What Is Savior Behavior And Its Red Flags

10 December 2015 Written by 

Co-dependence is often defined as not knowing where you begin and someone else ends.

Even though you know someone else is not physically you, you may not recognize the boundaries that exist on an emotional level. This means you can't help being involved on every level. A healthy relationship requires a separation. so that each person can act independently and grow independently. 

How Does Co-dependence Develop  

Although this condition often occurs in households with addiction thrives, it can also develop in families and relationships where boundaries don't exist.

Here's An Example

The Kelly family had two loving parents who showed their daughters with attention and affection. On the surface, it looked ideal. Scratch beneath the surface , however, and there are plenty of red flags in what the parents said and believed:  “What hurts you, hurts me.“ "If that’s the worst thing that ever happens to you, you’ll be OK.” This made the girls believe they were not separate from their parents and therefore what hurt ones they loved also hurt them. They didn't feel independent and empowered.

How Did This Influence Their Lives

Maggie became a therapist who has worked with clients in recovery for 30 years. She found herself exhibiting what she refers to as ‘savior behavior,’ through which she wants to fix, save, heal and kiss the boo-boos in an attempt to ease the pain of others. Many difficult lessons came as a result. She often took on the challenges of clients and those in her personal life as she believed she had the necessary tools. Even though she stated belief that others had the capacity to do their own healing work and that she need not always intervene, often she found herself getting pulled in to their chaos and demands. Ellie did not become a therapist, but did the same kind of fixing with all her friends, her husband and children and their friends and often found herself overwhelmed with demands she couldn't possibly fufill.

What Are Signs Of Savior Behavior?

  • Consistently putting the needs of others before your own.
  • Ignoring signs of fatigue and burnout, but unable to slow the pace and regroup.
  • Doing for others what they are fully capable of doing for themselves.
  • Feeling resentful and unappreciated.
  • Attempting to help others circumvent pitfalls and personal potholes while falling into them yourself.
  • Anticipating what others want and offering before they even ask.
  • Wanting to appear altruistic and earn approval.
  • Getting extreme gratification from being a caregiver.
  • Believing that you know what is in another’s best interest.
  • Attempting to convince others how to feel and what to say.


Remind yourself that you can take off your Wonder Woman or Superman cape and have healthy interactions without needing to use any superpower save the power of love and compassion.

Reach Out Recovery By Edie Weinstein

Read 3002 times Last modified on Tuesday, 08 November 2016 20:00
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Edie Weinstien

Rev. Edie Weinstein, LSW  is an ‘opti-mystic who views life through the eyes of possibility. Her creative, career and spiritual paths have led her to become a writer, speaker, interfaith minister, reiki master, clown, greeting card text writer and social worker. She engages in life fully, inviting others to join her. As a guide, she holds a mirror up to those with whom she works, so that they may see their own beauty and discover their own answers.
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