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May 30, 2019

The Problem With Looking For a Saviour

I saw a random online quote the other day – there are a million of them out there, but this one really made me wince…

‘May you fall in love with someone who never gets tired of saving you from your own chaos’

It sounds romantic, doesn’t it? Perhaps it brings to mind unfaltering love, someone who will stay with you through thick and thin, who will recognise your flaws but want to be with you in spite of – or even perhaps because of them.

The other participant, the perpetrator of the ‘chaos’ – what do we imagine that could be? Getting themselves into comedic scrapes perhaps? Leaving a trail of light hearted destruction in their wake?

Or maybe it’s something more serious than that.

The truth is, there are times in my life when I feel I have caused the chaos. A bad decision here, an on-going illness there – nothing terrible, but like most of us I have done things in my life that I am not proud of. Have I wanted someone else – supposedly my husband to save me? And to continue to save me if I make the same mistake again, and again and… again?

No, I haven’t, because I don’t feel that it is anyone’s job to ‘save me’ but myself. My husband is there for me, he is with me and he is by my side through thick and thin – but he isn’t there to ‘save me’, I am a 34 year old woman, I have my weaknesses and made my mistakes but I don’t need someone to swoop in and save me from them, because how would I learn to deal with them? How would I ever be able to take responsibility for them?

I have also been the person who has tried to save someone – and this does fall into the aforementioned ‘mistake’ category. This was a person dealing with an undiagnosed (because of a refusal to seek professional help) but very apparent mental health condition; he was also dealing with addiction. He was a close friend and as for the ‘love’ part? Yes, apparently it was there – although it could have been a part of his addiction and/or avoidance behaviours. As that person, the one who did try and save him from his own chaos, I can tell you – it was exhausting, it was frustrating, it – at times and more often than not by the end – hurt.

To watch someone that you care deeply about repeat the same behaviours again, and again, and again is awful. I know, and I am well aware from my own mental illness, why he did. I can understand that it wasn’t with the intention of hurting me, I can even understand the drivers and how his history led him to carry out these behaviours – but to be so powerless to stop them, was heart-breaking.

It also impacted my short and long-term mental health – exacerbating my own past traumas and beliefs about myself, knocking my self-esteem and leaving me grieving and questioning the entire friendship when I had to walk away for my own self-preservation.

So, no. May you not fall in love with someone who never gets tired of saving you from your own chaos. May you fall in love with someone who will love you and support you and stand by you through chaos – but who helps you to develop a relationship strong enough that they can tell you to pack it in and/or seek help, and you will have the respect for them to listen.

May you fall in love with someone who respects you enough to work through the behaviours that cause your chaos in a safe and nurturing way that enables you both to grow as individuals. That you know you can confide in without fear or judgement, that can be your rock, your port in a storm just as you are to them.

But may you realise that the only person who can ever save us, is ourselves.

Image Credit: Noah Buscher on Unsplash

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