, doesn't really love me. He's distant, just like men. But if I do whatever good things I can, (if I seduce Him), then he will have to love me. He will have to honor his responsibilities toward me. He will have to take care of me. I will be so good, so loving that I will be loved in return. God is not outdone in generosity."
Every community is apt to have a few unhealthy Twos whose love is feared by many. Invested love is a control mechanism. (Enneagram ego styles are control mechanisms. The world is not very manageable when we are young, so we find ways to get it to do what we want. Then we extend the effort to include God.) When God doesn't answer prayers of the Two when they are sooo pious, they can get deeply hurt and angry. God broke his (implicit) part of the bargain, just like men do!
If a male coach has a female Two client, he will have to be careful not to fall into the role of father. She will pull for that. It may appear to be seduction, and sometimes is, but the more common pitfall is to become a father-figure.
The Self-Preservation Two
"After All I've Done For You"
Twos with a self-preservation focus have a noticeable sense of entitlement. This can be very confusing because Fours also have a distinct sense of entitlement. The difference is that Fours think they are entitled because they are compensating for having gotten a raw deal in life. Being defective needs to be recompensed. But Twos, with the sin of pride, derive their sense of entitlement as a reward for all the things they have done for everyone else. Their theme is "after all I've done for you."
Parents, with understandable righteousness, often use that line with their children if they (the parents) are Twos. They don't understand how manipulative it is and are frequently surprised when the child is ungrateful. Love is always free, never part of a bargain and Twos have a difficult time not perceiving love and emotional warmth as social currency. Self-Preservation Twos can make classic prima donnas and indulge themselves shamelessly.
Hotelier Leona Helmsely is a public self-preservation Two who didn't think she should have to pay taxes because of all the people she employed. Because of her wonderful work in the community bringing famous people in, providing all those jobs, being on committees etc, she really didn't see why should also have to pay taxes. Certainly she should be exempt. She was publicly outraged that they wanted her, her, to pay taxes. Extreme case, but that's the direction. Her talent for knowing how to meet the yet unspoken needs of her customers was the Two's compulsive high side and that's how she made her money. She knew people. Twos do.
Twos with Three wings (a frequent combination in self-preservation Twos) often make marvelous consultants. They know exactly what you need personally and with their Three flair for getting things done, they know how to accomplish things for you.
Pleasing and pleasant, but.
Entertainment is often an accomplished skill with self-preservation Twos. They love to be recognized for their warmth, personal charm and social astuteness. If they are unhealthy, they have a computer-like record of who owes whom what in the social realm. Do not, under any circumstance, forget to invite them back when you throw a party of your own. If they become angry, they can easily move to the low side of Eight. For a gruesome accurate portrayal of a self-preservation Two, go see the movie, Misery, with Kathy Bates as the self-preservation Two.
Self-preservation Twos specialize in the currency of guilt. When love is not freely given, it is an investment. If you do not show a return on their investment, they will feel cheated and you will be made to feel guilty. The stereotypical Jewish mother is a Two and all the Jewish comedians who wish to play with this theme turn to this guilt as a constitutive factor in their lives. How many Jewish mothers does it take to unscrew a lightbulb? "Oh, never mind, I don't mind sitting in the dark."
Madonna, in Truth or Dare, is a self-preservation Two. When interviewed about her 40 million dollar tour, her conversation was filled with her taking care of her cast. To hear her, you would think she was their mother. And in Evita she is practically type-cast from an Enneagram point of view. All Evita Peron wanted (besides wealth and privilege) was to love and be loved by her people.
I've mentioned that all Enneagram styles operate out of models of impoverishment. The belief that impoverishes the self-preservation Two is the conviction that there is not enough love to go around. (Love can be in any form: food, money, attention, health care, concert tickets). If I have to just take my turn, by the time they get to me, it's going to be all gone. But I've done so much and worked so hard, I deserve to be first in line. Everyone will understand because they all owe me favors. I've helped them on numerous occasions.
This impoverishment goes along with an idealized self-image. There just isn't enough to go around but surely everyone should realize that I should get mine first because of (fill in the blank, it really doesn't make any difference.) We all have something that makes us deserving of more than everyone else).
The Social Two
An Idealized Self-Image
Nancy Reagan, is a social Two. I read Kitty Kelly's book, but Nancy's own book, My Turn, also tells about her being a Two in a slightly different way.
In Nancy's own book, she says it is her turn, but the book is all about Ronald Reagan after the first chapter. That's symbolic. Twos are the classic co-dependents who, at the moment of the death, have someone else's life flash before their eyes!
Nancy is a Two with a Three Wing (more common among social subtypes, it seems) and her big concern is ambition. Many social Twos will attach themselves to someone in power and live through them. It looks like perhaps Nancy did.
In the early years her story is all about social climbing, getting into desired schools, clubs, social circles and getting recognized. The movies, of course, are a wonderful way "to be seen and recognized," (the goal of much social ambition) and Nancy gravitated to them. According to Kitty Kelly, she slept with the producers to get her parts and if that is true, it would be in character for the seductive part of Twoishness. All Twos, regardless of their subtype, have a certain seductiveness about them. It isn't necessarily sexual. (I know a receptionist, an ex-nun, whose chastity is beyond reproach. But the quality of her voice on the phone is not only welcoming, but inviting.) All seductiveness is rooted in an unacknowledged emotional neediness. The behavior is seductive precisely because it is an emotional investment. Twos "give to get." In exchange for emotional warmth, you will be asked for a wide assortment of returns: esteem, privilege, her own way, the list is long and supple. (I've used "her" when describing a Two because women in the US are encouraged to be Twos and the word "hysterical" which is used to describe Twos is the Greek word for uterus - as in hysterectomy).
Self worth is an issue
The seductiveness and the social climbing is an attempt to compensate for a lack of inner self-worth. Twos are the most person-oriented of all Enneagram numbers . The combination of low self-esteem and high concern for the esteem of others gets them in trouble. Many Twos can't handle any criticism. Criticism frequently feels like a personal attack and at the same time calls attention to what they are trying not to see - flaws and needs. They tend to take criticism personally and often a simple request for information will feel like criticism because they see themselves as anticipating everyone's needs. (And they have probably spent a lot of time doing just that).
Ideal substitutes for real
The idealized image and the low self-esteem (which prompts them to flatter others, thinking others want praise as much as they do) are dependent on each other and are polarized against each other. The grander the image, the deeper the inner neediness. An image not rooted in reality tends to inflate. We can't get enough of what our image requires. We never get enough of what we really don't want. And if Twos can raise their real self esteem, they are able to let go of the image. The idealized self-image also makes them appear to have inflated emotions. Their dramatized emotions are ones they "should" have, so they don't quite fit reality. Also, because they don't acknowledge their need for emotional satisfaction, they don't acknowledge when they have received it. Never feeling like they receive real satisfaction, they over-express their manufactured emotional responses. Twos can often be anti-intellectual, because thinking interferes with feeling, so their emotional response is not rationally moderated. People often like that about Twos. Who wants a partner to be coolly rational when in love. The cultural ideal is to be "madly" (i.e., irrationally, without proportion) in love. Of course, when it is negative, that can get ugly.
The consequence of having an idealized self-image in the case of the Two leads them to have an awful lot of shoulds. (Because I am wonderful), "I should do something about my hair." (Because I am wonderful,) "I should help my sister with her kids this weekend." And (Because I am wonderful), "I really don't mind his leaving me alone on our anniversary." Negative feelings are not claimed because wonderful people don't have them. But of course, if one doesn't have these negative feelings, then the self gets harder to locate, and Twos often don't know who they are. If you have feelings that are not real (shoulds) and don't experience feelings that are real, who are you and what do you want?
The specific form of pride: "I have no needs"
The idealized self-image can lead to strange notions of omnipotence. In the case of Twos, the omnipotence lies in their belief that they can meet everyone's needs. And should.
The social subtype wants recognition even more than affection. Madonna, a public Two who shows off her Twoishness in her movie, Truth or Dare, for example, doesn't ask so much that you approve, as much as that you acknowledge and notice her.
If you are a Two, or need to work with a Two, you can profitably watch Tom Condon's Style Two in his Dynamic Enneagram series. He works with a strong healthy Two but she has a slight problem with an idealized self-image. She is very bright and catches on well in the session. I know her and talked to her a few months later; her gains had become permanent, she said.
One extra description:
The Angelic Two
An Idealized Self-Image
In a video, Tom Condon works with a healthy Two with an attractive personality. Part of the genius of the Enneagram is that it shows us the dynamics of our style, even in healthy personalities.
Condon uses imagery in the video to help her see that she has an idealized self-image. He asks, with apparent arbitrariness, for an image and she comes up with an angel! She does not think that she is an angel, but she thinks she should be. That's the subtle pride of the Two (every style has its Achilles heel). When they think they should be an angel, they have a difficult starting point. First of all, within the trance of the Two, the feeling is that they have few or no needs. That's angelic.
Now, what happens when you think you should be an angel? First of all, you'll find yourself telling yourself "I should" a lot. An angelic ideal (a good metaphor for pride) creates a lot of pressure to be who you are not. Angels don't sweat. They accomplish what they do without much effort. So no effort is too great for an angelic Two. Angels don't get rewarded, so an angelic Two will work without thought of reward.
Time out! When a Two is within the grip of pride, (or any of us in the grip of our compulsion) they fall prey to Thomson's law: "What you don't get up front, you tend to get out back." So when Twos don't expect any reward up front, you can bet significant parts of your allowance that they will expect a reward out back. These rewards take the form of special treatment, gushing gratitude (Twos just love gratitude!), sharing secrets, power behind the throne, reflected glory. The Two assistant will work all night to get the report out. No overtime required. But now the boss owes him and had better find some way to reimburse him.
The problem of the idealized image is clear in Twos, so let me elaborate a bit on how that works. Every style has a slightly different idealized image.
An idealized image is not made up. It is artistically woven out of our bad parts. It is like the old walls in a lot of café decorations. Old wood, broken guns, lamps that don't work, and a thousand pieces of junk are turned into "art" and used to give the place an ambiance. An idealized self-image is like that. Our longing for dignity becomes pompous and we can't tell. Our attempt at profundity leads us to use big words that we sometimes get wrong (listen to college sophomores discussing a book they don't understand. It's hilarious and it is all of us at times). Or see people who used to be young and sexy dressing as if they still were. Idealized self-image. The pretense is visible to everyone but us, because we are looking at an internal image while others are looking at reality.
Idealized self-image substitutes for real ideals. Real ideals give us energy, purpose and juice. Image-ideals give us guilt, pretense and frustration. In type Two, they see themselves as having no needs while others find them among the neediest of the Enneagram types. They are needy precisely because they are the most personal of all the types, so other people have to meet all their needs.
But Twos will often be great at getting your story (bartenders, waitresses, hairdressers are jobs Twos love) but they don't tell you theirs. Their story gives them power over you while they remain invulnerable - you don't know where they hurt. This makes them feel superior in a hostile world (and our styles are all defensive against a hostile world in one way or another).
You never get enough of what you really don't want
One cannot fulfill the demands of the idealized image. No matter how much service a Two performs, he never gets the feeling he has done enough. We say about some people, "They can't do enough for you." If that is true, it is neurotic, and it can easily come from an unhealthy Two. If they can't do enough, it is because they are not serving you, they are placating an idealized self-image of being an angel.
When coaching an Enneagram Two it is important to remember that they will try hard to please you, so remember to probe for their unacknowledged desires.
Source: Enneagram Central - Enneagram Style Two