Enneagram Type 2: Typical Stressors & Strengths

enneagram type 2 reformer

The Enneagram Type 2 personality (The Helper) marches to its own drum beat, i.e. a different set of motivations, desires and fears from the other eight EnneaTypes. Let’s decode the typical factors – both Stressors & Strengths – that can impact the Enneagram Type 2’s health and well-being. 

Important caveatThe insights provided here are noticeable patterns drawn from many years of studying thousands of people around the world. They are indicative only, and not predictive or judgmental. Also, not all of these observations may apply to you. The aim is to prompt reflection and inspiration, rather than put you into a box. 

Enneagram Type 2: The Helper

enneagram type 2 personality

  • The caring, interpersonal type.
  • Twos are empathetic, sincere, and warm-hearted.
  • They are friendly, generous, and self-sacrificing, but can also be sentimental, flattering, and people-pleasing.
  • Also, they are well-meaning and driven to be close to others, but can slip into doing things for others in order to be needed.
  • Besides, they have problems with possessiveness and with acknowledging their own needs.
  • At their Best: they are unselfish and altruistic. In short, they have unconditional love for others.

Strengths & Stressors

People with the Enneagram type 2 personality display certain traits, which can influence their health and well-being at multiple levels.

Typical Stressors Typical Strengths


They tend to “starve-and-binge” i.e. minimize their own needs for long periods of time, and then over-indulge to compensate. E.g., may spend hours cooking for others and eat sparingly themselves … then polish off a tub of ice-cream at midnight. May self-medicate more than necessary. Caution: Risk of addiction to sugar/ chocolate/ carbs. They acknowledge their own needs as legitimate and enjoy life’s pleasures without feeling self-conscious. Hence, they cultivate a lifestyle that balances self-nurturing and people-orientation. They also feel no guilt in getting sufficient rest and recreation to recharge themselves.


Often, they experience negative emotions like pride, hurt, sentimentality and rejection. They may also feel used and taken for granted. Given their self-sacrificing nature, they may be prone to Hypochondria and Histrionics, as a way to draw attention to themselves. Let can go their need for external validation to build up genuine self-acceptance and self-esteem. From this place, they acquire real humility and compassion. So their essential “loving warm-heartedness” can shine through.


They view the world in “us-and-them” terms and so they are willing to be submissive to gain appreciation. Particularly, they fear being unloved and rejected. Might use phrases like “I am always giving, others take me for granted” or “It isn’t OK to have your own needs” or “I have failed if I don’t keep others happy”. Live by their values of warmth, intimacy and affection, without expecting anything in return. Use their intrinsic empathy and sincerity to see the world through a loving heart. Set healthy boundaries for themselves and others.


Disturbed by solitude and cold impersonality. Confused when their efforts are not validated or appreciated. Can slip into smothering and creating self-serving dependencies to be noticed and valued. Inspire others to care and serve in a genuine and unselfish way.


Losing contact with the innate benevolence and goodness of Presence makes them feel rejected and unloved. Their ego copes by flattering and serving others, to compensate for being ‘unlovable’. This is how Pride (“Mada” or “Ahankara” in the Indian tradition) arises Staying ‘Present’ helps them rediscover the ‘Humility’ they have lost. Now they can accept their own needs and limitations, with no external benchmarks.

Further Exploration

If these insights regarding the enneagram type 2 don’t resonate with you, please review the typical Stressors & Strengths of the other EnneaTypes, whose links are below. If you wish, you can learn more about your Personality type and also take a more detailed (paid) test at www.enneagraminstitute.com.

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