Enneagram Type 2w1: Childhood (A complete guide)

In this article, we will discuss Enneagram Type 2w1 i.e. type two wing one ‘The Servant’ and the role of their childhood in their personality development. We will do that by initially giving an introduction to enneagrams, their structure, and wings. This will follow up by describing the dominant type Two personality and its triad. We will move on to giving an overview of its subtype i.e. type 2w1. Finally, we will discuss the detailed role of childhood in their development.  

Enneagram Type 2w1: Childhood

Enneagram type 2w1 has the primary characteristics of type 2 and secondary characteristics of type 1 personality. These people are helpful, reserved, and quiet. They strive to alleviate human misery and suffering from the world. Their core childhood conflict that makes them the way they are is ‘Self-sacrifice’. This means that they put the needs of others before their own. They do this because their sense of worth is dependant on being loved. And being selfless and generous towards others is the only way to earn love for type twos.

Introduction to Enneagrams

Enneagrams are a map or typology of human personalities. It has its roots in spirituality, philosophy, and psychology. Multiple people contributed to its development among which George Ivanovich Gurdjieff, Oscar Ichazo, and Claudio Naranjo are the most prominent. 

It is divided into nine personality types that are spread across 3 triads i.e. Feeling triad, Thinking Triad, or Instinctive Triad. It describes a person’s fundamental psychological orientation in the form of good or bad traits and sees which triad quality i.e. emotion, intellect or instincts is most characteristic of his or her personality. 

An enneagram gives a personality type that is fluid and explains its change across time i.e. personality integration (during health, self-actualization) or disintegration (during ill health, neurosis). In other words,  a personality can become more healthy or unhealthy as it moves in different directions from its basic type. Enneagram also links one personality type with other personality types.

The structure of Enneagram

Enneagram symbol is a circle that has 9 points (each point is a personality type) present on the circumference. Each type is related to another as represented by the connected lines. Points 3,6, 9 forms a triangle. They are primary personality types that are blocked in some way from feelings, thoughts, or instincts. Whereas 4,2,8,5,7,1 form an irregular hexagram and are secondary personality types since they are mixed and not blocked from feelings, thoughts, or instincts. Each type is the result of a dialectic. In every triad, one type over-expresses its characteristic quality, another under-expresses it, and the third is mostly out of touch with it. 

Wings in Enneagrams 

The Basic Personality Type is the most characteristic of a person. Whereas wings add elements to the overall personality i.e. it is the second side of it. 

Example: If you are a personality type 2, you can have wing1 or wing3. So, such a personality can be understood by knowing the traits of the basic or main type and the secondary types. Usually, each personality has two wings, and both influence a person. However, at times people have one dominant wing along with their basic personality type.

The Feeling Triad: Personality Types Two, Three, Four

• The positive and negative traits of these personalities are dominated by feelings.

• When these types are healthy, their feelings make them distinct and admirable for their interpersonal qualities.

• When they are unhealthy, they are out of balance with respect to their emotions and are difficult to interact with at an interpersonal level.

• All three personality types have common problems linked with identity and hostility.

Enneagram Type 2: The Helper

Key traits: Caring, generous, possessive, and manipulative. They overexpress their feelings. Positive emotions are expressed more openly. Whereas, negative emotions are repressed. It has two subtypes:

• The two with wing 1 (Type 2w1)

• The two with wing 3 (Type 2w3)

Type 2w1: ‘The Servant’

Type 2w1 has basic traits of type 2 and secondary traits of type 1. Type two pushes these people to be emotional and interpersonal but type one emphasizes rationality and self-control. Thus, type 2w1 is empathic yet restrained. They strive for love through being good, selfless, and meeting other’s needs before their own. Sense of duty and obligation drives them to have a strong conscience and act according to principles of treating others fairly, no matter how bad they feel at the emotional level themself.

Healthy versions of this subtype can contribute a lot by different means like teaching, adding to philanthropic causes, improving lives, and working for charities. They have a sense of purpose and seriousness in doing this. They make good teachers as they can be rational but warm with good values, supportive, and encouraging. 

Average versions of this personality empathize with others but in moderation with a hint of judgment of others on moral grounds. However, they are still driven to help others and find it hard to say no. They can be controlling of others and themself in the name of love. Being the center of attention embarrasses them due to which they try to be in the background. They can be highly self-critical and find it hard to express even their basic needs.

Unhealthy versions of this subtype are moralistic, rigid, and self-righteous. They deceive themselves into believing they are right on moral grounds but are actually highly critical of others. They deny their feelings of anger. Hypochondria, psychosomatic disorders, and OCD related to the body are common in such types.  

Examples of Type 2w1: Mother Teresa, Lewis Carroll, Eleanor Roosevelt

Strengths of Type 2w1

  • Attentive to the needs of others
  • Self-aware of personal areas needing improvement
  • Supportive of others
  • Focus on the present

Weaknesses of Type 2w1

  • Overly Self-critical
  • Overly Self-sacrificial
  • Need approval of others
  • Find criticism from others hard

If you’re facing this, it may be a good idea to seek the help of a therapist or other mental health professional. You can find a therapist at BetterHelp who can help you learn how to cope and address it.

Workplace and job 

Type 2w1 are dedicated, selfless, and altruistic. They love contributing to a cause They prefer to work in jobs that allow them to help others but also give them personal space to re-charge e.g. counselor, nurse, school psychologist, advisor, etc.

Source of Stress for type 2w1

  • Criticism from others
  • Not being able to help
  • Self-induced guilt and shame
  • Ignoring personal needs

Basic fear 

Type 2w1 fear being unwanted by loved ones. They adopt a caretaker role to serve others to not feel insecure.

Basic desire 

Type 2w1 desire to be loved and accepted. So they serve others, are helpful and humble. They repress their needs and emotions but feel internally conflicted for putting the needs of others ahead of their own. 

Type 2w1 Childhood/development

We become any personality depending on how we have learned to respond to the world growing up. Our early childhood particularly our relationship with our parents governs how we unconsciously adapt to our family and the world. Genetics and temperament have their role as well. A person remains one personality type throughout life but may change and grow to develop healthy or unhealthy traits.  

In childhood, type twos had ambivalent feelings towards the parent with the protective role who was responsible for providing structure, discipline, and guidance (in most cases it is the father but not always). It was difficult for them to establish a connection with him but also hard to separate from them. 

So to maintain the connection, they developed a complementary identity in reaction to qualities associated with the protective role i.e.authority, power, discipline, guidance, and structure. Thus, their identity became more maternal and they strived to gain safety and security by being more nurturing and affectionate. 

This laid the foundation of how they started to interact with others in their surroundings to get love. Hence, their self-esteem became conditional and explains their suffering of having to strive to always be exceptionally good and selfless. As a result, they started suppressing their own needs due to their superego’s vigilance for any signs of selfish behavior. They are constantly given messages like ‘Although that person said good things about you but if you were lovable you would have been given a hug’. So, their superego is always unsatisfied and drives them to try harder to self-sacrifice even more. 

Problems can arise when twos began to feel they are good all the time, even when they are not. Healthy versions of this type can limit their need to nurture others and shift the focus on themself. They finally understand that it is not a selfish act rather necessary to be healthy first, before being able to help others. In other words, they can love themselves unconditionally and be caring, unselfish, and disinterested at the same time.

Unhealthy versions of this type are quite dependent and needy to get love from others. So much so that they can unknowingly even do bad things in the name of good to achiev ethat.   

FAQs: Type 2w1-Childhood

What is Type 2 personality?

Type 2 personality is altruistic, quiet, and want to alleviate human suffering. They fear being unwanted by loved ones. So, they try really hard to be helpful to prevent that from happening. It is one of the types from the nine enneagrams.

What is Type 2w1?

Type 2w1 or Type 2 wing 1 is an enneagram personality subtype. It has core characteristics of type two personality and complementary characteristics of type one personality. 

Is Enneagram valid?

Yes. Studies conducted on The Enneagram Institute’s Riso-Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator (RHETI) is 72 percent accurate, reliable and valid,

Can your Enneagram number change?

No. Enneagram type or number remains the same as we have the same personality patterns ingrained in us. However, a person’s traits may change over time.


In this article, we discussed enneagram type 2w1 in detail and the role of childhood in their development. We found that Enneagram type 2w1 has the primary characteristics of type 2 and secondary characteristics of type 1 personality. These people are helpful, reserved, and quiet. They strive to alleviate human misery and suffering from the world. Their core childhood conflict that makes them the way they are is ‘Self-sacrifice’. This means that they put the needs of others before their own. They do this because their sense of worth is dependant on being loved. And being selfless and generous towards others is the only way to earn love for type twos.

 I hope you found this article interesting. If you have any queries or comments, please state them in the comment section 😊




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