“But I went out of my way to help her; I can’t believe she’s ignoring me. I feel like she never appreciates anything I do for her. Ugh, saying this aloud makes me feel so awful! I mean, I am being taken for granted.

Well, seems pretty relatable? right?

We all know that one person (it might be you) who always feels responsible for helping other people. They usually go out of their way, regardless of their pressing concerns, to help others. This is known as the “savior complex” or “white knight syndrome.” It is a psychological construct triggering the need to save people, even with the slightest of issues.

Helping others gives us a sense of joy, but can get taxing if done compulsively.

The yearning for gratitude becomes an addiction, leaving us emotionally drained. Consequently, it feels like a duty to assist the ones in need. The motive to help is a good one but can lead to an unpleasant outcome. With time, this behavior becomes a fundamental part of the personality.  

ON ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIPS

We feel bad to see our loved ones struggling, and that incites the need to help. In romantic relationships, it is not uncommon, witnessing people exerting themselves emotionally while assisting their partners.

The desire to change the behavior of one’s partner isn’t uncommon, am I right? This shows a lack of trust on your part, in your partner’s abilities. Problem-solving, decision making, and conflict resolution are as essential for them as they are for you, so let them be! Everyone has the right to make mistakes, learn, and grow. Saviour complex can be the root of most arguments we deal with on a regular basis, your loved one.

The concept of “space” and “privacy” are to be respected despite the closeness in your relationship, and they do not owe you what doesn’t concern you.

Honest conversations between partners can be initiated only in a space where they will be mindfully heard, which are vital for a healthy relationship. 

WHAT ABOUT OTHER RELATIONSHIPS?

Same as above applies to every other relationship with slight alterations, obviously! 

When it comes to friends, try to help them on request (unless super urgent). Don’t try to rescue them when not asked; this can lead to a falling-out. Setting boundaries in friendship is critical, and respecting them is a must!

You might be assuming this “act of kindness” makes you a better person, but your friend may think otherwise. If they find you understanding enough, they’ll approach you. 

In case you feel like really doing something, ASK THEM. If you feel like being the super honest, loyal, and helpful one in your entire group, make sure your honesty to one person does not come at the cost of loyalty towards the other. 

When it comes to family, well, it is a little tricky here. After a certain age, we expect our parents to give us the freedom to live life on our terms. Since childhood, everything is controlled by them, and sadly with Indian, this obsessive need creeps even into adulthood.

Their excessive worry gives rise to estranged equations. Consequently, people get habituated to the help offered by their families; they put no effort into finding a solution because they are assured of the unconditional support they’ll get from their families.

With others, it feels even more heroic to help strangers or acquaintances, often resulting in adverse outcomes. Why? Because we expect a warm, appreciative, sweet, and meaningful response, but that does not always happen. We end up feeling extremely demoralized. Nevertheless, it does not stop us from helping people without being asked. 

HOW DOES THIS AFFECT MY MENTAL HEALTH?

  • Apart from feeling special, helping others gives us a sense of purpose. Gradually it becomes about craving the appreciation from others, producing a sense of validation. Subsequently, the motive of constructively helping someone starts to fade away, and the willingness to feel better about ourselves grows. 
  • People who feel the compelling need to rescue someone often suffer from issues of their own. Due to low self-esteem, diffidence, and fear, they refuse to address those problems. So helping others becomes an excuse not to help themselves. 
  • People’s lack of appreciation (according to our expectations) is what makes us self-loathing, self-doubting, and a miserable being. We seek so much happiness in their gratitude that we fail to find it in ourselves—this why self –love and me- time is so important. 

WHAT TO DO NOW?

  • Actively listen to what your friends have to say, don’t jump to help. What they need the most is someone who believes in them, supports them, and listens to them; this is an immense help. 
  • It is important to stop reminding others about their wrongdoings, unhealthy habits, regrets, and unpleasant experiences. Your constant “fixing” habit will dishearten them. Seek more and more happiness from within. Do what you love and love what you do. Accept your flaws, work on them, and turn them into your strengths.
  • Remember, you cannot always make people happy, which is okay. You cannot be responsible for everyone; people want to be heard than rescued. 
  • AND seek professional help if need be. It is always good to be guided when it comes to such psychological issues. 

    Lastly, LIVE AND LET LIVE

    And as Joey (the character from the sitcom F.R.I.E.N.D.S), “there is no selfless good deed,” everything we do eventually is for us, so make sure it’s worth your while!

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