Feeling Type 2: “The Helper”
Subordinate: own Thinking
Short circuits in storm state:
Feeling – Feeling
Thinking – Acting
FF AT TA
The childhood distress of a feeling type 2 was coldness. The supply of emotional warmth was not secured. The childhood problem was on the emotional level. Because he was not able to solve this problem by communicating with his parents “outside” of himself, he had to deal with it internally. And he had three possibilities: Loving the own feeling (FF), to distance himself from his own feelings (TF) or to control and dominate, to actively alter his feelings (AF). Feeling type 2 is the one who solved it in the first way.
He “loved” the feelings, amplified them, short circuited the feeling energy with itself. The other psychological functions, thinking and acting connected with each other – AT: he controlled the thinking and – TA: distanced himself from his actions. Whenever necessary, he shut down in this manner and thus secured his survival.
As soon as this pattern exceeds its function of self-protection in childhood and a person gets triggered back into it as an adult, there is storm warning. And if the person is permanently trapped in it, it is considered a personality disorder. As an example of a feeling type 2 with storm warning, let’s take a look at the main character in “Patch Adams” (1998), played by Robin Williams.
Hunter “Patch” Adams is focused on the emotional world, identifies with his role as the one who is tuned to the feelings of the other person, brings them out, amplifies them, appreciates them and therefore receives appreciation. Whenever he does this, his own problems fade away. He distracts himself from his own and the people at the mental hospital from their own illnesses. As long as he can be this emotional patch, he does not feel the reason for his own stay at the hospital – his suicidality. It’s his drug. If he gets it, he gets a manic, self-aggrandising pride-rush. if he lacks it, he gets depressed. In order to get it, he needs sick and needy people, because without them, there’s no need for a patch.
The thinking, the factual level gets flexibly adapted to his addiction to emotional appreciation. in the following scene, Patch is at the university and does his study of medicine which took the place of his own psychotherapy.
Patch lectures his fellow student: “The point is: if you wanna become a doctor, you have to learn to treat the patient as well as the disease, that’s why we have to dive into people – wade into the sea of humanity, Truman.”. Here, he just humbly redefines the purpose of clinical medicine. And replaces it’s objective with one that enables him to get his “kick” as a “doctor”. In the movie he makes many similar statements. To make the point about the flexible factual level (colloquially: bullshitting), let’s take a quick look at this one:
Doctors treat diseases. That’s their job. If they go beyond that, they cross personal boundaries. If someone wants to be “treated” as a person, he visits a psychotherapist. amongst other things because he knows, that a psychotherapist has the needed competence and knows well about intimate boundaries in a therapeutical context. What patch does, is neither treating diseases nor treating “people”. He temporarily distracts them by connecting with them and make them laugh. The ability to emotionally vibe with a person is a valuable one. And is very important on the level of intimate friendships. But that’s something different than the corner stone of clinical medicine.
Patch blends these levels. Because he is addicted to distract himself from his own problems. And therefore needs a socially acceptable reason for his behavior.
Not only when justifying his actions does he make use of a freely adaptable thinking. It also serves in the acquisition of his “drug”. It’s emotional opportunism: Inner values, for which he seems to stand as a person, are changed in the blink of an eye and adapted to the environment. These values can be anything. In this case, the emulated value is “eating cow”.
Patch distances himself from his actions, denies responsibility. In the following scene, patch is confronted by his fellow student who now works for him in a non-approved hospital. He disagrees with Patch’s behavior of just leaving the patients after an employee, who also was Patch’s girlfriend was killed by a mentally ill patient as she visited him in his house.
Events, that were in Patch’s responsibility, are projected onto the evil nature of people and “god’s creation”. instead of taking responsibility, reconsider the concept and caring for his patients, he flees into the next creative “patch”-opportunity at the medical university. There, he gets applause and appreciation.
That’s how a type 2 with storm warning functions.
Why is this dangerous to families?
Because children depend on parents who are there. A person who functions like this, is not really there but restlessly on their hunt for the next “fix”. One cannot know, who they really are because their inner values change from environment to environment. Children need stability. And they certainly need parents who are able to recognize their responsibility.
Why is this unsatisfactory in relationships?
For the same reasons. Although as an adult, one is not as dependent on the partner as a child is but the mutual happiness relies on the functionality of both. How can one relate to someone who is never really “there”? To someone whose inner values you cannot get to know? Someone who doesn’t take responsibility for his actions but instead projects onto everyone and everything? It is possible. But it’s unsatisfactory.
For Families: Family-Systems Therapy
For Couples: Couples Therapy
This description with the aid of the enneagram is not meant to serve diagnostically. This should by done by professionals alone. And there is also no key with which the types of the enneagram can be translated to the DSM definitions. At best, some hints can be made in which directions to seek: Bipolar Disorder, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Dependent Personality Disorder, Codependency, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
All clips shown in this post are quotations from the movie “Patch Adams” and are used for the purpose of illustration only. The copyrights for this movie and its film poster belong to: Universal Pictures (ZEFR) CPR for Diaphana