You don’t have to be a hero all the time

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Have you ever wondered why some people maintain relationships with friends or lovers who are just incapable of taking care of themselves. Everyone is conscious that this relationship has no future because such people drag you down, nevertheless there are some people who decide to sacrifice themselves for the others, even though they don’t deserve it.

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These people are not crazy, but they are very likely to have a “messiah complex”. This is a popular terminology, I actually haven’t studied such complex in the scientific literature and it is not listed as a mental disease in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM),  not because it doesn’t exist but because it is just a superficial revelation of other psychological issues, which remain unconscious. Being in an inadequate relationship when one of the partners constantly takes advantage of the other can be caused by multiple reasons.

Usually people who suffer of this complex are caring, giving and conscious people. Those people maybe have behind their back multiple histories when they have rescued some diseased animal and generally they are people who need to feel helpful all the time and they just can’s say no.

When this happens to women, it is usually due to their mathernaty instincts gone wild. They feel the need to take care of someone or something weak and defenseless. When this object is their own child or one abandoned animal, it is not such a huge issue, but sometimes those people “adopt” 40 cats, 7 dogs, an alcoholic husband and 35 years old unemployed son.

As a professional, I can’t define an universal reason that would cause this syndrome. The causes are very personal and everyone who suffers from messiah complex should find them by his/her own. Of course, there are moments in people’s life when it is more or less fine to be overprotective (for instance when you have a two weeks old baby) and even then people should not be lost in their urge to sacrifice.

But have in mind that not only women suffer from this syndrome. Men are also endangered, here is why.

In order to develop more social skills and adapt to the society, it is important for the boy to learn the importance of the sacrifice. Here comes the role of the fairy tales and the mythology that reveals the brave history of the heroes who are doomed to save the world – the messiah, or the brave knight, however you call it, it is the archetype of the sacrificing hero. Somewhere in the boy’s development he assumes that the only way to feel valuable and loved is to sacrifice himself all the time. I am describing here the men who take as personal responsibility to take care of each and every problem that comes around their family, friends, their own country or the whole world. They are incapable to let the others make their own mistakes and learn from them, therefore they might become annoying, lonely or abused by immature and unstable women who will see them as their protectors and drag them down with their personal issues.

The good intentions prevent those people from realizing that there is actually serious problem and they are endangered. Others would see their syndrome either as a valuable feature or as an opportunity to advantage of them (consciously or not).

Being nice and helpful are great qualities, but no one should sacrifice his/her personal boundaries for the sake of being good to everyone. People shouldn’t let the others “consume them” and the kindness should have a stop button. The constant sacrifice doesn’t make a favor neither to the one who makes it nor to the one it is addressed to.

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Illustration Ayya Sap Deviantart.