Befriending the Saboteur

Recently I have come to an understanding about an important archetype that is playing out in all of us: the Saboteur.

Archetypes are energies that create specific patterns and determine attitudes, preferences and choices.  Seated outside the body, they are  inherently connected to the world of form, in fact, they constitute the game-plan for individual spiritual growth. It is very important to recognize one’s archetypal patterns, as they are very helpful in discovering our gifts, talents and purpose in life, as well as pin-pointing the shadow aspects, that may stand in the way. So for example, someone could have the archetypal energy of a teacher, with a real gift for communicating knowledge, skills and wisdom to others, but rather be drawn to use this gift for personal recognition, as opposed to the benefit of others.

That what draws us to the shadow side, is the archetypal energy of the Saboteur.

The intrinsic archetype of the saboteur is in all of us. It is that which keeps us from doing what we should be doing, and makes us go down the path of procrastination, denial or distraction instead. Who does not know the Saboteur, enticing us to stay in bed instead of getting up, to eat junk-food, drink too much or engage in activities we know are not good for us. The saboteur is closely connected to obsessions and addictions of all kind, and it’s an energy that drives us to make choices, we can’t understand, when we are looking back. The saboteur makes us get speeding tickets, miss deadlines, skip classes, forego exercise or healthy activities, engage with people that are not good for us, spend hours in front of the TV, spend too much money or go down a path, we do know will lead us into misery.

In short, the Saboteur is the energy that makes us repeat a mistake over and over again.

This archetype is fuelled by fear and as such it is closely connected to the Ego. Now, you will ask – why would the Ego act against it’s best interest? Wouldn’t it be much more preferable to excel or shine, as opposed to stand in our own way ?

Fact is, that the Ego and the Saboteur are antagonistic forces, even tough they seem to have formed an entente cordiale and a non-aggression pact. The Ego is using fear to make sure we do not recognize the true motivation behind our reactions, while the Saboteur is that which is giving rise to all the attempts of control and manipulation in terms being sabotaged or of sabotaging others. The energy of the Saboteur is closely related to self-esteem and our own sense of identity. A healthy self-esteem is inversely related to the power of the saboteur.

Even tough it sounds so negative, the Saboteur in us has an important function to fulfill. It points us to our biggest hang-ups, our fears and our illusions about ourselves. Recognizing the patterns of our mistakes, make us look deeper and recognize the conditioning underneath.

In many ways, it appears to me now, that the Saboteur is the tool our greater Self uses, to undermine to power of the Ego.

If you look at your life, you will easily be able to pin-point those situations you are undermining yourself. Work-wise, failed relationships, missed opportunities – repeated frustrations, patterns of laziness, cowardice, procrastination or denial are real give-aways in terms of underlying fears or conditioning. And this is why it is so important to get comfortable with the Saboteur in us, because it will lead us right to our biggest fears.

In my own life I have dealt with the Saboteur big time over the past two years. It was what kept me paralyzed, withdrawn and inactive and it stood in clear, defiant opposition to the demands of the egoic conditioning, that told me in no unmistaken terms that I was running into my own demise. It took me a long time to understand what was happening, because that was probably the first time in my life, the energy of the Saboteur got the better of me and held me firmly down on the most fundamental levels of survival or being a part of society, while the egoic conditioning cum fear raged and bubbled to the surface.

It was then that I understood that the Saboteur has the power to guide us not only to our deepest and hidden fears. It is also pointing out our own subtle manipulative ways to control the environment and keeping up appearances of being the master of our own fate and the destiny of others.

I understood that making mistakes is what points us to the underlying issues. Signposts that help us uncover the barriers we put in our own way, that keep us in suffering and prevent us from living in peace.

And it’s obvious, that this archetypal energy is not only to be seen in humans, but also in societies and nations, in short the collective. Take for example America – a continent strongly under the influence of the archetypal pattern of the Rebel and the Orphan. It was the Saboteur, that led to the complacency and delusion about having created a superior system in terms of affluence and democracy, economic and societal values, in order to grant ever lasting stability. And it was the energy of the Saboteur that led to choices to defend this system internally and externally by all means.

To make friends with the Saboteur in us will lead us to our deepest fears and shadows. It will make us aware of our choices and help us to bring them in line with our purpose, as opposed to defend the delusions of our egoic conditioning. It will also help us to understand that ignoring the voice of the saboteur, can lead to the rise of the shadow side of this archetype, with all it’s self-distructive force.

It is a very good practice trying to spot the Saboteur in other people or the collective, because it is always easier to see it in others. This eventually will lead to our own issues of self-esteem, inner splits and issues of control. It will lead us to understand the power – and the illusion – behind choices and issues of betrayal.

Related posts

Energy of addiction


What is Ego

A stab in the back

About Michaela

I am a wanderer and a wonderer, like you are. I love our journey and to walk in the company of friends – to learn, experience, share, laugh, cry and above all I simply love this marvelous, magical, mysterious life. I have no plan (cannot believe I am saying this) and my only intention is to be truthful to myself and others.
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7 Responses to Befriending the Saboteur

  1. fatima says:

    excellent food for contemplation. thank you again M.
    busy business day ahead …..see you later.


  2. Echo says:

    Curious to know: how you are dealing with your Saboteur, Michaela …Simply spotting the Saboteur in yourself and recognizing the patterns isn’t enough, is it…

  3. jeromemp says:

    Reading this, I was reminded of an exchange over a year ago where I referred to the ‘happy terrorist’. It was resonant with your nicely advanced description here. I am often looking at the larger manifestations of nations, then to localities, then to my self in order to see the similarities of themes and struggles with our alter egos, our saboteur, our happy terrorist. In some ways it seems so obvious, and yet the operations of the saboteur, which can easily be rationalized in warped thinking, can be dismissed as being harmless, until the proverbial hammer drops. Off now to read your sequel.

    • Michaela says:

      I am really intrigued with the Saboteur, because it can be very helpful to work with this energy. If ignored however, it may turn into a self-destructive force.

  4. fatima says:

    Hi again… Yes I feel like you have touched on something important Marille. Jerome’s comments have been helpful too. I also look “out” in the way you describe Jerome, to to look “in”.

    It sounds like the this saboteur you refer to (I am not well versed in archetypes though I do use the word. lol) can be a friend and ally on the spiritual path….the very thing that ‘stops’ you or sometimes threatens to ‘ruin’ you and maybe even does in the sense of the idol of Self.

    For a few years I could only say to one of my friends in my tariqat ….. “I really feel okay, fine, but its as if I am waiting for the proverbial “shoe to fall”. Then for a while I stopped saying that…just didn’t feel that way anymore. Now I see that I feel that way again but its the “proverbial hammer” this time. lol laughing but not….

    • Michaela says:

      I am finding out that befriending the Saboteur ( another word for accepting), can be very helpful. So maybe not ignoring or hiding it any longer, but bringing it out in the open and get to know it.

      What is it that keeps me from taking the choices, that I am called to make.

      Maybe I am writing another sequel ?

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