Misidentifying Twos and Eights

It is not difficult to see how Twos and Eights can be confused, although there is a world of difference between them. Some average Twos realize that they are forceful and dominating, two of the significant traits of Eights. A particularly aggressive Two may find himself or herself in a work-related role that requires leadership and discipline. For these and other reasons, it is possible for some Twos to misidentify themselves as Eights. This is especially true for male Twos, who, for cultural reasons, may prefer to emphasize these traits. (The difference even on these points, however, is that average Twos do not dominate others and their environment to extend their personal power. Twos do indeed dominate others, although indirectly: they may be overbearing and controlling, although always under the guise of being concerned for others. When Eights attempt to dominate, they make it clear that they are in a power struggle with the other.) Twos and Eights are nevertheless similar in the deep feelings and passion they bring to their relationships, although the expression of their feelings and the effects they have on others are quite different.

It is worth noting that both types struggle with underlying feelings ofrejection, although they cope with these feelings in different ways. These feelings probably predispose both types to have stormy relationships and, should conflicts occur, to express their intense passions in interpersonal conflicts (Eights) or in covert neediness and manipulation (Twos).

The probable source of the confusion is that both types have strong wills and egos and a tendency to dominate others. Eights are openly aggressive, forceful, and egocentric, but are very direct in their communication. When Eights are not happy about something, they have no difficulty letting the other person know that they are angry or disappointed. Twos can also be aggressive, forceful, self-satisfied, ego centric, and so forth, although covertly, under an increasingly thin veneer of love. Twos have great difficulty communicating their anger openly, even though they may be very upset with someone. Thus, they use indirect approaches, trying to hint at, or failing that, to manipulate others into meeting their needs. By contrast, less healthy Eights intimidate people openly and when they are frustrated, they push harder to get what they want, possibly using direct threats. When Twos are frustrated, they try to make others feel guilty, especially by dramatizing the suffering they feel. Of course, as Twos become more overwhelmed by stress, they increasingly resemble Eights since Eight is the Two's Direction of Disintegration. Contrasting Twos such as Mother Teresa and Barbara Bush with Eights such as Indira Gandhi and former Governor of Texas, Ann Richards will yield more insight into these two types.