Instincts: 2

You know the deal– now that we’ve talked about the basics of Enneagram type 2, let’s check out the three instinctual varieties! If you need a better idea of what instincts are, check out my first post on them!

I honestly have a lot of 2’s in my life, so I know at lease one of every instinctual variety– which is really cool actually, so see the differences between them.  The question to ask one’s self when trying to determine instincts, is which need is more important to me? Which thing do I actively find myself prioritizing above the others in my life?


When talking about instincts, it’s important to realize how the same instinct can look different from core type to core type. The general descriptions of the instincts (above) are much less specific than when those instincts are applied to a specific type.

The pride, focus on love, and seductive tendencies of 2 manifest with each instinct in a unique way.


I’ve found these differences (for every core type, really) to be extremely accurate! Maybe even more so for 2 because I’ve had the means to see how real each of these versions is in real life.

As aforementioned, all 2’s will probably relate somewhat to all three above descriptions, but more strongly with one or two.  This brings us to the concept of Instinctual Stack, which denotes the order of an individual’s instinctual preference.  For instance, Sp/So tells us that Self Preservation is preferred, So is auxiliary and Sx is the “blind spot”.  I do also think looking into the instincts of your wing (especially if it is heavy) is important to behold the whole picture.

Other great sources for more detailed reading on the instincts, are The Complete Enneagram by Beatrice Chestnut, these descriptions originally from (the now inactive) Ocean Moonshine, and the work of early Enneagram scholar, Claudio Naranjo (notes on his work on the instincts).

Have questions about the instincts of 2? Feel free to leave them in the comments, and check back for my overview of Enneagram 3!

Instincts: 2

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