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It seems like the more I learn about Enneagram, the less I understand it. The first thing I noticed was that I couldn't fully identify with the fears/ weaknesses of any of the types I supposedly align with. It's different with MBTI, which cleared up a lot of things about myself, and I could quickly identify a lot of my strengths and weaknesses in ways I couldn't before. Enneagram seems to be mucking it up for me, however.

In particular, I don't get the concept of the type 2 only wanting to be nice to people/ doing things for them in order to get something out of them, with the express intention of an even exchange. I just don't do that. I almost CAN'T do that. I only now am learning the value of holding myself back and not giving myself entirely to people, whether emotionally or by helping out or doing favors, etc., without first determining whether the exchange might be relatively even. I'm not saying I refuse to do things for more charitable or unselfish reasons. But I spent all my life until now always giving myself away for others with little to no expectation of receiving anything back. I'm also constantly nervous about receiving things from people for free because I always feel bad if I either didn't earn it or have no way to pay them back. I've always been bothered by this side of me, which seems hypocritical - that I have much higher expectations of myself and what I put out for others than the other way around. I don't even secretly crave getting something from people as a reward for what I do.

I've recently hit a point where I have had to really analyze the fact that I've been doing this for too long, performing for other people or trying to meet some sort of criteria for other people *because it is the right thing to do* with no expectation of being treated the same, and it pretty much broke me. I've burned out to the point where I keep to myself far more than I ever used to, I avoid most people in my life now, and I have to slow down and really think about how much help or generosity I'm willing to hand over to other people if there's no expectation of reciprocity. It doesn't even have to be a lot, I would be satisfied if doing an enormous favor for someone is returned even in what might be regarded as a very, very small way.

Someone once described a type 2 reacting to betrayal from others with an attitude like, "How dare you do this to me after all the things I've done for you?" and I feel like I couldn't possibly relate to that statement less. My reaction to betrayal and being used was, "How dare you be such a fake person all this time and lie to me and then stab me in the back? How dare you be the type of person who would treat anyone like that?"

Unless there's another side to type 2 that I haven't been told yet? It seems like the one thing that comes up most is how the 2 needs and expects equal return, or only does things to get something from people. Is type 2 truly defined by a need to do things for others with the expectation that others will do the same in return? Do type 2s always need people to exert the same amount of effort and energy into a relationship as they put forth? Or are there different flavors of 2 who aren't nearly as concerned about what comes out as they are about what goes in?
 
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Yes, we can't simplify type 2 as only ever doing things because we want to be loved or have it returned. I think one of the hardest things to accept as a type 2 is that we do sometimes do things with the intention of receiving something back - even if we're not consciously aware of it! And I think that's a good thing for us to learn and accept because then we can question if our motive for doing something is pure or not, worth it or not. So there's a potential you're a type 2 that's healthy enough to be aware of that.

Also I fully relate to being worried about receiving things from people - you're so used to giving it feels unnatural. I think subconsciously we're also worried when people give us something they're looking for something in return so we can't receive without giving back yet again - I think that's a type 2 trait, it is at least for me.

I can relate a lot to your struggles - recently I've been seeing really unhealthy type 2's and questioning my type again.. but that was absolutely me at my unhealthiest! When I see other type 2's or pushovers, I get really annoyed and want to shake them and tell them to get over themselves, that being a good/nice/helpful person doesn't mean being taken advantage of and people aren't going to hate you just because you say no once! I think the issue for me, both type 2 and self-esteem issues, was this huge feeling of unworthiness, not being worthy of being loved or even liked, my intention wasn't to get people to like me but to not feel like a burden on them? I don't care about being liked and I'm not a really sociable person but I think there's this sense of feeling like a burden on other people, so at least if I can help them they aren't going to reject or dislike me. That's the bigger motivation there.

And yes the belief is that a type 2 will react in that way but you probably do to some extent, just not at that exaggerated level. I didn't think I was *that* person ever. At the time when you're being nice to someone and doing everything for them, your intention isn't to then later throw it back in their face or expect anything, but there's something building up in the background and you become angry that you've done these things and have been taken for granted. I think a lot of the time the anger is at yourself for letting you get treated like that again.

I think one of our fears is yes, being seen as fake, which people do (and a classic Fi-Fe clashing too) whereas we know it isn't fake, we just do so much that we're too scared to say no to (because of the fear of rejection) that it builds up on us and comes out in anger. So for me, yeah, I decide what energy I put into who. Who deserves it. They don't need to do anything for me but it also shouldn't be a person who will take advantage of you and drain you.

I work in support work and it's really rewarding and great when someone tells me thank you. When you do a lot of things for someone (and it's my job too) and you get no thanks or they still complain, I do find it annoying. You don't need to thank me but get a grip and be thankful for your position that you're in. I work with people who have very little who never complain and people who have more than they deserve who are still never happy. And no matter what I do it isn't good enough. I can't just walk away and stop supporting them because it's my job to hold my opinions and feelings aside and help them with what they want. But yeah, I get that feeling of, okay, I helped you get X,Y and Z but because you don't have A none of that matters? In those times I need to realise that's a fault with them and I need to pull back my support and not get upset if they dislike it or dislike me because the problem lies with them being unhappy rather than me not being a good person or good at my job. Easiest way for me to deal with this in my working and professional life is to set boundaries and expectations at the very beginning of a relationship so they know what they can and can't do to me.

So yes I think it's still likely you could be a type 2, not sure about other types but there is some repressing and denial in there for us and it's not easy to objectively see. Because type 2s do want to see ourselves as being ultimately good or helpful and anything that tells us otherwise can be painful, or failure for other people to see it after all the effort you give can be hurtful. As I say, the problem lies with us and the amount of effort we put into other people. Sometimes we're doing everything behind the scene because we're doing it out of the goodness of our heart and don't want the glory so other people don't know how much we're doing and might expect we don't feel we need any recognition for it because it's "just us" as people.. so we can be left in the layside feeling rejected and that nothing we do really matters, creating that cycle of again feeling unworthy and unloved and throwing out our love and helpfulness looking to just feel a little accepted.
 

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Unless there's another side to type 2 that I haven't been told yet? It seems like the one thing that comes up most is how the 2 needs and expects equal return, or only does things to get something from people. Is type 2 truly defined by a need to do things for others with the expectation that others will do the same in return? Do type 2s always need people to exert the same amount of effort and energy into a relationship as they put forth? Or are there different flavors of 2 who aren't nearly as concerned about what comes out as they are about what goes in?
I don't know where you got that take on type 2 but IMO it's inaccurate.

There may be expectations but not equal in return. Sometimes it's just to be acknowledged or appreciated for what you do for others. Sometimes there may be an unconscious goal and the giving is a manipulation toward that end. It can also be a role of helper that gives you a sense of self and purpose.

Some authors describe it as "a need to be needed." Some people describe an underlying feeling of not being lovable which means they have to move towards others to compensate. That can be through attending to others' needs or pulling them closer through emotional seduction or manipulation.

That's just some of what could be going on with type 2. There may be expectations of return for the giving, often unconscious, but IME what those expectations might be has little to do with equal return.
 

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There's a pretty important word that hasn't been mentioned yet on this thread, that is 10x more important than any of the kitschy 2 type traits - Pride. Each of the 9 enneatypes has a Passion, or a kind of "cross they bear" throughout their life that constantly perpetuates the type's distorted sense of reality. For 2, that Passion is Pride.

There are healthy and unhealthy types of pride. When most people say "pride," what usually comes to mind is thinking highly of yourself, your values, or your achievements. You could feel proud that you did the right thing, or maybe you feel proud of a friend or family member.

Pride for 2's is more of a code word though. A lot of 2's initially deny being proud, or believe it isn't really applicable. But it takes the shape of the 2 believing (sometimes unwittingly) he/she doesn't have limitations, that they offer an abundance or exclusivity of something when there really isn't, and that they always have something to offer. It also tricks them into believing they can control how someone feels about them in a positive way, so as to avoid rejection or feeling cut out. Somewhat like 3's, 2's tend to become defined by what they do for others rather than who they are, though they also tend to define themselves that way too.

I think the main issues of 2's aren't being too giving or charitable, or even too nice to others. The main issues I see over and over again with 2's I know (and I know many, closely) are addictions, anxiety, and (more than anything) struggling to acknowledge limits. They tend to develop emotionally-based habits, especially relating to filling inner emptiness. 2's like to give themselves justification to indulge, or treat themselves. Not all 2's obviously struggle with this, let alone struggle with it to an extreme, but they're the broader buckets of issues I've seen.

One of the things I've seen help 2's substantially is mindfulness training. This helps a lot of the types, but for 2's it helps when they get caught up in doing all kinds of things they can't really do or don't have the resources or availability to do and need to get self-centered back into the reality of their bodies.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
JennyJukes said:
I think the issue for me, both type 2 and self-esteem issues, was this huge feeling of unworthiness, not being worthy of being loved or even liked, my intention wasn't to get people to like me but to not feel like a burden on them? I don't care about being liked and I'm not a really sociable person but I think there's this sense of feeling like a burden on other people, so at least if I can help them they aren't going to reject or dislike me. That's the bigger motivation there.
This is it right here. I think if there's anything I picked up from other people in life, it's how much of a burden I am to all the people around me. The one thing that stands out to me the most is how much other people have done for me, and how so very many of those people have harshly reminded me that I owe them, that I ask for too much all the time, that I don't do enough things for others. And I try to calculate it all in my head and think I really did do the best I was able, I offered help, or whatever, but if that's the way they feel, then there's probably something out of balance that I'm not really seeing. I've always been given the logic that if I have a problem with so many other people, then that actually makes me the problem. I'm the lowest common denominator, therefore, in some way it makes me at fault, or it makes me the failure, or whatever.

Sometimes we're doing everything behind the scene because we're doing it out of the goodness of our heart and don't want the glory so other people don't know how much we're doing and might expect we don't feel we need any recognition for it because it's "just us" as people.. so we can be left in the layside feeling rejected and that nothing we do really matters,/quote]

Ugh.

Figure said:
But it takes the shape of the 2 believing (sometimes unwittingly) he/she doesn't have limitations,
The main issues I see over and over again with 2's I know (and I know many, closely) are addictions, anxiety, and (more than anything) struggling to acknowledge limits.
I don't think I used to believe I had no limits, but I do realize now how hard other people have pushed me into believing I ought to have more/ do more/ be more for other people, and I guess at some point I translated all that to mean "I don't deserve limits."

One of the things I've seen help 2's substantially is mindfulness training. This helps a lot of the types, but for 2's it helps when they get caught up in doing all kinds of things they can't really do or don't have the resources or availability to do and need to get self-centered back into the reality of their bodies.
This is a thing I really need to get into.

At any rate, I do know that the people who are left who I still remain close to out of all the ones who have either rage quit, admitted to hating me, or had to be cut out due to levels of toxicity I could no longer deal with in any way, those people who have remained have ALWAYS encouraged me unblinkingly, have always insisted that I shouldn't push myself so hard for others, and once or twice have identified toxic relationships in my life I didn't completely recognize as such at the time. (That "no limits" thing again, where I thought I would just limit the time I spent with them and set the terms myself, rather than cut them out cold the way my conscience was telling me to.)

I really wish I had listened to them more. :/
 

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So much E text speaks about E2 being a great helper (worst E moniker ever btw), and R/H tries to factor pride into the equation. A noble attempt to clean the mess up.

But seriously, I think its all a little too 'best guess'. In reality it's really just a bunch of identity BS, same as the other heart types. Same as fear enveloping the head types, etc.

So there you go E2, reconcile that identity. Just like I have to. You matter not!
 
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