What’s Your Archetype

I was in a coaching session a couple of weeks ago and we came to be taking about “archetypes”. They help us all understand certain personality traits and patterns of behaviour – good and bad.

We were talking about it, because having awareness around some of your own learned patterns is often the first step to positive change.

Perhaps you have some of your own undesirable behaviours? Smoking, over eating, angry outbursts, lack of motivation?

Anyway, I thought I’d share a very quick overview of them below. Each of them has a light side and a dark or shadow side – pluses and minuses. Archetypes two, three and four can probably be grouped together.

I hope you enjoy reading through them.

1. The Child

The light side is delightfully childlike, I.e. Curious, energised, willing to grow and innocent. The darker side can be more about tantrums, being immature, stubborn and unwilling to learn.

2. The Rescuer

The light side is compassionate and extends a helping hand. It’s a tender feminine energy. The darker side is that the rescuer is an enabler that allows the people around them get drunk on their support and unfortunately therefore are never allowing them to learn for themselves.

3. The Punisher

Where the lighter side is about having helpful rules and laws that maintain order, but the darker side is about people beating themselves up over things. Or, worse beating up other people (usually emotionally).

4. The Victim

Here the lighter side is about being aware of your own wounds and having the motivation to end your own suffering. The darker side is wallowing in your own suffering, and being a little pathetic.

5. The Prostitute

The light side here is about giving something in order to get something back – a trade. The dark side is the danger of giving away our time, money and identity in the ‘hope’ we get something in return. Which may of course, never happen.

6. The Martyr

The martyr’s light side is about making sacrifices towards a bigger cause. The darker side inflicts pain on others or onto one’s self.

7. The Saboteur

The light side here provides resistance in order for us to grow. The shadow of that is that it keeps us stuck, and away from our full potential.

Personally, I am starting to see shades of myself in a few of these. Both as a parent and at work, I’m a rescuer – quick to embrace other people’s challenges and solve them on their behalf. And I’m starting to see how this is not only exhausting for me, but is genuinely unhelpful to those around me. After all, one of the key roles of parenting is to teach your children how to do things for themselves – and to let them…when they are ready and able…do it without parental guidance.

What archetypes do you see in yourself?