The Saviour Complex

The Saviour Complex

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This is a discussion on The Saviour Complex within the General Psychology forums, part of the Topics of Interest category; ...

  1. #1

    The Saviour Complex

    After talking to my psychiatrist and introspecting, I have discovered that I have a saviour complex. For those who might not know what that is, I have provided a definition.

    The savior complex is a psychological construct which makes a person feel the need to save other people. This person has a strong tendency to seek people who desperately need help and to assist them, often sacrificing their own needs for these people.
    Often, in real life, a savior will have such an unassertive way of helping others that instead of becoming grateful, they get used to it and they expect it. They feel entitled to receive help from this person, simply because they need it and they’ve always got it.

    On top of this, always putting other people’s needs first makes a savior not take care of their own needs. So while they may feel happy because they are helping others, at some level, they feel bitter and frustrated at the same time.
    Do you relate to this or know someone who is like this? Do you think you know what caused it? Why do you think you or the other person continue with this behaviour? Do you have any relationships that aren't like this? What makes them different?

    Please share your answers to these questions and any other thoughts you may have.


    Source: Savior Complex Anyone?*|*People Skills Decoded
    wisdom, roxy, FreeSpirit and 3 others thanked this post.



  2. #2

    Quote Originally Posted by BlissfulDreams View Post
    Do you relate to this or know someone who is like this? Do you think you know what caused it? Why do you think you or the other person continue with this behaviour? Do you have any relationships that aren't like this? What makes them different?
    Nope, I'm the EXACT opposite of this. I think they call it "The Being a Giant Dick Complex." Wanna take care of me/help me/fix me?

    Quote Originally Posted by BlissfulDreams View Post
    Please share your answers to these questions and any other thoughts you may have.
    This sounds like nothing more than Masochistic Personality Disorder (AKA Self-Defeating Personality Disorder) or Codependency. I've never heard of it before, but from what you say, it sounds about right. I've never heard of this as a clinical term before, so I'll look into it more and then I'll be back later.

  3. #3

    Quote Originally Posted by BlissfulDreams View Post
    After talking to my psychiatrist and introspecting, I have discovered that I have a saviour complex. For those who might not know what that is, I have provided a definition.

    Do you relate to this or know someone who is like this? Do you think you know what caused it? Why do you think you or the other person continue with this behaviour? Do you have any relationships that aren't like this? What makes them different?

    Please share your answers to these questions and any other thoughts you may have.


    Source: Savior Complex Anyone?*|*People Skills Decoded
    I was this way, and it back-fired on me big time. I did get really bitter and I lost friends over it. Of course, they were taking advantage of me so I didn't want their friendship anyway. Needless to say, I learned to draw boundaries with others the hard way. I am much happier now though :)
    BlissfulDreams, roxy and cue5c thanked this post.

  4. #4

    I can be this way, fortunately I feel that I am very aware of when I'm being taken advantage of and at that point I'll usually say something.
    BlissfulDreams, Ace Face and cynthiareza thanked this post.

  5. #5

    Quote Originally Posted by Niccolo Machiavelli View Post
    Nope, I'm the EXACT opposite of this. I think they call it "The Being a Giant Dick Complex." Wanna take care of me/help me/fix me?
    I'm actually intrigued by people who have different characteristics or are my opposites. I have always cared and don't know what it's like to not care. In some ways, I wish I didn't care so much about other people and what they do because some people are just really stupid.

    But since you asked... :P I do like helping others access different aspects of their personality that are hidden or being suppressed. If I knew you better, I might try to make you comfortable with your sensitive side. That might sound hilarious, but I believe everyone has one.

    This sounds like nothing more than Masochistic Personality Disorder (AKA Self-Defeating Personality Disorder) or Codependency. I've never heard of it before, but from what you say, it sounds about right. I've never heard of this as a clinical term before, so I'll look into it more and then I'll be back later.
    It could very well be that. I am a bit of a self-masochist and I realize now that all I succeed in doing is enabling people to continue their stupid behaviours.

    My psychiatrist referred to my need to save others. I was the one who thought I had a complex. And after entering both terms into Google, I realized it's a real thing. It's just probably a nickname of something else and not a term that psychologists or psychiatrists use.
    FreeSpirit and cue5c thanked this post.

  6. #6

    Quote Originally Posted by Ace Face View Post
    I was this way, and it back-fired on me big time. I did get really bitter and I lost friends over it. Of course, they were taking advantage of me so I didn't want their friendship anyway. Needless to say, I learned to draw boundaries with others the hard way. I am much happier now though :)
    I'm happy that you were able to overcome your need to save others. I have realized that I don't have any relationships in real life where I am not either watching out for people and making sure they don't do something really stupid or am trying to save. I even tend to find online friends who I try to rescue in some form or another. Realizing this has really messed me up, especially the realization that my "best friend" is using me.

    You're right that such relationships aren't worth keeping. But the thought of losing the few friendships that I do have terrifies me. How do you draw boundaries without feeling like an ass?

    Quote Originally Posted by Waiting View Post
    I can be this way, fortunately I feel that I am very aware of when I'm being taken advantage of and at that point I'll usually say something.
    I usually get an inkling that someone may be trying to take advantage of me, but I shrug it off. It may be due to cognitive dissonance and trying to justify why someone who I consider to be a good person would do such a thing. I also doubt my intuition because I know there are multiple sides to every story and I could have easily misinterpreted them.

    Do you have any suggestions on how to trust your intuition more? Is it just a matter of practice and experience? How do you confront people when you realize they are taking advantage of you? Do you have any tips?
    FreeSpirit thanked this post.

  7. #7

    Quote Originally Posted by BlissfulDreams View Post
    I'm actually intrigued by people who have different characteristics or are my opposites.
    Me too, but probably for different reasons.

    Quote Originally Posted by BlissfulDreams View Post
    I have always cared and don't know what it's like to not care.
    I have never cared, and don't know what it's like to care. That's not entirely true, I do care about a handful of people that are very close to me, but that's about it. If you and I were walking down the street, and we saw somebody in front of us pull out a gun and blow his head off, that would probably deeply upset you and cause you a lot of trauma. Me, I would say to myself "Hmmm, that's interesting!" and start analyzing his motives.

    Quote Originally Posted by BlissfulDreams View Post
    If I knew you better, I might try to make you comfortable with your sensitive side.
    I don't have a sensitive side.

    Quote Originally Posted by BlissfulDreams View Post
    That might sound hilarious, but I believe everyone has one.
    It does sound hilarious. It literally made me laugh out loud!

    Quote Originally Posted by BlissfulDreams View Post
    It could very well be that. I am a bit of a self-masochist and I realize now that all I succeed in doing is enabling people to continue their stupid behaviours.

    My psychiatrist referred to my need to save others. I was the one who thought I had a complex. And after entering both terms into Google, I realized it's a real thing. It's just probably a nickname of something else and not a term that psychologists or psychiatrists use.
    Do either of these describe you?

    Self-defeating personality disorder - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Codependency - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    If so, we can be friends!
    BlissfulDreams thanked this post.

  8. #8

    Quote Originally Posted by BlissfulDreams View Post
    I'm happy that you were able to overcome your need to save others. I have realized that I don't have any relationships in real life where I am not either watching out for people and making sure they don't do something really stupid or am trying to save. I even tend to find online friends who I try to rescue in some form or another. Realizing this has really messed me up, especially the realization that my "best friend" is using me.

    You're right that such relationships aren't worth keeping. But the thought of losing the few friendships that I do have terrifies me. How do you draw boundaries without feeling like an ass?
    I still listen to others and give them encouragement as it's needed. It's not as if I've just stopped being helpful :P I know that everybody needs a friend sometimes, but I don't always have to be that friend.

    The way you draw boundaries without feeling like an ass... Ask yourself these questions: Have I spent more time focusing on others than I have focusing on myself in this past week? Is this person having an emergency? Am I emotionally able to handle time around this person right now?

    If you've spent more time focusing on other people as of late, then you should probably stay home and do something for yourself and direct the focus toward you. The goal is balance. If it's a dire emergency--I 'm talkin' your friend is in the hospital, is suicidal, stranded, or is losing a family member--you get your ass out there and be there for them pronto! If you're stressing out at the thought of being around someone, then you know you need to focus on yourself for a bit and work through your own emotions. Always make sure you're okay before jumping in to help someone else.

    The next time someone asks for your time or money and you're not up for it, be straight with them. "I've got something else going on, man. Maybe we can chill later on this week." or "If you really think about it, I make just as little as you do. I really don't have the funds to be forking it over right now. Have you considered having a garage sale?" Something along those lines. Just be real... be honest. Be a straight shooter, and provide a solution that doesn't entail you :)
    BlissfulDreams and mushr00m thanked this post.

  9. #9

    Quote Originally Posted by BlissfulDreams View Post
    I'm happy that you were able to overcome your need to save others. I have realized that I don't have any relationships in real life where I am not either watching out for people and making sure they don't do something really stupid or am trying to save. I even tend to find online friends who I try to rescue in some form or another. Realizing this has really messed me up, especially the realization that my "best friend" is using me.

    You're right that such relationships aren't worth keeping. But the thought of losing the few friendships that I do have terrifies me. How do you draw boundaries without feeling like an ass?



    I usually get an inkling that someone may be trying to take advantage of me, but I shrug it off. It may be due to cognitive dissonance and trying to justify why someone who I consider to be a good person would do such a thing. I also doubt my intuition because I know there are multiple sides to every story and I could have easily misinterpreted them.

    Do you have any suggestions on how to trust your intuition more? Is it just a matter of practice and experience? How do you confront people when you realize they are taking advantage of you? Do you have any tips?
    Well, one day taking a cruise through my brainwaves, I was thinking about what it was like being a kid. I remembered one of the cool things was how often I'd answer things I shouldn't know, or make a decision so surely that later would prove right. I thought how when you're so young you tend to just trust and believe in yourself by default, and things seem to work out more often than not (at least in my experience.) This along with seeing after the fact so many times that my first thoughts and feelings were right about people or situations made me decide I needed to trust myself and further more my intuitions a bit more. As for how, practice. Just have to practice "going with it" if you know what I mean. Its hard, but it gets easier with time and you can come to find a good balance. (Besides if you're wrong about something it isn't the death penalty, we're only human.)

    As for confronting, its never fun, its just something that has to be done sometimes though. I admit, I put it off at times, because I just hate being the one to cause discord, but you just have to express your feelings on the matter. If someone is really your friend, you should be able to express your feelings and thoughts and why their actions have made you to think and feel that way. If they get pissed about it, that's on them and obviously they aren't paying too much attention to how you feel which is the whole point. Actions speak louder than words, and how they act up to and after the confrontation has occurred should tell you much more than their words. My one tip in this regard is just that If you try to start voicing yourself in these situations, you'll likely find that you feel much better regardless of what happens just knowing you've expressed, rather than stifled, yourself.

    Oh, I should also mention it helps to mention where you're limits are in a given situation if applicable. Nothing wrong with letting them know in advance where "too much" will be.
    BlissfulDreams thanked this post.

  10. #10

    Quote Originally Posted by BlissfulDreams View Post
    Do you relate to this or know someone who is like this? Do you think you know what caused it? Why do you think you or the other person continue with this behaviour? Do you have any relationships that aren't like this? What makes them different?
    I know someone with a savior complex. I don't like him. Absolutely don't. He always entangled himself in issues he has no business to start with and often those issues aren't even problems to begin with. A lot of times, an issue becomes a problem because he initiates this labeling. He once says that everyone needs to be safe and that's one of the reasons he saves/steps in.

    Quote Originally Posted by BlissfulDreams View Post
    I also doubt my intuition because I know there are multiple sides to every story and I could have easily misinterpreted them.
    Thank you for sharing this. Now I know why he gets himself involved in matters that he shouldn't have gotten into

    Quote Originally Posted by BlissfulDreams View Post
    I'm happy that you were able to overcome your need to save others. I have realized that I don't have any relationships in real life where I am not either watching out for people and making sure they don't do something really stupid or am trying to save. I even tend to find online friends who I try to rescue in some form or another. Realizing this has really messed me up, especially the realization that my "best friend" is using me.

    You're right that such relationships aren't worth keeping. But the thought of losing the few friendships that I do have terrifies me. How do you draw boundaries without feeling like an ass?

    I usually get an inkling that someone may be trying to take advantage of me, but I shrug it off. It may be due to cognitive dissonance and trying to justify why someone who I consider to be a good person would do such a thing. I also doubt my intuition because I know there are multiple sides to every story and I could have easily misinterpreted them.

    Do you have any suggestions on how to trust your intuition more? Is it just a matter of practice and experience? How do you confront people when you realize they are taking advantage of you? Do you have any tips?
    Does this seem catch 22 for you? You draw your energy/good feelings from protecting others and you get hurt in the process. I don't know, you sound like you want to save yourself more than you saving others. Maybe it's not about drawing boundaries but finding those who will appreciate you for saving them?

    I think successful practice and experience help people trust their intuition. I trust my intuition, don't know.... seems intrinsic to trust my gut feelings. When I don't, I usually reflect my thoughts to friends I trust, basically they serve as sounding board, and then I will revert to more contemplation after I ask for their feedback. I just keep working on figuring things out until I understand what I am perceiving.
    BlissfulDreams thanked this post.


 

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