For so many years, I was told that I have this so-called saviour complex. I never knew the actual definition of this, because, like most things, it’s all down to perspective. To me, the saviour complex is the desire and compulsion to help others at little regard for the cost that it comes with.
This, in my case, means I am attracted, like a cosmic magnet almost, towards people that need helping or that I feel I can ‘fix’ – though this is never my intention, as no one needs to be fixed.
The cost has always been at my own expense, it’s been my own mental health and wellbeing but for a decade, I didn’t mind. I would always rather suffer so another can succeed.
I believe it falls back to my overwhelming urge to constantly help people, being the textbook people pleaser I am. I just want to do good and make everyone else happy, and never myself.
I used to laugh when people would tell me that I had this saviour complex, it just sounded silly to me. I would think that I liked who I liked and I just didn’t care what ‘ailment’ they had. Chemistry is not about biology, they are two very separate things, understand?
I saw my ability to look past the cover as a strength. I could look past anything that may be an ‘issue’ because honestly it never bothered me as long as they were a good person. For this, I still believe it is a strength, though empathy is not the problem here.
It wasn’t until I was around 19 and I had left a particularly hard relationship, I was reminiscing over the last four years or so of my life. I thought about the people I had dated and of whom were my closest friends.
Like a lightbulb, I could see the pattern, each person needed someone to talk to, to listen to them and that may have been a huge part to my attraction towards them.
It is possible that my compulsion to help people had warped into a sense of a ‘turn on’, though not in a sexual way. It could be that I felt like I could relate to those who were hurting, like wounded animals helping each other survive, there is romance in that I think.
However, I believe that maybe everyone needs saving a little, isn’t that what love is?
It’s not about fixing each other or changing who you are. It’s about having a person who you can talk to about anything, who will lift you up and help you past that finish line, even if you fall flat on the ground.
Maybe the ‘saviour complex’ isn’t about wanting to become a saint, it could just be that you have an understanding of a person’s needs and you are willing to help them through their trials, I don’t think that is a bad thing at all.
So yes, maybe I do have this ‘saviour complex’ and an extensive history of relationships and friendships with people who needed help in a variety of ways. I like to support people and make them smile, to feel loved and wanted because everyone needs that. I would like to think that I cannot fix people but for the brief time that I spent with said persons, they healed a little bit.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to save people or to give them freedom but what we need to remember is not to forget ourselves.
I feel that natural empaths are the ones known to have the ‘saviour complex’ and empaths, like myself, are often guilty of not giving ourselves respect, love and care.
So by all means, do good in this world, it really needs it but be sure to remember to look after number one, that’s you.
Charlotte Underwood is a writer, author and mental health blogger. Check out her work here: https://charlotteunderwoodauthor.com/