Traumas cause us to become heroes in our own story. Many times this rise from adversity creates a euphoric high and provides a set of skills which we believe can be used to save others. This leads to the creation of the hero complex – an unprescented need to save others, to be the hero you needed during your adversities. It can start off as a nobel quest, but the knowledge that you changed someones life – made it better even, feeds the ego slowly and it soon becomes an addiction. The happiness of another becomes a validation for yourself. So we form relationships with unconscious hidden agendas, subconsciously looking for individuals who look like victims, who may need ‘saving’ so we can exercise and fuel our hero complex. Along the way we started believing our “act of selflessness” gave us a sense of importance and purpose. In brief moments, the ego is boosted by feeling wanted and needed as you are relied upon as a clutch. At the beginning it can infatuating and somewhat fulfilling, but later you find yourself questioning whether you really loved the person or the person you were trying to mould. Thus, we enter relationships with the fake notion of love, and believe our love will be their saviour.
There is no way to love the broken out of someone. When a person is not ready to move or change their mind set, no amount of love, words and affection will be able to rescue them. Instead you will deplete your energy and be left with a feeling of unconscious resentment. Ultimately the hero complex and our ego will not be able to handle the losses, and what was once empathy will become anger in its disguise. That doesn’t mean broken humans are not worth loving, because honestly who isn’t broken, it’s remembering it was never our job to love the broken out of someone. Someone will heal him, but just because you have the ability to be his beacon in the darkness, it doesn’t mean you should sell yourself short. It’s hard enough others emotionally blackmailing us to make a certain decision, then why do it to ourselves. Why do we tell ourselves: no-one will be able to love him like I do, no one will be able to heal him and put him on the right path. Why do we have to commit ourselves to be the hero in his fairytale? Recognition of the unhealthy thought process of the hero complex will allow us to form relationships with people for who they are and not who we want them to be. It’s unfair on the other person to have expectations and place conditions on your love. It’s never our duty to mother a person to success. We can support but we can’t expect ourselves to be able to carry them to their final destination. They need to walk there by themselves, to ensure that’s where they want to be. Otherwise the journey will be incomplete and they will revert back to the old direction. And this divergence can occur the next day or over years. A person needs to be able to survive without you, that’s why you support and do not carry, as that process will teach them the skills for survival.
Just like the existence of the hero complex, there is such a thing as a victim complex. A person who seeks someone to save them. Where they place their fate on another person’s capability to rescue them. These expectations are unrealistic and unfortunately create a cycle of need. And on the occasion your significant other can’t save you, you believe they are deficient in loving you. Inadvently creating strain on your relationship. This complex will lead you to be attracted to danger to place yourself in situations which require saving despite their inner dialogue advising them against it. Heroes express their love by saving whilst victims quantify another’s love by being saved. This damsel and saviour relationships are what we are exposed to throughout our life from the fairy tales to the movies. Whilst for some these relationships work, the inorganic nature created by both the victim and hero complex hinder growth of the individuals and lead to resentment due to the unfulfilling nature of the relationship. If you have had a series of failed relationships, it is highly possible there is a common dominator and you might find the traits discussed above sound familiar. The single most powerful quote I have heard in my lifetime is “We cannot expect different results by doing the same thing over and over again.” To break a cycle, we need to take the time to have an honest conversation with ourselves, actively look at where we are going wrong rather than wait to be told. So maybe your first step is to identify whether you exhibit either of these complexes.
I wrote this piece months ago after a deep discussion with my friend Kheron and it expanded further when I spoke to two other power females – Lotte and Luna. During these discussions I coined the term hero complex, and recognised I had shifted over the years from victim to hero complex due to a lack of self love. I did not respect my self worth, therefore left it in the admiration of my heroic action. I hope this post starts an inner dialogue and you can relate to it’s content.
From the sky full of suns and stars,