There are people with a saviour's complex. I tend to run into them quite often because of my life situation, which makes me appear very helpless to some people. I don't think one needs to be ashamed of needing a bit of practical help in life - after all we are in this together. In reality, however, real, solid and honest help without ulterior motifs is very hard to come by. Among spiritually minded people there is one major ego trap that prevents them from becoming real enlightened beings no matter how much they might like to or pretend that they are already there. That is the saviour's complex.
I am going to talk about men who hit on women who appear fragile, because this is my personal experience. This is not a scientific thesis but a personal, empirical observation that I hope will help people be discerning about such encounters. In my opinion these men are weak and use their desire to help a woman as an excuse to suck her dry and appear more powerful. They feed on the idea that you're worse off than they are. If you do not wish to end up as a doormat you need to access your male energy and set firm boundaries for what is truly acceptable to you. These are healthy boundaries and nothing to be ashamed of either. You will meet with resistance but do not waver if your gutfeeling tells you that you're being subjected to something that is not good for you. Many of these points can be found in spiritual or religious teachers and in women, too. These are sad people but it's not your job to take care of their needs! They will never stop projecting their own sense of deficiencies on you.
- The man in question has often spent a great deal of his life in meditation and has thus spent very little time learning about honest communication, relationships, and how to approach a woman in a tantalizing way. What may seem like an unconventional approach to dating is in fact simply a lack of knowledge and insight. Don't mistake clumsy with interesting. This guy doesn't have enough knowledge about real life because of having escaped it for so many years. He will obviously pride himself with the fact that he's meditated for so and so long.
- He's not very likely to compliment you, because he's not really looking for a normal love relationship. He will hide his intentions from you or talk about them in a confusing way. This reveals that his heart is not open to you (or anybody else). He might even complain about having to be compassionate! He's certainly not that far evolved if this is the case! His strategy is to give you a nagging feeling of being inferior so that he can bombard you with his so-called wisdom and advice about how you should lead your life. If you start to feel that you won't be good enough for him or that you have to prove yourself all the time, it's a definite warning sign.
- He's secretive about his intentions because he wants you to surrender to him. He may talk in terms of sexual surrender but what he really wants is for you to surrender your will to him. He will make you feel confused. Messing with your mind is a way of trying to control it. Many gurus use this technique as well so beware. Ultimately he will talk about surrendering to God's will. It's important to be really vigilant about the differences.
- He loves quotes and will most likely bombard you with them. Instead of feeling uplifted, you start to feel drained and tired from them. They don't come from his heart and are certainly not meant to make you feel better about yourself. An authentic spiritual person is more creative and original than to use an endless array of quotes! This is in the nature of true spirituality! It goes without saying that this guy loves to preach. He may reveal that others think of him as a priest. I've even been told that I am one. Such talk is most likely just a projection from his own mind, a revelation about his true way of thinking.
- Even if you signal your needs, for instance that you had a long and hard day, he won't take notice. He will keep you waiting because he needs to do his meditation first or for some really silly reason such as the summer heat. He won't be firm about how to proceed with the contact. Instead he will make sure that you don't know when he's going to call and it will seem that it's not okay for you to call him. Remember that he thinks he knows what you need and will be oblivious to anything outside of this subjective perception!
- He will start to tell you what you need in order to become a better person or healthier, or even more beautiful. It sounds nice and empathic to begin with. He promises to give you tantalizing treatments and choose your dresses. But if you state your own opinions about your needs he will resist them. What he wants to give you may seem like an original gift but it's often just a copy of something someone else created or a ready-made formula that was not that hard to conjure up. Always be on the look-out for the lack of original thoughts and ideas. He may sound convincing but what he says may be straight from a manual. He loves his gurus and will refer to them quite often.
- He claims to know what you're going through because he's been there but made it to the other side. In other words, he's more enlightened than you and thus has an excuse to give you the impression that he knows things about you that he can't reveal just yet, not until you're ready. This is a simple way of keeping you in suspense and thus dependant on him. His favourite adage is surely "embrace the unkown".
- He might suggest that he will come into good fortune financially in "just a short while" and so hanging out with him is a good idea. This way he tries to make sure that you're going to stick around. The funny thing is, he may claim to become very lavish with his future money but he will complain about petty expenses that you caused him in one way or another, in the here and now. Such hints are tasteless coming from any man, no matter how upset he may be!
- If you listen carefully, you'll see that while his tone of voice is often without much expression, there are moments when some form of bitterness will enter his speech. This will reveal the trauma that is driving him and it's very often a deficient parent. The scary thing is, he's likely to be looking for the mother he never had in you. If you're not the image of Mother Mary he will not be happy, and obviously no one can ever meet with his expectations. He may be an alpha male or a weakling; either way he will not make you feel calm and secure.
- If he has an obsessive way of talking about the ego all the time and in all contexts, take heed. He probably has a problem with it. He might claim that he is ego-free but will make it clear that you're still ego-driven. For instance, he might say that testing people is behaviour typical of the ego and complain that you test him rather than trust him. Most likely he doesn't shy away from testing himself though. I ran into someone who was deceptive about trivia in order to see if anyone would be drawn to him on the basis of his energy. This is not really normal behaviour. Yet some form of testing is quite normal in the beginning of a relationship since you can't be expected to trust a stranger right from the start. If you are wary and cautious, he will probably hold your lack of trust in him against you even at an early stage of the relationship.
- If you're stronger than he anticipated, he may retreat into a form of emotional blackmail. He will tell you that you don't act like a woman, or he may even reveal that he's the sensitive one who needs to be treated with the utmost care. If he has no real access to his male energy he will be passive-aggressive. Spiritual men are rarely able to express real anger and so he resents yours and shuns it like the plague! He might call you a controlling bitch when all you did was state your boundaries in a way that he is not able to do himself. He may call you hateful though you never used any actual words of hatred since you tried to be civil.
- His most desperate attempt to get a hold of you is to refer to God's will (or that of any other form of higher power) and to insinuate that he knows what's best for you but you don't and you're missing out on life because you are stupid enough to resist God's will. I've been told that the man knew he was God's gift to me because I had earned it through good karma, but I was too stupid and my soul was too broken from torment to see it. And this was said with a winking smiley.
Artwork: "So-called Good Advice", handmade collage by author, copyright 2009