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.
- How to Stop Ruminating: 7 Techniques That Work - January 22, 2021
- ‘The World Is Against Me’: What to Do When You’re Feeling This Way - January 9, 2021
- 8 Ways to Protect Your Energy During Hard Times - January 4, 2021
Copyright © 2012-2021 Learning Mind. All rights reserved. For permission to reprint, contact us.