What is lifeguard syndrome and how to respond to compulsive help

Should you help people? What is the right way to behave when a loved one is feeling bad? Psychologist Anna Kushneruk answers these questions.

Recently, especially after the pandemic, the so-called “rescuer syndrome” has become popular. People want to be helpful, give advice, help. Is excessive care and the desire to always come to the rescue so good – psychologist Anna Kushneruk commented in the “Breakfast with 1 + 1” studio.

Helping people is a useful thing, but if “salvation” develops into a way of life, then it becomes already dangerous. Why? The fact is that people-rescuers turn every situation in life into a tragedy in order to be useful. According to their scenario, all life circumstances become negative and then a rescuer comes to help. Such people instill a sense of their own helplessness and dependence on their helper. They argue that others can never cope without their help.

How to determine when you really need to save a person and when not

You should not interfere until the person himself asks you for help. It is important for a person to realize that what he is given has value. He must independently try his hand at solving the problem and only when it does not work out – seek help. Only in this case will a person feel grateful for the help provided. With their help, people-rescuers do not allow others to feel their importance, to live freely and be themselves. They block the development of a person in personal spheres of life.

When the man-savior himself becomes a victim

When a person rescues someone all the time, then, of course, a large portion of aggression arises. The rescuer waits after helping to improve mood, joy, and gratitude from the other person. If this does not happen, then he has a feeling of aggression, resentment, disappointment. A person from a rescuer turns into a victim, whose actions were not appreciated, and then into an aggressor. Often, such behavior can be observed in parents in relation to their children, that is, they do something for the child and expect gratitude from her.

This situation is characterized by Cartman’s Triangle or Dramatic Triangle (“Victim-Rescuer-Persecutor”)

In order to determine whether a person really needs help, you need to watch him very closely and ask questions. The support of loved ones is very important, but only when asked for it. Remember – you shouldn’t live for a person his life!





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