I’m Hayley and I have a super hero complex.
A super hero complex is the uncontrollable urge to help, support, bend over backwards to save them. You take responsibility for other people’s lives, emotions and decisions, fighting to make them happy daily. Fighting to give them what you think they want and need, you may even have mind reading skills too.
It is a huge burden, a weight to carry especially when you are trying to save them against their will, which is often the case.
My depression was hugely as a result of fighting to ‘save’ someone on self destruct. I fought hard trying to make them happy, they fought harder to remain unhappy, solid in their comfort zone of not being worthy of happiness. Even when I realised my resiliency was waning I still fought, it was my responsibility, right?
It’s a bit like in saving someone from drowning by approaching them from the front. They want to be saved, but in their struggle to be saved, they may pull you under too.
NO, IT WAS NOT AND IS NOT MY RESPONSIBILITY.
I’d assumed it was and kept going. The reality is they held me, under even though they knew but were ignoring how low I had got.
The very, very good news for all you with a super hero complex is it is not uncontrollable, you are not responsible for anyone else’s life or happiness and you can take of your super hero cape without feeling guilty. You may have to work on not feeling guilty for a while.
I know you’re probably wondering:
1. Who will save them if you don’t?
2. You can’t stop because that is who you are.
3. You will feel so guilty if you don’t help.
4. You may even be wondering who you are without your super hero complex.
Lets take a look at those:
1. Have you saved them yet? Have you even made life easier for them or you? If the answer is no, you’re not actually helping. The only person who can save them is themselves.
2. Yes you are a kind, caring person. You will always be so, even when you stop. When you do, you will give to yourself and your family to be happier. The people suffering as a result of your super hero complex are you, your family and the one you’re trying to save. They will not see a need to help themselves until they have to.
3. Society’s hidden message to us caring folk is to look after others or be guilty. But it does not teach us how to self care. We ‘selflessly’ help others to our detriment, guilt and all. When the reality is we can not or will not save another person, no matter how hard we fight, especially while we’re unwell or unhappy. We can only support them when they are ready to take action to save themselves. So looking after your emotional, physical, mental health needs is a must above all and everyone else guilt free. Put the oxygen mask on yourself before helping others.
4. Taking off your super hero cape is the perfect opportunity to find out who you are or want to be. As a person, parent, sibling, friend, family member.
A super hero complex is often a way of running away from or distracting from our own problems. Some of which are obvious, others are not so obvious. So is it selfish or selfless?
I learnt the hard way to take off my cape. No one stepped in to parent my children, no one offered to help, in fact people didn’t even want to see the signs of depression, no one run my business. My life, my kids and my business suffered because of my super hero complex.
I vowed never again. I had to save myself from my super hero complex and my depression. There are times it threatens to pop up again. When it is appropriate, I don my superhero cape again to support others. But I rationalise who am I actually doing it for. It is still difficult at times to let people suffer but I cannot save anyone by doing for them. I can, however, empower them with my knowledge, kindness and support.
TIME TO LET GO OF THE CAPE AND STEP INTO YOUR LIFE.