Misidentifying Twos and Sixes

This is a fairly common mistype because these two types share a number of key traits. Both are warm and engaging and want to be liked–although, more precisely, Sixes want to have the approval and support of others, whereas Twos want to be loved and to be important to others. Both ingratiate themselves with people, although Sixes do so by being playful and silly, by bantering and teasing those they want to elicit an emotional (protective) response from. Average Twos also ingratiate themselves, but more from an implied position of superiority–they are warm and friendly, although the implication is that they are offering their love and friendship, their approval and advice, rather than that they are seeking it from the other, at least at first.

In short, the feeling-tone of both types is completely different: Sixes warily invite selected others into their lives, whereas Twos throw out the net of their feelings with more abandon and see whom they can sweep into the fold. Sixes want to create partnerships with others that will support them in their bid to be more independent, but start to feel anxious if the relationship becomes too merged or “mushy.” Twos want to be close with others, and the more intimacy and merging they have with their loved ones, the better.

Both types are emotional, corresponding to the Jungian feeling types–the Two is the extroverted feeling type (PT, 62-63), and the Six, the introverted feeling type (PT, 222-223). Twos “wear their hearts on their sleeves” and are openly warm and demonstrative about how they feel toward others. Sixes, by contrast, are often ambivalent about their feelings, frequently sending ambiguous, mixed signals to other people. As they deteriorate, average to unhealthy Twos become increasingly covert in their dealings with people, ultimately becoming manipulative while concealing their true motives even from themselves. By contrast, average to unhealthy Sixes become wildly reactive (overreacting) and consciously confused about their feelings, ultimately becoming paranoid.

Indeed, Sixes are consciously assailed by anxiety, indecision, and doubts–and they look to trusted others (especially some kind of authority-figure) to reassure them and help them build their confidence and independence. Twos are also sometimes anxious, of course, as all human beings are; however, they are not as indecisive or assailed with doubts, nor do Twos consult an authority figure for answers. On the contrary, as they grow in self-importance, average Twos usually make themselves into authority figures, dispensing advice on all life issues to the people within their spheres of influence. In short, average to unhealthy Twos believe they will only get love by having others depend on them, whereas average to unhealthy Sixes increasingly fear becoming dependent on others, while actually becoming more dependent. At the end of the Continuum, the differences can be seen most starkly between the unhealthy Two’s psychosomatic suffering and romantic obsession and the unhealthy Six’s paranoia and volatile lashing out. Contrast Twos such as Merv Griffin and Sammy Davis, Jr., with Sixes such as Johnny Carson and Mel Gibson.