Carson McCain | Enneagram Type Two

The primary and driving motivation for a type two is the need to be loved, to express their feelings for others and to be needed and appreciated. Tell me how that resonates and how that plays out in your life.

When I could finally put words to this motivation, a lot of my actions made sense. WHY couldn't I say no to things that people needed me to do? Why did I feel such responsibility in friendships, that I didn't feel was reciprocated? Why did I struggle so deeply with boundaries and co-dependency, not just with my family, but with people around me?! I have some perspective now. Oh, I just want to be loved and appreciated. That's why I feel trapped and like I can't say no. My husband hasn't said thank you in a while, that's probably why I'm weirdly mad at him, not necessarily because he didn't re-make the bed. In positive ways, I like myself as a 2 because I like to help people. I genuinely enjoy the feeling I get when someone is relieved or feels less alone because I was there. That's what I want my theatre to do. That's what I want everything in my life to do. Help people feel less alone. It's that flip side, the no-boundaries side, that sticks out in my mind more, because I personally am more likely to look at my shortcomings than my strengths.

What do you wish people knew about what it's like to be a two? What do you wish people knew about twos in general?

I wish people knew the shadow of pride that comes with being a 2. Even now, when I say I'm a 2 people smile and are like, of oh of course! The helper! I feel like they're implying, you're the good one. Sometimes I want to scream, I also need help, I'm just too stubborn to ask for it! (Cue resentment). Sometimes I want to ask for alone time, and I disappear for a while because I feel a crushing weight when I'm around people, that they expect me to help them. (Cue anxiety disorder that then tells me I'm letting all my friends down because I'm not there for them). I notice that these are lies that I tell myself. But I wish non-twos understood these lies. I wish that people with different motivations heard the little voice in my head that says it's selfish if I myself ask for help. I also wish people knew, I genuinely love helping. When I'm healthy, it isn't a burden. It's a privilege. And it's the fear that I won't get to have that privilege that keeps me from saying no sometimes.

How has getting to know yourself better using the Enneagram affected your relationship dynamics?

The Enneagram has helped me understand my husband so much, and extend more grace to him. He's always been a very logical thinker, unlike me, and chooses to ignore his feelings when making decisions. In the past, I've been really hurt by things he's said that I've taken personally. But finding out he's a 1 has helped me to see his strengths, and appreciate pieces of him that used to hurt me. He is pointing out ways things can be better. I love that he can see those things. I don't love that it came out, Hey you forgot to take the clothes out of the washer again. But I do love that he sees things that I don't. It gives me a more helpful filter through which to hear him. I also now recognize when I neglect him, because being with him feels selfish to me. It feels like I'm indulging, so sometimes I leave him by the wayside to do and do and do other things that I think NEED my attention. I can now recognize that that is part of my 2-ness and that it is not necessarily selfish for me to spend time with my partner. I'm really grateful for that insight.

Tell me what it looks like for you when you access your growth and stress numbers.

When I'm healthy/growing, I'm introspective, and can accurately assess and meet my needs. I am also more likely to speak truth, instead of avoiding conflict because it's more comfortable, or because I don't want someone to be mad at me. When unhealthy, I feel super depressed and anxious, and get stuck in a shame spiral about how I'm not doing enough because I'm depressed and anxious, which makes me want to do less, which makes me more ashamed and so on. Part of that has to do with my anxiety disorder. A few people have mistyped me as a 6. But I'm not motivated by fear. I'm motivated by love and need with a big ol' obstacle of anxiety and panic in the way of me being able to help as much as I want.

What's something about you that's different than how twos are described? OR what's something in the two description that you don't connect with?

I don't feel like people owe me for helping them. Even at my most unhealthy, I am likely to be upset with myself over being upset with someone else. I don't think I'm likely to manipulate people or undermine them to make myself feel better. I'm more likely to isolate and be sad that no one has come for me. But I still will blame myself for not reaching out for help as opposed to for them not helping me.