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  • Writer's pictureMaegan Kenney

The 4 Survival Archetypes

There are 4 primary archetypes that live in all of us....the victim, prostitute, saboteur, and child. They are called the "survival archetypes" simply because they are there to teach us how to survive in a world that inevitably involves experiences of pain and suffering.

They serve as the protective mechanisms, psychological defenses, and resistances that live in the mind that keep us alive. However, if we don't learn how to harmonize this family of archetypes, we will move through life in a stunted or regressed state which will prevent us from fulfilling our soul's contract.

It's useless to ask yourself what your "purpose" here is on this planet because the truth is, you may never know. Your "purpose" will also evolve with time. Instead, ask yourself what sacred contract you are here to fulfill. What lessons did your soul sign up to work through in this lifetime? If you look at where you struggle most, you'll find your answers.

A sacred contract is discovered when you get in touch with the burning feeling inside that says you "must" accomplish a certain goal, whatever that may be. It's usually not an entirely desirable one, or one that you "want." It's one that you know you MUST master because frankly, there is no other choice.

When we harmonize the family of our 4 survival archetypes, we start alchemizing our limitations into our mission and our personal power. You will never fulfill your contract if there 4 archetypes are not worked on.

The victim: the part of you that emerged from the helpless innocent child who needed to depend on others for survival. The victim puts us in touch with our powerlessness (which often lives in our shadow).

It also teaches us how to establish authentic power and be fully independent (the light side). If the light side of the victim is not mastered, you will go through life never fully meeting your full independent potential always feeling, and being, victimized by the world.

The prostitue: the part of you that had to shut down what you value most so you could avoid pain and suffering. The prostitute puts us in touch with what we can and cannot "afford" to do. If we sell out our soul for earthly gains, we will never access what our soul values most.

Those who work a good paying job, but lose self-care and time with family or doing things they love are caught in the prostitute archetype. Finding our way back to soul values rather than earthly values is how to express the higher vibration of this pattern.

The saboteur: the part of you that will choose to destroy what you have simply because you can, and you would rather self-destruct than allow someone else to have "power" over you or judge you.

The saboteur works seamlessly with the prostitue. They are a Bonnie and Clyde kind of pair. Get these two in the same room and it will take an act of God to stop their destructive synergy.

The saboteur grabs for power and value through chaos. It shows us the lengths we will go to be in control of how others perceive us, even if it's to control their judgement of us as failures. It's rooted in insidious shame and connects us to the seemingly worthless parts of ourselves that are so unbearable to feel that we would rather bite off our nose to spite our face instead and act out the "loser" within.

This archetype challenges us to let go of the fight against what is beyond us and focus on what we really want and deserve if no one else was around.

There is also a more subtle side to the saboteur. It's the part of us that abandons our gut instinct despite knowing there is a higher calling coming our way if we were to listen. We sabotage and refuse to respond to this higher calling because our soul is currently tired and weak. The soul doesn't possess the stamina needed for the trek. When your souls says "You better start taking care of your body, or else" and you maintain life as a couch potato or bury your feelings in food, you are sabotaging your power gateway. The saboteur makes us lie to ourselves over and over.

The saboteur will give us big dreams that only a 24-hour workday can fulfill, but instead, we stay high off of thinking and talking about the dream. We allow ourselves to become seduced and intoxicated by the "hit" of imagining the dream instead of actually turning it into reality.

The lighter side of this archetype is when we know we are feeding ourselves a heap of bullshit. We become conscious of how we are avoiding stepping into our full power and abandoning the messages from our soul. We just may be oblivious as to why we are refusing the call. That's the work.

The child: there are many different child archetypes (the Divine child, the magical child, the wounded child, the adult child, the nature child, and more). The child teaches us about the "mother" wound, or our fears of not being good enough, which is the shadow side of our inner feminine.

The mother will never be able to satisify every one of our infant needs, so by default, we will see here as not good enough, or we will inflate her to artificial perfection because the other option is too threatening to the psyche. This is Winnicott's "Good Enough Mother" theory in psychodynamics. The child is reinforced throughout life by the "father" wound, or our fears of being powerless.

It's important to ask yourself what triggers your child archetype to emerge. How do you know your child has just come out?

When your child emerges, don't be surprised when the adults around you shut it down. After all, no one wants a 7 year old driving a car, making medical decisions, or running a business. It's also not acceptable for a child to participate in an adult therapy session.

Bringing these 4 archetypes into their higher vibrations carves the path towards REAL healing. You cannot access the higher planes of consciousness if these dense, earthly patterns are not worked on.

So get your shovel and start digging. The gift musn't be wasted.

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