Enneagram Type Two (the Helper)
Enneagram Type Eight (the Challenger)

What Each Type Brings to the Relationship

These two types are more alike than they might appear to be at first. Both are action-oriented and want to have a personal impact on their environment. Both can be sentimental and deeply feeling, with a soft side that is often more hidden than apparent. Both can play the roles of provider, protector, caretaker, and nurturer while avoiding or even denying their own needs. Both tend to overwork themselves and both tend to be the strong one in relationships (although Twos will tend to do so as the power behind the throne while Eights will tend to clearly be on the throne). Both types bring passion, vitality, interpersonal and social skills, magnanimity, and generosity. The basic emphasis of both types is distinctly different, however, with Twos being primarily interested in the welfare of others while Eights tend to be interested in their physical wellbeing and in having a distinct impact on their world, often with beneficial fallout for others.

They easily play roles that the other needs and wants: the Eight is practical and concerned with results, whereas Twos are more people-oriented and more openly altruistic. They are both strong willed and like taking on responsibility, as long as they choose it themselves. Eights often bask in the glow of the Two's affection and adoration: Twos truly appreciate the Eight's strength and efforts—and see their often hidden self-sacrifice. Both see each other's noble qualities and can be each other's staunchest supporters and admirers. Their roles are also clearly delineated, so they do not get in each other's way. Each runs different spheres of their lives and cover different bases (one plays the symbolic Mommy the other the symbolic Daddy and things are clear and balanced). These qualities make this couple powerful allies who complement each other's strengths, particularly the good effects they can have on others.

Potential Trouble Spots or Issues

Twos and Eights have very different value systems: as noted above, Twos tend to be person oriented, while Eights tend to be practical minded. Their interpersonal styles are also very different, with Twos tending to be more empathetic and indirect and Eights being more direct and independent. Even average Eights tend to become proud of their resolutely unsentimental way of dealing with people and situations, while average Twos become highly attached to people and overly-solicitous about their needs. Twos tend to see things from the points of view of others, while Eights do not: they see things from the point of view of self-interest, feeling that others need to learn to take care of themselves lest they become weak and ineffectual. Thus, in a relationship, Twos and Eights have very different ideas about where other people fit into the picture, including their own family.

Both types tend to move in opposite directions and have increasingly opposing views about how to treat other people. Eights become more hard-hearted and confrontational, while Twos become more possessive and self-sacrificial. Between themselves, they can get into battles with each other about whose philosophy will prevail. Rather than feel rejected or lose a key relationship, however, Twos can get caught in a codependent relationship with the Eight. The Two can become an apologist for the Eight's bad behavior, enabling them and thus encouraging Eights to continue with anti-social or self-destructive habits. Thus, this couple might not break up as quickly as some other pairings would, although they can drag each other down without seeing their mutual trap. Ultimately, Eights can lose respect for Twos, finding them insincere and manipulative, while Twos lose respect for Eights thinking them to be cruel and domineering. Both can become coarser and more controlling if this continues, with overtones of stalking and paranoia, fears of betrayal and acts of revenge.

For further understanding about this type combination, read more about the Stress Arrow and how types Two and Eight behave when they are moving along it.