The ennea 2 & burnout,

how it develops and how to heal it

This video explains how the enneagram type 2 can slide into burnout and how it can overcome burnout. The ennea 2 is the compassionate helper. It sits in the heart triad of the enneagram. The 2 at its best is the consummate servant leader, the generous helper, the person who sees the needs in others and with much competence and energy fills these needs. It is their superpower. The heart triad struggles with emotional needs and identity: Who am I? What is my value? How can I be lovable? The 2s emotional need and identity is closely linked with being liked and being needed. This is also what drives the 2.

This might already sound off to 2s. This is for two reasons:

  1. Mostly, 2s are not aware of their emotional needs. As much as the 2 can clearly see the needs in others, it is disconnected from its own needs.
  2. And secondly, the 2 likes to think that it really has no needs, except to serve others.

These two reasons also explain how the 2 can slide into burnout. Overcoming burnout asks the 2 to overcome the following 2 blind spots:

  • Pride of having no needs
  • The fact that 2s disrespect their own emotional, mental and physical boundaries as well as the boundaries of others. In an unconscious attempt to be needed and liked by others, they take responsibility for others, of their needs and struggles. They work hard to receive back what they are giving: being helped, liked and feel valued.

Once these two blindspots are overcome, the 2 is the energy in the Enneagram that brings true love into the world. It can love fully from the heart, without agenda and without needing anything back. And that includes a nurturing love of themselves.

Here are my 11 tips for going from burnout into being liked and respected while working much less and - most important of all - feeling love for yourself:

  1. Stop hinting at what you need. Do not expect others to see how hard you work and give. Do not expect them to know what you feel or need. Tell others.
  2. Practice listening to yourself, find out how you feel and what you need so you can tell others. Let your close loved ones help you with that.
  3. Ask for help. In other words, respect your own boundaries.
  4. Ask others if they would like your help. Respect their boundaries. Some people might not want your help. Some people might want to do things on their own or their own way. Some people might even choose suffering if you could help. Accept this. Learn to ask: Would this be helpful? Would you like that? Or simply How can I help? Instead of jumping in.
  5. In other words, respect other people’s boundaries.
  6. Stop taking responsibility for others. Let other people get on with their life and their responsibilities. They will struggle and maybe even fail but they will learn and grow.
  7. Respect your own boundaries by saying NO. Respect your true level of energy, respect your true level of interest in something, respect your true time, respect the time your family or team needs with you. Stop losing your time and energy by doing stuff for others that you should not be doing in the first place. It is okay to spend time with your loved ones and with yourself.
  8. Practice the broken record technique of saying NO. When somebody suggests that you organise this year’s yard sale for the school again. Say: I appreciate your trust in me. But my plate is full. Do not go into reasons. Just say these two sentences. People will lay into you. They are not used to this. They will appeal to all your good qualities. They will let you know that you are needed: WE have never done this without you. You are so good at this. You would save us so much time. You can do this in your sleep. They are appealing to your drug of being needed. Don’t fall for it. Just repeat: I appreciate your trust, But my plate is full. Say it as often as you must – like a broken record.
  9. Understand that you do not have to connect with everyone.
  10. Spend one hour alone each day, just doing your things, and that thing needs to be for yourself. Cooking for others alone in the kitchen for one hour does not count.
  11. Start doing things that you like to do. Spend more time on things instead of on people.

Remember: As long as you give out of emptiness, you always look for something in return.

Happily designed by Vanja Lakerveld –