The Savior Complex

28 12 2007

What is it about human beings that we have this need to be rescuers? I used to think it was only insecure men that had this need to be the "savior" or to be the ones to "rescue" women from harm. And consequently, I thought it was only insecure, weak women who felt the need to be "rescued." I mean come on, we’ve all seen the cheesy movies where the helpless damsel in distress can’t protect herself from the mean, angry bandits. She has to wait for her knight in shining armor to come and do the job….gag. (Although I don’t think I have it in me to fight mean, angry bandits so in that particular situation, I’d probably look for a knight myself…)

But the more I think about it I’m starting to see how so many of us have what I call "The Saviour Complex." That’s when humans have this base need to rescue other humans from pain, degredation, ruin, or downfall and the only way this can be accomplished is if we come in and save the day. A good example of this is in the workplace. In order for the company or for my department to survive, I must work harder, I must put in 12-14 hour days because if it weren’t for me, this company would be nothing…this company was a mess before I started, but now we’re on top and now I have to do everything I can to make sure that we stay on top…

I used to have this mentality at my old church back in NJ. I felt like I was the only one who could edit the video ministry so I had to pull all-nighters to put together all the promo videos. It was ok if it drove me crazy or made my body completely shut down due to stress and mismanagement. It was my sacrifice. Whatever I had to do for the team. Because if I were to ever leave, there’s no way the video ministry could survive without me because I was the Video Ministry Savior.

I see the same thing with relationships sometimes. I had a friend who really liked this girl only to find out that she was going through a tough time with her job and with her family. And he just felt like he had to be the one to step in and let her know that he was there for her, even though the girl continuously made it clear that she was not interested in being anything more than friends. So he continued to offer his sympathy , his hands, and his heart because he could know that in the end the only way she got through that tough time was because he was there to take care of her …

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for helping friends in need. But I don’t know, it’s just an interesting observation. I know for me with that example I gave of my last church, it was quite liberating to realize that it’s ok to say no sometimes. It was also liberating to realize that the church has gone on without me now that I am here in Atlanta. As a matter of fact, one of the other team members emerged and started doing the promo videos and from what I hear he’s doing a better job than what I did. And he’s now the head of the ministry, too. And similarly, I used to like a guy who had some issues going on in his life and I felt like if I held on a little longer, he would see that I could be the girl who would help him get over his issues, and in the end he would be a much better person because of me.

I just wonder if we’d cause ourselves less stress if we accepted the fact that we are replaceable and that that doesn’t make us less of a person. The earth will still spin, the company will go on, even the person will go on without me because God is big enough to handle those things.

Sad but true.  I’m no saviour and I wouldn’t want to be. Life is too short and complicated for me to try to carry the world’s problems on my itty bitty little shoulders.





One response

31 12 2007

I’ve definitely fallen prey to that. And the other side of that coin is personalities who constantly need someone to save them. Both sides of that coin are dangerous.

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