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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, I'm not really sure what to call what I'm getting at here, but I think I might have like a superman complex or something lol. I was very recently rejected by a girl I'd been pursuing for a few months, and about a year ago, the same-ish thing happened. I was thinking about both those girls, the only two I've ever felt really strong feelings for (besides the typical middle school puppy love stuff lol) and I realized they have 1 really major thing in common: They both had pretty deep trust issues due to having been hurt in the past.

Now that I'm thinking about it, I've started seeing a lot of things that point toward a possible psychological.... tendency. Maybe not a problem, but I definitely feel a need to be the one who fixes these girls' problems. Most of the reason I want a girlfriend (it's been a pretty strong desire of mine for a while) is so I can be the guy who fixes things and is good to her... the one that she goes to and can make things "all better", ya know? In fact, when I was rejected, both times, it wasn't as much the personal rejection that bothered me so much as knowing that no matter what I did, there would always be someone she'd go to for things that she wouldn't go to me for. I just feel so useless if I'm the only one who's happy, and a lot of the time I'll deliberately make myself physically or psychologically uncomfortable in order to go way out of my way to make someone I care about happy. I mean, I know a lot of people would just call this generosity, but I'm kind of starting to wonder if it's normal to just not give a shit if I'm happy as long as she is?

I don't know if this is some kind of dependency issue, or what but I've heard of things like Superman Complex (I think it was a complex. Maybe a syndrome) and other things that sound similar. My question to the community is this: Does what I'm describing sound abnormal or am I just being paranoid? If it is abnormal, do you know what kind of diagnosis I would get, and if it's something that would be considered negative? Thanks, all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Sry for the double post, but I thought of a short and sweet way to summarize what I think I'm experiencing: A need to be needed. As you were, PerC
 

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I would get professional help for that because I doubt you are going to be happy in a relationship like that. It will put too much stress on you and possibly her. If she is trying hard to make you happy too she might have to hide the things she knows you cannot fix when she would probably like to have some to at least talk too. Also from what I have read most women like men to listen and not fix things. Apparently the need to "fix" is a male thing. Ladies correct me if I am wrong. I do know not everyone is the same, there are some atypicals like me, but it even seems females I know complain about this.
 

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I have the same problem, and yeah my therapist says it's a problem. It's one of my many schemas, though I can't really remember which one, at the moment. I think it may be called Emotional Deprivation, though. It supposedly has its roots in you not ever getting your basic, human, emotional needs met. As a method of coping with this, you seek out a partner who hasn't ever had their needs met either, and you provide their needs for them, the way your needs were never provided for you. It's kind of like saving someone from the hell, that you endured, but maybe saving a version of yourself, in the process.

This part may be unique to me. My therapist say, on the surface, there's an element of nobility in my motivations; wanting to protect, love, and rescue the unloved and damaged. He says, underneath that, however, there's supposed to be an unconscious power element involved. Being with women like this gives me a sense of entitlement, an easy route to power and control over someone. *shrug* I know, for me, it definitely has its roots in wanting to protect and provide for anyone who knows what it's like to be me, to have endured the same bullshit, that I did. Though, with some introspection and reflection, I would be hard pressed to deny the power element, as well. However, as I said, that might be more unique to me. I was raised expecting, that when someone did something for you, it was to gain something. If someone did me a favor, I knew they expected to paid back, with interest. Usually, I'm the same way. If I'm doing for you, you will do for me, when the time is right. This is where I go from knight in shining armor to psychopath.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Whoah! Sounds like we're on similar pages, Wolf. What does your therapist say to do about it?
 

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Well, we work out of this book . However, I'm not gonna tell you to go buy it, because other than describing your issues, I don't find it to be all that helpful. It does have some exercises, but I'll be honest with you, this particular problem is probably the root of all my problems, so I've not really been able to deal with it, yet. I've converted emotional pain to the anger and hatred, that (up to this point) have driven me in life.

Anyway, in the office, we do exercises of conjuring up specific, subjective memories, and he plays the parent, or I do, and tell my child self whatever. It seems a bit like nonsense, but I'm willing to try whatever, at this point. Another thing is making a list of your needs. Theory is, you've gone so long, without getting your needs met, that you probably can't even identify them, at this point. Turns out to be true, in my case. Additional problems, with the way people like me handle things, comes from built up resentment and anger. If you spend all your time taking care of the needs of someone else, you naturally start to build up resentment and anger, when they don't meet yours. And, generally speaking, if you're spending all your time with damaged partners, they probably aren't able to meet your needs. They're going to leave you feeling unappreciated and used. You're going to start believing, that they're ungrateful and selfish.

I just went through all this, with my last ex. I did everything in the world for that woman, and (like you) all I wanted in return, was for her to acknowledge it. I just wanted to be the one, that she turned to for all her love, all her support, to fix everything for her. However, in spite of my best efforts, she kept on her never ending search for what had been missing in her life, and it made me feel like an utter failure. I resented myself and I resented her. During the course of our five years of knowing each other, I seriously dropped fucking everything to provide for her slightest whim. However, if I could have stopped and looked at things more objectively, I would've seen, that she (like me) had pretty much no idea, what her needs were, so she couldn't see my efforts to provide them. She couldn't even see, that her kids were the guaranteed source, of the unconditional love, that she so desperately sought. What chance did I have?

There's another key thing. This is a big problem for not only me, but most of my siblings, and there is definitely something to it. If you're like us, you cannot feel chemistry for women, who aren't damaged, who don't "need" you to provide for them, to fix them, protect them, rescue them. I'll use my sister as an example. Her last ex made her pay for all their dates, it was a long distance relationship, and she always had to give up her time to go see him, he would get distant, and she would chase, he would break it off, and she wanted him even more, he pressured her to bring her female friends into the bedroom. In short, he was a dick. Now, she has a guy, that pays for dates, calls her all the time, shows an interest in her and her daughter, does for her, and treats her right. Her reaction? She wants the dickhead back. Why? She's not using to having someone be good to her. I'm the same way. When a woman is good to me, I run and run far. When a woman abuses me, I can't get enough of her. The more my ex-fiance cheated on me, betrayed me, and treated me like a subhuman, the more I wanted her.

To combat all this, you're supposed to learn to know your needs, and learn how to verbalize them, in an appropriate way. If you find yourself interested in a girl, you're supposed to stop and see if she shows signs of being the kind of girl, who has used you, in the past. If she is, leave. If you find yourself, with a woman, who doesn't greatly appeal to you, but is good to you, and has no warning signs, you're supposed to stop yourself, and give her a chance, sacrificing the intense chemistry for a healthier, more realistic relationship. In a relationship, if you want something, say so, or at least discuss it. Don't always give the other person their way.

This problem usually has its roots in childhood, though. So, don't expect an overnight change, if you seriously have it. Like I said, I still don't even want to deal with it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Well I'm very glad you saw this and decided to respond, Wolf. Thank you. I can't really get therapy because I'm in the process of preparing myself for government work and they frown upon any sign of psychological issues, but your explanations have cleared up so much. I could never figure out what I could possibly have done wrong in those relationships, but now I understand that neither of them knew any better than I do what they want/need. And you're right... I can't make a list of my needs lol. It always comes down to finding fulfillment in someone else.

I guess I'll have to try the settling thing. Well, not so much settling as re-training. As far as my childhood is concerned, at first I didn't want to accept that because my parents are and always have been very loving, but that's been about it. Parents are great, but I've always felt a need for someone to love me for reasons other than biological inclination. I've never really had that, and I guess I offer it to girls who haven't had it either in an attempt to get it return, then when I don't get it I'm left wondering why and I decide there's something wrong with me. Well, I guess there is something wrong with me, but not the kind of something I thought lol.

I'm going to have to really think about this and try to build a picture of someone I'd be genuinely attracted to without the gaping emotional hole lol.

Well now I have an angle to attack this problem, so thanks again, Wolf. Good luck in getting this sorted out for yourself. Hopefully we'll both be fully reformed soon haha :)
 

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Woah, hold on, I think this is a bit of a case of you getting only one type of answer. I'm not gonna dis anybody's answer here but I just wanna say that I have this same sentiment and by all accounts its a normal part of being a guy. The threshold of when therapy is NEEDED in any situation is when you are unable to control (whether due to ignorance of the problem or simple sheer lack of self-control) a part of yourself, in this case, the desire to be a girl's hero. If every girl you date has serious emotional problems, and you turn down girls that don't have these emotional problems, but are otherwise attractive to you, then you've let this little guy instinct get out of hand and might need a professional to help you come back to earth a bit. This isn't to say therapy's bad or anything, and if you want it, it can help you get some wisdom as to how to tackle some of these problems, but I don't know that what you've told us indicates that you NEED it...

However, I'm a normal healthy guy by all accounts, I don't have bad relationships that are rotting away my inner core, and I don't have a lack of people who love me in life or anything extreme like that, I'm average as average gets (with maybe a dash of quirk to me) and I totally empathize with your post, and saw nothing that I don't see in myself. I'm oftentimes attracted to girls who have such emotional problems because

a. we guys have both an instinctual desire to protect and comfort, and we've been brought up in a society of disney and fairytales that tells us the quintessential male is one who rescues the damsel in distress.

and b. I'm a compassionate fella with a heart for the hurt ones, not just girls but guys too, and I would love to help anyone who has fallen down and genuinely needs a helping hand to get back on their feet.

That said, I've come to a realization that dating such girls often doesn't end well. My experience in dating has taught me this, and now I know that, even though I'm drawn to such people (I think to help them sometimes) its a different kind of drawn than attraction drawn, and even when those two are combined, it's better for the sake of a relationship to find someone who is on healthy terms with you.

Don't misread me, I totally feel your sentiments. I think deep down every guy longs to be needed, and we compassionate fellas feel this longing more than most. But here's the thing, that I figured out! When you go looking for love, you don't go looking for a person who is incomplete, and who you supposedly make complete, because in the end, they need you to fill a hole in their life where something else should be, be it a lack of a father figure, or a need for approval, or just pure old-fashioned lack of self-confidence. And while these things may be harmless, if they are using you to fill the hole that whatever that problem creates, then you are not really in a healthy relationship. Your relationship to the person becomes no different from the relationship between a drunk and his bottle, or an obese person and their donuts. It's not healthy emotionally to use a person to prop up your life, and ultimately they may either try to not let you leave and stifle you until the relationship is killed, or they will realize just how integral to their lives you are and instead of risking losing you, sabotage the relationship to avoid rejection. Not a fun game.

That's why a healthy relationship is between two people who don't actually need each other. Complete people. Whole people. When they get together, it's because they want to, not because one of them is searching for something to fill that hole of loneliness or deprivation inside themselves. And though to us damsel-saving do-gooders, this may sound not very challenging, the truth is that what you are desiring is the end product of a healthy relationship. Eventually these two people build so much of their lives upon each other that losing that person would be horrible, they would feel lost without them. They need each other, because for years they placed each other in each other's hands. That's the way it's supposed to work, or so I'm told.

And as far as going above and beyond for a girl, or not caring if you end up feeling uncomfortable as long as she's happy, that sounds completely normal and typical of me too, and a couple of other guys I can think of right off the top of my head. Its in our basic programming to wanna support a girl, even at the cost of a few bullet wounds. I've had fantasies about this since I was six, so yeah, its normal. Just remember this one thing though, that there's few causes in this day and age of prosperity for us guys to have to really sacrifice above and beyond the normal mundane tax-doing, lawn-mowing, and chore-completing options that we all know about. But we don't understand sometimes that a girl will love us for taking down the little dragons sometimes just as much as the big ones, and the big ones often leave scars, or leave a girl charred. So you can help such girls, but until they let themselves heal from those wounds, they tend to make bittersweet partners, and lemme tell you something if you didn't already know, that by the very nature of your generosity, and the fact that you even care enough to ask such a question, that you are a guy who deserves a girl who's whole and complete, even above the average guy like me. Help such a girl in need, but don't marry them, when you can devote your life to defeating the little dragons in the life of a perfectly beautiful, unmarred girl who will never leave you just to avoid rejection.:happy:

Anyhoo, just wanted to post an opposing opinion, and if its boiled down to a nutshell (as it really should be) it would be that, hey, if I'm the measuring stick, you're normal by a landslide, and healthy to boot, that relationships with girls that actually are emotionally damaged are fundamentally unsatisfying and draining, and that a long-term relationship with a healthy girl will fulfill all the desires you are longing for. :laughing:
 

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I will respond to this thread more tomorrow. But I just wanted to say that when you approach a person in a relationship because you want to "help" them, that is egotistical. You are saying that you think you are better than them. I would hate for a man to approach me with this attitude. It is highly insulting. I would hope he could find the next CODA meeting as soon as possible. I don't want a co-dependent relationship. It's not "generosity", it's about you. There is a difference between "altruism" and "co-dependence". With altruism, you want nothing in return.

I got very very hurt recently by some one who claimed he was a "rescuer". He said he was "always looking for the bird with the broken wing". How insulting is that? And he wanted "to fix" just for his own ego. Not mine. Not to mention, it is a red flag if any guy/girl wants to "fix" you. No one should place themselves higher and think they can "fix" someone. Usually the people that do this don't have their own lives in order at all and they are avoiding fixing themselves.

The guy X (broken wing rescuer) had a childhood story he would tell. He said when he was about 10 he wanted an opportunity to where his new batman costume badly. One day he was playing with the neighborhood kid who was younger. The kid was standing next to a larger whole. He pushed the kid in the hole and ran home to go put his costume on. He was excited because he wanted to save the kid. But when he got to his front door to leave, the kids mother was standing there with a very mean face. She discovered her son trapped in the hole and X got in trouble. You think he would have learned his lesson.

I tell this story because it really speaks about how "rescuers" can really harm and incapacitate the people they want to fix. It is for their own ego. It is not so they can help a person altruistically.
 

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Wolf I wish I could give you a hug. I hope you get your problems sorted out.

I found what you said interesting because most of my sibs pick people they need to fix. I am really the only one not in a relationship like that. We really do not need each other; we prefer to be together. My husband jokes that the only thing I need him for is sex. I remind him that is not really true I could just go to a bar, but according to him no one is going to make me cum as fast or as many times as him.:happy:

Point-I really wonder what happen to my sibs to make them like that. I am guessing my it is cause my Dad was a dick and my Mom would bend backwards to try and make him happy. It was an extremely disfunctional relationship. I will probably take a look at the book you referenced maybe that will help me with my sibs.
 

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It sounds a bit like what you truly want is the little sister type of thing.

A relationship in itself and ideally should consist of two equals - going what you've described however, you're definitely settling for things that aren't equal, but may be if you fixed them up. Still a gamble you take, nor is it certain people could ever be fixed or changed in the first place. Usually it's a lot better to simply accept a person for who (s)he is and eventually trust issues will take care of themselves or the relationship won't last to begin with.

Also, be aware that once she'd be fixed, there would no longer be an issues, the dependency on you and your protectiveness would automatically fade away, which certainly would throw you back to square #1.

Now, there's nothing wrong with being protective and / or wanting to be that, however that's something you always can be, as there'll be plenty of situations in any relationship to zip out your shiny white knight armor. Realistically however I don't think it should be a major decision influencer as far as a partner goes.

Whether or not that's a shrink worthy problem rather than some unsorted ideals / preference is nothing I can answer.
 

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Well I'm very glad you saw this and decided to respond, Wolf. Thank you. I can't really get therapy because I'm in the process of preparing myself for government work and they frown upon any sign of psychological issues, but your explanations have cleared up so much. I could never figure out what I could possibly have done wrong in those relationships, but now I understand that neither of them knew any better than I do what they want/need. And you're right... I can't make a list of my needs lol. It always comes down to finding fulfillment in someone else.

I guess I'll have to try the settling thing. Well, not so much settling as re-training. As far as my childhood is concerned, at first I didn't want to accept that because my parents are and always have been very loving, but that's been about it. Parents are great, but I've always felt a need for someone to love me for reasons other than biological inclination. I've never really had that, and I guess I offer it to girls who haven't had it either in an attempt to get it return, then when I don't get it I'm left wondering why and I decide there's something wrong with me. Well, I guess there is something wrong with me, but not the kind of something I thought lol.

I'm going to have to really think about this and try to build a picture of someone I'd be genuinely attracted to without the gaping emotional hole lol.

Well now I have an angle to attack this problem, so thanks again, Wolf. Good luck in getting this sorted out for yourself. Hopefully we'll both be fully reformed soon haha :)
I found your post interesting and wanted to point out a few things, if you don't mind.

In psychological terms- a diagnosis would probably be "dependent personality disorder," where individuals strive to seek belonging, pleasing.. etc. etc. However, I want to point out one thing- even if there is a label for such a diagnosis, there still has to be some kind of change in order to break the pattern right?

You don't have to answer the questions explicitly (and I feel you on the part of not seeking therapy because of the the stigma associated with that, but there are therapists out there who do not charge by insurance and all information is kept confidential even if insurance companies do request for records or you were to be convicted in a trial and lawyers try to look for your information- it's protected by law. Therapists won't acknowledge whether or not you were a patient of theirs. If they do, they risk losing their license FYI).

What is it about these relationships that offer you fulfillment? What is it about them that make you sad or depressed? Often times, what we lack in ourselves we want to find in others in unhealthy ways if we don't identify what it is within ourselves that we are seeking..

Usually, when we enter relationships where we have to 'fix' people there is this burden of not really enjoying the person or relationship for what it is, but what we wish it 'could' be.. So, ask yourself, what is it within yourself that you are truly looking for? Is it validation? Recognition? How can you fulfill that on your own so that when you do meet someone, you don't have to feel the need to be their rescuer, but as an equal companion?

Anyway, I found the replies to this post interesting, because it intrigues me.. but I do hope that if you want to find help for it, then please do so, but at the same time, you don't have to stigmatize yourself with a condition, but look for positive things about yourself and work on that instead. Acknowledge what you must to break the pattern, but realize that no one's perfect..best of luck..
 

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I wouldn't be too quick to assume that you have problems that require therapy if the only experiences you've had with women were with unstable women who had major trust issues. A stable, mature partner can make a world of difference. She will acknowledge when you do something sweet or kind for her, and she'll tell you when enough is enough.

Yes, a lot of men have a need to "fix" things. You can fix a girl's car, her house, her electronics, you can buy her flowers and chocolate and surprise her with things to make her happy, you can cheer her up when she's down about something that happened at work or school. But when it comes to psychological issues, you can't fix it. Only she can. Until she fixes herself, there's nothing you can do and it will turn into a downward spiral of you being exhausted because you're trying to do everything and nothing helps.

This is why I emphasize the need for a stable partner, or at least somebody who's acknowledged her issues and seeing a counselor for help. A relationship requires two people, not just one, and when one person has issues, it will effect the other.
 

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As has been pointed out by others, only you can decide if it's really a problem. If I can find my book, I'll post up the little diagnosis survey for you. The protection thing is a big part of who I am, though. In part, it's the reason I initially responded to this post. It's just instinct. I know what it is to be attacked from all sides, to feel hopeless, powerless, helpless, and I can't stand to see anyone else made to feel that way. If I see someone being attacked, especially gang attacked, I attack the attacker. In this case, if I see someone suffering from something I know all too well, I try to help. It's who I am. It's the most noble use of my anger, that I've found. For me, the problem with these women occurs, when I start to get personal feelings for them, and start to feel frustration, that I can't seem to help them, and I start to get personally hurt by their abusive, self-destructive behaviors. My therapist keeps trying to pound it into my head, that none of it is personal, but it's hard to separate that, when your heart is too far in it. Of course, I start to perceive their behaviors as an attack, and I attack right back, switching who I'm protecting from them to me.
 
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