Enneagram Type Two (the Helper)
Enneagram Type Six (the Loyalist)
What Each Type Brings to the Relationship
Both Enneagram Twos and Sixes are highly dutiful and take their responsibilities toward each other very seriously. The emphasis tends to be slightly different, however, with Twos focused primarily on building intimacy and positive feelings between themselves and other individuals, whereas the emphasis of Sixes tends to be on building a foundation of security, a sturdy platform of hard work and trust that everyone can count on. Both types are highly responsible and tend to put the needs of others before their own. They are both family oriented and foster domesticity; they easily share duties around the house and with their children or friends. They are both socially involved in their community and see great value in having many social connections which give them the feeling that they are valued in their world. Sixes value the warmth, kindheartedness, generosity, and self-sacrifice of the Two. Sixes are aware of how well suited Twos are to be an excellent, devoted spouse and parent, and that they could be trusted to be loyal.
On the other hand, Twos will likely admire the hard work, steadfastness to commitments, perseverance, modesty and playfulness of Sixes. Even if they should sometimes be grumpy and indecisive, Twos realize that healthy Sixes almost always come around in the end. Caution and vigilance are recognized as worthwhile assets in what can be a cruel and exploitative world. Twos often feel that they can count on the Six’s watchfulness to spot difficulties before they become problems. When Twos and Sixes are healthy, they may actually admire each other more than they feel a grand passion for each other. Their relationship may be based more on steadiness, mutual respect, and affection than on some kind of overheated chemistry between them. They see the other as good and dependable, and that is often more than enough as a basis for an enduring and productive life together.
Potential Trouble Spots or Issues
One of the main potential areas for problems between Twos and Sixes has to do with control and autonomy, between being too close and being too far apart. Part of the problem has to do with the lack of confidence of lower functioning Sixes and their ability to make decisions and to be decisive. Average Sixes tend to feel pressured by all kinds of competing demands on their time and energy—by the Two, by the boss, by friends, by their church, and even by their country. Pressure from all sides makes Sixes feel more anxious and emotionally unstable, unable to think clearly or to make decisions easily. They can become doubtful, suspicious, and negativistic. As Sixes become more reactive, they are likely to impulsively take almost any action just to relieve their anxieties momentarily. At such times, Twos may begin to offer them more help and advice, or to issue “orders” as a way to empower the Six and help them through their anxiety.
However, Sixes usually perceive the Two’s help as intrusiveness and undermining of their self-confidence, and they resent it. Cycles of anxiety and acting out, followed by tearful reunions, followed by needing to be more autonomous on the Six’s part, followed by more intrusion on the Two’s part, can wear this relationship down. The problem is that lower functioning Twos think there is no such thing as too much intimacy since they always want to be closer. However, Sixes are more ambivalent, pushing the Two away and then pulling them closer. The Six’s ambivalence and inconsistency drives the Two crazy and taps into their fears of rejection. Twos will up the ante by trying to help the Six more, although Sixes experience their help as control, and they seek more distance. This pair can become enmeshed in a bad child, punishing parent drama that can ultimately be fatal to their relationship and the real mutual respect that it was potentially founded on.