The word archetype comes from the Greek archein, meaning “original,” and typos, meaning “pattern.” So an archetype is an original pattern. In psychology, it’s a pattern of thought present in the human psyche.
The ways in which we relate (or don’t relate) to another person also emerge from our subconscious. We have witnessed this truth for many years, working as psychologists and intuitive counselors. In listening to tens of thousands of cases over time, something interesting happened: we noticed that the same types of people kept cropping up—people unrelated to each other but displaying almost identical qualities and comportment.
We began to comprehend that personality traits descend from archetypes and that a person’s very behavior is steered by his higher design. We noted that people come with sets of characteristics, similar to how a person with red hair also has freckles. We also realized that while we inherit much of our personality, it’s not fully formed until we pass through experiences that solidify who we are.
Each of the seven archetypes possesses strengths and weaknesses, and each is capable of upholding a relationship so long as he’s willing to work on himself. It boils down to what values each archetype must learn or change in order to cultivate a relationship that’s fulfilling for both partners. Our goal is to escape the boundaries of one archetype and become as flexible as possible in our lives and our romances, ready to tackle any challenge.
THE ARCHETYPES IN A FEW WORDS
The Independent’s struggle with commitment is caused by his individualistic and detached nature. Of the seven archetypes, the Independent is most reluctant to enter a relationship because he fears a partner will compromise his cherished freedom. The Independent is defined by his need to be on his own, and this becomes true not only in his love relationships but many other areas of his life. The Independent doesn’t look to what others are doing; he forges his own path.
The Workaholic has built his life around his work. In fact, he chose his career long before he chose his significant other. But he still wants the best of both worlds—the successful job and the beautiful wife— and he isn’t willing to compromise. Under no circumstances can the Workaholic be with a stultifying, possessive woman who holds him back from carrying out his mission; his partner will have to be supportive of his career and responsibilities. He sees the woman who’s constantly on top of him as another liability, not an asset that adds to his life. The Workaholic will let go of the partner who’s not contributing to his growth in the same way he’ll fire an employee who’s not performing up to his expectations.
The Narcissist has crossed the boundary from empowerment to entitlement, where there is too little humility and too much hubris. His heightened ego and selfish inclinations preclude him from bonding fully with others, which can make him seem emotionally superficial and cause serious relationship problems. The Narcissist may have trouble paying enough attention to his partner or giving her what she needs because his focus is so often on himself. But if these character tendencies are mitigated, the Narcissist can commit to a relationship.
The Free Spirit
This archetype is undecided in all that he does: from relationships to work to hobbies, the Free Spirit has trouble sticking to commitment in multiple aspects of his life. This man may claim he wants to have a relationship but abandons ship when things get serious. This kind of irrational behavior can leave his partner bemused and blaming herself when in reality, the Free Spirit contends with the notion of commitment itself. Unlike the Independent, who’s afraid of losing himself to his partner, the Free Spirit simply doesn’t know what he wants. He may have a faint idea, but when thinking comes to doing, the Free Spirit can’t execute. To teach him to pull through, you’ll first have to help the Free Spirit find his authentic self and act on it.
The Hopeless Romantic
The Hopeless Romantic is an idealist of epic proportions. He wholeheartedly believes in love but is a bit aimless and tactless. A dreamer and not a doer, the Hopeless Romantic yearns for commitment but doesn’t know how to approach a relationship in a rational and clearsighted way. He falls in love easily, throwing himself into romances blindly and often with unsuitable women. In truth, he may be more in love with the idea of love than with the person in front of him. Because he idealizes love, he’s not realistic about the messiness that relationships bring.
The Wounded Warrior
Because he’s been wounded (possibly early in life), the Wounded Warrior experiences a disconnection between the outside and the inside: the smile he wears without doesn’t match the turmoil he feels within. The Wounded Warrior is dealing with demons that he not only doesn’t address but willfully suppresses. He tries to hide or mask his trauma, often unsuccessfully, until it suddenly boils to the surface. Before he can commit, the Wounded Warrior must gently explore and heal his sunken pain.
The Introvert’s struggle is his fear of intimacy and hesitation to release what he feels inside. His bane is his lack of communication, which can be misinterpreted by his partner as secrecy. There exists a discrepancy between what’s shown on the outside and what’s kept inside that’s unique to the Introvert. To be in a committed relationship, the Introvert needs to feel comfortable enough to open himself up to his partner.
Our final description is of the Well-Rounded One. This is not an archetype per say, but he paints the portrait of a truly stable partner. Through him, you’ll understand how a healthy relationship looks and feels. The ultimate goal is that, once you and your partner have performed your work, you’ll shed the encumbrances of your archetypes and become a well-rounded couple.
To learn more about archetypes and love relationships, pick up a copy of Committed: Finding Love and Loyalty Through the Seven Archetypes by Carmen Harra, PhD and Alexandra Harra, available everywhere books are sold.