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Do you hurt yourself by being a 'rescuer'?
Do you hurt yourself by being a 'rescuer'? / Frank Gaglione / Getty Images

Why do some people seem doomed to repeat the same mistakes? It all comes down to personality type, says Caroline Myss, author of Archetypes: Who Are You? “It changes everything about how deeply you understand yourself and everyone around you,” she explains. She sketches three common archetypes and suggests ways to counteract their flaws:

The Saboteur. If you fail to live up to potential, you grow resentful and “you will sink your own ship” by self-victimizing and blaming others. Instead, try to see setbacks as growth opportunities.

The Rescuer. If you thrive on “saving” others, you make them need you but feel rejected and unloved if they don’t gush with gratitude. Once you realize this, ask yourself, “What really is love and what is a healthy relationship?”

The Princess and Knight. Some women dream of a Knight in Shining Armor, while some men aspire to marry their very own Princess. These archetypes are unhealthy because “the myth does not play out and the illusion is shattered.” Antidote: Resist the urge to blame the other person; give up your fairy-tale expectations.

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