Helping is a good habit and inherent human nature. Just like you might appreciate it when someone helps you, similarly, others will also feel the same way. People might assume you to be a rescuer and will appreciate the helpful gesture. However, having such a personality may also lead to the rescuer personality syndrome. So today, we will discuss the benefits and ill-effects of rescuer syndrome.
1. Who is a Rescuer?
You all know a rescuer is someone who saves people or animals from harmful or dangerous situations. They are trained for this purpose and are very skilled in their fields. They are employed in natural disaster teams and speedy rescue operations to save as many lives as possible. Different types of rescuers include:
- advanced technical firefighters,
- extrication rescuers,
- mountain rescuers,
- diver rescuers, and
- technical rescuers.
Some people may not be trained but work as volunteers in some operations, such as animal rescue operations. They are also known as saviors. (Also read What is Narcissistic Rage Silent Treatment?)
2. What is the Rescuer Personality?
Just like a trained rescuer saves you from some harmful or dangerous situations, a person with a rescuer’s personality also saves you from your day-to-day life problems. You may or may not have come across such people who just come into the scene to help you out. It is because they cannot ignore the urge to help. They cannot just stand and watch, and therefore they are also known as white knights. Also, check out the 10 types of personality disorder.
3. What is Rescuer Syndrome?
The rescuer starts to believe that they have the power to change people’s situations and help them in every situation. Now, their condition is not merely limited to the rescuer’s personality. Sometimes people in the professions of nurse, doctor, firefighting, teaching, or psychology develop this syndrome because of their continuous involvement in helping others.
They become inflicted with the rescuer personality syndrome. A person with such personality syndrome will help others, even if they have to invade into personal space of the other person. They do not care even if the other person feels uncomfortable about this. (Also read How to Deal with Emotionally Manipulative Parents?)
4. What Factors may cause Rescuer Syndrome?
Like all other mental health issues, a rescuer’s personality is also a psychological factor that develops because of some painful experiences.
- If someone was left alone or abandoned by their loved ones at some point in their lives, they start blaming themselves for not being up to the mark of their partner or parents. Those people start believing that helping others is a part of their destiny and they should follow it all cost. (See What is Parentification?)
- This syndrome can develop at any age, depending upon the experience of a person. If a kid has been helping out their parents from a very young age, they will develop this feeling that they can fix everyone’s problems. Must read what is Personalization Cognitive Distortion?
Usually, all the memories fade over time, but people with the rescuer syndrome cannot get over them. This is because every time they find a new person, they feel they should help them.
5. What are the Symptoms of this Personality?
- They determine their self-worth by the fact that how accurately they are helping others. If they somehow fail to help out or their help is not of use, they find themselves worthless.
- They will keep others’ needs as their primary priority. They will not stop even if you keep resisting them because they develop a perspective that they know what’s best for others.
- They often dislike people who become independent and no longer need their help. Since they want the other person to always remain dependent on them for help and support, it makes them feel unwanted. Also, check out anxious attachment in Adults.
6. What are its Benefits?
- Everyone dreams about a partner who is there to help them in their domestic chores. The rescuer willingly does all these things for you and they will not complain either. They feel happy in helping you and become dependent on you for that feeling of happiness unknowingly.
- It is comforting when you know that there is someone who is always to your rescue and this also makes you feel important.
- A rescuer has an encouraging behavior because they never remember past bitter experiences when it comes to helping them. This attitude is helpful for introverted people who find it difficult to ask for help.
- Every time they save or help someone, they are indirectly helping themselves to heal. There are past experiences and most of them are painful and are stuck in their minds. So, the more they help, the more they feel good, and this even helps heal old wounds and regret. (Also read How Do You Handle Difficult Situations?)
7. What is the Negative side of being a Rescuer?
- The rescuer is always involved in solving other people’s problems. Thus, they end up neglecting their own life & responsibilities.
- They can make the other person dependent on them and exhaust themselves in serving others. But if their help is rejected, they feel abandoned.
- Instead of helping out a person to recover from the rescuer personality syndrome, people start taking advantage. Unaware of this fact, the rescuer continues to burn out.
If a kid has a rescuer’s personality, they usually suffer in different stages of life. (Also read Importance of Child Behavioral Psychologist)
8. What are the Ways to Overcome Rescuer Syndrome?
This journey should be started and carried on with the guidance and help of the psychologist and not alone.
- Before moving towards the treatment, a person should realize that they have been a rescuer, otherwise, there is no point. Acceptance is the first step. Then, they have to observe their own behavior to understand that they are running to help everyone even when they have not asked for it.
- They have to understand and learn to say no to people. Saying no does not mean that they are rejecting the person and it will not affect their relationship with that person either.
- And before fulfilling the request of other people, the rescuer needs to look out for their own requirements and dreams. They will have to learn to give priority to themselves first. They must learn to think rationally not emotionally.