Upstairs Downstairs: Agnes Holland [ESFJ 2w3]

Function Order: Fe-Si-Ne-Ti

Agnes defines herself by what she does for others within society, namely, her husband. She confesses in the second season, when contemplating an affair with another man, that if her husband does not need her to play “hostess” for him anymore, she feels like she has no sense of purpose anymore. She primarily engages her talents in keeping his friends entertained, in providing him with parties where he can meet “important people,” and in seeming to be everything society most admires in a wife—pleasing to the eye, able to run a household without a hitch, and generally helpful in every way she can think of. She finds it hard to deal with her mother-in-law being ‘in residence,’ because the ESTJ is more competent in handling household affairs than she is… and she resents having the woman take over all her duties. But she will happily entrust them to a helper who will tell her the ‘proper’ way of doing things and suggest ways they might economize while appearing not to. Agnes is also a good example of when an unhealthy ESFJ puts appearances ahead of compassion—when a maid dies in their service and leaves an orphaned child, unlike her husband who wants to adopt and raise her out of a sense of duty, Agnes objects to this, because it is “not our child.” She doesn’t see what an orphan has to do with them, even if it the mother did die in their employment, and uses underhanded methods and tactics in an attempt to “send her away.” She suggest she ought to go home to her family in Germany, which her husband calls stupid, because “I’m not going to send a Jewish child into Germany right now!” Agnes indeed has no awareness of what is happening in the larger world outside her social sphere, and doesn’t recognize the threat of Hitler in the way that her husband does. She focuses mostly on remodeling the house, looking beautiful, and later, seeking other ways to become useful… such as modeling pantyhose (even though she doesn’t think Hallam will like it, and she’s right).

Enneagram: 2w3 so/sp

To Agnes, appearances are everything. She doesn’t want to seem poor, or like they don’t have enough staff, so she looks for ways to cleverly appear to be richer than they are. Nor does she like others to supplant her usefulness. Agnes is a socialite who loves to throw parties where her husband can connect—she considers that “my contribution,” and she wants to fill them with all the important people. The notion that Mrs. Simpson might be coming and bringing the king along has her all in a tizzy until the woman shows up with a German instead. Then, desperate to protect her husband’s reputation, Agnes asks the servants to intervene—and they dump a cup of hot coffee in his lap, forcing him to leave the house in an indignant, offended huff. When the new exercise team she joins is a few hands short of having enough women to perform in a parade, Agnes ‘volunteers’ her female staff, without asking them, and assumes they will do it, and happily (even though it will cost them their free afternoon!). She is quiet annoyed when their spokeswoman shows up, points out all she has done ‘wrong’ in the house that isn’t proper and accommodating to them, and vows to make it right. When her husband dismisses her, she feels hurt and offended; when her sister betrays her, she lashes out and leaves the marriage. She just wants to be loved, and feel needed.