What are the 7 inner child archetypes or types? What do they mean, and how can you use them to work on yourself as well as others? For instance as a coach, a change worker, a leader, a supportive parent, a partner, or a friend coaching or dealing with another person.
I want to tell you a story about what inner child “issues” are at my place of work. This allows me to give you a framework to understand what the 7 inner child archetypes or types are.
The inner child gone wild in the real world
A while ago I was teaching a class in Bali. We had a great group of students present. A retreat or personal development training of any kind be a pressure-cooker experience – ultimately, in a positive way. Both the dynamics of my inner child and that of the students can be like fuel to a match.
What happens when the match is lit?
Typically when I am teaching, people have an awareness that we are in an environment with others, which means we share air time in an exercise like this particular day. One student appeared to be excited and kept yelling out words. Unfortunately, they were the wrong ones. I explained to her why they were wrong. Did this explanation satisfy her? It did not! The wrong words kept on coming, and other students wanted to find space for their contribution.
The meltdown & dramatic walk-out – the only solution
I was doing everything in my power to hide my emotion, (something I was taught to do as a child) but cloaked it in an increasingly frustrated tone in order to shut it down. An emotional meltdown unfolded. She sped out of the villa saying, “ I can never do anything right!” It was interesting that everyone responded differently. Some withdrew into their shell and dissociated. Others starting to practice breathing. One wanted to run after her and fix the misunderstanding.
A teacher or leader yourself?
At this moment, I only had one option – to keep teaching. As much as my inner hero and fixer wanted to walk out after her. When an adult emotionally deregulates in a situation where it is not warranted, they are responsible for doing work on themselves or hire a professional private coach or therapist. I do the same. I strive to live what I teach unerringly.
Why is it useful to learn what the archetypes are?
It is relevant for all of us, but for professionals in the field of change work, it really is a requirement.
- To learn our own triggers, reactions, and where we must do personal development work to heal.
- To learn other people’s triggers and reactions, preferences, and habits.
- To learn the interaction between your inner child and that of others.
- To learn how you can help someone work on their inner child archetypes.
One of the things I admire most in people is self-awareness and being willing to step into a place of personal development to become a better person. All excellent coaching habits start with self-awareness and how you yourself interact with the environment.
What are the 7 inner child archetypes?
1 The Caretaker
The “Caretaker” inner child archetype is typically characterized by the following traits:
– They are typically very nurturing and compassionate, often putting the needs of others before their own.
– Although they may appear stoic, the Caretaker can also be prone to strong feelings of anger if they feel something important has been taken away from them.
– They are very forgiving, looking at situations from the perspective that mistakes can always be overcome with love and understanding.
– The Caretaker inner child type is deeply committed to relationships; believing that no bond should ever be broken through strife or neglect.
Many of my students who seek out the coaching profession fall under this archetype.
2 The Overachiever
Characteristics of the “overachiever” inner child archetype include:
– Demonstrating an innate drive to push themselves beyond what others deem normal or comfortable boundaries.
– Holding high expectations for both themselves and those around them, and having very little patience for mediocrity or laziness.
– Feel seen, heard, and felt through success and achievement.
– Seek external validation especially when there is an increased sense of low self-worth.
– Receive love through achievement.
A common archetype among my students. They take NLP training to become even more successful.
3 The Underachiever
This inner child is characterized by:
– Low self-worth and difficulty believing in their own abilities
– Fear of taking risks and stepping out of their comfort zone
– Difficulty setting goals and achieving them
– Keep themselves small to avoid critique.
– Take themselves out of the emotional game before it is even played.
Some of my students have this inner child archetype, and desperately want to heal from it.
4 The rescuer or protector
This archetype is a protector, often putting others first and striving to keep everyone safe. Characteristics include:
– Strong sense of justice and fairness
– Tendency towards martyrdom
– Wants to rescue those around them to heal from their own vulnerability.
– Views others as helpless, dependent, and incapable.
– Derives self-worth from being in a position of power.
– Receive love through helping others solve their problems,
Many coaches, motivational speakers, and yes, personal development trainers have this inner child archetype.
5 Life of the party
Characteristics of this archetype include:
– Always ready to try something new
– Thrives on social interaction
– Cheerful comedic person who never feels pain.
– Likely shamed as a child for their emotional state.
– Receive love from others making sure everyone around them is happy.
I have noticed that most change workers outgrow this habit in their personal healing journey as they age, but maintain being the life of the party in a professional environment. For instance, if you can be comedic as a teacher, people will learn more. When people feel good, they are more creative and open to new ideas and learning.
6 The yes person
Here are some characteristics to expect from the yes person:
– Always trying to please others
– Avoids confrontation
– Feels a deep sense of guilt or shame when they say no
– Drops everything and neglects all needs in service of others.
– Was modeled in childhood that self-sacrifice was good
– Engages in deep co-dependency habits.
– Receive love by being good and selfless.
This is a common archetype among people who work as change workers. This is also a person who turns up for their own personal development, as they struggle with exhaustion, boundary issues, and co-dependency issues in their life.
7 Hero worshipper
Characteristics of the Hero Worshipper include:
– Idolizing people in positions of power or authority
– Need to have a guru to follow.
– Emerges from a wound inflicted by a super-hero parent.
– Believes the only way they can receive love is by self-neglect.
– Want to use others as a model to know how to live.
To be honest, I find this in some of my students as well. And I am the subject of who they work with. It is important to be aware of someone with this inner child archetype and keep yourself in check as a coach or change worker, or someone who is being worshipped. Don’t let it inflate your own inner child – it is off-putting to those who do not have this archetype.
Change work and the inner child
If you are a coach or a cheerleader for others in some form of change work:
1. First, become aware of your own inner child type and workings.
2. Reflect on your professional life, clients, business partners, bosses, attitude towards productivity, etc.
3. Reflect on your personal life when it comes to parents, family, significant others, and friends.
4. Monitor your day on what your habits and triggers are.
If you want to heal your own inner child I recommend:
“How to do the work – recognize your patterns, heal from your past + create your self” – by Dr. Nicole LePera (The Holistic Psychologist.) I will do a book review for coaches as well as those interested in personal development in the next few weeks. I am a big supporter of Nicole’s work and follow her on Instagram.
Step 2: Start to observe others in your environment, like inner child archetypes personality typing.
Step 3: Start getting an understanding of how you can help or coach others. This is really the final step.
How to do the work – recognize your patterns, heal from your past + create your self – by Dr. Nicole LePera (The Holistic Psychologist)
How to Meet Your Self: The Workbook for Self-Discovery – Dr. Nicole LePera
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