Rebecca and Her Controller Saboteur

When I read stories from the Torah (the first five books of the Bible), I always try to glean messages that inspire me in my own life’s journey and also help others with whom I am connected to benefit from centuries old wisdom.  

This week I could be speaking about a lot of topics. I could talk about Jacob buying the firstborn right and then stealing the blessing; I could talk about Isaac and his gullibility in not realizing that Jacob is pretending to be Esau. So many good nuggets, and right now I want to focus on Rebecca, the mother of two children and what we can learn about her through the lens of Positive Intelligence. 

Right from the start it says that she loved one child more. In a Positive Intelligence lens, we talk about the universal master saboteur, the judge. Rebecca judged one son more favorably than the other son. Her husband Isaac exhibited the same behavior. Unfortunately, the implication ran deep beyond the parents’ relationship to the relationship between the children as they were positioned almost against one another rather than complementing one another.

In today’s world we know that our children have different strengths and different personalities. The same is true for people with whom we work, and the team that we lead. Each has their unique personalities, behaviors, and strengths.

Indicating and showing favoritism can only lead to separation.

As the story evolved, Rebecca is overhearing her husband’s wish to bless Esau and she takes control. As confident and decisive and persistent she is, she allows her Controlling Saboteur to run the show by taking certain actions. As a result, she orchestrates an entire episode where she dresses Jacob in a way that will deceive his own father, who is blind, and she cooks a meal that she knows her husband would like as part of her plot. She pushes people, controls them and the situation with the belief that this will be for the better in the long run.

Unfortunately, while her scheme worked (Isaac is deceived and gives Jacob the firstborn blessing), in the long run it created the opposite impact.

In Positive Intelligence language, we say that our saboteurs use and abuse our own strengths and while at first it may look like we have won with a favorable outcome, in the long run, we create more anger, more hurt, and possibly losing influence in the long run.

As the story unfolds, once Esau hears of Jacob’s deceitful action, he aims to kill him. When Rebecca hears that, she urges Isaac to send Jacob away.

Sending away the child whom she loved the most. Look at the price that she’s paying.

She never sees Jacob again. Wow, wow, wow.

The Controller Saboteur is one of nine saboteurs and is very common among people in leadership positions. I know it intimately as  (when I am not in my sage brain) I too get hijacked. Those who have the Controller Saboteur are the go-getter type of people. If you give us a project, we will do it and we will exceed your expectation. And when it originates from the Saboteur brain, there is a great price to pay.

Where does the saboteur come from? Shirzad Chamine says that it can sometimes be associated with early life experiences where children are forced to grow up fast, be on their own and take charge. I will add that sometimes individuals with the Controller Saboteur watch other family members acting in these similar ways, and sometimes it is a learned behavior. Rebecca watched her brother, but more about that in a later blog.

This is but just one example for the saboteur’s interference in our lives.   The Controller Saboteur causes anger and revenge that can lead to disconnect and separation. It happens in families, it can happen in teams, it can happen with friends.

So what do we do? You guessed it right—AWARENESS IS THE FIRST STEP! And if you are not aware all by yourself, do yourself a favor and listen to those you trust and are close to…they will tell you.

Then, PAUSE.

Realize that you are in a saboteur mode.

Decide to change, to intercept, to decrease your saboteur interference. You do have the power. It takes a decision and then a lifetime of action.


And then make it a habit!


And if it is too hard to get it done on your own, seek help.  And here is where I come in!


I am inviting you to join me in this journey- The Journey of Positive Intelligence, gleaning tools and practices to handle life’s challenges and fears in a positive rather than negative mindset. The Journey of practicing empathy, curiosity and much more. Click the link below when the time is right for you!