We all have archetypes—universal patterns of mythical power— within our psyche, and the Saboteur archetype may be the most difficult to understand because its name is associated with betrayal. Caroline Myss calls it the Guardian of Choice because its purpose is to help you identify when you are about to make a decision that weakens you.

When an opportunity arises that helps you grow by stretching your comfort zone, have you ever heard a whispering voice beneath you that says, “You’re not good enough. You’ll never make that achievement?” If you have, what you’re hearing is the internal Saboteur raising the possibility of failure, which is a decidedly fearsome prospect.

Another example is when you fear success. You call upon the Saboteur to destroy the foundation of that success because the responsibility seems overwhelming: What if I let people down?  What if I’m not able to sustain the position?

The Saboteur operates in the shadows of our subconscious.


The Saboteur’s fears and issues are all related to low self-esteem that causes you to make choices that block your empowerment and success.

The Saboteur’s core issue is fear of initiating change into your life, change that rearranges your entire reality and requires you to respond in a positive way to opportunities that shape and deepen your self-esteem and empowerment. Ignore it, and the shadow Saboteur will manifest in the form of destructive behavior or the desire to undermine others.

It typically makes its presence known through a feeling or a thought that is rooted in fear. It may be a feeling of anxiety, doubt, of looking stupid, lack of confidence, or being afraid of failing. The Saboteur can guard your heart and push away any people or opportunities that bring you joy or success. 

Only when we become aware of the Saboteur and recognize it can we make it our ally. The first way you can explore the shadow aspect of the Saboteur is to observe your behavior. You can effectively do this by creating a journal where you recorded the times or events when you realized you’d sabotaged yourself.

The keyword here is OBSERVE. The Saboteur needs to be recognized for it to be integrated.

You don’t want to analyze. You want to observe, and through the power of observation, you will garner the capacity to see things from a higher perspective, which will lead to positive behavioral change.


Acknowledging the Saboteur requires us to take responsibility as we must look at our failures and missed opportunities and find how we contributed to the situation. A few questions to ask yourself to learn how to become aware of the action of the Saboteur within are:

  • In what areas of my life do I fear change?
  • What fears have the most authority over me? List three.
  • How have I thwarted my success in the past?
  • What am I protecting myself or someone else from by sabotaging my success?
  • What happens when fear overtakes me? Does it make me silent?
  • Have I let creative opportunities pass me by?
  • How conscious am I in the moment that I am sabotaging myself?

When we make the Saboteur our friend and ally, we can then make decisions based on our highest purpose in life, as we stand firm in our center with unwavering self-esteem rather than giving in to our fears egos.