Type Two in Addiction Recovery
The Helper—The Caring, Interpersonal Type
By Michael Naylor, M.Ed, CCPC, LADC, CCS Copyright 2013
Thomas came into addiction recovery twenty-four years ago, and it shows. Sitting at an AA meeting, his angular face and body embody stillness, grace, strength and gentleness. One hears the moment he speaks, a depth of compassion and kindness towards the men in the room struggling to be sober. He has been to the bottom, resurrected through insurmountable suffering and abuse, and has become a mountain of love. His kind heart is magnetic, and pulls men to him that otherwise would never approach him. His demeanor is clear: it is safe to have a broken heart in his presence. You have nothing to hide. You will be held by love. There is room for you here, exactly as you are. He speaks clearly, articulately, and with an eye towards completely encouraging men with his faith that if they work the steps of recovery they will find their way. But moreover, when he has taken on another man as their sponsor, he goes to any length to find out what will settle his aching, confused heart. His dedication to deliver kindness and caring shows no bounds and his genius for finding the support a man needs, unbeatable.
His sponsee’s know this and feel this. Enveloped in Thomas’s kindness and compassion, and his capacity to sense the sorrow of the wounded boy, the newly sober man feels the love of a good mother or nurturing father perhaps for the first time. And being seen through his eyes of compassion, where forgiveness is available, where gentleness touches you, the sponsee is directly reminded on a visceral level that God, or the Universe, or Thomas loves you and values you—that he is held by the gracious and powerful force of love. This is the holy healing power of the Two, defined at the Helper, the caring, interpersonal type, known for possessing and expressing the qualities of unconditional love and kindness, for touching people with the sweetness of the heart.
When they are healthy—like Thomas—they are teachers and exemplars of loving kindness, generosity, encouragement and forgiveness. Open hearted, they sense and feel the potential goodness and love in those they touch. Passionate about connecting and being connected to people, they are drawn to you, to helping you, to hearing about you, to resonating and feeling your heart, to melting into the sweetness of you. And yet this is not a weak, hallmark-card shallow, loving kindness. It is strong, potent, penetrating, and will change you at depth. To sit with real love and to be attuned to with real love will demolish the structure of your self-protection; will melt through the blockages to your own heart, will land like a nuclear explosion on your suppressed suffering and our despair. And ultimately it will give you what you’ve always wanted—genuine connection with another human being and your heart. This is the mission and gift of the Two.
The Two In Addiction—Life at Level 6 and Level 7
The addicted Two, living at Level 6 and 7, has lost contact with his potent capacities and his loving heart. He is desperate for contact and reconnection with his heart, and inadvertently tries to find it in the loving gaze of others. Blindly he wanders, cut off from what he loves most, his own heart, where he attempts to construct “imitations” of the real thing. He seeks wounded partners to save, to care take, to become indispensable to, as a replacement for genuine love. He is hungry for attention and affirmation, and willing to sacrifice all of his needs for any crumbs of recognition or kindness. Wearing himself out in his efforts, his real needs erased from awareness, he is driven by possessiveness and the fear that at any moment he will be abandoned. Selling himself out for anything that looks like love, he gravitates to partners who cannot really see him or appreciate him, but who sometimes use him for their own need fulfillment. Having lost contact with his heart, he is unable to sense what he needs, or truly sense the rejection others are giving him. He holds on for dear life, his drug of choice numbing his sorrow and desperation.
As his capacity to connect with others disappears he more and more employs dishonesty and deceit to hold friends and lovers captive. His very actions of attempting to make them dependent on him, to need him, to not reject him—push them away. Angered or utterly shamed at the bad reception and lack of acknowledgement from others for his loving attempts, he compensates by developing the illusion that he is genuinely loving and simply unappreciated. He further exacerbates this painful situation by becoming manipulative, deceptive, and selfish in his attempts to anchor love, the very opposite of his inherent gifts. Or worse yet, he collapses in a whirlpool of self-hatred and depression, feeling he is unworthy of love. He drowns his suffering in his substance use.
At Level 6 his attempts to love and create loving relationships have failed. In the midst of his failures he has drunk and drugged to quell his broken heart, to quell the sorrow and anxiety he feels at failing at his mission: resurrecting love in his life, loving others enough so that he feels loved and wanted and connected. As his heart has contracted his efforts have become more desperate. As one Two said at the unhealthy levels: “I don’t have relationships, I have hostages; and when I let go of someone I’ll always leave claw marks. Truth is, I’ll do just about anything to not be abandoned.” He has moved from being someone filled with love, kindness and generously and offering it when needed, to one who is on the lookout for love, needy for love, trying to experience love through his efforts to resurrect other wounded souls. He reaches precisely in the wrong direction to enable him to return to himself and his true heart. Your job as a sponsor, therapist, friend, is to assist him in beginning to see that the desperate efforts he is making to heal his heart disconnects him further from his real wish. In turn this sets him up for continued substance use as a salve for the sorrow he feels.
The First Twelve Weeks of Residential Treatment
When the Two arrives in treatment at a residential facility he is, for the most part, feeling a huge disconnect from life. His primary source of identity—those that he loves—are gone. He will be caught in the machinery of his thinking mind, wondering about his loved ones, wondering if he’d done this or that whether he could have changed the outcomes he now faces. Heart-broken, he is only temporarily slowed down from his usual pacing, on the go to connect and communicate with his loved ones whether they are with him or not. He thinks about them, and thinks about them, and it is difficult to bring his attention into the room—and on to himself and what he is feeling and needing.
As he attends AA/NA meetings, he is on the lookout for lost souls, wounded souls that he can assist, help, and win over to have a place with (Now, everyone has this need, but for the Two is it dominant!). If he can find someone to love back to life he will feel better, he will have a purpose, and he will not have to sit in the suffering of disconnection from loved ones who have abandoned him. As he sits in recovery groups he will talk about his girlfriend or his wife, how he worries about her, what she struggles with, how he would like to help her. It will often appear as though he’s come to treatment to help her and other loved ones, rather than deal with his addiction issues. His habitual focus will be outside himself. He is here to learn a fundamental lesson which is alien territory for him: how to recognize that he needs help and then how to ask for it and utilize it. In the first days at the treatment center he will be open to suggestions but shortly, quick as a wink, as he feels better, his maneuvering mind will begin re-scripting his priorities. Maybe he could try again? Maybe his wife wasn’t serious about leaving him. If he can only get her back, then things will be fine. Maybe he doesn’t really have an addiction problem but just needs to know how to love his partner better. And besides, who has time to consider ones hurt feelings, anger, needs or wants—that’s selfish and unloving, thinks the Two.
The focus of his treatment becomes them—his relationships—and not him. His only problem, he may think, is that he drank too much because he was so upset with how badly things were going in his relationship. He doesn’t need treatment for addiction; he doesn’t need to know, sense, feel and understand his emotions and internal struggles that drive his blind need for relationship—he needs to get back home as fast as possible. Otherwise, he suspects, the feeling of abandonment and unworthiness exploding in his heart will utterly overwhelm and undo him. And never mind that due to his addiction, he’s lost the capacity to be real in his relationship, to speak from his true heart, to ask for help when he needed it, to admit his own suffering and need. To focus on his needs is unthinkable and painful. As Thomas said:
“When I was in early recovery I was so used to shutting off my needs that the idea of actually nurturing myself was utterly alien. Nurture myself, what was that? I could take care of you, but there was no “me” to nurture. And to stop and attempt this meant I had to feel the excruciating feelings of guilt and shame for being ‘selfish’, or the horrid sense that I was unworthy of nurturing in the first place. So I shut it off. I learned this as a kid: having needs meant being ridiculed, beaten, and rejected. My heart turned to stone for many years, until I got into recovery. Much easier to focus on you, and help you, than to walk into this wall of shame and pain. Much easier to sacrifice myself and think of myself as the strong one who didn’t need love. Much easier to not feel at all!”
It took him time, much time, to realize that his zealous efforts to create love and connection with others actually pushed people away, or attracted those to him who were very unhealthy.
Protective Mechanism of the Two—I Don’t Need Anything
Type Two Challenge: Two’s are endowed with the gift of being able to attune to the needs and suffering of others. They arrive in addiction recovery habituated towards seeing the suffering of others, while being unable to sense their own personal suffering. Easily they reach in to help others before checking in with their own needs for support, or giving themselves permission to express and feel all of their feelings. They’ve learned that this is “selfish” and makes them unlovable and worthy of being abandoned. Your challenge will be to help them notice when they’ve abandoned themselves in the action of caring for another, or have moved away from feelings of anger, sadness, humiliation by reaching to support another. This is major recovery work for the Two at all stages of their sobriety.
The Type Two protects himself from rejection by not letting anyone know what they need (because the Two often doesn’t know what they need). If I don’t expose my needs you won’t have an opportunity to reject me directly, and I could not bear that, they think. Driven to give love now, in this moment, they are incredibly sensitive to rejection. And while wanting to stay connected and close to those they love, they invariably make it impossible for others to genuinely love them for who they are, because they don’t reveal who they are, warts and all. They are terrified that their needs will deem them selfish (and god forbid they get angry!). The Two believes in their bones that to be lovable, they must be loving at all times, as in “I only have loving feelings towards you and only wish to do things for you.”
On an unconscious level they live with the silent belief underlying much of their actions, of “I’m not lovable. I have to prove I’m worthy of love. I must work for any love scrap I can get. And if I don’t get it, it’s my fault. If it’s given to me for free, I’m not really worthy and must pay back what I’m given in triplicate.”
They labor under the incredible heavy weight of this dictate, which is strongly reinforced by their inner critic who says something akin to “You are only worthwhile if you feeling loving towards others, doing nice things for others, thinking about the needs of others, making sure your relationships are filled with love” (meaning that other’s are including you in their life).” Talk about impossible. Driven to please their particular inner critic (who’s a loveless unhappy chap to begin with who cannot be pleased no matter how much the Two gives, ask any Two!) and those they seek to love, the Two is not willing to take any chances that his needs or heart desires might upset or interfere with others loving him. So he cuts himself off from even asking the question “What do I want or desire?” As one Type Two man in recovery said to me when I asked him how he dealt with his desires and wants in early recovery, he replied, “What wants? I learned early that having wants meant I invited suffering and ridicule. So, that was the end of wants. I turned my heart off; I stopped wanting what I wanted. Who would ‘want’ when it only brings suffering?” And that’s the key question for the Two: who would ‘want’ if it only brings suffering?
Inspired to calling forth the best in others, and reflecting the happiness of their heart when healthy, when unhealthy they hide behind the happy face and the happy side of life, to the exclusive of their own heart. Thus, the heart-desires of the Two go unheeded, or are masked so that no one really sees them, leaving him with a heart that is truly impoverished. This becomes a deeply entrenched habit that makes his soul a feeding ground for addiction. When the Two self-abandons himself, addiction can easily fill in the empty space of his abandoned soul, numbing it to sleep.
And so the question becomes for the Two, how do I get real? How do I begin to admit the darker side of myself, my anger, my rage, my shame, my broken heart, my empty heart, my abandoned heart? How do I begin to notice that when this empty heart comes online that I immediately try to flee it and go into automatic pilot and reach out to help others, or attune to their needs. How do I slow down enough to see, with compassion, that when I am suffering I shift this hurt into helping others without being aware of whether help is wanted. And that ultimately this has a way of attracting emotional vampires to me, that see me as a desperate, needy soul begging for scraps of love, and unwittingly use my despair and my good intentions to suck me dry. How does the Two begin to get conscious of this powerful pattern such that he stops throwing his jewels of caring at the feet of fools in moments of desperation and hurt?
Tip for the Two: Once you have begun recovery from addiction high-tail it to Al-Anon. You must learn to identify your needs and become able to put them first and foremost, if you are to stay sober. Healthy Selfishness is high on your recovery agenda!
This is the path back, and a most difficult one for the Two because they are wired to dropping their needs, wants and agenda in a heartbeat when someone who they seek love from, be it their daughter, son, husband, wife, lover, friends, asks for something. They jump into action. They begin doing for the other without awareness of what they have left behind, themselves and their needs. This is called unconscious giving and not the best of the Two. The Two truly feels he has only one choice—to give when others need him.
Core Relapse Wound—I Do Not Deserve nor need Love, you do!
When the Two enters recovery he is driven by the heart-breaking feeling that he has lost contact with all love, that he lives in a love-empty world, and that he himself is utterly beyond being loved. This is his core fear and what drives all his desperate attempts to connect with others. He utterly believes (although unconsciously) that his needs or negative feelings will destroy his relationships—meaning he will be unloved and disposed of if he has needs. This is the very real and impossible predicament of the Two. At his core is the wish to feel unconditionally loved and to live in a world of deeply felt connection with others. His motives are good, always, but his suffering obscures his clarity about how to return home. So how does the Two survive in the early difficulty of recovery? Run by his tremendous need to be needed and indispensable, and clearly in the grip of his basic fear come true—I am unworthy of love, just look at the results of my life, it’s a disaster—he must find a way to anchor some safety for himself. Because of his innate and acute sensitivity to the suffering of others he will play the role of the helper/savior to those he can. With his therapist he will notice his therapist’s unfulfilled needs as a father to his son, and will morph into the son who needs dad, or who plays the good boy who adores dad (the therapist). He will compliment him on his great work (ingratiating himself to the therapist), inflating what he does well, seeking to fill the ego-family wounds of the therapist.
[Wound/Relapse Pattern of the Type One: Core fears—of being unlovable, unworthy of love, unwanted and not needed. Key Commandment: You must care for the needs of others to have a place in the world. Deep Wish: of being loved unconditionally by others, of being deeply connected with those they love. Sees himself—as always loving, kind, considerate, generous, without any negative motivations towards others. At Level 4 and below he falls prey to the Emotional Habit of Pride in which he attends to everyone else’s needs to the exclusion of his own. He perceives that he doesn’t have needs. His Mental Habit of Ingratiation, in which he is continually thinking about others, worrying about them, and thinking of ways to make myself indispensible to them. His Inner Critic tells him he is only good when he is thinking, doing, and considering others, otherwise he is selfish. He cannot ask directly for what he needs.]
The Two, acutely attuned to sensing the suffering of his own family and driven to heal it, unconsciously utilizes this gift to survive. He will see the suffering of others and try to heal it. He will think about the wounds of others (the mental habit of ingratiation) and how he might help them. He attempts to alleviate his own suffering and family members by alleviating their suffering. (Remember his emotional habit of Pride: I have no needs, only to help you.) He will bring gifts, cards, and little things to others that he learns his therapist likes, or friends or partners like. (When healthy, he gives because it simply feels good and he has little need to be reciprocated, no strings attached. He loves giving and reminding others that they are special.)
Be certain of this: For the Two to fail at their mission to be the loving one who creates love all around him, is death. And death means that his worst fear, which he already is in the grips of—I am not lovable and will be disposed of—will be continue to be his reality. Very quickly as he attends AA/NA meetings, he will notice the wounded soldiers, usually women, who need support, kindness, and caring. This he can provide. He sees Evelyn, who’s got three kids, has lost her job, the dad vanished into the wilderness of his addiction, and he feels her suffering (this is his gift—sensing and feeling empathy for the suffering of others). He can help her, he can ease her pain. Never mind that his own wife has left him, that he’s not seen his kids in several years—here in front of him is an immediate need that he can respond to. Of course he doesn’t have a job either, and is struggling with his own addictions (especially with his dominant relapse issue of becoming involved too quickly in recovery with unhealthy women, and inevitably relapsing when things go don’t’ go well.)
But how can he deny the palpable tugging at his heart, translated as I’m needed, I can help, I will create love, I will make this person feel lovable, I will rescue her, while simultaneously unaware of his needs? Alone in early recovery he feels utterly heart-broken and empty. Moving in the direction of love or contact makes him feel better, temporarily. Sitting in his loneliness feels like the wrong thing to do. And Two’s are doers. “See a need and fill it” is their motto. Tommy, a type Two, explained it this way:
“When I came into recovery from addiction all I could see on my perceptual screen, screaming at me, were the needs of others. That’s what I’d learned to see and of course, even though my life was a mess, I immediately reached out to help everyone I could, whether I had the true resources to help them or not—I didn’t—and relapsed numerous times when I tried to save a woman from her addiction. Often I chose someone who was so wounded that I wouldn’t be rejected. I imagined I could love them back to health. Unfortunately this was precisely the sort of person who would not be able to stick with me. In the moment it filled the terrible hole of feeling unlovable and unwanted. As I got healthier, I chose healthier partners, but the drive to be the one who helps others in distress has driven me throughout my fifteen years of recovery and has had a sometimes horrid impact. If I’m always giving, there’s no way anyone can reach me with love. See, I have this slippery thing called pride, that is, I learned as a little boy to make myself feel like I was better than other kids because I didn’t need or want certain kinds of attention or nurturing, and because I had this sensitivity no one else had. I got attention and accolades for being kind and generous, and this is how I learned to make a place for myself amongst my peers. After getting sober I continued to hone this role so perfectly that I was unable to really express what I needed from my wife, be it loving attention, or a better sexual relationship, or honest communication about how I really felt. Instead I prided myself on how much I was always trying to help her, while at the same time, harboring anger and resentment towards her. Eventually not addressing these dynamics led me to a serious illness where I was forced to open up and speak my heartfelt truth. I had to tell the truth regarding suppressing what I wanted, feel the anger and rage, walk through the feelings of being selfish, to truly get in contact with real love and heartfelt authenticity.”
First Shock of Recovery—Embracing the Shadow
The breakthrough for the Two begins when the Two begins to see that his actions do not match his fantasy of himself, or his self-image of “I am always loving, compassionate, caring, generous, and attune to the suffering of others.” When he is healthy, his behaviors match his self-image more often, but when addicted, the shock for the Two is to become aware of how he is frequently manipulating others by giving too much of himself, giving out of fear of abandonment, giving to secure a place with others, and giving intrusively (thinking he knows what others need) without asking other’s permission. Thinking of himself as always loving, he will be horrified to see how often in his despair that he was secretly hateful, mean-spirited, or outright manipulative in his attempt to keep and hold contact with others (Of course, everyone has these impulses, it’s called being human, but there is no room for ‘humanness’ for the Two). Worse yet, he will see his ego in action: he begins to see glimpses of his pride, seeing himself as more attuned and more loving than others, his superiority a cover for shame, unworthiness, and sadness. He will see, with shock, the times he has lied to look loving, or to please someone, or to keep someone close to himself. And the biggest lie, and most painful to bear, is to see how often he abandoned his own heart and left himself out of the equation, treated himself with hatred. All of this will greet him at the door of addiction recovery, and will be the true gauntlet he must navigate.
Feeling the full brunt of his shame, self-rejection and heartbreak (I am not worthy of love) he will begin to notice the desperate attempts he makes to escape these feelings by going on a rescue mission to save another human being, looking for love in the gaze of another, feeling lonely and ashamed and meaningless without it. He will begin to see the results of his addictive haze, he trying to connect and find love with the exact individuals who would surely reject him or use him. And then he will come face to face with the deeper inner critic message that has run him ragged: “You are unlovable. This is your reality—you are unwanted. Even when they appear to love you, you know you are unworthy of their kindness.” (Note: The inner critic always lies.) The bar has been set high: being loving means not having negative feelings towards other people (like anger or frustration); only kindness is permitted. Being close to others means that if others reject me then there is something wrong with me, and I must reach out to them to make them like me.
He begins to notice that he continually monitors the responses of others to see if he’s passed the test of being loved and wanted, or rejected by them. Seeing how he is constantly on trial in the eyes of his inner critic will be ongoing work for him in recovery. The first glimpse of it will lay him low with shame but with continued efforts to see his self-judgment mechanism without judging himself for it, he will begin to dismantle the marching orders that have been driving him.
Suggestions for the Two
1. Begin to listen to your heart. Type Two kids develop a “pride” in not needing love. It’s as if they say to themselves, “If I shut off my need for love, it won’t hurt so much.” That is, having shut off and numbed themselves from the love they hunger for, they develop an ego stanch wherein they pride themselves on not needing anything. They give themselves a weird psychological reward for not feeling their heart’s desires. It’s as if silently they say to themselves, “I’m good because I don’t have needs.” Your job in recovery is to reverse this habit and start listening to your heart with the same intensity and compassion that you attune to the hearts of others.
2. Begin to notice that when you listen to your needs, the Inner Critic slam dunks you with the message “You are selfish and unworthy.” You can observe this dynamic in yourself when you hear yourself thinking or saying, “Hey, I don’t need a thing. But I see that you have needs. Let me help you. But I don’t have those needs (because I shut them off as a kid, I had to). That would be selfish of me. I can see that you have needs and I will attend to them. I can help you because I feel it in my heart—my heart feels your heart. And because I am sensitive and intuitive and can read your heart, I am compelled to move in and help, wanted, needed or asked for, or not.”
Does this make sense (hello in there!)? You don’t have needs, you’re the only one without needs, but others have needs? As you allow yourself to “feel” your needs you will begin to feel the suffering your Inner Critic has caused you—shaming you to shut down your awareness of your heart. You must learn to bear this and step forward courageously into your very powerful heart, that longs for contact with you.
3. Begin to notice that you do experience resentment and anger from giving too much of yourself. If the Two has developed rigidity around the role of helping he might noticing himself thinking: I am the Mother force of the Universe, the good and loving nurturer of all. If you don’t notice it soon I’m going to have to punish you or at least collect the debt you owe me.” This would be an example of the resentment that builds up in the Two stuck in the giving-all-the-time trap. Resentment is a signal to yourself that you need to listen to. It suggests that you’ve lost contact with your own real needs and in reaction to this, are trying to manipulate others into helping you, rather than being direct about what you need. In fact, you are likely getting angry at others because they haven’t properly “mind-read” your needs. Give them a change, tell them directly.
4. Notice your tendency to not ask directly for what you want. Twos notice that they don’t seem to have permission to ask directly for what they want. To their Inner Critic this is “selfish.” So, if the Two is in need of love and support he has to smuggle this need past his Inner Critic in the form of a gift, concern or care for someone else. Instead of saying it out loud to those he cares about, “Hey, please love me, help me with my suffering, see what is lovable in me,” he goes indirect and buys his loved one a card, or volunteers to give her a massage, or tries to provide the loved one the support that he actually needs. That way, he didn’t ask for it and can’t be accused of selfishness by his Inner Critic. But in his darkest hour he might say, “Hey, I give love to all these people, and they barely see me. What’s with that? What am I doing wrong? I don’t get it.” And this is a question well worth examining. Sometimes, it is the way in which the Two seeks to make connection with others that is veiled and confusing for the designated recipients. And sometimes those they seek to love are not worthy of their efforts, and this is critical for Twos to ascertain.
5. Learn to endure the guilt you feel when you ask for what you want. This is a big one for the Two and means being willing to sit with the guilt until it touches your heart. Then, you will begin to experience the suffering you have endured under the weight of guilt run wild. Guilt is the signal that your Inner Critic sends you, threatens you with when you take care of yourself, or say no to others when you need space or time, or refuse to spend time with those who disregard you, or take time to simply express your creativity while not allowing others to intrude on this time. The Inner Critic, committed to holding you in the role of the one-who-gives-too-much, says, “You are guilty, bad, selfish!” Your instruction: walk through it, feel how it hurts your heart. Don’t buy into the message. Let compassion arise and touch you.
6. Realize this: you must learn to ask for help if you are to stay clean, sober and happy. This is the heart and soul of your recovery: to put yourself first until you know what it means to receive love, direction, attention, and actually get comfortable with it. And this will be your hardest lesson. However, know in advance, the road to recovery and freedom will require you, over the next 20 plus years, to know when you need help and to ask for it. And to notice that when you are in need of real help, your first inclination is to disassociate from this need and project it onto someone else: they need help. As one of my mentors said to me, “You must learn to become an expert in asking for help if you are ever to truly help another. This is called healthy “selfishness,” or doing whatever it takes to heal, reside in, and trust your heart.
7. Begin to notice that part of you believes you cannot get healthy unless others get healthy with you. Beloved Two, you cannot love others into sobriety and you must give yourself permission to recover and thrive and leave those behind who are not ready or are unable to get clean and sober. You are not guilty if you recover. This “recovery guilt” can destroy you (You are not the only Type susceptible to this—hello Six’s.). You help no one if you don’t get sober and remove yourself from those who are not interested. Unconsciously there is the belief that if you get sober and thrive, that you can’t do this unless those you love recover with you. You must confront this illusion with clarity and ruthless awareness: If you get sober you become a living example to those who are trying to get sober. This is your gift of hope to them. But, if you try to get a loved one sober, you will sacrifice your sobriety, and your true gift to others. You must face a dilemma that everyone in addiction recovery faces. If you get healthy, learn to take care of yourself, learn lessons of healthy “selfishness” you will by necessity leave other unhealthy significant others behind (friends, relatives, lovers, spouses). That’s reality! At some point you will have to say goodbye to your unhealthy partner and this will feel like abandoning your very own soul. You will imagine that you are inflicting the soul-wound you received on your partner. Here, the temptation for the Two is to do self-harm to himself and sacrifice his freedom and sobriety for the loved one, and stay drunk. The Two must face this serious question: Am I worthy of a relationship with someone who is capable of loving me back, and who is willing to face his demons straight on?
8. Notice how often you fall prey to this core pattern: If the Two lost the love he needed as a kid, and learned he wasn’t going to get it at home, then some part of the Two had to give up, and compensate. Perhaps, what many Twos report, they became super-givers to their care-givers, to the very ones they needed love from (Go figure. Instead of being outraged by the neglect they experienced, they felt bad for their caregivers. Where are the Fours when you need them?). Their unconscious motto became, “Maybe if I love them enough, they might throw me a crumb of love. What do I have to lose? I’ll prove my worth. I’ll earn the love I need.” And off they went, trying to create the love they wanted with their unhealthy parents and settling for crumbs. Begin to notice every day how this core message shows up in your life, and how you act it out with those who you are in relationship with, sometimes choosing people who are only capable of giving you crumbs of affection.
9. Become aware of your pride. The bottom line description of pride is captured in Thich Nhat Hahn’s words, “Pride is the unwillingness to admit our own need and suffering.” There are layers to this. The first layer is the fact that the Two may not be able to sense their own need and suffering and believes that they don’t have emotional pain or suffering that needs attention. The second layer is that if the Two brings attention to their needs, they will feel the horrid guilt of “selfishness.” The third layer is that if the Two speaks of their suffering no one will notice and they will be deeply wounded by rejection, the thing they are wired to avoid. Much easier to reach out to help another, and play it safe. Problem is, as most individuals in recovery know, unless others lend you their compassionate eyes to see your addiction patterns, you will relapse over and over again. Saying “I’m fine” when you are not is a form of suicide and self-pity. Drop it now!
10. You must develop habits of self care. This simply means exercising regularly—be it yoga, aerobics, dance, etc., learning to take the time to develop quiet mind (which means developing a solo practice of meditation), taking necessary time alone to explore your creativity and your capacities. You are challenged to develop the internal sensitivity for when you are in need of support, or have over-spent your energies on everyone else. This means planning time for yourself, and creating the time and space to explore you and your needs.
11. Learn to identify Ingratiation, your habit of mind. Here’s how this can work for the Two: when they are stressed out and feeling vulnerable to loss of love, instead of saying this out loud, calling a spade a spade, instead they may compliment you as a means of creating a connection, or shower you with praise or affirmation, call out something positive about you, turn your attention towards something great about you. They go into people-pleaser mode. It’s as if they say to themselves, “No matter what, I must be pleasing to you so I’m going to do my best to inspire you to feel positive about me by flattering and pleasing you, by affirming what’s good about you, rather than addressing my real feelings.” The Two does not see himself doing this, it happens faster than a speeding bullet, and is as seamless as the air he breathes. In the grips of this unconscious habit he will take the heat off himself perhaps avoiding feeling that he’s angry as hell or deeply hurt by you, or scared of abandonment. Via ingratiation he showers positive energy on to you to keep the connection between the two of you.
Likewise, the habit of ingratiation operates in the Two such that he is continually thinking about his loved ones, what they are needing, how they are feeling, whether they need support, all the while missing the experience of the moment, and missing the experience of himself. This chattering “Dear Abby” mind takes him away from his own needs and feelings which if not attended to will lead to addiction relapse.
12. Spend time alone with yourself such that no one can interrupt you with their wishes or demands. Twos share that one of the ways that they learn to listen to their own heart is when they take time, solitude, for themselves, where they can listen to their needs and put themselves first without outside interference. In this time of solitude, one hour per day if you can manage it, your task is to not bring your attention to the needs of others, not fill your thought stream with worry and compassion thoughts for others, but to keep bringing your attention back to your heart, to what you need, what you want, what is moving inside of you. This necessary time alone will give you the space you need to listen to you.
So, here’s the drill. You schedule an hour for yourself. You let loved ones know this. You do not, under any circumstance, open the door to the room of your solitude regardless of the needy heart on the other side, do not answer phone calls, and do not look at emails. Do not. You draw a line in the sand of your heart and clearly state that if anyone intrudes, they die. That’s what’s at stake here.
Parting Thoughts for the Big-Hearted Two
Let’s face it, this is the most difficult task. If you were a type Eight, piece of cake, baby, piece of cake. But as a Two, the second you get a whiff of a loved one in need, your body is out of the chair, in motion moving towards the loved one, before your brain and your consciousness can catch up. It’s so automatic even the angels weep. But you, brave one, are so deeply committed to changes that will truly allow you to touch people at depth, that you march thru this sacred doorway. And what you will face, in your efforts to stand strong for this 60 minute, 3,600 second time of self-nurturing, will be your hateful Inner Critic, who will raise up and scream, shout, taunt you with, “You are selfish. You are selfish. You are really selfish. You are hurting everyone with your selfishness. They need you, and yet you turn away into your selfish desires. Shame on you!” And if that doesn’t work, out comes the big guns, saying, “You will be abandoned by everyone you love. If you don’t get up and help them, anticipate their needs, heal their aching heart, you will be utterly left to die on the street, abandoned and disconnected from everyone you love.”
Well geez, no wonder you launch out of your seat or leave your chosen activity in a heart-beat. And truth be known, you’ve trained people to respond to your I-will-help-you-at-any-time-you-even-hint-you-need-me, invitation. Skillfully, you will re-train them because you’ve engaged on a new experiment, and you do have the knowledge and courage to withstand the horror that your Inner Critic is willing to dump on you. And slowly, slowly, slowly, you will disengage from this mechanism, your Pet Robot, as you continue your commitment to this very powerful edge of growth. As you do so, the intensity of the guilt and shame generated from your Gremlin/Inner Critic will actually quiet till one day; they are merely passing mosquitoes buzzing in your ear. Out comes the can of Raid, and they are gone! You can do this because at depth your heart is heroic and strong.
And make sure you surround yourself with a few dear soul who hold your feet to the fire when you abandon yourself, because you will (until you don’t), and who bring you back to listening to that precious heart of yours. Alright, game on! And remember the wonderful words of one of my mentors: “Michael, people want to help others way too soon, before they’ve developed the art of asking for help. You must learn what true spiritual selfishness is. This means learning to find the best help available for yourself that will produce the most profound transformation and liberation for you. Learn the art of asking for true help, Sky Walker, and when the time is right, you’re giving will touch others ten times deeper than you’re unskilled, impatient helping.”
Try This, If You Dare
Dear Two, try this for one week, just to develop your sense of humor. Each time someone appears to need help, do not respond. Do not offer help. Simply walk by and ask yourself what it is you need. Be utterly selfish if you dare. If someone asks for help, just for one week, reply, “Sorry, I’m fasting from helping people as I’ve gained over-help-fat on my soul and it’s slowing down my real ability to love. So sorry, Charley.”
You get the picture! 🙂