Enneagram Type 2 Helpers/Givers/Lovers are typically warm, concerned, nurturing and sensitive to the needs, preferences and desires of the people around them. Enneagram Type 8 is called the Leader, the Challenger and the Protector because of their keen awareness of power dynamics: who is in control, who might need protection, who needs to be challenged. Here we explore the compatibility of an Enneagram Type 2 with a Type 8 and what the relationship looks like when it is in balance and when it starts to spiral downward.
Enneagram Type 2:8 When In Balance
The Helper (2) and the Leader (8) combination can have an archetypical flavor to it with the Leader (8) embodying many of the traditional masculine or yang traits and the Helper (2) embodying the more feminine or yin traits. This can be a successful and enduring couple in which responsibilities are clearly delineated, and both partners complement and support each other.
Helper (2)s are more interested in the welfare of others while Leader (8)s tend to be more self-interested. Helper (2)s are more directly connected to the emotional world. They value emotions highly and can identify, discuss and process their feelings and the feelings of others. They can reach even emotionally remote people. This is an important trait in breaking through the Leader (8)’s tough emotional armor. Leader (8) can be very vulnerable and sensitive on the inside, but this is rarely presented to the outside world, and it takes someone with great empathy, and an open heart to reach them. Helper (2)s are affectionate and adoring, and Leader (8)s enjoy basking in their care.
Leader (8)s are tough, practical and results-oriented. They balance out the Helper (2)’s softness and make sure concrete priorities get done. They have few or no issues with personal boundaries, and Helper (2)s can learn a lot from watching their Leader (8) partner. Leader (8)s are hard-working, resourceful, resilient and make sure the couple’s concrete needs are met. Helper (2)s notice this and appreciate and admire their Leader (8)’s hard work and sacrifice.
Together, this can be a strong-willed, effective, supportive couple who accommodate each other’s blind spots and accentuate each other’s strengths.
Enneagram Type 2:8 The Downward Spiral
Helper (2)s and Leader (8)s value the emotional world very differently and have very different communication styles. With tightening defenses, these differences can trigger the downward spiral.
Helper (2)s place importance on feelings, relationships and emotional responses. Leader (8)s value the tangible, practical world more highly, and in average-to-lower levels of awareness can have a casual disregard for the emotional world. This difference manifests as dramatically different interpersonal styles. Leader (8)s are direct and independent with a potentially harsher way of dealing with people and situations. In average levels of awareness, they fall back on logic and reason, often stripping emotion out of decision making. They can take pride in this approach. In contrast, average Helper (2)s become highly attached to people. Situations are loaded with emotion. Helper (2)s are more otheroriented in their thinking and feel they can’t be at ease if they know someone close to them is suffering. Leader (8)s feel they can’t relax if those close to them can’t learn to take care of themselves.
Both types can polarize about their approach to interpersonal problems. Helper (2)s want to be overly involved whereas Leader (8)s demand independence. Helper (2)s see their Leader (8) as hard-hearted, confrontational, cold and self-centered. Leader (8)s lose respect for their Helper (2) seeing them as weak, manipulative and creating unnecessary dependencies with others. Fights around value differences can pepper the relationship, with neither side feeling they can move too much into the middle without a loss of their core values. They can be mutually confused by the other’s position.
The cycle continues with the Leader (8) losing respect for the Helper (2), finding them people-pleasing and manipulative, and the Helper (2) feeling their Leader (8) is hardhearted and controlling. Without a break in the momentum, the relationship is at risk, and the partners may split.
Learn more about the Enneagram Compatibility of Type 2s in relationships with Type 8s
Enneagram knowledge can be transformative in improving your relationships and an important tool in cultivating compassion, both towards yourself and others. In my book, “The Nine Keys: A Guide Book to Unlock Your Relationships Using Kundalini Yoga and the Enneagram” I explore intimate relationships through the lens of the Enneagram.
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The Nine Keys is the essential encyclopedia of the Enneagram in relationships. This book contains Enneagram relationship theory for all 45 type combinations as well as personal testimonials all 81 relationship perspectives. Drawing on over 1,500 years of relationship experience from over 100 couples from around the world, the descriptions and testimonials are instructive, uplifting, cautionary, and sometimes scary and humorous – all real, all good. Browse the entire book here.
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- Read more: Leader (8)s talking about their relationships with their Helper (2) at page 116
- Read more: Helper (2)s talking about their relationships with their Leader (8) at page 356
- Read more : the Kundalini Yoga kriyas and meditations for Helper (2)s at page 454 and Leader (8)s at page 474.