Relationships are not easy, but do you have a history of assigning your partners the role of ‘Savior’ in your relationships? If you do, the result will always be self sabotage.
Many people find themselves in abusive relationship cycles due to making their partner their ‘Savior’. In these relationships we imprint a Savior image onto our partners face (we see no wrong in their reflection) and, as a result, remove ourselves from our basic logic.
The Savior Partner is a partner who has come into your life and erased your past hurt. A seemingly emotional Super-Man/ Woman who appears to be the answer to prayer.
Assigning Savior roles
People who are prone to assigning their partners the Savior role will experience a miraculous overnight healing from long held hurt and rejection from past relationships. As a result, their mind will justify their past emotionally abusive relationships as a reward of sorts:
- I needed to go through that to truly appreciate what love is
- In my current partner, I have found what it means to be in a ‘healthy’ relationship (note ‘in’ my current partner, not ‘with’)
- My past relationship wasn’t real, but this is. It now makes sense.
Notice how the trauma from past abusive relationships has not been addressed. The trauma has instead been sidestepped or shut down. However, trauma never sleeps and as a result it will awaken and manifest in other areas of the new relationship.
Codependency will run through the relationship
People who find themselves in Savior relationships will generally have patterns of codependency running through-out their lives. In these relationships personal boundaries of ‘what belongs to me’ and ‘what belongs to you’ become blurred. Partners should complement each other and add their unique flavor to the relationship. In Savior relationships, the partner is the only flavor.
When you become the sacrificial lamb in a relationship you unconsciously place your happiness in your partners hands. This is the most dangerous situation to be in. Savior partners will soon become bored as the person they initially met, and began dating, quickly disappears.
My identity now lives in you
Shifting from a ‘Me’ to ‘We’ Identity
The relationship shifts from a ‘ME’ (I have an identity) to a ‘WE’ (my identity lives in you). When the ‘ME’ becomes ‘WE’ all actions and reactions will be constructed to keep the partner interested and engaged. I come across tragic incidents where partners in this role allow the most degrading behavior in their relationships in an effort to keep their partner.
As you read this blog a person from your past will probably come to mind. We can all identify with losing ourselves in another and can relate to the difficult journey to claim back our identity. If you resonate with Adele’s music then you will understand this. People have the impression that I am immune to the topics I write on. I write on these topics because I’ve lived in and through them and I am no exception to assigning the Savior role to a partner. In my 20’s I remained in an abusive relationship for 5 years. Although I suffered a nervous breakdown during the relationship I continuously went back to my partner to seek his approval. Because the emotional abuse was so ingrained I found myself apologizing to my partner for repeatedly cheating on me. He said I had given him little choice and I believed him.
The Savior role and Stockholm Syndrome
I see a correlation between assigning the Savior role to partners and Stockholm Syndrome. Where one partner irrationally loves their ‘captor’ despite the obvious signs of abuse. Making their ‘captor’ happy becomes the sole focus. When my relationship ended I did not experience liberation. Because I had lost my identity to my partner, a void gripped my soul instead. The ‘We’ was no longer and I had lost the ‘Me’ in the beginning stage of the relationship. You would think that the break-up would be a new start however, I continued to crave my ex’s attention (like a drug) for years. This was until I found another Savoir to imprint on. It is important to become aware of our patterns of behavior in relationships and to recognize that unless we are able to emotionally stand for ourselves, and secure our personal boundaries, we will fall for anybody and anything.
Past relationship trauma will dictate to emotion
How do we constantly find ourselves in cycles of emotional abuse? In my assessment, unprocessed trauma casts a long shadow over a person’s life. Trauma embeds itself into our most basic thought process. It becomes the lead narrator in the stories we live out of.
Trauma dictates to emotion (I am happy only if you are happy). This triggers reactions of insecurity and neediness as the stress of the relationship (the need to keep it) weaves itself into the nervous system where it pumps high levels of cortisol and adrenaline. The body remains braced for action and stays in a constant state of fight or flight. Sleeping patterns can become disrupted and eating may become emotional or used to punish oneself. I experienced all these symptoms and, in addition, I turned to drugs for an escape.
We become addicted to our partner
In my experience I have found that addiction does not belong in substances. I believe that addiction lives in trauma and expressed in behavior. It is because of this that many become addicted to their partner because he/she appears to have erased their pain. Leaving the Savior partner would mean that this pain would return. When you become addicted to your partner, withdrawals from the relationship can be just as savage as withdrawals from a substance. Therefore, people in this position will tolerate an incredible amount of abuse in the relationship to avoid the emotional withdrawal. This is addiction 101. Think about it, drug addicts hate the drug but can’t stop using because drugs short circuit the pain.
Learning to love yourself first
Many search for answers in books on self-psychology and may experience a slight shift as they feel they are starting to ‘understand themselves’. I did all that but found no solid structure to rebuild myself up on. It is therefore vital that we learn strategies on how to love ourselves first
Coaching directly to the body
I have discovered that many clients, which fall into this category, require coaching directly to the body (to the nervous system that holds trauma). It is through coaching to the body that many clients who once described themselves as ‘a lost causes,’ have experience significant shifts and a new found freedom.
Contact Richard directly at email@example.com to book a coaching session. Richard is an I.C.F Registered Ontological Coach with over 650 hours of practical coaching experience.
Should you know of anybody who would benefit from this blog post, please share it. It is through creating awareness that we can actively play a part in the healing of others.