Realizing I Have a God Complex
I know I’m not the only one, and I’m likely not the most extreme case. But what started out as a realization at the beginning of this week that I have a Savior complex — trying to fix everyone else’s problems and pouring my “love” and devotion into people like my own personal projects, to feed my addiction of feeling wanted and needed — I’ve discovered that my glaring personality flaw isn’t just a Savior complex, but it’s also a god complex.
It all started about a month ago, when I was rejected by this guy I thought I really liked. I wanted to date, he didn’t. He was stuck on this girl from his past. I had a hard time accepting that and was determined to “fix” him — help him get over her so he could move on. He rejected me. I was pissed. I went off on him about how he should fix his life up, that he must be unhappy and unsatisfied with who he was now, and that I could help him change that. His response was a shocker. “I like who I am.” A sure sign of self-confidence when I was expecting him to insecurely agree with me. Whether it was true confidence or not, that was the spark to the fire.
Then, while I was having a pity party earlier this week with my best friend, I was on about my usual spiel, complaining about how my love life was a mess and I wasn’t ever going to find “Mr. Right” because our society had breed a bunch of subpar men. I blamed everyone but myself, per my usual routine.
As a joke, I laugh-stakingly googled “Why do I attract men with mommy issues.” I found this article.
To the Women Who Repeatedly Attract Broken, Emotionally Unavailable or Addicted Men
I must have a tattoo with invisible ink on my forward — welcome to Haley’s Rehabiliation Center for Broken Boys…
I quickly skimmed the article, then re-read it three times. And, holy shit (excuse my french but) was it a smack across the face.
I started to realize, that contrary to my belief, these men I was dating weren’t the problem. Not that I hadn’t dated guys with glaring issues that may have made up most of our unhealthy relationship. But the truth was, I was the one attracted to these emotionally unavailable, addicted men, and not only that, but it was because it was feeding my own addiction — the “high” I’d get from trying to fix up someone, which has inevitably lead to my Savior complex.
I figured that I knew what love meant. But my version of love has been defined by how much devotion I put into a person to help fix their problems. And by picking damaged, emotionally unavailable and often clingy men, I had satisfied my desire to feel wanted/needed. What I thought was love was really just a development of my Savior complex.
When I thought that I was attracting the same kind of guy, I was actually seeking them out. By dating a guy that was more of a project that I could pour my energy into fixing, I felt I’d found love. And of course, these relationships lasted for as long as they did because while I was feeding my addiction of trying to fix people, they were able to continue being emotionally unavailable, damaged, broken, etc. For what would the relationship be, if non-existent without us feeding eachother’s addictions?
A Savior complex is, in essence:
“you believe you can save someone else from their own problems, and often that you’re more enamored with fixing your partner than loving them for who they are.” (Grant 2018)
Also known as:
“A psychological construct which makes a person feel the need to save other people. This person has a strong tendency to seek people who desperately need help and to assist them, often sacrificing their own needs for these people.” (Benton 2017)
Upon discovering my Savior complex, I knew immediately that I had to change my dating habits. I had to stop going after broken, emotionally unavailable men. I had to avoid picking out men that made me feel in control, making me feel like I could fix them. For once, I had to find someone that I could love for who they were, not who they could be according to my ideal image.
But as the week went on, my dad and I had a conversation. I still wasn’t satisfied with this epiphany about my own personality flaw. There was something more there than just a Savior complex. There were other reasons as to why I wasn’t finding the right kind of guy. Why headstrong, confident and emotionally stable men weren’t even on my radar.
And that’s when I realized I had a god complex.
A god complex, at its extreme, is known as Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), which is a mental condition where people have an inflated sense of self importance and worth, deep need for attention or admiration and a highly dogmatic approach to their own views, holding their personal opinion and beliefs as unquestionably correct.
While the complex takes on many variations, mine was painfully obvious. I am one to always lecture others, completely comfortable and confident in claiming that my opinion or advice is right. I feel anxious while away from friends, or when “radio silence” occurs between myself and another person who I feel I was “helping” by imposing my opinion on them about their “fixable” qualities. I always assume that people want to hear what I have to say, disregarding the fact that I could be wrong or that they may not want to hear what I have to say. No wonder the confident, emotionally stable men were nowhere to be found — they were probably steering clear of this girl with a head the size of Texas (no offense Texas).
What I thought was just a romantic relationship issue actually turned out to be a platonic one too. In fact, it was a life issue.
My dad has been exploring certain stories in the bible recently, in search for his own answers regarding similar stuff he’s going through. What he’s come back to time and time again are the stories about King David.
King David, if you weren’t familiar, was a man of many flaws. He went after a woman that was wed to another man, sending that man to war to be killed so he could have the woman for himself. He murdered, stole and lied. He wasn’t what you would call, the best Christian. Yet it’s written in the bible that David was a man after God’s own heart, and for that, he was always rewarded by God.
King David lacked something that I have which feeds my god complex. He lacked pride. If one were to weigh all the sins in the world on a scale against pride, pride would outweigh them infinityx1. The thing is, when you have pride, or in my case, a god complex, you’re cutting that line between you and God. You’re pretty much saying “Hey God, I don’t need your help, I got this all figured out myself.” Why need God when you yourself are starting to believe you are a god, and know better than everyone else?
I think over the years, I’ve probably developed this god complex as a way to cope with my fears and insecurities. Not knowing where I’ll end up in five years terrifies me. Not knowing who I’m going to marry, if I’ll marry, makes me super anxious. Feeling vulnerable is freaky. I overplan (just look at my Google Calendar) and overcompensate by self proclaiming myself a “mentor” for others. But that is where and why I have to learn to let go and trust God. Trust fate. Trust that there’s a plan and purpose beyond my control… However you wish to phrase it. And by doing that, I’m admitting that I’m not right, I don’t know everything, and I definitely don’t know what’s best for others (not even myself).
I think this is the first step to dissolving my god complex, and probably my savior complex too. The savior complex feels like it’s somewhat a byproduct of my god complex, because feeling drawn to fixing people is in a way, thinking I know how best to fix people in the first place.
I started to tell my best friend today about all of this and she started to agree about my god complex. It stung me a little. It made me want to apologize to everyone I’ve ever belittled or lectured or tried to fix. It made me think about how many friendships I may have potentially ruined in the past, or perhaps possible healthy friendships or relationships I stopped from happening because I was too proud and busy over amplifying my voice and opinions.
My best friend said that the first step to actual change is admitting you have a problem. I have a god complex and a savior complex. I know that’s not all that defines me, but I also don’t want either of those complexes to be a part of who I am.
I think probably the next step is acting consciously, while giving up “control” of my life to God’s plan. I can’t do what I thought I could. I don’t know everything, and I’m definitely not right all the time. I also need to stop trying to “fix” other people, and I especially have to stop assuming that they want to be fixed or need to be fixed in the first place. I just have to accept people for who they are — isn’t that part of what real love is?