Before reading about the Saboteur archetype, you may wish to read the introductory article on archetypes
People with low self-esteem, and all the fears and issues associated with it, are often visited by the Saboteur Archetype. At the core of it the Saboteur helps you to examine the degree of your self-worth, through shining a spotlight on your fears. The Saboteur recalls your fears of yesterday and causes you to run away from the wonderful opportunities before you today.
For example, say you have had a messy divorce, then one day someone new comes into your life, who seems wonderful, but inexplicably you find yourself not responding to them. You don't quite now why. The answer is stuck somewhere within your subconscious.
There is possibly a tape playing in there that says something like, "Danger! Danger! You've been in a situation like this before and nothing good came of it - get out now". So you find yourself not answering phone calls, or flirting with others in front of this new potential mate or some other types of 'dumb' things.
When you are aware of and work with your Saboteur it is a great ally because it actually shines a light on why you don't allow yourself to be the full potential you could be.
For many people, success brings up all their fears, and the pressure of having to maintain the success becomes too hard to bear, because of unexamined self-worth, self-esteem and self-acceptance issues. So they do something 'dumb' to bring them back to a level that doesn't put so much pressure on them.
Look at people like Tiger Woods, Shane Warne, Bill Clinton and Jack Welch, men who seemingly had it all, and yet have very much sabotaged their lives through affairs that the world 'had' to find out about. Or people like: Elvis, Marilyn Munroe, Kurt Cobain, Brittany Spears and the list could go on.
All people living a life most of us dream about, and yet each and every one of them sabotaged their success, in some way.
The point is, we do dumb things to get us out of situations that we don't feel worthy of. If ever you catch yourself saying/thinking: "I have no idea why I did (or didn't) do that. What was I thinking?" take the clue that your Saboteur has been at work and you had best have a good long look at your self-esteem and sense of self-worth in that area.
Whenever you do something that causes you to harm your own success or stop yourself from becoming empowered, recognize that your Saboteur is in operation and that you probably have some type of self-worth issue bubbling away under the surface.
A Classic Example of the Saboteur in the Workplace
Imagine a someone who is working for some type of pay-for-performance system. For example, a salesperson on commission. Now, this person knows that they generally earn $10,000 per month. Watch out if they earn $15,000 one month - they will correct for the mistake - and find themselves with a $5,000 month the very next month.
People don't mean to sabotage themselves. But, as surely as you'll have a hole in your foot, if you point a loaded gun at it and pull the trigger, if your self-esteem isn't at the level of where you find your circumstance you'll self-correct.
So, the salesperson stops making the calls - they'll justify it, with all sorts of rational and logically sounding excuses, about why they can't make the calls. But excuses and justification it is.
Because, if you put that loaded gun to their head and said - make the sales calls - all those excuses would surely disappear.
It all comes down to the choice you make, in the moment. You will feel a fear or pressure to perform. It is probably not a conscious thought, but somewhere on the inside you feel uncomfortable. You often experience it physically as feeling nervy, uptight, on edge.
Buried deeply in your subconscious is a thought pattern that goes something like "I am not this good, or I can't maintain this level of excellence forever or I am not worthy".
It's right there, in those types of moments (whether it's a job you don't feel worthy of, a relationship, the body shape, the not smoking or drinking - anything where you are struggling to be the picture you want) where you will need to make the choice.
To make the choice to acknowledge the fear and to be all you can be and move your life forward in a positive way. Or, to leave the fear unacknowledged, and allow it to dictate that you do something, that will ensure that you bring yourself back to a level, that your self-esteem feels you are worthy.
The key is, anytime you find yourself sabotaging your success, start to ask yourself questions like: Why do I do this? Why do I stop myself from being the full potential I could be?
If you dig deep, the answers to these questions will give you a breakthrough and move you one step further forward in aligning with your potential.
When you acknowledge, and become aware of your Saboteur, you can actually engage it to help you tear down your limitations and re-build your sense of self, and consequently your sense of what you are worthy of. Once you are aware of it, your Saboteur will remind you to not give in to your fears.
When you find yourself doing something dumb, like not making the sales calls you need, or coming in constantly late to work, missing deadlines on projects, messing up a relationship, etc. take sometime to ponder "Is this because I don't feel I am good enough for this?"