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Archetype Two: The Benefactor & the Parasite

Previously, I told you about Archetype One: The Consultant & the Piddler. Today I am going to tell you about the second archetype of the Enneagram beginning with its illuminated aspect, the Benefactor.

The Benefactor

Strategy: We succeed when everyone benefits

Motivation: Creating value

Gifts: Intuiting what is needed

If the gift of the Consultant is the ability to immediately notice what is wrong, the gift of the Benefactor is the ability to immediately notice who is in need. I have heard of people who can walk into a room and say, “what’s wrong with the person in the corner?” The rest of us have no idea who they are talking about. But, sure enough, there is a person in need and the Benefactor knows just what to do.

In the realm of leadership the Benefactor takes care of their colleagues and employees. They also anticipate the needs of their clients. The Benefactor makes everyone feel taken care of.

The Parasite

Blindspot: Understanding where work ends and you begin

Fear: Not being needed

Defense: Projecting own needs onto others

Have you ever been ‘helped‘ in a way that left you feeling drained or annoyed? The less resourceful side of Archetype Two is the Parasite. There is nothing symbiotic about our relationship with the Parasite. This kind of ‘helpfulness’ can cause more harm than good because the Parasite does not ask what you need, they assume that they already know and just go for it.

The Half-Lit Path

As I mentioned previously, it is not practical or even desirable to remain fully in the Illuminated side of our Archetype. When we are fully in the light we can become just as lost as we might in the dark. The trick is to hold both of them close, both the Benefactor and the Parasite. When we know our tendency to offer help that is not needed or wanted we can more fully live into our Benefactor persona.