In daily life, often you get to notice people giving their advice on everything you say even before you ask for one. Sometimes, you might find yourself in a situation where you tend to advise someone although you don’t plan in prior. This becomes more evident in the case of your loved ones. You feel like it’s your responsibility to save them from any kind of trouble with your advice. This nature is termed the savior complex. By its definition, the savior complex is a state of mind where people believe that they are supposed to become the savior for others’ lives in the present or near future. Alternatively, this is called a messiah complex.
Okay! The next obvious question to pop up is,
What is wrong with it?
You care about your loved ones, it means they are important to you and you don’t want to see them in trouble. It’s good for everyone.
But, what if they don’t want your advice!
You would be okay with their refusal to take your advice without being disheartened!
Here is where the problem arises, this may eventually harm you and generate negative emotions towards others and also affect your relationship with them. In this article, let us try to understand the adverse effects of the savior complex and methods to overcome it.
How does it impact you?
In general, helping nature towards others is seen as a positive trait. So, you may get even intrigued when I say this nature might show adverse impacts. But there is a difference between saving and helping others. In the savior effect, you tend to believe that there is someone who is waiting for you to come and help and you are capable enough to help them single-handedly. Here are some of the adverse effects you would face due to this nature.
Disrupts your relationships
Often you tend to over-protect people and try to change them. This may eventually make them feel your presence uncomfortable and overwhelming and they might tend to avoid you.
According to you, you would think you are helping them. But, it might feel forceful to them.
Change is something that should come from within. If you try to do it externally, you end up changing your relationship with them instead of helping them. In addition, if you keep focusing on advising those seeing faults, you don’t actually understand them and wouldn’t be able to provide the right help anyway.
This savior nature makes you focus more on others. You would always be engaged in thinking about others and invest your energy leading to energy drain. You may end up feeling you are the only one who saves others giving you fantasies of omnipotence.
This belief might give a sense of superiority subconsciously. This would eventually make you feel restless and responsible for every action around you. You would end up constantly trying to correct everything happening around you without caring if it really concerns you or not.
Because of this savior mindset, you try to fix every other’s problem which obviously you cannot achieve all the time.
When you fail to achieve it, you would get disappointed and make yourself responsible for the failure by criticizing yourself. This can eventually lead to ill-feelings of self-criticism, guilt, and frustrations.
In a few cases, this sense of failure might lead to severe unpleasant emotional experiences like depression, short-temper, and anger towards people who refuse your help, frustration over self & others, and a fear of losing control over everything which would create several insecurities.
Well, these are some of the self-destructive impacts which could affect your mental health and behavior in the long run due to the savior complex. Now, let us look into the methods to overcome it.
Methods to overcome savior complex
Although there is a single direct approach to getting rid of the savior complex, there are a couple of simple behavioral modifications which can help you overcome it.
Don’t act, just listen:
Not everyone who shares their worries with you intends to seek your advice or help. They do it just to reduce the level of burden. All they expect from you is to listen to their issue without judging them or interrupting them. Listening with patience is a skill, not everyone can do it. It would be a great help to them if you just listen without saying anything in return. Don’t provide any solution or advice unless
Make sure if they need your assistance
If at all you strongly feel you can help them after listening to them and you want to comfort them, then get confirmation from them if they want your help or not. Use phrases like,
“I am always there to help you!”
“Let me know if I can help!”
If they really seek your help, they would ask you in return. You can try helping them at your level.
Explore and control yourself
If anyone can control you, then that is you. No one else can change your behavior except you. It is natural to feel protective towards loved ones. But, this nature makes you look like you are pressuring them. So, understand this fact and have trust in them. Believe that they are capable of protecting themselves and giving them space and letting them free to do what they want to. Offer assurance that you are there for them you support at any time.
These are the effective ways that can help you get rid of the savior complex over time.
Savior complex is one of the most common syndromes that can be seen in every other person. Although it doesn’t seem like an issue of concern at first sight, it would start showing adverse and worse effects over time. The Savior complex doesn’t only affect you but also affects people around you in a negative way and may totally destroy your relationships. So, it is always better to cut down on the behavior at an early stage. Try to be conscious and try to control your behavior. If you are someone who has overcome this complex already, let us know the approaches which helped you in the comment section.