Do You Have a Savior Complex? Here’s How to Tell

The term “savior complex” doesn’t necessarily sound like a bad thing. But, although it may be rooted in good intentions, this type of behavior can be problematic. Let’s look at what a savior complex is and how you can identify if you have one.

What Is a Savior Complex?

A person with a savior complex feels the need to “save” people by fixing their problems. This can look like:

  • Only feeling good about yourself when helping someone
  • Believing helping others is your purpose in life
  • Putting so much into fixing others that you neglect your own mental, physical, and emotional health

If you suspect you or someone you know has a savior complex, here are a few additional key trails to look for.

You’re Attracted to Vulnerability

Thinking back on past relationships, you may notice that you’re drawn to people in distress. This can happen if you’ve experienced a lot of personal pain or have immense empathy for those suffering.

You Aim to Change People

A savior complex entails believing you can impact the lives of others because you know what’s best for them. The issue is that people have to want to change; it cannot be forced. Savior efforts may eventually lead to resentment.

You Seek Solutions

Not every problem has a simple or immediate solution. Sometimes, people just need to vent and leave it at that. However, saviors tend to care more about finding a solution than the person with the problem.

Risking It All

A savior will sacrifice personal needs, time, money, and emotional well-being to care for people who may not even want help.

How Does Having a Savior Complex Affect You?

Savior tendencies can negatively impact a person through:

  • Burnout
  • Disrupted relationships
  • A sense of failure
  • Unpleasant emotional experiences

Can You Overcome a Savior Complex?

Overcoming the savior complex involves understanding and addressing the root cause. Therapy or counseling can be beneficial in discovering the motivation to want to “save” others. It’s also important to learn to set healthy boundaries and find self-worth in something other than playing the savior.

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