Hi, it’s me again. Eden’s been busy with work and I don’t want her to run herself into the ground. Also, I’m not done being self-deprecating in January. However, I do want to talk about a toxic thought pattern that I’m learning to let go of.
If you’ve read any of my recent posts in the last month, you’ve probably learned that I’m on the struggle bus because I’m coming to terms with my not so cute savior complex.
What’s a savior complex? It basically means I desperately need to be needed, at the expense of myself. I’m the type of person that will bend over backwards for someone and feels it’s my responsibility to fix people and the sticky situations they get in. Why?
For one, I always thought it was the right thing to do. I mean, didn’t Jesus do that? Secondly, somewhere down the line I began to believe the lie that the only way I would be loved and appreciated was if I provided value to people’s lives by always being there, even if I didn’t particularly like that person. Don’t ask me why, it doesn’t make sense to me anymore.
Savior complexes are, in fact, complex because there’s nothing wrong with being helpful and generous with your time/money/talents. However, the lines get blurry when 1) you develop the thought that you’re the only person who can help and 2) you start feeling resentful because no one else seems to pick up on the idea that you have needs too. You’re supposed to feel open to share your needs in relationships and you’re allowed to say no to things, or so I’ve been told. Me realizing how I’ve ignored the fact that I have needs has left me feeling really uneasy the last few months and it’s been difficult to realize that I am not my dude JC. Heck, it further explains why I need a savior.
As I’ve been seeking healing for this, obviously I’ve turned to music as a way to vent, feel angry, and remind myself that I need boundaries and deserve relationships where I can feel free to express them. I’m in a process of reevaluating my friendships, learning to ask for what I need, and practicing healthy boundaries for myself in situations where I feel drained. It’s really hard and honestly it’s making me feel like I’m in my villain era. But I’m really done with feeling like I have to fix problems that aren’t mine to fix.
Savior Complex — Phoebe Bridgers
Just like Gob Bluth (see this week’s featured picture) staring blankly ahead while “The Sound of Silence” by Simon and Garfunkel plays in that one Arrested Development gag, this is my existential crisis song. I had one particularly bad night a few months ago where the weight of my savior complex came crashing down during a hangout. I had spent a significant time that night feeling low energy after playing therapist to someone and was wiping away tears of frustration from carrying some friends’ worlds on my shoulders. I was driving home with my roommate after that hangout and she wanted to know what was up with me. I told her I didn’t want to talk so I turned up the volume and sang along to this one as a way to hint to her that I didn’t want to talk to her about it. Why? I was holding her world on my shoulders. She had been healing from a really toxic breakup and it had really broken my heart to see how there wasn’t anything I could do to heal her pain and teach her the lessons she needed to learn herself. She didn’t ask me to carry the world for her but I felt it was my job to get her out of that dark headspace. (It was not.)
Saviour — Lights
I fell in love with Lights’s album The Listening when I was 14 and I felt so seen listening to it. This one in particular got me because of the way it gave me voice to the early days of my savior complex. Growing up, I saw my parents being generous to the point of getting taken advantage of and thought that was what it meant to be a good person. Before I knew it, I fell into similar patterns, befriending folks who I thought only wanted me at my best. This song is definitely in my personal Conversations with God playlist because of the way it is so honest about needing help. I really don’t like admitting that I need help because I’ve been realizing that I don’t trust many people. But I know that if there’s one place I can run to and “break off the chains and throw them away”, it’s in honest, messy prayer.
Codependency — Orla Gartland
Remember how I said Orla Gartland shoots an arrow into my stomach? Well she does it SO well here. This song perfectly communicates the anger and tension of being in a codependent relationship. People with savior complexes tend to get into codependent relationships. Every few years or so I find myself developing a friendship where I put aside my need to be loved for my need to be looked up to. Like YIKES, why has that been a thing? It’s not healthy and literally 9 times out of 10 those friendships end with a ghosting situation.
angel — Kacey Musgraves
Everyday, I find myself shaking my fist at God asking why I couldn’t have been a computer or skipped to the part of me being an angel. I find myself wishing people only got the best of me. I really fooled myself for years thinking that I could control what people thought of me. It’s exhausting to be worrying all the time if I’m being perceived as good and helpful and generous. But like Kacey sings, “something’s gotta change.”
Pieces of Me — Ashlee Simpson
Another song from my Conversations with God playlist, this song is such a raw expression of my humanity. I long for consistent relationships where I can be fully messy and still be loved—like just so aware of the fact that I don’t have to fill someone’s every need to earn their love. Instead of putting up walls and thinking no one’s equipped to help me, I’m slowly realizing that healing will comes in unexpected ways and from a myriad of different people. From what I hear, it’s just a matter of keeping your heart soft to where that love might come from. Maybe no one person can love all the pieces of me, but maybe a lot of different people can love different pieces of me.