It might sound odd to connect the saboteur to beauty but there is a definite connection. If you can’t see your own beauty the saboteur is at work in the unconscious. We are like Sleeping Beauty, unconscious, waiting for someone special to wake us up. Sleeping Beauty does not see her beauty, her promise, her power or her magic.
What is the Saboteur?
The saboteur is a survival archetype. Archetypes are energies that create specific patterns and determine attitudes, preferences and choices. They develop when we are children. The saboteur sounds like someone who will betray you, but in reality it is in place to not only protect you but help you see the many ways you undermine yourself.
The Saboteur may be the most difficult of all the archetypes to understand, because its name is associated with betrayal. The purpose of this archetype is not to sabotage you, but to help you learn the many ways in which you undermine yourself. The Saboteur’s fears and issues are all related to low self-esteem that causes you to make choices that block your own empowerment and success.
Examples of sabotage in where beauty is concern are over eating, not eating enough, covering up or hiding your beauty with unattractive clothing, and covering your face with hair.
The power side of the Saboteur is total commitment to achieving the task. On the power side we operate with clarity and focus. We are not distracted by external events and issues, nor by our own fears and insecurities. The Saboteur governs commitment. The developed Saboteur guards self, home and everything else important, so you see it has a strong positive purpose. It guides us in and out of situations by allowing us to feel incredibly creative and vulnerable at the same time. The combination of these two energies activates our potential to rise out of self-destruction. Once maturity is accomplished, the Saboteur becomes our ally and alerts us when we are in a vulnerable state and leaves clues that we can see. We know when we are about to sabotage ourselves and we can make conscious and empowered choices.
Examples of the Beauty Saboteur in Action
The Saboteur can be activated by bullying. I was listening to MPR the other day and they were doing a segment about being bullied and how it can impact the rest of their lives. For young girls bullying is usually about how they look. I was reminded of my own childhood and realized that I was bullied. I never thought of it that way until I heard this MPR segment.
The extreme bullying happened when I was a teenager by my own brothers. I talked in an earlier blog about the wall in my house that had “Lynn (my original name) is Dumb, Fat and Ugly” scribbled all over it. It was reinforced by my brothers telling me that and telling their friends, usually boys, that I was dumb, fat and ugly. I remember one day when I was an adolescent, with a not so clear complexion, coming home to a yard full of neighbor boys and my brothers shouting “Hey zit-face!” over and over and laughing. I was so embarrassed I wanted to crawl under a rock and never come out. I had to see those boys everyday and when I did I felt humiliated. There were about 8 of them but it might as well been a stadium full because that is how bad it felt. Every time I looked in the mirror I was reminded of that day.
My saboteur has been really active since I started working with a trainer and also since starting the Dimensions of Beauty project. I am seeing how it is very concrete, literal and black and white. It is actually fun to see because it is helping me with my writing. I am able step into shoes that I know a lot of women wear.
The MPR guest commented on how those bullying experiences make us want to become invisible so no one ever sees us. That way we can’t be hurt like that again. That experience becomes our own Saboteur and those comments are unconsciously repeated when we feel we don’t measure up. I have often felt invisible in my life and just recently began to understand why.
The Saboteur can be activated by the media. We are inundated with images of beauty throughout the media that become our gauge for how we should look and act. I have worked with many clients over the years who have struggled with how they look. One that stands out was a young girl of about 15 who I thought was adorable. She was thin, pretty and out going, but she could not see her own beauty. One day I showed her pictures of Hollywood stars with and without make-up from a website I found. She made comments like ” that must have been a bad day” or “I can’s see the difference” when there was dramatic difference. No matter what was said she would not accept that she was a beautiful girl because the Saboteur was in charge.
I had another client who was 18 and was a cutter. I learned during our therapy that she also had an eating disorder. She thought she was fat and ugly and that was so distorted but she wouldn’t hear my telling her she was anything else. I couldn’t get her mother on board with her therapy and support because I learned from talking with her that she had the same issues. She had verbalized her feelings about her self-image for years and her daughter internalized it for herself. I think this is very common as well.
Archetypal patterns awaken in us our own divine potential if we learn to embrace them and listen to what is behind their messages. They can liberate us from the limitations of our thoughts and feelings and shed light on the dark or little-known corners of our souls and amplify our own brilliance and strengths. Our challenge with any archetype/fear is to face it and recognize the opportunity it presents to learn its inherent lessons and develop and aspect of personal power.
The power side of the Saboteur is what inspires me to start this revolutions in beauty consciousness. I have seen how it has held be back and now it is empowered to support other women to awaken to their beauty in a new way.