The Intimate Two

The Seductress

Start with an American classic: the sexual seductive type. In popular culture and in the movies, this is usually a feminine role. Adolescent males (of every age) show a cultural preference for this type and often pay dearly for this preference.

These are the seductresses. What is the difference between being attractive and being seductive? The seductive Two has unconscious hostility, even hatred, for the person she is trying to attract. She is not inwardly clear about the distinction between being sexually desirable and being loved. When she (and I'll use the feminine because my examples from the movies are both women) offers herself to men sexually, she expects true love in return. She is invariably disappointed.

Psychologically, this is rooted in fatherlessness. This may be actual or perceived. A distant or frequently absent father who then periodically showers inappropriate attention on the little girl can create the polarity. "Either I'm totally lovable (which will later mean sex) or I'm overlooked." This prompts the little girl to work hard to please men. With her natural radar, she learns that sex is how to please men. But by sex she intends an exchange for lavish attention and love. The men in question may mean something else entirely.

Hell hath no fury

This discrepancy between expectancy and actuality infuriates the Two and she moves to vengeance, which in Enneagram understanding, is the low side of Eight. "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned" was probably written about a vengeful Two. The thing to watch for and understand is the oscillation between deep dependency and hostility --and both done in the name of love. "I want you, I need you, I hate you." "You can't do this to me, you can't just throw me aside after using me." One of the ways you can tell it is connected to the absent father is the frequent reference to the man's duty to be responsible and take care of his obligations. His duty always includes taking care of her. She is functionally a child, she is his responsibility. "You seduced me. I was basically a) innocent, b) helpless c) acting in good faith that you would "follow through on your promises." Seducers believe the promises of the person they're involved with. Sometimes those promises are explicit ("things were said") or implicit in the case of sex. No matter what the context, in the mind of the seducer, sex always means "You love me and will take care of me." (As a good father should).

The seductress is culturally the opposite of the girl next door. She (and of course he, with certain modifications) is distant, she is not there for conversation and shoulder to shoulder sharing of tasks. She oscillates between intimacy and distance, with sexual energy the only bridge across the chasm. It is sexuality without emotional context. This makes it more passionate and less dependable.

Boundaries are a problem for Twos. Intimate Twos will invite more intimacy than is appropriate. She will encourage you to take advantage of her, especially but not exclusively sexually. Sometimes it is financial. We all know of women who put their husbands through school, where upon he immediately leaves her, the cad. She doesn't have a clue that she may have set it up. Then she will want revenge for the abuse. She'll take him to the cleaners or destroy him emotionally, or get pregnant or whatever works. She will do anything.

To see this acted out vividly, watch Angelica Houston (the doctor's mistress) in Crimes and Misdemeanors. Then watch Glen Close in Fatal Attraction. If you watch those two movies you will get a vivid demonstration of what the dynamics are. Notice that both women are abjectly dependent on men they hate -- and want. Both see themselves as really having no power, yet exercising considerable power. Both see themselves as nothing without the man, while at the same time scorning him. Both see themselves as little children. Neither of the women have a life independent of the man. They are obsessed with him precisely to the degree they have no substance of their own. He and only he can give them inner reality. His responsibility is in direct proportion to her need. Guilt is the currency of love.

The seductress wants love in the worst way and gets it. She begins by defining love inwardly with painful narrowness. "If you love me, you will take me sexually." No other form of love will do.

Control is the issue

Then, because seduction is a way of life, she includes Divine Love in the same dynamic. "God, my father, doesn't really love me. He's distant, just like men. But if I do whatever good things I can, (if I seduce Him), then he will have to love me. He will have to honor his responsibilities toward me. He will have to take care of me. I will be so good, so loving that I will be loved in return. God is not outdone in generosity."

Every community is apt to have a few unhealthy Twos whose love is feared by many. Invested love is a control mechanism. (Enneagram ego styles are control mechanisms. The world is not very manageable when we are young, so we find ways to get it to do what we want. Then we extend the effort to include God.) When God doesn't answer prayers of the Two when they are sooo pious, they can get deeply hurt and angry. God broke his (implicit) part of the bargain, just like men do!

If a male coach has a female Two client, he will have to be careful not to fall into the role of father. She will pull for that. It may appear to be seduction, and sometimes is, but the more common pitfall is to become a father-figure.


  1. Begin with observation. If you look into the vacant eyes of the models who are so alluring, you can probably see the chasm. I've always wondered why the vacant look was so popular, perhaps this is the explanation. Seduction is always an act of hostility and desperation. If you prefer real life, go to the mall. Read the expressions on the faces of those who are dressed the most seductively - male or female. (That hostility has been hard-earned, they've most likely been abused before and some may have had a role in bringing it about).
  2. Watch the dynamic of oscillation between need and rejection in relationships. They can alternate or they can be simultaneous. (I hate you but you owe me...)
  3. When you are tempted (!) to do something for anyone, to meet their needs as only you can, examine your motives. If it is done out of gratitude for what you already have, you're clear. If this is part of your spiritual portfolio, an emotional investment policy, you're in trouble. When Jesus told us not to let our right hand know what our left was doing, this is the dynamic he was trying to break down. Anonymous kindness is healing for both the giver and the recipient. Do some.
  4. Seductive Twos vividly personify Thomson's law, "What you don't get up front, you get out back." Ask for what you really want. But before you do, get as clear as you can about what you want. Twos have a tough time even knowing what they want.

    Discussion questions:

  1. How old does your Enneagram style feel? Describe (at least for yourself) in some detail how odd you feel if/when you're being seductive.
  2. Enneagram energy shows up in patterns. Do you have any patterns of being exploited? If so, can you discern how you may have set them up? You can take it for gold that if you recognize a pattern in your life, you have a hand in creating it. We have a number of vulgar synonyms for exploitation. Do you use them? When? What's the usual context? Any pattern there?
  3. If this is your strategy, ask yourself a) How do you seduce? What are the inner movements? Do you feel it in your eyes? your shoulders? your gut? Where? (Many Twos feel a confusion in their upper chest right below the throat, for example.)
  4. If you want to let go of some this strategy, ask yourself what you will lose. What does your strategy do for you? Are you willing to dispense with it (or at least part of it)? We need to count the cost of our changes or they will be frightening because they loosen what we perceive to be our control over our environment.