If you’re always trying to help others at the cost of neglecting yourself, you might suffer from the savior complex.

Whether you admit it or not, you could be under the impression that you’re omnipotent. This means you feel as though you can solve everyone’s problems, and help them change their lives.

While it’s always good to help others, you aren’t the answer to all their issues. This sort of belief can also attract toxic people into your life, so it’s not a good thing to be this way.

Do You Suffer from the Savior Complex?

Sometimes the savior complex is difficult to identify. That’s because helping others is a positive thing to do. However, there is a boundary when you help others because too much help enables them to continue bad behavior.

This complex can also be tied to self-serving motivations as well. So, here’s how to recognize when you or someone you know just helps a little too much.

1. You know what’s best

When someone has a problem, they usually just need to vent to another. If you have a complex of helping too much, instead of listening, you will work too hard to solve the problem instead. You will attract people who want you to fix them when you begin a habit such as this.

When you first attracted those who only wanted you to listen, you will now attract people who always need to be fixed. Your complex will become a full-time babysitting job. This is because you seem to always know what’s best for them.

2. You think you’re better than professionals

If a friend seems to need help, yes you should do all you can. But when your friend has problems such as mental illnesses, you shouldn’t play psychiatrist. Many of us have been guilty of this from time to time, trying our best to understand and offer the best advice, but we cannot be our friend’s saviors.

The professionals aren’t saviors either, but they’re educated to know the best for those who need help. This sort of behavior will attract those who are severely sick, looking for someone to heal their deep traumas.

3. You do all the work

If you’re in a relationship and you’re the only one with a job, the only one who does the chores, and the only one who remembers most of your appointments, I’m sorry, but you have a savior complex.

You’ve taken on the role of doing everything you can to make your partner happy and keep them from being upset with you. You can’t do this. This is where enabling starts and becomes a thorn that’s hard to remove.

4. You’re not taking care of yourself

Having a savior complex often includes putting your partner first all of the time. This also means putting you last. When you put yourself last all the time, you let your appearance go, your other responsibilities, and lose touch with other people as well.

Being a savior to a friend means sometimes not being there enough for yourself, you see. If you wonder why you don’t look as vibrant and happy as you used to, then it might be because you’re helping others a little too much.

5. You think they can’t make it without you

Somewhere along the time of knowing your friend or partner, you came to the conclusion that they couldn’t make it without you. They always seem helpless and see you as their knight in shining armor. You embrace this as a good thing, but it’s not.

It’s another way that you’re enabling them in their behavior, and every time you try to break free, you can’t stop checking back in on them. This usually happens just as they are having a bad day. So, you step back into their lives because they cannot make it without you.

6. You help those who disrespect you

When you have a complex for helping others, you sometimes pick the ones who could care less about your welfare. You see it as your job to help them, but they barely notice that you need help sometimes too.

They use you for every bit of energy they can get. You let them do this, and see yourself as an important aspect of their lives. It’s really delusional.

7. You’re only happy when helping

Some people aren’t happy unless they’re helping someone, especially a romantic partner. Have you noticed that when your partner says they don’t need help, it makes you feel useless? This is not normal.

You should be able to feel happy whether you’re helping someone or not. Placing your happiness in the hands of someone who always needs help is extremely toxic behavior from both parties.

8. You blame yourself for failures

If something happens, you try to help, and it doesn’t work. So, you will blame yourself first. You will ask questions like, “Did I say the right words to help them?”, or “What did I do wrong?”

The truth is, even though you try to help others, they must also help themselves. Don’t be miserable thinking every failure to help someone is your fault. It all comes with the complex choice of helping others.

9. You handle their schedules for them

You should never know more about a friend’s schedule than your own. When they cannot take responsibility, It shows the level of interest they have in their own future.

Stepping in and taking control of your friend’s schedule may seem like such an outstanding thing to do, but you are being taken advantage of by them. You are not their savior, and once you stop keeping up with their responsibilities, they will learn they can do it on their own.

10. Your conversations are questions

When you are playing savior with a friend, every phone call is turned into a series of questions, much like you’re interviewing someone for a job. Instead of sharing fun experiences with them, you’re asking them about their health, their eating habits, and even if they’ve been outside lately.

If someone you care about is suffering from, let’s say, a mental illness, you may call and ask all sorts of questions about their moods, activities, and even medications. You have to remember, you’re a friend, not their doctor.

Conversations are better when you can have positive talks and share ideas. Let’s leave the medical aspects, for the most part, to a professional.

Changing your mentality

The first thing you need to do in order to improve your life is to get rid of the savior complex, and you can. This thought process will slow you down, and before you know it, your entire life will be spent trying to save someone else.

All this can happen while you are losing the benefit of saving yourself. The truth is, you can save yourself. It just means you can spend more time focused on your needs and a bit less on trying to change the whole world.

You aren’t a god, so you cannot keep trying to be one. Think about it.


  1. https://www.psychologytoday.com

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This Post Has 12 Comments

  1. Diya

    This is an eye opening article.
    Saving myself .
    Thank you

    1. Sherrie Hurd, A.A.

      You are welcome, Diya

      Thank you for reading and take care.

  2. Cookie

    Great Advice. Sometimes you don’t know you are being a saviour without thinking about it. It comes naturally to you. But the downside, when you need saving, who will save you?

    1. Sherrie Hurd, A.A.

      Take care of you, Cookie. Here’s the thing, if you don’t take care of yourself first, you won’t be able to help anyone else. Sometimes you can help, and sometimes you have to say, ‘no’. If you ask for help from someone you could not help before and they say ‘no’ just because you said ‘no’ then that is because they are angry and spiteful. People have to understand something. We are humans, not robots. Save yourself as far as taking care of yourself, getting sleep, meditating, and such, then you will be able to help people. And do not let them take advantage of that. You’ll have to memorize the signs.

  3. Carol

    Sherrie, thank you for this great article. I want people to like me, so I become a savior. Like they say, better yo give than to give than to receive. But what about me? It hurts when I can not ever receive even the smallest bit of help when I ask for the smallest favor. Guess what I plan on saving myself in the future. Carol

  4. Sherrie Hurd, A.A.


    I’ve been in situations where it was hard to find help, and it’s scary. I do like helping people, but I try my hardest to do it anonymously, like donating without a name or stuff like that. And it’s funny because some people call me selfish because they really never see me help a lot of people out in public. I mean, I help in public but quietly, like pick up something someone dropped, or pick up something heavy for someone. But I see others that criticize me for helping people in public even when someone else is already helping them. I say, “Hey, looks like they already have help”. But they run over and ask if they can help too. I’m not saying they are wrong to help, but I wonder what the motive is in those things like that.

    So, like yourself, and don’t help others to make them like you. Help them because they need help. The right people will like you, and I bet soon, you’re going to find a good friend that will help you with many things.

    I wish you well.

  5. A.

    What if the person thinks they have the only way to save the world and if people do not agree with their way, they are wrong?

  6. Sherrie Hurd, A.A.

    We’re all wrong.

    The world can only be saved for so long. So, why are we fighting so much? Is it so we can make life on a giant rock more peaceful until we die? No matter how hard we try, whether we are right or wrong, we will die. Now, we can save parts of the world for the next generation who will strive to do the same.

    No one is wrong.

  7. Joshua

    Hi Sherrie! I just read your article about savior complex and some of them are the things I used to be or much like I do. I always care for everyone most of the time, but I think it is not because I’m a saviour or much like to fulfill something in their life. I just know how it feels. The feeling of no one is there for you, and it’s not easy I know, I think maybe I’m becoming more emotional about this but I just want to say it. Some people might want to make other people feel what they always wanted to feel so that, in that way even though they can’t feel it at least they can make other people to feel it. Yeah and I know you’re right, it can be very toxic and it is life, If you know you are being poisoned then contain it and make a cure for it. Hope you’re doing great and stay safe Sherrie thanks for the knowledge. I learned a lot 🙂

  8. Sherrie Hurd, A.A.

    The strangest thing that ever happened to me in my life was in the midst of trying to save everyone around me, I realized that I needed the help. When this happened, I started growing stronger.

    I was trying to help people as I fell apart. The thing is, yes, it’s good to help people when we’re down because it can pick us up – it can make us feel better. But there is a time when we should step back and just get our responsibilities together instead.

    Sometimes when the poison of others, or the poison of over-extending yourself happens, you don’t notice until it’s gotten so bad that it’s much more difficult to heal.

  9. Lori

    THANK YOU. I so very much needed this.

  10. Sherrie Hurd, A.A.

    Thank you for reading, Lori.

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