Caregiver Archetype

Caregiver Archetype

The Caregiver archetype

Archetype Family: Caring
Other Expressions: Nurturer, Mother, Lover, Sister, Teacher, Rescuer
Life Journey: To care for others in ways they are unable to care for themselves
Unique Challenge: Fear of being thought selfish or unable to care for others
Universal Lesson: To learn when to help and when not to
Defining Grace: Compassion
Inner Shadow: Feeling resentful and uncared for
Male Counterpart: The Caregiver is a yin/yang archetype, equally balanced between masculine and feminine heart energy.
Myths of the Caregiver: If I don’t help others, they’ll think I’m selfish. I have to help people or they won’t survive.
Behavior Patterns and Characteristics:
The Caregiver . . .
• never turns down anyone who needs help.
• serves as the family caregiver.
• chooses a caregiving occupation.
• sees helping others as a calling.
• is a model of compassion and generosity.
Lifestyle Challenge: To care enough about yourself to find out who you really are

LIFE JOURNEY

The Caregiver archetype embodies the qualities of compassion, generosity, and an inborn tendency to respond to those who need assistance. Though feelings of generosity and compassion are common to us all, these higher human attributes form the core motivational force of the Caregiver. Members of the Caring family—Caregiver, Nurturer, Mother, Rescuer, Teacher—thrive on caring for others. Caregivers respond to the world out of a fundamental instinct that asks, “What can I do for this person? Does this person need me in some way? How can I be of service?”

The Life Journey of the Caregiver is to care for others in ways that help them get on with their lives. It is in the Caregiver’s nature to respond whenever anyone needs love, attention, or help. Not surprisingly, this is one of the most beloved archetypes because we all need to be cared for. If you identify with this archetype, then you can be sure that you’ve been targeted to give and receive love and appreciation in this lifetime.

As a heart-centered archetype, the Caregiver perceives others through an ingrained sense of human fellowship. The Caregiver inherently looks for the good in everyone and seeks to resurrect the fallen. Caregivers are born believers in the power of love to move mountains and heal all wounds. It is virtually impossible for the Caregiver to stop caring about others.

Like no other archetype, this one has the ability to sense the needs of other people, whether family, friends, colleagues, or strangers. It would be just like a Caregiver to notice how exhausted you are and drop by later on with dinner. Drop by with dinner, not for dinner—they won’t stay. The Caregiver intuitively knows when you need rest and a home-cooked meal but not necessarily company and conversation. The Caregiver’s exquisite sensitivity to others often baffles people without this archetype. If they were to ask the Caregiver, “Why do you give so much when so often you get nothing in return?” the response would most likely be, “I don’t know. That’s just the way I am.”

And how. If you have this archetype you have a seemingly unlimited store of compassion and understanding. You astound others with your ability to find within yourself the resources to give without question and provide a constancy of nurturing that would deplete just about anyone else. Bottomless wells of strength and stamina, Caregivers are born first responders—often among the earliest to show up at disasters, volunteering their time, energy, and resources to assist those whose lives have been turned upside down by floods, tornados, or other natural or manmade crises. Whether the crisis is a skinned knee or a home destroyed by fire, the Caregiver will be there in an instant with Band-Aids, a blanket, and TLC.

Caregivers are natural nurturers. Many of you can be found in the kitchen, making sure that not only are meals tasty and nutritious but also that mealtimes are emotionally nourishing. Feeding others is the ultimate form of caring for many with this archetype. Chances are a Caregiver has a recipe file stuffed with family favorites that her mother and grandmother served before her.

Men as well as women with the Caregiving archetype fall into the role of parenting with ease—provided they become parents at a stage in their lives when they are prepared to give. Though caring for others comes naturally to Caregivers, they still need to mature into the capacity to give without resentment. If forced into the role of caregiving before they have reached that point, they may find themselves in the uncomfortable position of resenting their own nature.

But for the most part, Caregivers give without a second thought. They can’t help it. No kindness or consideration is too small. A Caregiver wouldn’t think twice about stopping to corral oranges that had fallen from a shopper’s grocery bag, or lending a hand to a mom juggling packages and a squirming toddler. People without the Caregiver archetype might notice that someone needed assistance, but they would only offer it if it were convenient for them, or they might hesitate because they felt awkward approaching a stranger.

It’s important to note that the capacity to care for others is not unique to the Caregiver, however. As human beings, we have an inherent need to look after each other. Certain archetypes, however, have the potential to bring caring and nurturing to its fullest expression, and the Caregiver is one of them. The Mother, one of the expressions of the Caregiver archetype, is strongly associated with the caring and nurturing of family. It’s also important to mention that just because you have the Caregiver archetype, it does not guarantee that you are mature in your skill at nurturing nurturing others or that you don’t need caretaking yourself.

Further, not all Caregivers are alike. The caring gene or instinct can make its way into any number of archetypes, since caring is a quality of the heart. But we would be most likely to find the caring and nurturing heart in members of the Caring family: the Caregiver, the Mother, the Teacher, the Sister, the Rescuer, and the Companion.

UNIQUE CHALLENGE

Caregivers are haunted by a deep-seated belief that any act of self-care is the height of selfishness. Because you are naturally compelled to reach out to others, you habitually put your own concerns last. You can get so caught up in helping that you ignore your own hunger or exhaustion. Wired to sense the needs of others, you often fail to pick up messages your own body is sending you and disregard twinges and aches that others would recognize as health alerts. One way to spot a Caregiver is by the person trailing along behind her waving a sandwich and pleading, “But you have to stop and eat!” Your unique challenge as a Caregiver is learning to trust what your finely tuned intuition is telling you about your own physical and emotional needs.

If you have the Caregiver archetype, no doubt friends have told you, “You have to start taking it easy. You need to do something for yourself.” Most Caregivers love the idea of doing something for themselves—taking a yoga class, getting a massage, going on a vacation. But no sooner does someone suggest it than the archetype takes over, and the Caregiver starts marshalling excuses why that’s not about to happen.

The fear of being thought selfish or incapable of taking care of others is an ongoing challenge for this archetype. We all know people, mostly women, who have devoted weeks, months, even years to taking care of a parent or an ailing spouse or child. Invariably, they feel guilty about taking any time for themselves. For the dedicated Caregiver, even an evening out with friends can seem like a betrayal, a serious neglect of duty.

UNIVERSAL LESSON

If you have the Caregiver archetype, you are on a path of learning how to use your innate capacity for caring to benefit everyone in need, yourself included. A key aspect of this is learning discernment: who to care for, who not to care for, and how to care for others without sacrificing yourself. You must also confront the fear that because you give care to others, no one will ever provide care for you.

Because this is a soul lesson that all Caregivers must learn for their inner development, I can almost guarantee that you will find yourself in situations and/or relationships that awaken this lesson. But if you can look at your life and the challenges it brings through the lens of archetypal wisdom, you will come to realize that everyone who tugs at your heartstrings, everyone you feel compelled to help, is in some way serving your learning, just as you are serving theirs.

A wise Caregiver knows when to give, when not to give, and how to give just what is needed, discerning when giving too much would be the worst thing to do for someone. As a Caregiver who gives generously and compassionately with clarity and wisdom, you can become a powerful force for good in the world, whether your sphere of influence is small or vast, local or global, touching a handful of people or humanity at large. But be advised: It takes time and hard-earned experience to learn when to give, when not to, and when to receive. Contained in those words are some of life’s most challenging lessons, but believe me, we all have to learn them.

DEFINING GRACE: COMPASSION

The grace of the Caregiver archetype is compassion. When it touches the life of a Caregiver, compassion changes the way you view people, inspiring you to give someone a second chance or to spontaneously trust a stranger in a way that even you find surprising. Acting out of character is often a sign that we’ve been touched by grace. Caregivers are undoubtedly familiar with what I call “grace setups”—bolts from the blue that suddenly move you to respond to a situation with compassion and generosity.

Grace serves another powerful function, as a mystical force that can shift us into a more positive and empowered state of mind. The journey of life takes us through endless opportunities, wondrous encounters, and many adventures but also through our share of challenges and obstacles. Often these challenges turn out to be our greatest blessings in disguise, but while we’re going through them, we wonder How will I ever survive this?

A Caregiver may feel isolated and overwhelmed if she alone is responsible for providing the emotional support for her family. But the grace of compassion can lift her out of that state. It may come as a sudden mental shift that allows her to see the humorous side of the situation. Or it can descend as a “holy rage” that gives her the determination not to be defeated, knowing that however difficult the situation is, it will pass, and she will get through it.

The grace of compassion can overtake us in the blink of an eye, when we stumble on a homeless person huddled in a doorway or read or hear about someone’s struggles. Grace gives us a few seconds to pause, breathe deeply, and remind ourselves that just for today, all is okay in our own world, and life is a wondrous journey.

INNER SHADOW

It might sound as if the Caregiver is a candidate for sainthood, but even the sainted have flaws, and there is a dark side, a shadow, to all that caring. The inner shadow of giving too much is resentment, accompanied by a deep-rooted sense of being unappreciated. Caregivers, who give so much to others, may themselves feel neglected or uncared for, yet they find it difficult to confront negative feelings of any kind. Afraid they won’t be loved, Caregivers are reluctant to show any emotional vulnerability. But unacknowledged feelings have a way of oozing out, and a Caregiver who feels neglected but can’t admit it may act out her anger indirectly with passive-aggressive behavior.

Here’s a typical example of the Caregiver shadow in action: A woman I know was in charge of human resources for a rather large corporation and was dearly loved for her compassionate, nurturing way of working with people. When her company started downsizing, one of her responsibilities was to help workers who were laid off relocate to other departments. But as more and more people were let go she found it impossible to help them all find new positions. Increasingly frustrated with management policies and her own powerlessness in the situation, she started coming to work late. That first passive-aggressive step led to a second: she became increasingly short-tempered and critical of her co-workers, angry that they seemed oblivious to the suffering she was witnessing every day.

Finally, a good friend and co-worker confronted her, pointing out that she was not just having a few bad days but was in a full-blown personal crisis. It took that confrontation for this woman to finally speak openly about her feeling of failure at not being able to help everyone who needed assistance. From an archetypal perspective, she was having a “Caregiver myth crisis”: she believed that she was responsible for the entire life of every person who walked into her office, when in reality, she was only responsible for placing them within her company, a job that she was doing especially well. But because she had appointed herself to such an all-powerful role, when a crisis arose, she collapsed under the demands of her extreme caregiving.

A shadow archetype of the Caregiver is the Enabler. Al-Anon, a 12-step program for family and friends of alcoholics and addicts, is filled with Caregiver/Enablers, most of them women, who have taken charge of an addict’s or alcoholic’s life, allowing him to continue his destructive pattern of using or drinking. This unhealthy dynamic can be found in any situation in which caregiving is taken to an extreme. As the Caregiver/Enabler gradually assumes responsibility for the needy person’s life, the needy person becomes increasingly dependent, and the Caregiver/Enabler ends up with a world-class resentment.

A pattern like this was at work in the life of a woman I met in one of my workshops, who was in marital crisis at the time. She had been married almost 30 years to a man she dearly loved. She described him as loyal, hardworking, a good father—and emotionally needy. She, on the other hand, was vibrant, dynamic, outgoing, and adventurous. This sounds like simply a marriage of opposites, but if we look at it through the Caregiver archetype, we can see a deeper meaning.

The woman said her husband needed a great deal of care and attention, and in the early days of their marriage, that had made her feel needed. Her need-to-be-needed Caregiver found the perfect mate in his dependent Eternal Child. All was fine until 18 years into the marriage when the wife developed breast cancer. Now she was the one who needed attention and support. It was her turn to have her meals prepared and the chores attended to. Though her husband no doubt loved her, when her illness demanded all her attention, he unconsciously resented the neglect, as well as having to give emotional support when his life had been all about receiving it.

How fast their relationship might have healed if the couple had told the archetypal truth: if the husband had been able to admit his resentment that the situation demanded he grow up and care about someone other than himself; if he had been able to admit that he didn’t want to break out of his Eternal Child archetype because he was afraid that if he wasn’t so needy, his wife would no longer take care of him or love him. And if she had been able to admit her hurt and resentment that her husband couldn’t support her when she needed it.

Unfortunately, things didn’t work out that way, and instead of confronting his feelings, the husband retreated further into his Eternal Child, leaving his wife to heal in what felt to her like an isolation chamber. Drawing on her own Caregiver archetype, she was able to reach out to family and friends, who loved her through her recovery. But having her husband act in such an uncaring way led to a silent bitterness that took up residence in their marriage like an unwanted boarder who had settled into their spare bedroom.

After we talked, the woman came to see that she had two choices: she could continue to repress her resentment or finally discuss her feelings with her husband. I suggested she work with a skilled therapist, because more than simply sharing hurt feelings was involved: she was attempting the formidable task of cracking the archetypal myths that overshadowed her life and her husband’s.

We are all influenced, if not controlled and at times even possessed, by our archetypal patterns. None are more potent than those expressed through the shadow. As challenging as it may be to confront these patterns, our life dramas begin to make more sense when understood as the archetypal narratives they are.

MALE COUNTERPART

Although the Caregiver archetype seems to be more prevalent in women, Caregiving is neither inherently female nor male. Men are as able and, quite frankly, as willing to care for others as women are. Many men who become teachers or coaches, or who enter rescuing professions such as firefighting and emergency medicine, have a genuine need to serve and care for others through their career choices.

MYTHS OF THE CAREGIVER

Like all archetypes, the Caregiver has its own set of myths, or narratives through which the deep self communicates its fears, doubts, and hopes to the conscious mind. The signature narrative of the Caregiver archetype is If I don’t help others, they will think I’m selfish, and I’ll disappoint them. This conviction can land Caregivers in situations in which they feel overwhelmed by the needs of others. Being selfish and disappointing others are the Caregiver’s biggest concerns—perceived as failures they find untenable in themselves and others. So regardless of how tired they are, Caregivers won’t allow themselves to slow down. Like the Energizer Bunny, they keep going and going—giving and giving without pause.

Overgiving is an archetypal hazard of the Caring family. The mere thought of dialing back their giving or shutting it off altogether creates a crisis of the heart and soul for the Caregiver. People who don’t have this archetype can’t understand why the Caregiver finds the inability to care for someone such a personally shattering experience. If a Caregiver confides to a friend who lacks a heart-centered archetypal compass that she’s exhausted by the demands of caring for someone, the friend is likely to say, “What’s the big deal? Just tell them you can’t take care of them anymore and they need to make other arrangements.”

Such a suggestion would horrify the Caregiver. Even if she were to put a replacement in place, walking away from anyone in need is unthinkable to this archetype. Secretly, of course, many would like to walk away—they’re only human. But saying no to a request from anyone goes against a Caregiver’s nature. The Caregiver archetype wasn’t born to care; it was born to care too much.

Still, what to others might seem like a negative trait is built into the Caregiver’s archetypal DNA. If you have this archetype you know exactly what I mean. There is no way you would go against the essence of who you are.

To a Caregiver, life is a garden that needs tending, if not mending, and you were put on earth to make sure it thrives. Realistically, it is impossible for anyone, no matter how archetypally fit for the job, to take care of everyone she encounters. A Caregiver who has learned discernment and reflective personal choice can use her finely tuned sensitivity to determine who needs help the most, what sort of help they need, and whether in fact she’s the right person to give it. The world supplies an endless stream of people in need of care, but that doesn’t mean you have to be the one to respond to every request.

Even the most prodigious giver has finite personal resources, and these must be tended with the same level of attention the Caregiver lavishes on others. A Caregiver can easily fall victim to her own inner narrative, embracing myths like What will happen to this person if I am not here? or What will people think of me if I take some time off? If you have the Caregiver archetype, a far more productive use of your reservoir of compassion would be figuring out where to invest it so that it will be most effective. And that includes investing some friendly concern in yourself.

Believing that people will fall apart if you’re not there to take care of them isn’t so much a myth as a medieval spell. When the Caregiver myth goes so deep into the unconscious that it becomes a spell, it’s very difficult to shake. One Caregiver told me, “I know if I leave for a weekend, my mom will get sick, and it will be my fault.” Like a prearranged contract, her mom did get sick when her daughter left town for a few days. It was nothing serious; the mother had come up with just enough psychosomatic drama to keep the Caregiver locked into giving mode, even when she was away on a break. To break free of the spell, the Caregiver needs to be reassured that if she takes off a day or two, or even a week, the world will not fall apart and neither will the people. Human beings are survivors and remarkably resilient. Sometimes the most caring thing we can do is let others discover within themselves the will and the resources to take care of themselves.


LIFESTYLE CHALLENGE

Archetypes, as we’ve seen, aren’t just clever labels to toss around at parties. Your archetype is a portal to the deepest part of you, your authentic self. For the Caregiver, self-care is a means of empowerment, a direct line to that authentic self.

One woman told me that all her life she had found herself in the position of having to care for everyone around her. Even as a child, she was responsible for her younger siblings while her parents were at work. It seemed to her that she was never going to be able to escape what felt like a burdensome fate. But then she had a revelation. She connected with her Caregiver archetype and realized that caring for others was not her fate, but her destiny. It was not some onerous task thrust upon her but in fact a spiritual calling—her life purpose.

Looking back, she could see that no matter where she lived or what she did, she drew people to her who needed help, because that was who she was in her deepest being. She was born to help others. She also realized that she had some choice in the matter—a choice about how to help. Her Caregiver role didn’t call for self-sacrifice, didn’t require that she neglect herself. Quite the opposite. She had to learn to say “No” and “Not now” and “I could use some care myself.” Once she understood this, she no longer felt burdened by the needs of others but blessed in her capacity to assist them. When she grasped the true meaning of her archetypal identity, she experienced a sense of choice in her personal life that was completely new to her.

Your challenge as a Caregiver is to care enough about yourself to find out who you really are—to be willing to look closely and experience the deeper level of your inherent need and desire to care for others. When you connect with your life purpose as a Caregiver, a transformation occurs. You are largely relieved of resentment you’ve felt because people haven’t cared for you with the same dedication as you’ve cared for them. And you are also relieved of guilt about taking care of yourself. You come to see that in caring for yourself you are not shortchanging others but rather making sure you have the stamina to care for them.

RECOGNIZE YOUR ARCHETYPE: ARE YOU A CAREGIVER?

As you read through this chapter, did you find yourself nodding in recognition at the descriptions of the Caregiver? If you’re still not sure if this is your archetype, take a look at the list of behavior patterns and characteristics of the Caregiver on the opposite page to see if you identify with any of them.

Behavior Patterns and Characteristics of the Caregiver

  • You are naturally compassionate and concerned with the well-being of others, and you feel compelled to act on those feelings.
  • Your greatest strength is nurturing others. You can’t say no to a request for help.
  • You are the one friends and family turn to for emotional support.
  • You are drawn to, or already work in, a Caring field, such as nursing, hospice care, psychotherapy, social work, teaching, cooking, or childcare.
  • You end up taking care of others, whether you want to or not.
  • You were destined to be the family Caregiver. Even in childhood you looked after your siblings.
  • You often give more than you receive.
  • You find it impossible to walk away from someone under your care, even in your most frustrating moments.
  • You often sense what others need even before they ask.
  • You naturally bring out the best in others. People tell you what a good listener you are.
  • You see helping others as your calling. You put their needs before your own.
  • You serve as a model of compassion and generosity at work in the world.

If you relate to many of the behavior patterns of the Caregiver and the descriptions throughout this chapter, then this is most likely your archetype. You may have thought of yourself as a caring person but never had the realization I am the Caregiver archetype. How would knowing you are an archetypal Caregiver change your life?

Self-knowledge opens up possibilities. Embracing your archetypal identity may lead you to rethink practical aspects of your life, such as what kind of job or career to pursue, or how to order your priorities. But it also touches you at a deeper level. Your archetype is a blueprint of your soul’s purpose, and connecting with it has the power to transform not only your own life but also the lives of others. In embodying the Caregiver archetype, you are serving as a model of compassion and generosity to the wider world.

Caregivers can be very powerful players on the world stage. People with this archetype often thrive in influential positions because of how attuned to others they are and how well they take care of their employees and colleagues and communities. Some of the best Caregivers are parents, of course, but wasn’t Mother Teresa also a Caregiver? Her children were the poor of Calcutta, her Sisters of Charity nuns, the volunteers who flocked to her mission by the thousands—indeed all of humanity, for that matter. And she was as powerful as any world leader.

STEP INTO YOUR ARCHETYPE: TAPING INTO THE POWER OF THE CAREGIVER

Once you’ve identified with the Caregiver archetype it’s time to begin expressing it in your life. One way you can do this is by being authentic in how you give. If you give out of obligation—there’s a person standing in front of you, desperate for help, so how can you refuse?—the result may in fact do more harm than good, not only to the person you’re helping but to yourself as well. Being true to your Caregiver archetype means giving from the heart. Before you rush in to help, consciously pause to check with yourself that you are not simply responding out of habit.

Another aspect of authentic helping is to consider whether your assistance is really what will be best for the person in need. Maybe someone else is better qualified to solve this problem or provide the necessary aid.

Learning how to balance your giving is essential for tapping into the power of the Caregiving archetype. A key aspect of that is making a commitment to focus your caregiving skills on yourself. You can choose to give yourself the kind of nurturing you so easily extend to others. At first, this may seem awkward and forced; you’re undoing the habits of a lifetime. But you can start small, with simple actions:

  • Retrain your brain to say no when everything in you wants to say yes. You’re not doing this just to be contrary. It’s an essential part of establishing emotional boundaries. (Having porous or nonexistent boundaries is one way Caregivers lose vital energy.) Next time your child demands, “Mom, get me a glass of water,” you could say, “No, dear. Please get it yourself.” And to the boss who repeatedly waits till the end of the day to ask you to stay late, you could say, “Sorry, I can’t tonight. I have plans.” Even if it means coming in at dawn the next morning, you will have stood up for yourself and reminded him that you, too, have a life outside the office and he needs to respect your time.  The beauty of practicing saying no is that it teaches you to make decisions rationally, not reflexively. Furthermore, pausing to think before you act allows you to better assess when the right answer actually would be yes.
  • Be discerning. Pausing before you rush to help also lets you think through the consequences of your actions. You can ask yourself if the person needing help will be okay if you don’t step in. You’ll learn to recognize the difference between being in need and just being needy. You can consider whether you might actually be more helpful by not helping. Would it allow the person to grow stronger through working out her own solution? The Caregiver who continually indulges the Eternal Child will be stuck in the shadow side of the Mother archetype. You’ve heard the saying, Give a man a fish and he eats for a day; teach him to fish and he eats for a lifetime. The Caregiver who habitually overgives should consider if there might be a more instructive way to help.
  • Trust that help will be there for you. Caregivers have difficulty trusting that others will be there for them. Perhaps it’s because people weren’t there for you in childhood. But could it also be that you’ve trained others not to care by rebuffing their efforts to help you? Allowing others to care for you may be the hardest lesson of all for the Caregiver, but your well-being depends on it. When you’re sad or lonely and want company, when you’re sick and need TLC, when you have to do something that scares you and need support, ask. Don’t wait for people to sense what you need. Most people aren’t as intuitive as you. So be up front: “I need this. Please help.” Then stick around until help arrives.
  • Be unavailable. Here’s a challenge for the Caregiver: Go out for dinner and leave your iPad and cell phone at home. Allow yourself to be off duty for a few hours. If you will be so racked with guilt that you spoil the evening for yourself and the rest of your party, line up a backup Caregiver in advance and make arrangements with anyone who has you on speed-dial to call or text your substitute instead. Better yet, give your backup your phone.
  • Get a checkup. Seriously. Everyone else manages to get to the doctor, but the Caregiver has to be carted off on a stretcher before she concedes that she’s not the Bionic Woman. Schedule checkups with your internist and regular visits to the dentist. Allow no one else to come between you and keeping those appointments. If, like most Caregivers, you ignore warning signs that you’re headed for burnout, ask a friend or family member to alert you—and make a solemn commitment to heed their warning.
  • Adopt. No, not a child, unless that’s your passion. If your lifestyle permits, consider adopting a pet. Pets need us desperately; a poodle or cockatoo can’t make dinner for itself or air out its bed. Pets love us unconditionally, even when we park them in their crates for hours. Rescuing a pet from a shelter is right in character for this archetype. And if you lavish love and attention on a pet, you won’t be tempted to smother people with too much care. (For the furry and feathered, there’s no such thing as overcaring—and fish won’t notice one way or the other.)


As with any archetype, a big part of embracing the power of the Caregiver is understanding what empowers you to move forward in your life and what can hold you back.

This is an edited excerpt from Archetypes – by Caroline Myss – you can buy your own copy here…

Where You Gain Power

  • Consciously deciding when and how to care for someone.
  • Caring for others out of compassion, never out of guilt or obligation.
  • Taking care of yourself so that you have the physical, emotional, and spiritual stamina to care for others.
  • Fully owning your destiny to be there for others.

Where You Lose Power (and how to regain it)

  • Allowing fear of what others might think control your actions. Focus on doing, not fretting, and remember that you’re doing your best.
  • Caring for others as a means of gaining love or other rewards. If you feel yourself becoming manipulative, step away until your motivation is pure.
  • Refusing help when it’s offered to you. Just say yes. Remember, the Caregiver’s challenge is to take care of herself.

CHECKLIST FOR THE CAREGIVER

  • I take time to nurture myself.
  • I’m committed to caring for myself as much as I care for others.
  • I’m learning to discern when to help and when not to.
  • I won’t harbor resentment toward those I’ve chosen to help.
  • I will happily fulfill my destiny to care for others. I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve.
  • I appreciate what others do for me and accept their caring with grace.
  • I will ask for help when I need it and accept it when it’s offered.

FINAL THOUGHTS

The Caregiver Archetype is one of the most loved—and loving—of the archetypes. If this is you, realize that your destiny is to care for others. You will naturally draw to you those who need your care. Recognize that just as you are helping them, they are helping you. They are your teachers in life.