Enneagram Pairing Type 2 & 8
2 - The Nurturing Advisor
Helper, Giver, Caretaker Nurturer, Advisor, Altruist, Good Samaratian
8 - The Protective Challenger
Protector, Alpha Leader, Champion, Maverick, Commander, Negotiator, Boss
Eights core patterning is about masking their feelings of sadness with anger, controlling the world around them, and taking charge of chaotic situations, often with much ease and expertise. Eights are vivacious, intense, and lusty. Twos, generous and open to all, are concerned with reading people and ensuring everyone is happy and taken care of.
Twos give freely of their time and energy to almost anyone, while Eights typically do not make sacrifices for anyone other than their closest people (that being said, if you are lucky to be in the inner circle of an Eight, in them you have a true warrior and defender-they will fight to the death for you, if need be). While Twos are concerned with being liked, Eights have no need to be liked and will be more concerned with doing things their way.
Although incredibly different in their approach, and the underlying reason they behave the way they do, Twos and Eights share some things in common. They are both concerned with protecting their loved ones, a value that can appear as nurturing, providing for, and taking care of.
They are also typically both the strong, steadfast one in the relationship, although Eights lead from the front, while Twos support from behind. Also, again, while each is very different in their underlying motivations and assumptions about the world, they both value hard-work (and tend to lose themselves in it), sacrifice, passion, and generosity.
How You Complement Each Other
Eights and Twos can make a very stalwart duo: they are both magnanimous, vital, and reliable. Twos can appreciate the way Eights take the bull by the horns in situations where someone needs to step up. For the Eight, in the Two they can experience a sense of kindness and emotional depth that allows them to soften, even if only momentarily, and express some of their own deeper, unacknowledged emotions (usually sadness or grief).
Where the Two understands, almost intuitively, all the players in a given situation, the Eight understands how to execute best the game plan to achieve the quickest (best, most desirable) results. If these Two find themselves in an office environment together, their relationship will work best if the Two is in charge of relationship and team needs, while the Eight is given more of an enforcer role, with some level of ability to steer the ship.
In a personal relationship, romantic or otherwise, they will compliment each other with their shared energy and positive regard, especially if the Eight can trust the two with his/her softer side and the Two can establish firm boundaries for him/herself regarding how they like to be treated.
How You Can Get Into Trouble
In situations involving others, these two will probably get into trouble quickly. Eights are incredibly direct, independent, and tend to be harsh and unsentimental with others. On the contrary, Twos are subtle and indirect, tend to become co-dependent and people-pleasing quickly, and often mushy and sentimental.
In average articulations, Twos easily see where others are coming from and can let their perspective be swallowed by the other, while Eights rarely see where someone else is coming from and act from a place of self-interest. Eights rigorously adhere to the belief that people need to learn to take care of themselves.
Otherwise, they will become weak and incompetent, while Twos feel utterly useless if they are not, in some way, taking care of everyone around them. This can create an apparent clash, not only in the difference between action but in the fundamental distinction between outlook.
If they aren’t careful, in a relationship, these two can easily fall into a submissive/dominant pattern, where the Eight has all the power-by taking it, not by right-and the Two loses themselves completely. In another troubling scenario, the kind and capricious Two falls into a pattern of continually making excuses for the Eight, explaining away their temper and outbursts, and apologizing on behalf of them. In even another scenario, helpful Two find they’ve gone too far, when they insist on helping an angry or upset Eight, thus stripping the Eight of their feelings of power and control, further enraging them.
On the other side, Eights’ intensity and anger can prove too much for the Two, and after a few outbursts, the Two will slip away and into a more relaxed relationship. Also, because Twos are as emotionally adept as they are, Eights constant defenses and lack of vulnerability can become tiring-the Two would rather be close to people who share their ability to share and expose themselves.
What Each Type Needs To Be Aware Of
Eights, especially with Twos, need to be mindful that their “take no prisoners” mentality can not only be frightening to the empathic, soft Two, but entirely alienating. If possible, try and show them a little bit of what’s behind the veil, for example, talk to them about why a particular person or event makes you upset, or tell them about something painful that happened to you in your past that makes it hard for you to trust people today. Eights should also be aware of their tendency to boss people around, even people who are their equals. A Two will very rarely say anything about this boundary violation, although they will notice it, so it is on you to make sure you’re not overstepping.
Twos, be aware of trying to help an Eight through their emotional difficulties. Frequently, Eights are not looking for solutions to their problems (they already know what to do, of course), but want to feel like they are understood. If you offer solutions to a distressed, emotional Eight, it will fall on deaf ears, and they will now have a new reason for their pain: no one understands them!
In all relationships, Twos need to be aware of their tendency to lose themselves and allow their own needs to be swallowed by the other, but in the Two-Eight pairing, it will be especially important, as Eights take up much space and can require much attention. Healthy boundaries with an Eight can prove challenging for any Enneagram type, let alone a Two. Be sure to track your needs and speak up as often as you can-for an Eight, a person asserting is respectable, not threatening, so this relationship is a good place for the Two to practice standing up for themselves.
How You Can Support One Another
Put simply, the Two can support the Eight with their softness and emotional facility, while Eights can support Twos to grow a backbone, so to speak, and stand up for their convictions (after identifying them). Eights long to feel safe enough to be vulnerable, as there is often a well of unexpressed grief and sadness buried within their hearts, and in the Two, the Eight can genuinely get this need met. An adept Two can see what the Eight needs to feel safe, provide it seamlessly, and then hold space as the Eight accesses those darker recesses of self.
Twos empathy, generosity, and human understanding will go a long way in putting the Eight at ease. Likewise, the Eight can support the Two in discovering and standing up for what they believe in.
Eights are consummate supporters of the underdog, and strive for justice in all situations, so their energy is easily siphoned for a worthy cause, such as the boundary-poor Two becoming boundary-rich. By protecting, defending, and providing physical safety for the Two when they are feeling overwhelmed by everything the world is asking from them, the Eight can support the Two in getting what they need and want from life.
In A Romantic Context
When in healthy expressions, this can be a very loving, reciprocal love-match. The healthy Two, generous and warm, offers a compassionate, empathic place for the Eight to feel safe enough to be vulnerable. Also, the healthy Eight, passionate and intense, makes the Two feel protected, provided for, and unique.
Because both types tend to be very giving with the people they love, this romance will benefit from a deep feeling of mutuality. Eights also tend to make very enthusiastic, attentive lovers; that, combined with the Two’s natural ability to track emotions in others, could prove to be a winning combination for this couple.