Learn to lessen your primary defense mechanism | Type 2
After our most recent 9-part blog series on the topic of how our defense mechanisms serve as guardians of our type-based ego structures, many people asked for ideas about how to work with and lessen our defense mechanisms. This new 9-part series responds to that request. Please note that we all use many defense mechanisms, each type has a particular defense that arises when we are the most throttled, anxious, sad or angry. In addition, defense mechanisms serve a protective function, so it is neither realistic nor even desirable to try to remove them completely, lessening them and relaxing them, however, can be beneficial in reducing our ego-structure’s hold on our development and transformation, both psychologically and spiritually.
The Two’s primary defense mechanism | repression
Repression is a defense mechanism by which individuals hide information about themselves from themselves – for example, feelings, desires, wishes, aversions, fears, and needs – that are too difficult to acknowledge consciously. However, the repressed information doesn’t disappear entirely; instead, expression of the repressed data is controlled or held down, but it continues to influence the individual’s behavior. For example, Twos may feel anxious and need reassurance, but they may be only minimally aware of this. Instead of exploring these feelings or seeking comfort, the Two may reassure another person who appears or they imagine to be in distress.
It is in the area of feelings where Twos most often repress. Although almost all Twos repress feelings in the four primary emotional groupings – mad, glad, sad and afraid – many Twos repress anger more strongly than fear or sadness, while other Twos may repress fear more than anger or sorrow. It just depends on a variety of factors such as upbringing, current environment, subtype, and use of arrow lines.
How to lessen repression
Repression is one of the easier defense mechanisms to lessen and relax, but the question is whether or not a Two really wants to do this. Of course, this can be said of all Enneagram types in relation to lessening their defense mechanisms, yet it is especially true for Twos. The very kind and likeable Two, or as Twos like to think of themselves as being, may suddenly not be so likeable! It is a choice between freedom and likeability.
The practice for Twos, and it does take practice and discipline, has two steps. First, Twos need to ask themselves on a very regular basis how they are feeling and to spend some time with this. Regular means three times daily. Some time means at least 10 minutes each time you do this, not 10 minutes each day in total. What can assist in this inquiry is to remember that there are four feeling groups: mad, sad, glad and afraid. Ask yourself these questions: What am I feeling angry about? What am I feeling sad about? What am I feeling happy about? What am I feeling fearful about?
Once you are more familiar with what you actually feel and the depth to which you feel different emotions, instead of repressing your feelings, you can practice starting to share your feelings with other people. This may be gradual at first, but the more you express, the less you repress. And the less you repress, the more you express.
Ginger Lapid-Bogda PhD, the author of seven Enneagram-business books, is a speaker, consultant, trainer, and coach. She provides certification programs and training tools for business professionals around the world who want to bring the Enneagram into organizations with high-impact business applications, and is past-president of the International Enneagram Association. Visit: TheEnneagramInBusiness.com | firstname.lastname@example.org