Type 2: The Helper/Giver/Lover


Helpers/Givers/Lovers are typically warm, concerned, nurturing and sensitive to the needs, preferences and desires of the people around them. They proactively look for ways to be helpful, useful and likable. This is a very “other” referencing person whose attention easily and naturally goes out to other people. Helper 2s often report having extreme sensitivity to the emotional state of the people around them, sometimes described as “an antenna I can’t turn off.” Helper 2s often report being helpful to others as the meaning of life and typically struggle with boundary issues. It can be very hard for them to say no to a request someone makes of them, even if they really don’t want to do it.

Gifts To the World:

Helper 2s can connect with others at a profoundly deep, heart-centered level. This type makes other people feel good, heard, understood, cared for, and through this connection, they can offer others deep healing. Gifted at reaching even the most emotionally distant, difficult people, Helper 2s can reconnect others to the world.


Helper 2s Typically Report:

1) Offering Help Automatically
Helper 2s often report that they offer help so automatically, they aren’t even aware they are doing it. Just having another person physically present in the room changes the dynamic for a Helper 2. Whenever someone else is present, their attention goes away from themselves and out to the others.
“Someone asked me once what I would do if I was in a room where no one needed anything. My mind almost can’t imagine that. Everyone needs something—maybe they just haven’t thought of it yet. So I would try to anticipate what people need…”
2) Having Emotional or Physical Breakdowns because of Overextending Their Help
Helper 2s often report having a complete physical or emotional breakdown at some point in their life as a result of helping others so much but not taking care of themselves. Helper 2s are often in supportive roles in their jobs, communities, families and intimate relationships. They offer help to many while downplaying their own physical and emotional needs. A physical or emotional breakdown can be a big wake up call for a Helper 2.  While gifted at tuning into others, Helper 2s can be surprisingly disconnected from their own needs.
“My wake up call was when I had a complete physical breakdown from being so overextended in my activities. I was volunteering three nights a week, helping my friends on the weekends, maintaining a full-time job and trying to care for my own family. I knew I was tired, but it didn’t occur to me that this was too much until my body just gave out. One day, I couldn’t get out of bed I was so exhausted and that was pointing to a series of more serious health issues….”
3) Having Unexpected Outbursts of Anger
Helper 2s report having unexpected outbursts of anger. People of this type are usually very warm, caring and kind, but if they feel their efforts are not adequately recognized or appreciated they can become resentful and angry. If this resentment and anger persist in a repressed state, it can come out in unexpected explosions over seemingly small incidents. When the anger is unpackaged, it usually stems from a lack of appreciation for the Helper 2s efforts or from a lack of gratitude.
“It took me a long time to understand how my helpfulness was linked to a desire for appreciation. But a lot of times, I would do something helpful for someone and imagine–fantasize really–about this really wonderful outcome. And if I didn’t get that outcome, eventually I’d get angry.”

Tools for Compassion If You Have Helper 2s in Your Life:

1) Recognize that it is very hard for them to say no to requests
While most of the other types don’t suffer from personal boundary issues, Helper 2s do. This makes it very difficult for them to say no to a request for assistance, even if it is inconvenient, impractical or to their own detriment. Helper 2s often suffer from burnout trying to be helpful to everyone in their lives. Be mindful that if you ask a Helper 2 in your life to help you with something, it will be difficult for them to say no.
Hear it directly from Helper Type 2s (video clip from an online Enneagram training in the Narrative Tradition)


2) Tell the Helper 2s in your life how much you appreciate them
Appreciation is like oxygen to them. It is particularly powerful if you tell Helper 2s how much you appreciate them for them and not for their helpfulness. Helper 2s can sometimes relax their compulsion to help if they feel appreciated for being themselves.


3) Realize that personal relationships are typically the most important thing in the life of a Helper 2
Helper 2s often define themselves by the relationships in their lives. Taking a little extra care cultivating your relationship with the Helper 2s in your life can go a long way.

Type Twos in Relationships

Type 2 Helper with a Type 1 Perfectionist
Type 2 Helper with a Type 2 Helper
Type 2 Helper with a Type 3 Achiever
Type 2 Helper with a Type 4 Individualist
Type 2 Helper with a Type 5 Investigator
Type 2 Helper with a Type 6 Loyalist
Type 2 Helper with a Type 7 Enthusiast
Type 2 Helper with a Type 8 Leader
Type 2 Helper with a Type 9 Peacemaker