Why Empaths Often Become The “Rescuer” In Relationships

For years, I would run toward people who I thought needed to be rescued, and there’s a part of me that still does.

However, I now recognize the difference between wanting to help or support people, and entering into romantic relationships where I play the role of the “rescuer” while perceiving the other person as “wounded” or “broken.”

The dynamic of the “rescue/wounded” dynamic is often prevalent when we repeatedly select partners who have emotional or mental challenges, financial difficulties, addictions, depression, medical issues, dysfunctional family backgrounds, or a history of abusive relationships without any willingness to engage in their own healing process.

Ironically, the destructive nature of the rescuer versus wounded dynamic lies in the fact that we, the rescuers, are also the ones who need saving. We must rescue ourselves from the magnetic attraction we feel toward those who we perceive as “broken” and in need of fixing or healing in some way.

However, until we awaken to this pattern, we will continue to focus most of our attention externally, leading to a repetition of the same unhealthy patterns and attracting similar partners time and time again.

One significant sign of a rescuer is the tendency to jump from one relationship to another, attempting to “fix,” “mend,” and “heal” people. When things either improve or show no signs of change, the rescuer moves on, feeling either satisfied with their input or believing their time and energy was wasted.

Those who are rescuers are usually highly empathetic and compassionate, and feel turmoil and despair whenever they witness suffering. They desperately want to alleviate discomfort and heal painful emotional wounds, and they often believe that the only medicine that works is large doses of love.

To break the habit of rescuing others, the “rescuer” must first look deeply into why they feel so compelled to delve into other people’s pain, so that they can discover where their own emotional wounds are hidden.

For some, the attraction to brokenness may stem from growing up in a family where they wished to help someone but felt unequipped or powerless at the time. Others may have experienced severe trauma without a savior, making it unbearable to witness others struggling alone.

Some might have become accustomed to drama and turbulence, finding peace and harmony foreign to their experiences. They only feel at home when surrounded by people who bring turmoil into their lives.

The perception of those who are “broken” as a reflection of our own brokenness is another reason for this pattern. Other people’s pain serves as a reminder of our own, and we may believe that by loving and healing them, we can also heal ourselves.

We might even feel good about ourselves when helping those we perceive to be in need, especially if our help pays off and the person goes through an incredible transformation.

Another factor contributing to this pattern is the attraction to the challenge of changing someone perceived as the “bad guy” or “bad girl,” proving our own worthiness and lovability if we succeed where others have failed in “fixing” them.

To break free from repetitive patterns and attract healthier relationships, it is vital to explore the reasons behind our attraction to those we perceive as broken. By shining a light on the pain we may have unconsciously suppressed, we can gain a deeper understanding of our behaviors.

While we can continue to see the potential in others and patiently wait for them to live up to our expectations, it is essential to realize that unless they are willing to work on and heal their own issues, no amount of love and understanding from us can truly help.

By acknowledging this truth, we protect our own emotional well-being and avoid becoming drained or frustrated by futile attempts to “fix” or “heal” someone who is not ready or willing to do the work themselves. Our energy and efforts are better directed towards those who are genuinely committed to their own personal growth and who reciprocate our love and support.

When we work on healing our past, we create a happier, more authentically loving present and future, one where we give ourselves the opportunity to be involved in a conscious, fulfilling relationship where there is open and mutual unconditional love.

Healing our “rescuer” wound doesn’t mean we have to abandon the people we have been focused on rescuing. Instead, the dynamic will naturally shift as our focus turns inward and we work on ourselves.

When our energy changes, those around us will sense a difference, and they may choose to raise their own vibration and meet us where we are. If not, the connections that drain us and are unhealthy will naturally fade away. While it may be challenging to accept, we will find greater contentment and inner peace when we realize that people are drawn to us for more than just the assistance we provide.

We all carry our own wounds and imperfections, but we are still deserving of love despite these flaws. In fact, there is a unique beauty that resides within our brokenness. Engaging in relationships with individuals who bear emotional wounds can be an incredibly transformative and fulfilling experience for both parties involved. By recognizing and accepting our own brokenness, we become more compassionate and understanding toward the wounds of others.

However, for such relationships to thrive in the long term, it is essential that both individuals are willing to create a safe space for each other. This involves embracing vulnerability and actively working on personal growth.

In these relationships, both partners are willing to confront their own inner demons, face past traumas, and heal their emotional wounds. They embark on a journey of self-discovery and growth, seeking to better understand themselves and their triggers. This inner work allows them to develop a greater capacity for empathy and compassion, allowing a deeper connection between them.

The emphasis moves away from fixing or rescuing and towards supporting and personal growth. There is a loving presence and a judgment-free space to express emotions. Through open communication, trust is built, as both people know they can share their deepest pain without fear of rejection. Both partners actively participate in their own healing while also being attentive to each other’s emotional needs. They understand that it is not their role to “fix” one another, but rather to provide unwavering support and love as they navigate life’s challenges side by side.

Alex Myles

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Main Article Image Toa Heftiba