There are women who possess a characteristic called savior complex or messianic complex. A wife who has a savior complex believes that she is responsible for saving her husband . Yes, it is noble to help our spouses. After all we vowed to stay for richer and for poorer, in sickness and in health. This connotes that when the going gets tough, we help each other and we just couldn’t give up easily.
However, this becomes problematic when the wife is in an abusive relationship. For instance, Aileen was married for 10 years with a husband who refuses to lift his finger to work. She has done all her best in helping her husband find a job, sending job applications for him, and enrolling him in vocational schools . Aileen even pretended to her own family that her husband has a job and answers the grocery for them.
They do not have children and they live on their own. It would have been acceptable for Aileen if the husband is reliable in house chores, drives for Aileen here and there, and connects with her emotionally. But all he does was play with his online games, neglecting to do the chores and take care of their relationship, and even committed infidelity. Apparently, he couldn’t give any support materially, physically, and emotionally.
In another example, Teresa was in an emotionally abusive relationship with a husband who is also a bum. For more than a decade, she endured her husband’s lack of domestic and financial contribution. She also endured the hurtful words he hurled at her. Teresa only sought counseling because she couldn’t get a grip of herself when she found out his unfaithfulness.
We cannot save someone who doesn’t want to be saved. It’s like saving a drowning person who refuses to hold onto you or make himself heavier. He just wanted to stay where he is. No matter how much you try to save them, your effort will just be fruitless. You will just end up drowning and drowning with them.
What does drowning looks like for you? Your choice to stay because you want to save your spouse will suck the life out of you. You gravitate your world in an effort of trying to improve him and his life. As a consequence, you forget to take care of yourself, you forget to pursue your happiness. Chronic marital conflicts such as this is stressful which can cause you some depressive symptoms [2,3,4].
Aileen and Teresa are just among those many women who struggle with this belief. The savior complex must have come from their past, such as their childhood histories. It is highly recommended that women who have this belief must seek an individual counseling/psychotherapy to discover the root of their underlying issues and receive an appropriate support and intervention.