The Powerful Impact of Archetypes

in Your Life

Archetypes are instinctive patterns of behavior that can both help and hinder your success

This series of articles holds the keys to helping you to understand, why at times you:

  • feel under pressure
  • make a fool of yourself
  • react in ways that hurts yourself and others

If you want to stop sabotaging yourself, having others push your hot buttons, take better care of yourself emotionally, build better relationships, then read on ...

Often, when you do something 'dumb', the reasons behind that behavior are hidden in your subconscious.

The problem is that when you are driven by unconscious forces you are doomed to repeat over, and over, behaviors that don't serve you or serve others.

We all take on roles in life

There are probably roles in life that you play out instinctively, seemingly without choice.

Maybe you are known for being a particular type of person - for example, people might describe you as a nurturer, or a warrior, or a rebel, storyteller, comedian, teacher, bully.


Shortcuts used to describe people and patterns of behaviours

Which part of you is running your life?

The language of archetypes has been around for many thousands of years. Carl Jung, mid-20th century psychologist, brought the usage of archetypes into modern day language. Plato was the original writer!

Benefits of knowing about archetypes

  • Enables you to step outside yourself, so you can see why you do the things you do - particularly those behaviors that trip you up.
  •  Prepares you to bring your behavior under conscious control
  • Equips you to improve your relationships - with yourself, your work colleagues and your intimate circle
  • Improves your self-awareness and self-confidence
  • Enables you to identify the career you are meant to work in rather than the career you should work in

Rather than being trapped by "Why Did I Do That? " followed by a shrug of the shoulders, you'll be able to recognize when your actions are being driven by an archetypal pattern.

Archetypes have both positive and negative aspects

The Four AgreementsIt's important to note that the archetypes have both positive and negative aspects.

For example, the positive aspect of the Victim archetype is to help you build your own sense of personal power and self-esteem.

In its negative aspect (known as the Shadow) the Victim archetype places you in a position where you blame others and fill yourself with self-pity for the circumstances of your life.

12 Archetypes that are our constant companions

In recent times Caroline Myss has done much research on archetypes and has documented in her book Sacred Contracts many of the stories, myths, and legends that help us to understand archetypes.

Caroline believes that we can demonstrate aspects of any archetype, given the right circumstance. However, she says that each of us have 12 archetypes that are our constant companions throughout life.

These constant companions help you to be uniquely you. Bringing with them lessons and influences that help you evolve and grow.

For example, some of the archetypes that seem to dominate in my life are: Storyteller, Writer (funny that!), Teacher, Pirate.

The Four Universal Archetypes

In Sacred Contracts, Caroline says, there are four universal archetypes that resides within each and every person on this planet. 

  • Victim
  • Child
  • Saboteur
  • Prostitute

 I suggest there's a 5th universal archetype that each and every one of us needs to come to grips with and can learn from - The Judge. Don Miguel Ruiz shares the concept of the Judge in his fabulous book The Four Agreements

Here is a quick overview of each of these archetypes and you can click through to read more. However, I do recommend that you read through to the end of the article to understand how you can make use of this knowledge in your workplace.

Victim: This part of you lays blame, justifies, makes excuses and generally doesn't accept responsibility for your life circumstances. Understanding Victim energy help you to take control, no matter what's happening around you. Go to Victim Archetype article

Saboteur: Why when things are going so well, do you do something dumb that causes everything to implode? Discover how high your self-esteem is, in your career, your relationships, your success Go to the Saboteur Archetype Article

Child: "That's not fair!" If you catch yourself figuratively or literally stamping your foot and putting your hands on your hips, you are being hit by Child energy. Discover how to stop the child from taking over inappropriately. Go To Child Archetype Article

Prostitute: Staying in a job you hate for the $$? Well, learn how well the Prostitute is running your life Go to the Prostitute´╗┐´╗┐ Archetype Article

Judge: Here is the part of you that does your head in with its constant criticism of yourself and others. In this article learn to turn down the volume control on the ever-present Judge. Go To Judge Archetype Article

Taking this into your workplace

The very best thing you can do for yourself, and your people, is to take the time to educate them with this knowledge in a training session.

Through this self-discovery process, people can start to see themselves clearly and see how the various archetypes play out in their own life.

Then, if you've done a good job of helping them to become insightful, they will often catch themselves in the midst of an archetypal challenge, and make a different choice.

If they don't catch themselves, you now have a common language that you can use with that person, without him or her getting overly defensive.

They may, or may not, appreciate you calling them on it. But more often than not, it does cause them to stop and think through, 'Is this the person I want to be?'

If someone is complaining to you or acting in an inappropriate way a good question to ask (assuming you've taught them this concept) is, "Which of your archetypes is playing out and/or talking to me right now?"

Becoming your own coach and identifying when an Archetype is in operation

The next time you find yourself in a heated situation, in which you are upset and reacting in a negative way, being cranky about something, having a hissy fit, maybe saying or doing something that you might later regret, (let's call this the Game), try to take yourself out of the game. It's almost as if you are having an out-of-body experience, looking down upon yourself, at what you are doing and saying.

Now, as you observe yourself in your Game, imagine asking yourself questions like:

  • "Which of my archetypes is dominating at the moment"
  • "Why am I doing this?"
  • "Is this who I want to be"

Then jump back into your game. You may or may not make the choice to behave differently, but at least you are aware of what you are doing and who you are being.

You will find, that the more that you train yourself to flip between being in the game and being your own out-of-body coach, that you will bring a lot more power into your life.


Your archetypes are your guides to understanding the higher plane of your life. The bigger picture perspective that your archetypes gives you opens up a world of possibilities. Now, you have free will to decide whether you wish to use the energy of that archetype wisely or not.

Your personal evolution will leap forward as you reflect upon how you are leading your life. From your reflection you will:

  • gain insight into how to live differently and be different
  • avoid the crises and dramas of life
  •  strengthen your understanding of what you do that creates great success, so that you may ensure you continue along this pathway
  • replace fear with courage

Read in more detail about each of the 5 main archetypes

Read in more detail about each of these archetypes and the impact they can have on your personal and business life.

There are exercises on each page to help you recognize when each of the archetypes are present in your life. Either because you are using the behaviors/energy or someone you are interacting with is in the grips of a shadow moment.


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