What’s My (Troublesome) Archetype?

Archetypes can be used to describe ways to realise your potential, but if they’re not acknowledged, archetypes can make a mess of your life. They can also describe the methods you use to mess up other people’s lives. Archetypes can describe the methods others use to mess up your life too.

Self-sabotage can be good for you in small doses now and then. Self-sabotage is good for you if it teaches you what not to do next time. Like I said, it’s not all bad though, because archetypes will also describe the methods you can use to improve your life. They describe the methods you can use to improve other people’s lives. Archetypes describe the methods others use to improve your life.

Which archetype is running your life into the ground?

Mahatma Gandhi said, “Carefully watch your thoughts, for they become your words. Manage and watch your words, for they will become your actions. Consider and judge your actions, for they have become your habits. Acknowledge and watch your habits, for they shall become your values. Understand and embrace your values, for they become your destiny.”

My version of his wisdom goes like this:

  1. Your personal archetypes influence your thoughts and how you feel.
  2. Your thoughts and feelings are the co-authors of your words.
  3. Your words drive or belie your actions.
  4. Your actions form your behaviour.
  5. Your repetitive behaviour becomes a habit.
  6. Your habits expose your values.
  7. Your values shape your character.
  8. Your character determines your destiny.

Archetypes are patterns and patterns can be read. Archetypes are patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving. If you’re in a pattern of thinking, feeling or behaving that is constructive, then your life goes well most of the time, and when it doesn’t go well, you tend to cope better than most.

If you’re stuck in a pattern of thinking, feeling or behaving that is not constructive, then life becomes increasingly harder to manage. Sabotage can become a way of life if you let it. A lifetime of sabotage is not good for your physical, emotional, mental or spiritual health.

I’ve found that archetypes contain a positive side and a negative side. Human nature tends to be drawn to identifying the worst in a person, place or thing at first. Identifying the worst at first is normal. You have to do it as a matter of survival. Identifying the bad in something means you can then protect yourself if or when you’re in danger.

Here are 20 of the most troublesome archetypes.

  1. Child
  2. Victim
  3. Prostitute
  4. Saboteur
  5. Trickster
  6. Shapeshifter
  7. Rescuer
  8. Rebel
  9. Addict
  10. Puppet
  11. Avenger
  12. Beggar
  13. Bully
  14. Damsel
  15. Judge
  16. Hedonist
  17. Martyr
  18. Slave
  19. Coward
  20. Peacemaker

Which archetype is running your life into the ground at present? Once you identify this archetype, instead of being stuck or worse, going backwards, you can begin to move closer to your destiny. However, merely identifying the troublesome archetype is not enough to reduce sabotage. You have to neutralise its power.

Here is a mental contrasting exercise to help you do this:

  1. Identify your archetype’s negative side by listing 6 qualities or characteristics that you don’t like about it.
  2. Then for each negative you have listed, write the exact opposite of it to reveal the positive side.

For example, if you have chosen the Child as your most troublesome archetype, your mental contrasting exercise might look like this:

Child – negative side

  1. needy
  2. helpless
  3. demanding
  4. overwhelming
  5. worried
  6. afraid

Child – positive side

  1. assured
  2. independent
  3. easy-going
  4. organised
  5. calm
  6. courageous

Then use each negative you’ve listed as a trigger to remind you to do what you need to do to embody the exact opposite. For example, next time you feel needy, ask yourself what you need to do to feel more reassured. When you feel helpless, ask yourself what you can to do to be more independent. Whenever you demand too much of yourself, ask yourself what you need to do to be more easy-going. When you feel overwhelmed, ask yourself what you need to do to be more organised. Whenever you feel worried, ask yourself what you need to do to be calm. And when you feel afraid, ask yourself what you need to do to find the courage you need.

When you identify a troublesome archetype, and you identify it’s negative and positive power, and you use the triggers to your advantage, you will engage your power. So you can reduce sabotage and increase your ability to take charge of your life. And this puts you in line with your destiny.