Why being a “hero” is more harmful than you think
Helping others is one of the behaviors that enjoy more social recognition. In general, when we are altruistic, we improve other people’s lives. This is why this behavior is well regarded at a social level. However, is it always good to help others? Is it advisable to save others from their predicaments?
A person with a savior complex feels the constant urge to save others. They tend to have a strong tendency to seek out individuals in need of help and assist them. Typically at the sacrifice of their own needs, desires, and aspirations.
It leads to toxic relationships.
The problem is that these characteristics can easily lead to the creation of toxic relationships. More often than not, people with this complex tend to be part of codependent couples. These are one of the worst types of relationships that can occur. When that happens, one needs the constant help of the other to feel good, thinking she cannot live without him. Meanwhile, the savior is at first reinforced by his partner’s dependence on him. However, he will tire and be limited by her need after some time.
Neither of the two involved is happy in a codependent couple formed by the savior complex. The love addict will usually have less and less self-esteem and self-confidence, while the other will feel overwhelmed and blame his partner for it.
The most common thing is that it occurs in love relationships. But it can also appear among friends, family, and co-workers…
Identify this behavior.
Some people assume a role in life, tending to rescue others and taking over responsibility for other people’s problems. These individuals usually place themselves in a paternal or maternal position with others who are their peers, whether they are partners, friends, or colleagues.
People with the savior syndrome consider that only they have the capacity, resources, and tools to address the problems of others. They place themselves on a level of superiority, pretending to generate a co-dependency with their bonds.
This type of personality feels the constant need to help others, to feel needed by others. Their modus operandi consists of assuming and solving the problems of others. Longing to feel essential, constantly helping gives meaning to their existence. Not achieving it generates frustration and emptiness. They are often afraid of facing their own conflicts and shortcomings, which is why they prefer to assume those of others. As long as the other needs their protection, they feel in control and do not risk being abandoned.
Wanting to save the other is a way of not wanting to see one’s wounds so as not to enter into one’s pain and face it. The unconscious choice is to escape and focus all this energy on helping the other person. By recognizing the same wound in the other, empathy appears. What this attitude actually conceals is a desperate need to resolve in the other what one does not want to see within oneself. Those wounds of rejection, abandonment, humiliation, and betrayal generate much discomfort. It is what they are running away from.
Respect others’ choices.
Many people still play the victim game in one way or another, thinking that what happens to them is due to external factors that do not depend on them. They believe it is not in their power to change their situation, feeling they need the constant support of people they consider to be stronger than them. The savior is an anchor point for them; the cane helps them move forward and have security in life.
From a higher perspective, we understand that each person has to go through the dramas and experiences they signed up for. Therefore, even if they ask for our help and express that they want to stop playing the victim, deep down, they may still want to continue in that convoluted game because they have things to keep learning.
Frequently, we believe helping others in a victim position is the most generous thing to do. We have to review this limiting belief. Remember that it is their prerogative to remain a victim if they choose. Who are we to judge them? Each of us has the powerful experience that we need right now. We do not know what is best for them, even if we think we do.
It is absolutely none of our business to pressure them to change. Instead, taking a kind, respectful, and detached position is crucial. Our role is not to lecture others with dogmas or instructions. Instead, we can only offer alternatives. We can show them that they do not have to be victims as there is a much more expansive version of themselves than they previously considered. And then letting go of the decision to choose what is right for them based on their own experience and perspective rather than on our vision. This is the highest help we can give.
Rescuing others is foolish.
Considering all the above can be very liberating, seeing the absurdity of the need to rescue others. In the same way that we do not want others to make decisions for us, take away our learning opportunities, or tell us what to do, why would we do that to others? We should only give what we want for ourselves. We should only give to another what we are willing to receive ourselves. This is key to transforming our consciousness.
The best way to love someone else is by allowing him to face the consequences of his actions, mature, grow, and be responsible for himself. Helping others is something positive when it is born out of love. It can be harmful if it comes from fear, doubt, or insecurity. Trying to save others prevents them from developing confidence in their resources.
* Author: Mónica Esgueva
First published on: Medium (The Personal Growth Project)