I know that I'm not the only one who finds themselves attracted to those who are broken. You see someone who is struggling, and your first instinct is that you want to swoop in and rescue them. I think this stems from the fact that I, too, have felt like the broken one, and I only wished that I had someone who wanted to rescue me.
The lesson you have to learn the hard way is that you can't save anyone who doesn't want to be saved and you can't change anybody who doesn't want to change. And an even harder pill to swallow is that you can't love anyone who doesn't love themselves. You'll just keep pouring your heart out only to be pushed away, and you'll sit there and wonder what the hell you're doing wrong...even if all you want to do is just be there for somebody who needs it.
I've found myself in this situation multiple times throughout my life. Friends, romantic relationships, etc. I give people the benefit of the doubt, I sacrifice my own time and energy to be there for people who only take my kindness for granted, and I make myself look like a fool for continuing to care about those who only care about their own selfish needs.
This is called a "messiah complex" or "savior complex", and I know that I'm not alone. It's a state of mind that's become a coined term for a reason. It's best described as when an individual feels responsible for saving or assisting others. Of course, this is a delusion that only hurts the person who thinks it's their rightful duty to be a fixer of the damned. It's inevitably an impossible task.
The biggest takeaway that I've gotten from these disappointing situations is that 9.5 times out of 10, you don't get any kind of "reward" for being a martyr. A lot of the times, people don't ever come around. Even if you have all the purest intentions in the world, you can't make anybody change for the better. They have to want to do it for themselves. And if you really want to make a difference in somebody's life, sometimes you just have to let them go. Some people don't get the picture until they're standing alone. Until they realize nobody is there to pick up the pieces for them anymore. Until they realize they're stuck in their own self-destruction and nobody is going to help them get out. If you love them, and most importantly, love yourself, you'll establish boundaries and let them figure it out.
I've had enough of feeling bad for people who are broken yet do nothing to try to fix their lives. They cry and cry and whine and whine, but then keep falling into their same self-sabotaging habits and wonder why nothing has changed. You know why I've had enough? Because I've had to pull myself up by my bootstraps and change my own life for the better when nobody was there to help me do it. I ignored everybody's advice until nobody wanted to give me advice anymore. I took advantage of the support from my friends until I had nobody to lean on.
At the same time, I've forced love onto people who didn't want it. I've made myself look like a crazy person just wanting to love those who didn't even know how to love themselves. I've learned that people come to understand things on their own terms, and all you can do is send your love from afar and let them continue on their own journey. You're only hurting yourself and driving yourself nuts if you think you can save people when they're unwilling to do their own healing. So do yourself a favor and send love and good vibes to those who are hurting, but love yourself enough to know when to walk away.
- You Can't Save Everyone: The Issue With The Savior Complex ›
- No, You Can't Love Someone Back To Life ›