People Power

We begin with just a few descriptive lines about Twos, then we'll go into their inner life and see if we can experience what a Two experiences. I will not add much to the book descriptions, I will try to help you experience some Twos and so lead you to compassion or admiration.

Rumi is a 13th century Persian poet from Afghanistan whose poetry has thrilled spiritual seekers for centuries. This poem is an example of how an advanced Two sees beyond all external circumstances into our basic humanity. The reason Princess Dianna was so loved was that she also looked past her own station and wealth and was able to talk to cooks and cab-drivers and reports person to person. This is the high side of two. Twos live in a world composed of persons. They often don't fit into corporations but when they do, they usually establish a network, not of roles or status but of relationships.

Twos are often in positions of little structural power but significant political personal power. The archetype is the competent secretary who does much of the detail work for her (and it is frequently a her) boss. Her reward is just recognition at the end of the year. Her real reward, however, is the relationship. She works for him more than she works for her own salary reward.

One of the characteristics of our Enneagram habit is that it simplifies our life. We can't pay attention to everything all at once, so we sort out what we have always sorted and works for us, at least most of the time. Twos sort for people; regardless of the situation they will seek, see and select personal relationships.

Here's how Rumi expresses it:

Only Breath

Not Christian or Jew or Muslim, not Hindu

Buddhist, Sufi, or Zen. Not any religion

or cultural system. I am not from the East

or the West, not out of the ocean or up

rom the ground, not natural or ethereal, not

composed of elements at all. I do not exist,

am not an entity in this world or in the next,

did not descend from Adam and Eve or any

origin story. My place is placeless, a trace

of the traceless. Neither body or soul.

I belong to the beloved, have seen the two

worlds as one and that one call to and know,

first, last, outer, inner, only that

reath breathing human being.

Martin Buber insists that personal relationship is the way to filter out and understand the complexity of the world. The world is not comprehensible but it is embraceable: through the embrace of one of its beings.

As a young man growing up in a small town, I suggest that the living symbol of style Two is the neighbor lady carrying a casserole. It may be a church lady, or a neighbor, or the dinner for the funeral attendees. All social boundaries weaken, socio-economic levels flatten a bit and the casserole is delicious and served with love. If the Catholic Church ever allows women to be ordained, the casserole will be declared a sacrament.

I do not trust Christian women who tell me they are Twos. It is not that they are mendacious; it is that they may be succumbing to pressure. I've met a lot of "two wannabes. "Women raised in any Christian tradition are familiar with the popular picture of Jesus. Jesus, in popular culture is pictured as an unhealthy Two. Jesus, he of the long blonde hair and big blue eyes) loves everyone, forgives everything and asks nothing in return. (This has little to do with the itinerant mid-eastern Jew who offended scribes, Pharisees and kings but it is the presentation in pop culture). (Go visit Mardel's or any conservative Christian book store). If women are raised with this Jesus as their model, they will respond like a Two to my questions.

Jesus is, in effect, without boundaries or demands. Countless people have stayed too long in toxic relationships out of their desire to be like this Jesus. He is the patron saint of co-dependency here.

Another reason I don't trust women (in my culture at least) who self-identify as a Two is that a patriarchal culture puts a great deal of pressure on women to be "self-less." Women are expected to give without cost and are responsible for holding relationships together. The "me too" women are giving public testimony to the extremes of this dynamic. Mother's Day is the celebration of this dynamic: women are praised for self-giving without wanting or needing any reward. This praise is self-serving for a patriarchal culture. Men are not encouraged to be self-less. Women are, in effect being pressured to behave like unhealthy Twos.

Caring for others without due respect for the self does not make a better world; unless we understand our own needs we cannot know the needs of others. (Mary Lou Wright)

Here's Dolores in Crime and Misdemeanors (start at 5:23 f) Acting out the low side of Two. She is threatening to tell his wife about their affair, regardless of the cost to him. It is bizarre, but makes sense as a Two. Only the relationship matters. She pays little attention to the context or consequences of either the relationship or the breakup. She IS the relationship and she's fighting for survival. He tries to "reason" with her, but in her Two trance, she sees the severing of the relationship a kind of death.

Which is why my song on style Two begins with "I'm not me if I'm not with you." Lost In You.

Perhaps the most famous style Two is King Lear, who was going to divide up his kingdom on the basis on which daughter loved – or at least was able to express that love – the most. Lear:

We have this hour a constant will to publish

Our daughters' several dowers, that future strife may be prevented now.

…Tell me, my daughters, (Since now we will divest us both of rule,

Interest of territory, cares of state.)

Which of you doth love us most,

That we may our largest bounty extend,

Where nature doth merit challenge. (Act 1, Scene 1, Lines 39-49)

This may seem like just an old king dividing up his kingdom, but when you replace any criteria of competence, need, or justice with emotional satisfaction of hearing yourself loved, you get an idea of what it means when we say Twos live in an interpersonal world.

Transfer (on probably a much lesser scale) that dynamic to a corporation. A manager (unconsciously and habitually) evaluates employees on how well he or she thinks that employee has loving feelings for him or her. Imagine how that would set one up for flattery. It is no accident that immature Twos are themselves susceptible to flattery – both giving and receiving it. Affection becomes the coin of the realm. Twos will often bend or even break rules in the interest of personal relationships.

Twos, living in an interpersonal world, can structure a business or ministry around relationships. I taught an Enneagram seminar at a Catholic parish. It was well attended: 75 or 80 people showed up. The Sister who organized it called each person by their first name and asked about others in the family by their first name, too. Everyone was there because of their relationship to her. I don't know what kind of structure her ministry had, but I suspect it was not structured –it was her relationship to people that WAS the structure.

Some Twos can build a business out of relationships. For a vivid example of how that might be done, read Keith Ferrazzi's book on building a consulting business: Never Eat Alone. The book is about 5 years old and he required two cell phones to hold all his contacts! He spends all his time helping others, helping others helping a third party, and connecting people with himself and others.

On the darker side, Melody Beatty's self-help self-disclosure book, Co-Dependent No More is a long and sometimes painful sharing how she went through healing from co-dependency. The tradition "sin" of style Two is pride, which is usually translated as "I don't have needs (but you do and I am just what you need to fix them.") (Beatty is another example of my observation that many self-help books are about how they dealt with their Enneagram style.)

We don't all "know" in the same way to the same extent. Twos know through love. Every parent knows the child better and different because they love. Martin Buber (of I-Thou fame) writes "The World is not comprehensible: but it is embraceable: through the embrace of one of its beings."

Those of you who know Franciscan Richard Rohr probably know that his Franciscan tradition follows scholastic philosopher Duns Scotus. Most current theology is based on the principle of Thomas Aquinas that the intellect is primary and we are "rational animals." Western culture has followed Aristotle and Thomas: the French Revolution concluded with a ceremonial parade for the Goddess "Reason." Duns Scotus was of the opinion that the will is primary. Love is a better way to the truth than intelligence. Every Two understands that on a visceral level.

You Twos know who you are, so in the interests of better relationships, let me include a few tips for the rest of the population on how to deal with you.

    How to relate best to Twos

  • Person to person but not through social media unless necessary. Face time is good time.
  • Twos prize approval, so be careful with criticism; it will be inwardly amplified.
  • Conversely, appreciation is gold.
  • Twos build their lives around personal relationships and then they make a community/corporation/team/family work by knowing how to make things happen through those relationships. When they're socializing, they are working most of the time. People ARE their work.
  • Twos love (and keep subconscious track of) favors and love it when you acknowledge you owe them.
  • Don't try to "pay them back" for meeting your needs. Their self-image is such that they meet yours. It's not quite a two-way street.
  • Twos usually have a connection to style Eight and keep close tabs on who is using power. They are often sweet and effective power brokers.