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Enneatype 2 - The Helper

Characterological Structure


Passion: Pride

Imaginary exaltation of self-worth and attractiveness, demanding privileges, boasting, needing to be the center of attention, "playing the part of the princess".


Fixation: False-abundance

The cognitive support to Pride, constitutes the belief that the E2 inherently has a lot of love and needs to give it to others to become indispensable and central in the lives' of others.


Defense Mechanism: Repression

The repression of their underlying neediness for love, because if they have to ask for love than they believe that they are therefore not lovable. "Others are in need of my love, I am not in need of others' love."


Basic Traits:

Histrionic, haughty, excessively romantic, assertive, hedonistic, seductive, grandiose.

Passion and Fixation

The ego cycle that exists as the fundamental base of this character is Pride and False-abundance, the former being the passion (motivation) and the latter being the fixation (cognitive distortion) which perpetuates the passion. What is meant by Pride is a sense of fantastical self-aggrandizement to make the self-image appear greater than it really is, simultaneously obscuring the E2's knowledge of their own limits and boundaries. This creates a sense of privilege and entitlement, it lacks a notion of boundaries, becoming limitless in its self-perception. It does this because of a fear pushed deep into the unconscious that suggests that without this grandiose image they are insignificant and unlovable. 

In addition, it is also true that any excessively seductive person is one who implicitly believes: "I need to seduce to have what I want, otherwise I would not have it, since I do not deserve it just because I am who I am." In other words, the theater of pride hides a great lack of confidence in himself and in life.

Dramatis Personae, Naranjo

This inflation comes from too much self love, an eye only for the self, and it is in turn supported by a false-abundance of love. E2 is a particularly economical character and recognizes that everyone lives in an economy of love, everyone is looking to be loved, and the ones who have a lot of love to give are the winners. However, the E2 doesn't just "give" their love like they want to appear to be, they sell it, becoming expectant and entitled characters who are still blind to the fact that they rely on the love exchange in order to feel valuable. In short, they get more love by pretending to have it, and the more this continues the more they see themselves as the indisputable "winner," the most valuable and indispensable person above all. They are beggars disguised as kings.

Indeed, he believes that his pride is his strength when, In fact, it is the neurotic and destructive mode of it. The Two falsifies his self-perception: you feel a loving being capable of giving yourself full, when in reality he is a being in need of love (a beggar disguised as a king), who rejects his need, which would make him feel too fragile and exposed to abandonment. Therefore he projects that need in others. 

Orgullo, Naranjo

Seduction and Hedonism

Projection is the first foundation of seduction as it provides the means to anticipating the "true desires" of other people. The E2 has so great a need for love that they become beggars for it, but because they falsify and appear as kings they project in others their own need for love. They take what is internal and unconscious and say "that person wants what I have to give them," and because of their deeply intimate relationship with love they are able to realize the "true desires" of whoever they project their love-need to. This realization of desires inherently feels good, and makes the E2 more attractive, signifying the success of the E2's act of seduction.

However, this suggests a sense of hierarchy in the E2 which creates a narcissistic disposition over other people. Through false-abundance and the projection of shame the E2 truly does think they have what everyone wants, love, and in order to come to this belief the must first recognize others as contrite and deficient. Unconsciously, the E2 has a sense of shameful deficiency, but when this is projected in others, not only is the self raised through what they can give, but others are pushed down for what they do not have. This provides a sense of undefeatability to the E2 similar to the E8, where because they are not bound by the same laws of deficiency as others are, they have the liberty and privilege to have what they want so long as they desire it hard enough.

The “specific illusion” is the absence of boundaries, the idea that we can have it all. A type of magical thinking relating to my desires and my projects being able to be fulfilled, by the mere fact that I desire it. The belief is that we can get everything we set out to do, that we can control things that we don’t like and change them, that we can make things go as we want and that this doesn’t necessarily entail effort, it is enough if we truly want it. To maintain the illusion, it is necessary to repress everything that doesn’t fit in this plan, like the denial of real efforts and sacrifices required to achieve goals.

Eneagrama: Los Engaños del Carácter y Sus Antídotos, Duran and Catalan

This is where the image of a "giver" comes from, and as we have seen it is not by any means an altruistic character. It keeps its own image the focus of its life, but this is not always very obvious. The image types would not be image types if they were simultaneously sabotaging their image, which a narcissistic and prideful image would most definitely do. Instead, the E2 is self-effacing, wanting to appear as altruistic givers, who make it a specific point that they give and appear to get nothing in return. At the end of it all, it is the limitless image which is their focus. They survive the possibility of abandonment by living on the principle that pleasure and love can save them from it.

They are the big enneagram hedonists, along with those with the E7. Now, the Two is a very primary hedonism, which has to do with the immediate sensory pleasure of being pleased and loved.

Orgullo, Naranjo 

With E7, pleasure is much more mental, much more literal, but with the E2 pleasure is accompanied by emotions and love. Hedonism suggests that pleasure for pleasure is the highest good, for E2 we proxy the word "pleasure" with "love" so that their hedonism becomes "love for love." This is love for its own sake, they love excessively, indulgently, they act of receiving and giving pleasure is shaped entirely around the distribution of love. They move to and from many relationships, seduce, play, celebrate, and arouse incessantly, all because to the E2 love equals pleasure.

Defense Mechanisms

The facet of being that the E2 avoids at all costs is neediness and appearing needy to others because of a fundamental belief in the idea that neediness brings them down to the level of deficiency they view everyone else in. It would suggest the idea of "not having," and not-having equals insignificance.

To explain this a bit further, we need to understand that neediness is one of the most difficult feelings for a Two to tolerate. As Naranjo explicates, acknowledging that she is needy of love is, for a Two, tantamount to saying that she is unworthy of it, since if she were worthy of love, she would already have received it.

The Enneagram of Passions and Virtues, Sandra Maitri

However, neediness is inborn to everyone, and because the E2 naturally needs the love of others to feel valuable, it has to repress its need. Therefore, repression is the basic defense mechanism of the E2, and because this is a particularly emotional character repression is executed through an emotionalization of neediness.

Just as there exists a mechanism of intellectualization, that serves to distance oneself from one’s feelings, we may say that here there is an “emotionalization” or “emotionalism,” that facilitates the process of distracting attention from the awareness of need or, more exactly, “the intellectual representation of instinct.”

Character and Neurosis, Naranjo

This is where the assignment of histrionics to E2 comes from, as this emotionalization further serves to romanticize the image of the E2 into something great. They become impulsive characters driven by the unconscious need, "taking" what they want in order to hide this neediness, and as this impulsiveness mixes with emotionalization the more dramatic and histrionic the E2 becomes. Neediness is observed as identical to the passion of the E4, Envy, and this is the basis of the defense mechanism, a repression of Envy and a transformation of this envy into Pride, which suggests a complete independence from others.

Just as for the perfectionist it is self-indulgence that is most avoided, in the proud and histrionic character nothing is more avoided than the love thirst and the sense of unlovability that are characteristics of envy. Thus we may say that through a combination of repression and histrionic emotionalism envy is transformed into pride, and (to speak in Murray’s terms) succorance into nurturance.

Character and Neurosis, Claudio Naranjo

Childhood - Responsive Child vs Neutral Parent

The E2 child will act in a pleasing, seductive way that conveys their image to the parents of being a "good boy" or "good girl," although the parent may often be neutral and indifferent to these advances at first. As a reaction, the E2 becomes even more pleasing, they learn how to anticipate and satisfy the needs of these parents and try through various methods to gain the desired rapport. Sometimes this leads to a paradisal relationship with at least one parent, one who is doting and inflates the ego of the E2. Beyond their childhood the E2 feels that this paradise where they had a special seat of privilege is lost, and they use their broad arsenal of seductive skills to become appealing and indispensable to the people around them.

Other Findings

E2 corresponds to the hysterical character, which in turn corresponds to Schneider's Psychopaths in Need of Affection, an exaggerated caricature of the E2. Schneider notes, “The more that theatricalness is developed the more that there lacks in these personalities true emotions: they are false, incapable of durable or deep affective relations. There is only a stage of theatrical and imitative experiences; this is the extreme of hysterical personality.”

Further, the E2 has a greater identification with the id along with the E7 and E8, "Though it is true that the erotic orientation of ennea-type II is coherent with Freud’s concept of erotic personality (when in his late statement he distinguishes super-ego and ego-driven characters from a character with the predominance of the id), ennea-type II is not alone as an id’s character, however, for the same term could be applied to ennea-types VII and VIII" (Character and Neurosis).

Theophrastus and Commedia Dell'arte

Theophrastus - "Flatterer"

The flatterer is an individual capable of saying to the person with whom he is taking a walk: “Have you noticed how people look at you? It happens to no one else in Athens apart from you. Yesterday in the Portico they sang your praises. There were more than thirty people sitting there and when the question of who the man of most worth is came up, everyone present started and finished with your own name.” While he continues to say these pleasantries and the like, he takes a piece of lint from your gown, and if a blade of grass carried by the wind lands on your hair, he removes it while adding with a smile: “You see? As I haven’t seen you for two days, your beard is full of gray hairs and yet for your age your hair is black like no other.” No sooner does this person start to speak, but the flatterer makes everyone else be quiet, he praises him when he hears him and the moment the other person stops speaking, he exclaims: “Magnificent.”


And it goes without saying that he is also capable, as if he were a slave, of doing the shopping in the women’s market, without even stopping to catch his breath...He asks his host if he is not cold and before he pronounces a word, wraps him warmly with his cloak.


Meddling seems to be an excessively good disposition both with respect to words as well as acts. The meddler is an individual capable, after having stood up, of promising what he is not going to fulfill... He insists that the slaves mix more wine than the guests can drink ... He acts as a guide along a short cut and then cannot find the place he wanted to go to ... He likewise appears before a superior officer to ask when he is going to decide to begin the battle and what the password is going to be for the day after tomorrow ... At the tomb of a recently deceased woman, he has the name of her husband, her father, her mother, that of the deceased woman herself, and her date of birth inscribed. As if this were not enough, he also asks for it to be engraved that they were respectable people. 

Commedia Dell'arte - Colombina

Is Colombina the one who cleans the house? Or a damsel who has fun playing with dust? It is not so easy to answer. She is a chambermaid, yes, but elegant and refined like a princess. This beautiful girl handles the feather duster like a piece of precious porcelain. She walks with tiny steps as if dancing, and touches up her tiny coffietta and a curl in each mirror and in each windowpane. She thinks about everything except dusting the furniture and the paintings ... She is lively, full of spirit, likeable. She will certainly not be a great housekeeper, but in compensation she is clever and eloquent like other servants—like Arlecchino and Brighella in their own times. She is a girl who is never in the dumps, she not only uses her tongue to speak of the stars, of smiles and looks, and she also knows how to face up sassily to an overly severe master.

- Conoscere le maschere italiane, Carla Poesio

Idealized Aspect - Merging Gold

The state of Merging Gold is one of blissful, ecstatic union. It is a dissolving of the separating boundaries of the personality, resulting in a sense of oneness with another or Being Itself. It is the state of being in love, merging and melting into oneness with one’s beloved. Twos long for this kind of union, believing intimate contact, either physical or emotional, is the thing that they most need. Being loved and connected to that special other is a Two’s deepest desire. Twos emulate the characteristics of Merging Gold by attempting to be someone others will love and consider special. They are sensitive to the emotional states and needs of others and try to be there for them so that they will be loved in return. Twos are acutely attuned to any sense of rejection by others and will go to great lengths to be loved and accepted. While it is difficult for them to ask for attention directly, they become quite demanding and prideful if they feel that they are being ignored or overlooked. Twos often feel to others sticky, clingy, and needy, as well as filled with their own self-importance.

The Spiritual Dimension of the Enneagram, Sandra Maitri

On the Symbol

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Lines to E4 and E8

The E2 has lines to both E4 and E8 which are commonly referred to as its lines of integration and disintegration. The E2 does not integrate or disintegrate to either of these types, but they both have a profound effect on the psyche of the E2. Deficiency, the deprecatory, love-impoverished self, comes from the E4's passion of Envy and False-deficiency, which is the idea that they are "lesser" than others and focus on what they do not have rather than what they do have. The E2 takes this passion, suppresses it, and moves towards E8 in an attempt to numb themselves out to this deficient unconscious.

In this movement towards E8 they take on qualities of aggression, assertiveness, and arrogance, as well as a sense of "taking" from others. The E8 is a very forceful character who takes what they desire in an act of Rebellion (their fixation) and anti-social disposition, and the E2 "takes" others love by becoming an indispensable and emotionally omnipotent figure. The difference here is that the E8 is much more competitive, while the E2 is self-effacing and adopts an attitude of being "too good" to compete with others - because competition simultaneously suggests neediness - and the E2 is also less aggressive. It is on the right side of the Enneagram and hence more hyper-social, self-effacing, and sweet. Emotionalization and repression is also enacted through intensity, and intensity is the hallmark of E8's passion, Lust.

So the E2 begins with a feeling of insignificance (E4) and pushes it into the unconscious, and uses intensity (E8) through histrionics to further invalidate the influence of neediness of their psyche.

Antipode with E7

Antipode to E7, both bordering the gut center, called the "oral-positive" characters. The focus is on false positivity, warmth, friendliness, liveliness, hedonism, narcissism, and impulsivity, with the E2 enacting an emotional seduction and the E7 enacting a verbal and intellectual seduction. The E7 is in the paternal triad and is seductive of the mother, while the E2 is in the maternal triad and is seductive of the father. These characters are also known as the pseudo-socialites for their outwardly seductive demeanor that allows them to satisfy what they want, appearing to be pro-social, but in reality serving the hedonistic impulse.

E1 and E3 Adjacence

E2 is adjacent to E1 and E3 on the symbol. The passion of the E3 is that of vanity, which is also the parent passion of E2, and entails using an image to falsify the perception of the self. The E2 becomes vain as soon as it engages this image in order to make themselves appear larger than life, but differs in their non-reliance on accepted standards of success, and perceives their worth as self-evident. On the other hand, there is an adjacence to E1, more obviously represented in the E2's defense mechanism, repression. In E1 the search for love is manifested as a search for respect ("If I am perfect I am lovable"), and in E2 the search for love is a search for intimacy ("If I am limitless I am lovable"). In both there is a repression of needs and what is truly natural. When the E1 represses the impulse to pleasure, they become "perfect," when the E2 represses the impulse for neediness, they become "lovable"; both express the idea that "I am good, therefore I am entitled to love."

In terms of physical appearance:

The body build of ennea-type II is typically more rounded than ennea-type I and also softer than ennea-type III, and so it is possible to think that a genetically determined endomorphia supports the viscerotonic need for affection

Character and Neurosis, Claudio Naranjo



Emotional - Emotional

The Enneatype 2 is the most emotional type on the Enneagram, being addicted to the pursuit of love and propagation of positive relationships. Being situated in the heart triad, their underlying dominant passion is Vanity, which is the need to obscure oneself with an idealistic image out of a feeling that without it, they are not enough to be loved. The E2 in particular not only adopts the primary emotional disposition of vanity, but embodies a second auxiliary emotional orientation, which results in dramatic theatrics, seductive behavior, and most of all, a histrionic personality.

Hornevian Triad


The compliant triad is characterized by a "moving towards" others which is markedly less grating than the assertive triad's "moving against" and more active and engaged by "moving away." E2 complies with others by inspiring and provoking intense emotions, it entails a seduction that begins with projecting that others have an underlying need for love and that the E2 has it to give. Through this giving they "move towards" the object of seduction.


Compassionate (agape) - Erotic (eros)

Naranjo once called this type a "jewish mother," so it is no surprise that their dominant form of love is the compassionate, mother-oriented love, which is enacted through excessive flattery and giving in the economy of love. In fact, E2 is the best symbolic representation of the mother, just as E1 is for the father, and through this they give incessantly to others to forget their own needs (without forgetting themselves). The image of indispensability comes specifically from the image they want to portray as givers without gain, and is paired with an aspect of child-love which emphasizes the E2's pride and seductive behavior. Overtones of sexuality and flirtatiousness are common to this character, and the hedonic quality with which they view love is much like the love a child has for themselves, which is inherently more hedonistic and pleasure-seeking. It is explained as such: false-abundance entails a belief that the E2 has a lot of self-love (eros), and as a result they give love incessantly (agape) in order to sustain their supply.






As aforementioned, the E2 is always a part of the economy of love, and they want to be sufficient enough to be able to give others love. They relate very similarly to the economical and self-sufficient qualities of E5's and E8's. While the E5's economical token is time, and the E8's is force, the E2's is love and passion. Through the stimulation of the economy of love and the repression of neediness they convince themselves of their own independence from others, while simultaneously destroying that independence.


[1] Óscar Ichazo (1976) The Human Process for Enlightenment and Freedom: A Series of Five Lectures

[2] John C. Lilly & Joseph E. Hart (1975) The Arica Training

[3] Claudio Naranjo. Character and Neurosis: An Integrative View

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