Archetypes: Caregiver

Sometimes, all we need is someone to give us unconditional love.

Cue the Caregiver, originally known as the Mother. This person will offer their heart openly and willingly, and extend whatever energies they can to help the hero succeed on their quest. Quick to forgive and encourage, the Caregiver offers characters weary from a long period of strain a welcome respite, in the form of companionship, health care, or emotional support. Sometimes, it is the presence of the Caregiver, or even the memory of that Caregiver, that keeps those that would otherwise fall from giving up. Because not all is bad in the world, and if nothing else, their love is a certainty.

"We'll be with you until the end, Harry."

“We’ll be with you until the end, Harry.”

As I have mentioned in prior posts in this series, this collection of posts deals with the archetypes first put forth by psychiatrist Carl Jung, and the use of these archetypes in fiction. Every post deals with the motivations, character profiles, and Shadows (or negatives) of each archetype. This week is the final of the Ego types: the Caregiver.



 The Caregiver

Also known as the altruist, saint, helper, and parent, the Caretaker is the archetype that is energized and fulfilled by taking care of others.

The Caregiver is moved by compassion and a genuine desire to help others through generosity or dedicated assistance.

As a peaceful archetype, the Caregiver strives to keep harm away from himself and those he loves. He is motivated by goals that assist more than himself, and in fact is prone to martyrdom, due to his need to satisfy everyone else before seeing to his own needs.

Though the Caregiver’s intentions are often meant with the best of intentions, she can sometimes enable bad or weak behavior in those she cares for. Additionally, though selfishness is her greatest fear, either in others or herself, over-extending her energies into those that would take advantage of her generosity can lead the Caregiver to become bitter, often demanding acknowledgment of her “sacrifices”, and guilt-tripping those that aren’t quick to sing her praises.


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Recommended Reading:

Other Posts in this Series:


32 thoughts on “Archetypes: Caregiver

  1. Jessie Martinovic says:

    This is fantastic, loved it!
    Ms honey, matilda was one of my favourite movies as a child along with A Little Princess!

    Such beautiful stories of imagination and belief 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Stuff Jeff Reads says:

    Wow! Loved this post. I’m glad that you included the stepmother from Cinderella as a contrast between nurturing and cruel caregivers. Also, I have to say that I love Matilda, and Miss Honey is a true nurturer.

    Thanks for another inspiring post I this series. Cheers!


    Liked by 2 people

    • Alex Hurst says:

      I’m glad you liked the post, Jeff! This has been the first time I’ve had genuine fun in the crafting of the posts and gathering the research (little to no headache involved). It’s been fun teasing the file cabinets of my memory trying to come up with examples for each archetype. 🙂 And yeah, I simply had to include her. There’s no way I couldn’t!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Julie Dao says:

    I love Hagrid so very dearly! And the Weasleys, too! Because Harry had lost his parents at such a young age, the caregivers he came across had even more of an impact on me and tugged more at my heartstrings. I like it when the caregiver isn’t related by blood to the person getting cared for.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Alex Hurst says:

      Yes, me too. I think for some stories, the caregiver NOT being related to the MC is critical. It shows that kindness doesn’t have to be related by blood. Thanks for the comment. I appreciate you stopping by!


  4. Elizabeth Seckman says:

    I need to go back through and read the rest! What a well thought out post!

    And now, I must add a copy and pasted message from the A-Z team!


    I’m just stopping in to say from the AtoZ Challenge. Wondered if you’re still planning on Revealing your Theme on March 23? In case you need to find the Theme Reveal Badge, here’s the link.
    Hope to see you on the 23rd!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Alex Hurst says:

      Thank you, Elizabeth! I am still participating (just scheduled the last of my posts last night, and my theme reveal). I got the banner put in and everything. Looking forward to the 23rd!

      Thanks for dropping by. 🙂


  5. peakperspective says:

    It’s so interesting that you add the vicious and unfeeling caregivers into the group as well. They’re a type that often get left out simply because they’re the antithesis of what we envision to be the norm. Thanks for the reminder.
    I’ve really enjoyed this series, Alex. And it certainly seems like you’ve had some fun creating it. Cheers

    Liked by 1 person

    • Alex Hurst says:

      Well, the beauty of archetypes as that they all have Shadows as well. I like them more than tropes, as they’re fluid, and work whether the character is on the side of good or evil. 🙂 And yes, I’ve been enjoying making this series~ the format works really well since I already had all my headaches regarding graphics (made them for all 12 posts two months ago, haha). Thanks for the comment, as always, Shelley!


    • Alex Hurst says:

      Yes, she’s definitely at her best when she learns to stand up for herself. I loved the dichotomy of Matilda and Miss Honey – both were teacher, and both were student. I think that was the biggest charm of the story.


    • Alex Hurst says:

      Ooo~ how’s it going? Have you found any archetypes you haven’t written a character for yet? (There are a few coming up that I know I don’t have, and it’s helping me see how to get more variety in my cast.)


      • Hannah G says:

        Some of them are easy — of course I have Caregivers. My central characters are proving more difficult, though. I have one I think is an Orphan, except her personality is almost opposite. I have no idea about my actual protagonist yet either!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Alex Hurst says:

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it! I’ve been loving your series on Vietnam. Beautiful country. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂


  6. SylviaMcivers says:

    Such a lovely mix of bright and dark caregivers – when I saw The Stepmother on this list, I was very startled. Miss Hannigen, too – such a memorable woman!

    Slightly startled to see zero Mama Bears on the list, unless one counts Molly Weasely.

    Also nice to see that some Nurturers are male.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Alex Hurst says:

      Thanks, Sylvia! 🙂 Yeah, there are so many caregivers it was too easy to make the examples section just go on forever and ever, haha. Molly Weasely is a great example, though. And yeah, when Jung created his archetypes, he was very clear in what was female and male, and which were primarily dominate. Given that it’s been so many decades since that time, I’m trying to make each of them as gender neutral as possible (So, “Mother” was changed to “Caregiver.”)

      Liked by 1 person

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