savior complex

i have a savior complex that i restrain. i know that i can’t save people. i can barely help them. my savior complex is textbook classically rooted in unmet childhood needs. the little girl that i was needed saving when there was nobody to save her. i couldn’t save her; that little girl always feels lost, unprotected, threatened, hurt. i continually have to save myself from falling into the darkness and fear that permeates my cellular memory, that crawls beneath my twitchy skin when i remember, that skulks in shadowy moments with ghosts that grab me from behind, gag me, and drag me away. i’m not much good at saving myself (or maybe i’m better than i think, because i’m still alive), so i project my need-to-be-saved as a drive to save others who can’t be saved or don’t want to be saved or don’t need saving.

historically, i’ve thrown money at problems. i also give my time. i give my energy. i listen. but some problems can’t be fixed with money, time, energy, or listening. some problems don’t have solutions. some problems aren’t problems, they’re just the way things are. in the past month, i’ve stopped throwing money at problems that aren’t mine to solve. some people responded to my withdrawal of financial support as an opportunity to grow stronger and more independent. others responded angrily. one said i was breaking a promise and couldn’t be trusted, without pausing to consider the context, timing, and intention in which the commitment was made and his broken commitment that preceded mine.

some of us are drowning in an invisible lake while we walk upright with a smile on our faces. i’m trying to stay afloat. pulling myself from the floor where i’ve been sitting for hours, pleading for something to lift inside me, staring at nothing, going nowhere, with or without tears, this is what my drowning looks like. i slipped underwater on friday night. i sunk halfway down. eventually i flailed back to the surface, sputtering and choking for the next day. the day after that was easier only because i barely got out of bed except to visit a dozen peacocks and look into their beady eyes watching me from tall tree branches.

i’ve decided to stop trying to save others. i’ve decided to stop trying to save the little girl inside me for whom my attempts at saving will always be too late and too little. i’ve decided to drown and float and swim and sink and see what happens if i don’t fight, save, or submit. if i observe what happens with detachment, i can wait and wait and wait for the next moment to arrive. in the meantime, i can  paint my toenails because the color pleases me and the paint takes time to dry.


About angel joy

love is an action verb. i live love in action.
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One Response to savior complex

  1. renee says:

    Love this. So true. It feels weird and wrong to me not to try to save everyone, but I’m finally learning. Thanks for sharing this.

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