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Mistyping Series: Type Two vs. Type Six

One of the hardest parts of the Enneagram is finding your Type--Nine Types with 54 combinations can create a lot of confusion and lead to mistyping. If you are unsure which Type you are between Type Two and Type Six, read on for ways to find your true Type.

Why Are These Types Mistyped? Because Both Types Can Be:

Compliant With Others' Expectations:

If you are lucky enough to have a Type Two or Type Six in your life, you know that these Types try their best to meet the expectations of the people around them (and society as a whole). As it turns out, these Types are both members of the Compliant Triad meaning that they move with people and expectations to ultimately get their needs met. Since Twos at their core believe that they are unlovable and worthless without others needing them and wanting them in their lives, they will meet others' expectations as a means of feeling loved, wanted, and secure in the relationship. Type Sixes use this similar strategy of moving with others in order to fulfill their need of feeling safe and being support by others. Sixes see the world as an unsafe place and feel that they are not totally equipped to handle life on their own, so they try to create a network of people and systems in their lives that give them support, safety, and security that they cannot give themselves. Working with others ultimately serves this purpose of getting security even if they will also vet and test those they are seeking security from.

Warm and Relationship-Oriented:

Both Types can be very warm with others and focused on creating deep relationships. Twos are members of the Heart Triad and struggle with feelings of shame and worthlessness and feel that they must combat these feelings by creating an identity that is selfless, helpful, and giving in order to be significant and loved. Twos, then, cast a wide net and offer help and relationship almost indiscriminately to anyone who has the potential to give them a feeling of significance. From this position of helping, Twos are rarely in the position of receiving help, but take the stance of helper. Type Sixes can also be extremely warm and relationship-oriented, but more as a means of creating partnerships and support networks. Since Type Sixes are part of the Head Triad and struggle with fear and the need for security, these networks are paramount for their ongoing safety. Having trustworthy allies is all important for building alliances, which they will prioritize over giving advice, help, and unreciprocated aid (at the cost of calling in favors later) like a Two.

Professional Worriers

Type Twos are not usually labelled as worriers, but those who have Twos in their lives know this to be true. Twos can be sneaky about their worrying because they usually direct this energy at the relationships in their lives and will worry for the sake of someone else. Since they are such natural helpers and fixers, Twos may even feel that they cannot relax if every person in their lives are not totally happy and regulated. To this end, Twos will give (unsolicited) advice, (unsolicited) help, and unnecessarily take on others' stress in the name of the relationship, but also in the name of feeling regulated themselves (since it would be selfish to feel regulated when those in your care are not regulated). Sixes, on the other hand, worry more about their general safety, the safety of those close in their lives, the future state for themselves/others/the world, and the trustworthiness of others in their lives. Basically anything that has to do with their current or future safety, they will worry about it. They may not call it worrying, they may call it planning, preparing, or thinking things through, but... it's still worrying. Since Sixes process information through their minds first, they are uniquely susceptible to overthinking and creating mountains out of molehills.

How Are These Types Different?

Rejection Type vs. Attachment Type (Object Relations Triad):

How Their First Relationships Shaped Them:

Looking at Types from a stance of Object Relations can provide a lot of clarity to the meaning behind some of the characteristics we see as similar between Types.

Type Two: Rejection Type

Type Six: Attachment Type

What Does "Rejection Type" Mean?

When the Type Two's ego was developing, they didn't feel adequately supported in their need to individuate by the Protective function in their lives and even felt rejection from having this need. This feeling of rejection was so great that the Type Two decided to reject their own needs of being supported to individuate (thus denying they need to individuate from others at all) to prevent feeling rejected again. From this position, they overidentified with the Nurturing function (i.e. loving, caring, supporting others) and took on these characteristics in order to belong and cut off their needs of individuating. This initial feeling of rejection around their basic needs caused the Two to create a belief that their belonging was dependent on providing something (other than just themselves) to relationships. As a result, the Two gives their nurturing to others in order to belong.

How Does This Shape Their Current Relationships?

Type Twos will overplay being needed by others and offering their "help" not because this strokes their ego but because it is their main source of survival and belonging. Because of this, you will see Type Twos not only killing themselves to help others, but also becoming resentful when they are not given the appreciation (something they will allow to substitute for true love), love, friendship, or recognition they "earned" by all their help and support and even fearful when their help is outright rejected.

What Does "Attachment Type" Mean?

When the Type Six's ego was developing, they felt seen to a degree by the Nurturing function, but they felt under-supported by the Protective function, which is tasked with helping the child separate from the Nurturing function by providing guidance, support, and "how-to" knowledge. Unlike other Object Relations Types, Type Sixes took this "miss" as an indication of something wrong with themselves that required them to change in order to receive the support that they needed. Believing that they are unlikely to survive without outside support and guidance, the Type Six decided to pursue only the things that they felt supported in, which sometimes resulted in them pursuing things that they didn't necessarily have much interest.

How Does This Shape Their Current Relationships?

Because Type Sixes feel that they must only pursue the areas of life that they will be supported by external factors, they will frequently spin their internal wheels trying to figure out where this support lies. They will talk about "not knowing" what they want and being unsure of what they think, when in reality what they "don't know" is if they will be supported if they choose what they want (of course, most of the "not knowing" is a result of a deep distrust of their own ability to support themselves, know themselves, and make decisions). Part of their questioning and testing with others is a symptom of the Six ascertaining if the person they might externalize their sense of support to is trustworthy and will really catch them if they fall.

Heart Type vs. Head Type (Instinctual Triads): How Types Initially Process Information:

Type Two: Heart Type

Type Six: Head Type

What does "Heart Type" Mean?

Type Twos are a member of the Heart Triad meaning that they first process information through their hearts or feelings. Type Twos overplay their feelings in situations, using them to justify over-giving and over-helping in order to maintain their image as selfless and loving. Twos, as well as the other members of the Heart Triad (Threes and Fours), struggle with feelings of shame and worthlessness. This struggle propels Twos into creating a significant identity around being a super-helper who is indispensable to those they love.

What Does "Head Type" Mean?

Type Sixes are the center Type of the Head Triad and will use their heads or minds to process information first. Though mentally analyze situations allows them to look at situations from a myriad of different angles, this also causes them to think and over-think most situations as well. The Six will spend a lot of time in their heads dissecting, worrying, planning, preparing, and testing situations before action takes place.

Optimistic Type vs. Reactive Type (Harmonic Triad): Type: How Types Cope When They Don't Get What They Want

Type Two: Optimistic Type

Type Six: Reactive Type

What Does "Optimistic Type" Mean?

When the Type Two does not get what they want from a situation, they will try to repress their own negative thoughts and feelings of the situation and maintain a positive self-image and positive image of the other. By employing this tactic, they can avoid their own negative feelings and the reality of the situation in service of maintaining an image of themselves as selfless givers. Though positivity is a wonderful quality, Twos frequently find that avoidance of reality used on any broad scale can lead to situations festering or blowing up.

What Does "Reactive Type" Mean?

When the Type Six does not get what they want from a situation, they will react strongly to the situation (usually with intensity and passion) and will try to demand or provoke a similar response in others. Trying to "call out into the room" the issues at hand is a common value held by all members of the Reactive Triad (Type Fours and Type Eights) and is used in attempts to clearly and authentically uncover issues and quickly resolve them. Sixes, in particular, will attempt to test others (especially sources of support) for trustworthiness and try to both maintain their current support while also proving their independence and immunity to exploitation.

Helpful Typing Questions:

Ask "Why", "What Does It Mean", "How Would You Feel", and "What Would Happen"

Asking these questions in regards to any characteristics that a person claims as the reason for choosing their Type will help them gain a layer of clarity on the motivation behind the behavior.

Question: When you think about your relationships, how many of your relationships are based on you helping, giving advice, or fixing things? How open are you to receiving help and advice?

Answer Hint: Listen for answers that indicate that the person is not as open to help and advice or doesn't think they need as much (Type Two) versus someone who is naturally a problem-solver, but is more open to reciprocal help and advice (Type Six).

Question: How do choose the relationships you are in?

Answer Hint: Listen for answers that indicate a more random process of finding (and then keeping long past what is healthy) relationships (Type Two) versus relationships (especially close relationships) that are carefully tested and vetted for trustworthiness (Type Six).

Ask Questions That Clarify Their Triad:

Asking for reactions based on the Type's Triads can also give a lot of clarity based on how they act in certain situation:

Question (Rejection vs. Attachment): How do you feel about gaining support from others? Does it feel critical to your survival?

Answer Hint: Listen for answers that indicate a high level of need for support (Type Six) versus almost discomfort being in the position of need (Type Two).

Question (Rejection vs. Attachment): How do you feel when someone rejects your help?

Answer Hint: Listen for answers that indicate a high level of offense taken (or at least feeling hurt or untethered) when someone rejects the offers of help (Type Two) versus a more measured understanding of a person's desire to do things as they want (Type Six).

Question(Heart vs. Head): When you are assessing a situation, where does your attention go first? Do you first assess the feelings of everyone involved in the situation or do you first look to problem-solve for safety and the common good?

Answer Hint: Listen for answers that the feelings of the situation are not only observed, but almost taken on by the person (Type Two) versus answers that indicate assessing a problem and figuring out how to deal with it with an eye on the risk involved(Type Six).

Question (Optimistic vs. Reactive): When you don't get what you want, what is your first reaction?

Answer Hint: Listen for answers that indicate a need to express oneself and the issues they have with the situation before moving to solutions (Type Six) versus answers that show a commitment to staying positive about the people involved while also putting off dealing directly with the situation.

For more information on Object Relations and the Enneagram Triads, click the buttons below:

For Typing help, questions, or to schedule a personal coaching session, email Kimberly at


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