I thought it might be fun to do “deep dives” into an Enneagram type, through a character who shows the positives and negatives of that type’s core struggles, including their disintegration lines.
Up first is Lana Lang from the Smallville. An Enneagram 2, Lana’s arc is about her continual need to grow closer to everyone in her life. From the very first episode, she displays a lot of 2 traits in her quest for love, approval, and importance in the lives of others. Lana changes her behavior to appeal more to her friends out of a fear of rejection; she does housework for Chloe and her father, after they let her move in until Chloe reassures her she does not need to do any of those things to be wanted. She is all about “trust” which to her means “no secrets” (“I just want to be close to you!”). 2s want to be intimate with others and have no secrets, because that achieves closeness in their minds. Lana wants no barriers between her and her loved ones; no secrets, no lies, because a 2 wants emotional intimacy more than anything. She gravitates toward those who are receptive toward her, but feels frustrated by Clark, who, as a skeptical and distrusting 6, sends her all kinds of mixed signals. Lana keeps hanging onto him until his refusal to be emotionally honest with her when it counts destroys their relationship. She moves on with Lex, before she finds out his secret and rebuilds the trust between them, but by then the lasting damage is done.
Lana displays many characteristics of a 2 beyond her continual search for love. She is always searching for someone to respond to her, to love her, to protect her, and to trust her with his secrets. Yet, each of them disappoints her; Whitney won’t tell her about his dad, Clark won’t tell her about his secret, Jason can’t tell her the truth about his mother, and Lex won’t tell her about his genuine intentions. In her mind, a relationship requires honesty, because that opens the door for her to help the other person; she can’t attend to their needs unless she knows what they are. In each of her relationships, she gives herself wholeheartedly—with the hope and expectation of love. She is protective over whichever man she is dating, and stands up for him against others who attack him (she gets angry at Clark when she feels he has wronged Jason, at Lex when he has turned against Clark, and against Clark for daring to malign Lex). Lana believes part of love is being protective of your loved one. Lana decides with her heart, not her head, and loves unreservedly when it feels safe. Whoever has her love is her world entire. She finds herself through adapting to their needs.
In early seasons, she is always volunteering to “help” people (from tutoring other students in math to working at a retirement home), a tendency as an adult, she channels into a foundation to help meteor freaks. This is a maturation of her social instinct (helping more people, but on a less personal scale). She goes all out for whoever she is around—offering to be there for her friends in whatever way they need, from physical care to listening to their problems and being with them through tough times. She will show up at funerals and bring food, take care of animals, and stay late to help them with their homework. It’s her deep caring about most people that draws meteor freaks to her. She’s reluctant to dump Whitney when he goes off to war, because of concern for his feelings, despite her growing affection for Clark. When he resurfaces, having lost his memory, she acts as if their breakup never happened, because it’s important to her to ‘soften’ the eventual blow.
But like all 2s, Lana also has a dark side in her attempts to force intimacy and by withholding her love when she doesn’t get it. She begs, pleads with, and hounds Clark to tell her ‘what’s really going on,’ and gives him an ultimatum: either he tells her the truth or they are done. Later, she keeps secrets from him when she becomes involved in underhanded business dealings to take down Lex. And that is where the disintegration to 8 arc takes place.
Within every type, there are two lines, one of growth and the other, stress. The generous and emotional 2’s stress line is to the low side of 8, which means channeling their anger in specific directions, engaging in power dynamics, and playing to win at all costs. Lana goes into 8 mode in the seventh season. In the previous season, she got caught up in a romance with Lex. He manipulated her into accepting his proposal by making her think she was pregnant, and then his father blackmailed her into marrying him when she intended to run off with Clark.
Lana has always had anger issues toward the men she cares about violating her boundaries, but it’s always been in a 1 wing way of doing what is “right” and fighting against what is “wrong.” In season seven, she throws all of that out the window in pursuit of revenge. She no longer cares who she must hurt to get what she wants. Lana steals several million dollars from Lex’s accounts, fakes her own death and frames him for it, and sets up the Isis Foundation as a front to take down the Luthers. She installs cameras in their home, goes after their business associates, steals their secret files, and blackmails their employees. Knowing Clark won’t approve of her actions, she conceals it all from him. Lana pays someone to kidnap and torture Lionel… for weeks. After an explosion traps Lex in a mine, she leaves him there to die until she realizes it would also kill Clark. Although Lex releases her from their marriage, and doesn’t prosecute her for embezzling millions from him, Lana does not give him the same courtesy.
When a freak accident transfers Clark’s super strength and speed to Lana in “Wrath,” Lana really goes into full-on unhealthy 8 mode. She lives out the angry 2’s dream of accosting their enemies and causing them physical harm by showing up at the Daily Planet with evidence to take down the Luthors, throwing anyone who gets in her way through walls (Lois becomes collateral damage), and threatening to kill Lex unless he confesses. When Clark confronts her about it later, Lana defends herself by saying she is protecting them, doing this for them and their love!
8s identify threats (nonexistent and real) before they become threats and react defensively against them—this is where their reputation for premature aggression (shoot first, ask questions later) comes from. When a 2 has fallen into 8, they share in this behavior—negatively identifying threats and dealing with them, sometimes to their own determent. Even when they are acting out, their need to see themselves as helpful skews this self-destructive behavior (which worsens a situation more than it helps it) as being necessary for protecting their loved ones/relationship. It’s an inner coping mechanism that allows them to excuse their behavior.
Lana tells Clark she’s doing this “for us, so we can be together!” which is a denial of her anger and true motivations, which is to get revenge. This deviation from her strong ethical beliefs is unusual for her, but consistent with falling into the unhealthy side of 8. She can never let go of her past and live in the now; she’s allowing even her happiness with Clark to carry the taint of “last year, with Lex.” In this way, she’s not only tapping into an 8 inner rage and desire to “even the score,” but her line to the negative side of 4, which brings in an inability to live for today, without allowing other (negative) emotions to overshadow her present happiness.
The healthy 2 moves toward 4 by recognizing their own needs are as important as the needs of everyone else; they ‘borrow’ some of the 4 self-absorption, which frees them from living up to the expectations of others. We see this in Lana in season four, when she moves to Paris to ‘find myself.’ A 2 will draw upon 8 in times of stress, in protection of their loved ones, in defense of a relationship, and when they are at their absolute ‘worst.’ But they need to intentionally draw on the high side of 8 (strength and power) to become a stronger, more boundary-driven 2, to learn to say no to what does not concern them, and to recognize not everything is theirs to do; not every problem is theirs to solve. Not everyone needs them, and it’s okay to assert their needs, without assuming they have to take care of everyone else’s needs first. The healthy 2 who learns how to do this balances the outward-focus and deep generosity and capacity for selfless love with accepting their own need for love. They become the 2 everyone knows and loves, who also can receive the grace and generosity of others without needing to outdo them.