One of the greatest strengths of the enneagram is its flexibility. The nine personalities of the enneagram are not in boxes, like some other personality typologies; they are arranged in a circular spectrum in which the personalities blend into each other.
In this example we will look at the TWO (the Helper).
Every personality type has two ‘Wings’ either side. For the TWO they are the ONE (the Perfectionist) and the THREE (the Achiever). The TWO can dip into either side, but will tend to have a preference. This means that the TWO has at its disposal the character traits of both those personalities.
When the TWO becomes stressed s/he moves into the EIGHT (the Asserter). This is because the TWO’s coping strategy is to gain acceptance by being helpful. When the TWO becomes stressed the need to ‘help’ someone becomes ever more urgent. In the end the TWO may impose ‘help’ on a possibly unwilling ‘beneficiary’! However, stress is not always negative. The TWO can use this natural movement in order to get into the mindset of leadership, and could be an effective and empathetic leader.
The ‘security arrow’ of the TWO leads to the FOUR (Artist / Individualist) personality. This can be a good place for the TWO to move into. It means that the TWO’s focus is taken away from helping people and instead is on being creative. Things do not get exhausted by overhelpful people in the same way that people do! On the other hand, a chronically stressed TWO may retreat into the negative aspects of FOUR and become withdrawn and pine.