Weakling (archetype)

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Louis XVI of France, whose total ineptitude in handling power allowed the French Revolution to erupt, resulting in 40,000 deaths including his own. He took seven years to figure out how to impregnate his wife Marie Antoinette. Clearly, this man did not lift.

The Weakling Abdicator is the passive shadow of the King in Jungian masculine psychology. When a person abdicates completely from the archetype of the King, they become a Weakling.


Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette describe the Weakling thus:

A man who projects the archetypal king onto another—whether a sacred king, a politician, a religious leader, a boss, a teacher, an analyst, or a father—exemplifies what we call the abdication syndrome. He abdicates from the throne his own psyche has prepared for him. He becomes possesses by the Weakling King, allowing any forceful personality that comes along to bully and control him.[1]

The Weakling is governed primarily by the flaws of sloth and lethargy.[2] He is moody, listless, apathetic, irritated, anxious, depressed, and naive.[3]

The Weakling allows anarchy to reign in his kingdom, places himself above the law, and alienates his people. When one evaluates a leader or himself, the Weakling fails to keep the peace, apply the law impartially, get good advice before making decision, produce (and prepare) an heir, strengthen the faith (or governing principles of the realm), show mercy to enemies in supplicant positions, promote the intelligence and education of his people, and preserve the personal freedoms of his people.[4]

The man possessed by the Weakling lacks centeredness, calmness, and security within himself, and this also leads him into paranoia.[5]

Relation to the King[edit]

The King archetype exists in all masculine psyches, and provides energy that a man can draw upon to promote his vision of a better world. But when a man abdicates his own power as a leader and role model and assigns all agency elsewhere, he becomes a Weakling.

In order for a Weakling to mature into a King, he must accept responsibility for his life and for the lives of those who depend upon him without identifying himself as "the" king.

Relation to the Tyrant[edit]

The polar opposite of the Weakling Abdicator is the Tyrant Usurper, who by usurping kingship from others claims all power and authority for himself. Moore and Gillette postulate that the two work together, so that Tyrants and Weaklings reinforce each other. Moore and Gillette write that "Where a man is possessed by the Weakling King, he carries a wound the exact size and shape of the Tyrant's sword."[6]

In order for a Tyrant to mature into a King, he must disassociate his personal ego from the King without disconnecting entirely.

To examine the Weakling in our own lives, Moore and Gillette recommend asking ourselves whom we consider to be the Tyrant because having a Tyrant in our lives enables us to avoid the responsibilities of the Sacred King.[7]