Beware The Saviour Complex: My Experience Of Being A Bit Of A Rescuer



There is only one person you can save and that is you.

Truth! There is only one person you can save and that is you.  I learned the hard way by being a bit of a rescuer. Especially with my romantic partners. Until I finally dropped the Supergirl suit and began the job of rescuing myself.

My rescuer tendencies reared their head in my mid to late twenties.  I subconsciously took on responsibility for my partner at the time.  He was a little bit wounded and bruised from a former relationship.   I went from helping him in terms of his emotions to feeling completely responsible for his happiness including taking on the tasks of his daily life.

This was an ingrained unconscious belief that suddenly reared its head and wrecked havoc on the relationship.  Yes, he was lazy but no one forced me to act as his rescuer.

It was not a surprise that I eventually felt exhausted and very resentful.  Deep down inside, I wanted what I was giving back.  I was sucking up his emotional poison by choice and then getting angry when he didn’t do the same for me.

The relationship ended just before my thirties.  Over the next couple of years, every man that crossed my path was wounded and still grieving a past emotional experience.  I had a couple of relationships where I emotionally patched them back up.  I was plagued with the same feelings of resentment and baffled by my ability to attract the same issue in different men.

In 2012,  I dated a man who was one of the most wounded individuals I’ve ever met.  His emotional toxicity oozed out of every pore, in his every action and word.  The word “emotional manipulator” was made for him.  I felt his pain and I had an immense amount of empathy for him but he emotionally floored me within the first four weeks of dating and, after he dropped into a conversation that I was making him feel suicidal, we came to an end.  I needed to preserve myself.

In the weeks that followed, I felt stunned and shaken but a slow truth emerged until I had my light bulb moment and I absolutely 100 percent saw the light.  I was the problem by setting myself up to be the “rescuer” in every situation.  What I was doing for others, I needed to do for myself.  I was emotionally wounded from my childhood and I needed to rescue me.

I needed to stop trying to have relationships with emotionally broken men and start having a decent relationship with myself.

So, I needed a hero and that’s what I became.   All the effort I put into rescuing other people, I finally gave to myself.

Looking back, I realised that I was attracting men who were emotionally wounded from past experiences. I used to take on their emotions as my own.  My partner benefitted by an increase in emotional confidence while I would suffer from burnout.

By taking on the responsibility for my partner, I was enabling their inability to deal with their emotions and life.

By fulfilling their needs, I stopped their development in learning how to deal with their life and it’s many problems.

With hindsight, I could´ve been there for my partner emotionally, without taking on their problems as my own.

If I wanted to go on to have a successful and balanced relationship, I had to deal with my emotional wounds and develop healthy boundaries.

And the most important lesson? I needed myself.  I needed my love, my attention, my kindness and my compassion for me until I healed the wounds of the past.

So I ditched the saviour complex once and for all and the emotionally wounded men eventually disappeared.

There is only one person you can save, my friends, and that is you.

Are you an Empath who is a bit of a rescuer? Sign up for my Rise of the Empath E-Course to give you the tools to develop your boundaries and make your well-being your priority. Click below for details.

(c) Samantha Wilson 2016.  All Rights Reserved.