Are you being sabotaged by the inner saboteur?
Have you ever experienced this? You want something to work so bad that you fear you are going to stuff it up. And then you do!
I have witnessed this time and time again when we try too hard, we find ourselves in a bit of a pickle messing things up. If this is you—there’s a good reason for it.
Carl Jung a Swiss psychiatrist who was way ahead of his time first introduced the term ‘Archetypes’ in 1919 in his paper ‘Instinct and the Unconscious’. Jung states that there is good reason for supposing that the Archetypes are the unconscious images of the instincts themselves—in other words, they are ‘patterns of instinctual behaviour’.
Since Jung’s introduction of the 12 Archetypes—that we all experience as universal patterns within our psyche—many psychologists and authors such as Caroline Myss, have identified a multitude of Archetypes that dwell within us to some degree.
Archetypal psychology explores the patterns of behaviour that influence our emotional, mental, or spiritual growth. Think of Archetypes as a type of energy. Let me explain. Do you remember at school during a science experiment with a magnet, a piece of paper and iron shavings—the magnet was underneath the paper, and the iron shaving was on the opposite side of the paper where they created patterns?
Well, think of Archetypes as the magnet beneath the sheet of paper and the shapes that are formed—these patterns of energy are the influence that they have on us, whether you would label them as positive or negative. Once upon a time, they served a purpose.
The purpose of the Saboteur is to protect you…
The Saboteur may come across a little negative because it’s associated with deception, dishonesty, and treachery. It is one of the four Archetypes of survival. In the good old days when we were children, these Archetypes had a role to play—whether that was to make friends, gain attention, connect, belong or to shield us from any pain.
Fast forward ahead of time as adults these Archetypes if anything trip us over, again and again, shining a light on our fears, lack of self-worth and self-esteem—only to drag them around with us for our entire life repeating and projecting our unhealed wounds.
When we are not conscious of these Archetypes they secretly deprive us of high vibrational emotions and feelings such as enlightenment, peace, joy, love, and acceptance. So, if you ever find yourself lacking a little willpower, self-trust, or faith—ask yourself ‘why’ and in what area of your life. And… for what purpose.
We can learn so much when we become an ‘observer’ and see how we are sabotaging ourselves because it may very well be affecting our career, relationships or even success.
Keep in mind this is only a pattern of fear. Fear of losing control. Fear of showing up and being seen. Fear of failure. Fear of judgement and criticism. Fear of rejection and abandonment. Even fear of success!
The Saboteur’s fears are related to low self-esteem and self-worth…
Consequently, it causes you to make choices that block your own empowerment and success. Through it all, the Saboteur is calling out to you. It is seeking your attention to point out the areas in which you are getting in your own way. Once you become aware of the Saboteur, you will hear and see the warnings loud and clear. Instead of being so destructive, you will stop repeating unwanted patterns that undermine you.
The trick is not to turn away or ignore it. You must lean into it. Face it. Make it your ally. Befriend it. Only then can you make sense of it. First, we must look at what area of your life is this self-destructive behaviour most evident. Is it in your career, health, finance, relationships, friendships, or personal growth?
Be kind and compassionate to yourself when doing this activity (the deep work)—remember the Saboteur is here to work with you, to bring forth your deepest wounds because if you don’t acknowledge it and start to work with it. It will tear down everything in your path that means the world to you—or that you truly desire.
Once you have connected with the repeating pattern whether it was bad relationships, never having a promotion at work or knowing your health is on the line but ignoring it. One question that you can ask yourself is “what part of me feels unworthy?” Don’t be surprised if words like love, joy and freedom come up for you.
Love, respect and honour the person you are…
Now that you have pinpointed what area of your life and what parts of you feel unworthy. The next step is to identify what exactly do you fear. Let me bring it to life with an example. Let’s say the repeating pattern in my life was failed relationships. The part of me that feels unworthy—is not worthy of love. The fear that comes up is abandonment.
Let’s say you experienced abandonment as a young child. By the way, we all have. But let’s say more than most. The Saboteur’s purpose was to keep you safe and thus would sabotage your relationships so that you would never have to experience abandonment ever again. Although it played a part and served a purpose to keep you safe from pain—it is still protecting you to this day holding you back from having loving relationships so to never experience the pain of abandonment.
Another example—the Saboteur poisoning your success in your career. Let’s say you had parents that were always comparing you with others. Telling you that “you could have done better” or “why didn’t you get honours?” or “why didn’t you get straight A’s on your report card?” … no matter how hard you tried it was never ‘good enough’. You can imagine the anguish of a child, wanting so hard to belong and will go out of its way to please just to connect. The Saboteur will do whatever it takes to get in the way of your success so that you don’t ever have to experience the pain of feeling inadequate, incompetent, or incomplete having to hear the disappointments of another—reminding you that you are not good enough and not worthy of success.
You can now understand ‘why’ it’s so important for us to heal and integrate our wounds. The fear of failure and the fear of not being good enough is the underlying driver for the Saboteur. Yep! The fear is what drives the Saboteur. The fear is also food to the Ego. The more we fear—the bigger the Ego grows. But there is a higher truth than fear and that is love.
Become the observer of the Saboteur…
For us to get close enough to the Saboteur is to observe it without judgment because the Saboteur doesn’t want to be analysed, evaluated, or examined like there is something wrong. Therefore, you need to treat the Saboteur with kitten gloves.
The Saboteur comes in many flavours. Can you relate to any of these internal Archetypes?
Judge— Focus on negative self-talk. Beats you and others up repeatedly over mistakes. Worrying and fixated on what is wrong with life.
|If it wasn’t up to me pointing out all the things that are wrong, we would be tripping ourselves up with ongoing mistakes. I can pick an error from a mile away. How will anything improve without me?|
Controller—Needs to be in control. Loves to dominate and take charge of situations and people.
|If it wasn’t for me pushing others to do what needs to be done we wouldn’t be achieving this kind of outcomes and results.|
Stickler—Needs everything in place. A strong need for order. Everything must be perfect and organised.
If it wasn’t for me making sure everything is done perfectly, nothing would ever get done right.
|Avoider—Avoids difficult conflicts and agrees to things not normally accepted. Procrastinates on unpleasant tasks in the hope they disappear.||
If it wasn’t for me focusing on the positive and being optimistic everyone would be in an emotional uproar. No good comes out of conflict!
|Restless—Never satisfied with current activities. Always seeking for something more exciting. Keeping busy for busyness’ sake.||
If it wasn’t for my drive to experience the most out of life and accomplishing the most out of time. I wouldn’t be successful. Life is too short to be missing out!
|Pleaser—Continually helping, pleasing, or rescuing others. Wants to be liked, accepted, and valued. Lose sight of their own needs only to find themselves resentful as a result.||
If only everyone would be giving—the world would be a better place. There should be more selfless human beings on our planet. To give unconditionally with nothing in return.
Victim—Bad things always happen to me, playing the ‘poor me’ card to gain attention and affection. A focus on negative deflating emotions.
|If I keep this up, my knight in shining armour will always come to the rescue. This is the best way to attract recognition, attention and be in the spotlight.|
Hyper-Rational—High need for intense and rational analytical facets of everything including relationships. Can be seen as arrogant, aloof, and uncaring.
|If it wasn’t for my rational way of thinking no-one would make logical decisions. Emotions are a waste of time and only a distraction.|
Hyper-Vigilant—Continuous fear and anxiety about what could go wrong. They can never rest. Sensitive to danger and uncertainty around them.
If it wasn’t for me being so careful and attentive god knows what could have gone wrong. Life is full of dangers. You must always be on the lookout.
Hyper-Achiever—Competitive in nature, goal orientated and the drive to achieve for self-respect and validation—at the cost of relationships.
|If you can’t complete your tasks, you are not good enough and you will never be successful. Accomplishment is based on your success at-all-cost.|
From Saboteur to lover of self and discerner of truth…
Now that you have identified specifically what Saboteur plays out most of the time and you have identified, in what area of your life. You are probably thinking – “What do I do with all of this information?” “How do I overcome the Saboteur?”
I am now going to introduce to you the inner Sage. We all have one. It’s an Archetype that we can lean on. A little like having a devil on one shoulder—the Saboteur and an angel on the other—the Sage. Get this. The more we give the Saboteur a voice because we believe it is protecting us, the more of these unwanted, unhealthy, and unpleasant occurrences in our life, relationships, and careers will continue to repeat. Even for a lifetime! We have a choice.
So, from now on, with any problems that arise work with your inner Sage and ask questions like “what would my inner Sage say right now?” or “what would my inner Sage do in this situation?” Use your inner Sage as if it was your internal coach. The more you give it a voice, the stronger it will become.
In saying that… it’s important not to ignore the Saboteur because it does serve a purpose and it’s up to us to uncover the purpose so we can heal our wounds. You will be able to identify the difference between the two because the Saboteur will keep you safe by playing small.
Whereas the Sage will activate a sense of power, potential and freedom that you are good enough. The Sage is your infinite wisdom and when your Sage is energised—you are now operating from a different part of your brain. The right lobe of your brain called the temporal lobe where you will find your amygdala—this is where your ‘aha’ moments reside, and this is where you will find your deepest ‘insights’ that guide you out of a rabbit hole. This is the intelligence of the Sage that helps you make good and balanced decisions without involving the Ego.
If you really want to get anywhere in life. A fulfilling relationship, a satisfying career and financial freedom then the only step to empowerment is to master yourself by disempowering the Saboteurs and empowering your Sage!
Listen to the Podcast The Purpose of the Saboteur is to Protect You below: