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Trigger Series: Type Two

Looking Into the Mind of a Triggered Type Two

We've all done it. Starting a casual conversation with someone that all of a sudden turns into an all out fight. What happened? If you TRULY don't know (and it wasn't one of the usual suspects of sex, politics, and money), then you might have stepped on a Trigger for this Type. Read on for tips on how to translate the conversation into Type Two language and better understand how to dig yourself out of this hole.

Scenario 1:

What you said: "I don't NEED you to..."

What they heard: "I don't want you" (maybe even "I don't love you"), "you're not that important to me", "I'm rejecting you".

Why do they hear this? Type Twos believe that people will only love them if they make themselves indispensable to others, as they think they have very little worth beyond what they can contribute to others. From an object relations standpoint, they felt unsupported and rejected when they tried to create a separate sense of self, so they overidentified and leaned into their nurturing/giving side. The idea that others would then reject this nurturing side of them can make Twos feel like they have no way to earn their worthiness and are therefore worthless.

How can you dig yourself out of this hole: Address that you may not NEED them to do something for you, but nevertheless you WANT them around just because they are them. Remember, Twos feel like they have very little worth and they need to earn their place to be with others. Telling them that you just like being with them will help them realize that your "not needing" them doesn't mean you don't love them or want them around (though they'll probably act really awkward about it).

Scenario 2:

What you said: "You're acting really needy/selfish...."

What they heard: "You are worthless and I don't want you around" or "You can't have any needs or you are worthless"

Why do they hear this? Twos feel they need to earn their worth, which they do through "selfless" (with iron cables attached) giving and serving. They believe that having their own needs and fulfilling them detracts from helping others (i.e. earning their worth) so, as a result, neediness and selfishness are MAJOR trigger points for Twos. They are always worried they're deep down very needy and selfish and tapping this fear will likely cause an explosion.

How can you dig yourself out of this hole: If you were unfortunate enough to step on this landmine, realize that you're probably in for a big reaction (which makes sense, because the Two's ego is fighting for its life after hearing that). Just realize that you're going to get either the silent treatment, a verbal lashing, or some pretty impressive passive-aggressive (or just aggressive-aggressive) plots unfolding over the next 24 hours (we Twos can harbor some pretty amazing grudges).

Best thing to do is to call out into the room what you ARE and ARE NOT saying. For example, I am NOT saying you are a needy person. What I AM saying is that I need some personal time after a long day at work; I am NOT saying you are selfish. I AM saying that I wanted that last piece of pie and maybe we could split it next time.

You probably didn't say the words "You are selfish" (God help you if you did), but anything that sniffs of neediness or selfishness will get a similar reaction. Work with the specific scenario to be clear and clear the air of those two trigger points before you find your wet laundry in the front yard.

Other Common Type Two Triggers to Avoid:

  • Being taken for granted

  • Feeling unappreciated or underappreciated

  • Feel unheard by others

  • Feeling unwanted or unneeded

  • Feeling rejected or dispensable

For More information on Object Relations, see the Object Relations post


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