What is Savior Syndrome?

Updated on 12/27/2022 by Dr. Iratxe Lopez. clinical psychologist

He Savior Syndrome It takes a position in which the person puts himself in the role of trying to save others, taking responsibility for the problems of others, but forgetting about his own caring.

The rescuers are taken into account higher beings towards other people who assume the role of father or mother when in reality they are their equal, for example friends, couples or colleagues.

What happens is that the rescuer doesn’t trust others to solve problems on their own and believes that only they have the tools to do so You will save her life. This places others in a subordinate position that drives the rescuer to magnify themselves.

usually the savior offers to help unasked. They think they should do it without thinking about whether the other person needs it or whether it’s healthy for them, but there are several factors within themselves that drive them to behave in this way. Truly, rescuers depend on the people they are trying to save and are filled with a deep fear of being abandoned or rejected.

I want to be clear that Savior Syndrome is not a mental disorder included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), it is a tendency to feel needed, but it is not a diagnosis of any illness.

1. What causes Savior Syndrome?

The rescuer’s behavior has a psychological component that it is convenient to deal with and that it is not possible a priori to give a sure answer as to why a rescuer behaves as it does. However, there are common patterns that appear in most people with this type of behavior. In general, it may be due to the education they received, the type of person they relate to, the personality of the Savior himself, the fact that when he was little he had to put himself in that role in order to to help their parents or want to be on top of a demanding society.

More specifically, I want to tell you that all rescuers have one passion in common need from permit And assumption by external agents. They think that if they do this, no one will reject them because if they are there for everything, they become indispensable and the saved person will not know how to function if they are not with the Savior. This reassures them as rejection is less likely. In addition, the rescued person feels obliged to the rescuer.

This attitude is sometimes consciously and the person acts in an interested manner as a rescuer. However, it occurs in other situations unconsciously. That is, the person behaves this way because it is the only way they are supposed to behave. In any case, these behaviors have as their main background the need control everything and to all. This makes them feel powerful because they believe they are the hand rocking the cradle.

Again, that’s a double-edged sword, as the bran can settle into their “I’m not doing anything” attitude and get used to being there all the time. And the Savior, however omnipotent he feels, is not omnipotent. So, not taking care of yourself can have future consequences that directly affect your physical and mental health.

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2. How to overcome Savior Syndrome?

Overcoming Savior Syndrome takes a lot of work as many factors can play a role. If you are the person with syndrome of Savior, The first thing you should ask yourself is why or why you have this need to feel indispensable. Why do you think others will always need you? Or why do you think that you are the only one who can give what they need and not others?

Sometimes we have to learn take care of ourselves as we do with others. If you do so well with others, what is stopping you from doing as well with yourself? Put the focus back on you. go back in time and meet you Bringing you back to the present and no longer dependent on the opinions of others, but dependent on your own well-being. Yes, I know that’s very easy to say, but not easy to do. So if you feel like you’re acting like a savior and have been in that role for a long time, maybe it’s time to make an appointment with a psychologist.

It is not easy to give up the vision of what others may think. But it is necessary. First, take the step of acknowledging yourself and acknowledging that you must put a Border, that you have to respect the decisions of others, that other people can do things for themselves and that they can do it well too. And that gives you the opportunity to do things differently than you do. Try to imagine that there could be two completely different choices about something and both are equally good. And if the other person is wrong, it’s their responsibility, not yours.

You have to know how to differentiate sympathy And Empathy. Sympathy is the ability to solve the problems of others from one’s own point of view. Empathy supports the other and helps him to solve the problem in the way he set out to solve it.

3. The high cost of helping others excessively

Savior Syndrome is a situation chosen (albeit unconsciously) by both parties. the rescuer chooses save on computer and the Bran lets himself be saved because that’s not how he accepts it Responsibility From their deeds. But the rescuer must take on a burden that is not his own. You are immersed in a pattern that does not allow you to devote time to yourself and is often not chosen. On the other hand, the Bran isn’t doing well either, being at the mercy of the savior, not improving its abilities, and ultimately not growing either.

It’s okay to help others, but as long as it’s something chosen, equal, and of our adult part.

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4. The Karpman triangle model

The model of dramatic or Karpman triangle exposes three human roles: persecutor, victim and rescuer. Naming them helps identify where everyone is and how they relate to others.

Usually the signs are in the triangle Return message changing roles, i.e. sometimes the victim becomes the pursuer, the pursuer becomes the rescuer and so on. Because none of them recognizes himself when he is in the respective role. This interpretive model originated in psychotherapy, it was proposed by Stephen Karpman, who was a student of Eric Berne, the inventor of transactional analysis.

  • He pursuer is usually quite critical (judges, punishes, controls and accuses)
  • The Victim He doesn’t take responsibility, so he looks for a savior to solve his problems. And besides, he complains all the time.
  • He savior he wants to help others without unconditionally forgetting his own needs.

They all feel comfortable in their role and do not see anything unusual. In addition, they see their behavior quite logically and defend it with convincing reasons. In this way, the Victim he only sees being abused, criticized, etc. He pursuer he just focuses on seeing the mistakes and mistakes others make. And the Savior, he hides behind his good intentions towards others.

dramatic or Karpman triangledramatic or Karpman triangle

Which role do you identify with? Are you more in the role of rescuer or bran? If you want to read more about psychology, here are two very interesting posts! Feeling lost in life: A chance to learn and how to face life’s crises?

5. Bibliographic References

  1. American Psychiatric Association. (2014). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-5. Madrid: Panamerican Medical Editorial.
  2. Fulkerson, M. (2003). Integrating the Karpman Drama Triangle with Decision Theory and Reality Therapy. International Journal of Reality Therapy, 2312-14
  3. Lac, A. & Donaldson, C. (2020) Development and Validation of the Drama Triangle Scale: Are You a Victim, Savior, or Persecutor? Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 37(7-8).

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