Because both the saviour and the toxic people he is rescuing are interested in supporting his self-image that maintains a system in which someone is always an outsider.
 I deliberately do not provide concrete examples to convey the fog in the mind of a saviour who often seems to be unable to remember when and to whom he promised what.
 A victim of the betrayal of a saviour here serves somewhat as a mirror; in the image of Christ in her, damaged by him, he may for the first time encounter what he has been being doing to himself.
 Luke 10:27
 Matthew 16:24
 Luke 14:26
 That makes heartfelt repentance impossible; it remains instead on the superficial level of deeds, rather than addressing the perversion of the soul that caused the evil deeds.
He does not exist. He is so absorbed by the others that he does not exist, being dispersed. He gave his very wholeness = his soul away. He needs them all to make him whole and to recall who he is who he thinks. He lives for them and through them; when he is actively doing this for someone, he has no room for anyone else, himself included.
“Himself” is the most important here. He denies himself to rescue those who succumbed to the evil. He forgets about food or rest. At night he prays to God the Father asking Him for strength and endurance to carry on his own mission. At dawn he is back, knocking at the bolted from him door, demanding to be let in, moved by the fear to be too late to prevent the disaster. He is told to go away but he insists, unstoppable in his desire to save no matter what the price is, even if it is the price of crushing the other’s will.
His love is totally unconditional i.e. more perfect than Christ’s. He has no agenda of doing the will of God the Father, calling for repentance as the ground for the forgiveness of sins. His love does not demand change, it only demands to be taken and used; the sins are forgiven instantly without even asking as soon as another agrees to take him in. Unlike the Love of God that has the Person of Christ attached to that Love (you want the Love of God then surrender to Christ – or better to say Christ is the embodiment of God’s Love that incudes other things, like judgement) his love does not have himself [his Self] attached to it. He is more perfect than Christ; he is prepared to give his love without himself.
He is eager to act on implicit behalf of the other. He does all the work on their change for them; all they have to do is to slightly nod to his efforts. He delivers them where he thinks they must be, leaves them there and then take their role in the environment that may need their presence. He is happy to play a vice role – a vice husband, a vice father etc – those vice roles feel much truer to him than his real (own) roles. He has grown into vice roles so much that at some point they became more real than the real ones so he can no longer distinguish what is real, leave alone to remember the reality of his own life – and in any way “my own life” sound too selfish and this is why it is unreal.
As Christ, who delights in imparting to a soul (who is striving to get rid of own sins to be able to be with Him) His grace that is changing the soul into His likeness, the saviour also delights in the changes he causes in the object of his rescue activity. Unlike Christ though he manages to do this without another wanting to change or to selflessly be with him. It happens in a much less selfish way; he accepts another as he is and this is forever, no change is needed. Unlike Christ, he can be with those who gave themselves to evil without challenging them. Even if initially it causes suffering it becomes easier with time. He sees less and less evil in another person, calls it “improvement” and credits himself for it. The evil is in a process of being abolished – without repentance and without the hard work of the one saved – the saviour does all their work for them.
With passing time not just he lives through the rescuing of others but also those others, being absorbed into the space of his own soul (all-embracing and all-accommodating and without boundaries anyway) begin living through him and in him – not as whole persons though but as the pieces of persons, alter-persons, here and there – pieces of cruelty, malice, despair, emptiness – those very things the rescuer has tried to save them from. They are now living in him, being hidden within his person. He takes upon himself the hell of others and gives them a new life in disguise, unknown even to himself.
* * * * * * * * *
The grotesque description above was my final attempt to crack the enigma of “an extremely good and selfless person” called in clinical psychology books “a compulsive rescuer” or “a compulsive saviour”. Such people usually go to an unprecedented extreme to help others, often spending all their time doing that; typically, they seem to be unable to say “no” when they perceive an explicit or implicit request to help – or, in some cases, there is no request at all but the saviour cannot resist his compulsion to rescue.
I am not speaking here about those who give all their money away to charity or about a missionary who goes to a Pacific ocean island to establish a hospital there or about my distant relative, a Russian woman who reportedly was feeding the German prisoners during the Second World War because they starved – she and her family had the bare minimum for themselves and yet she managed to spare a part to give it to the enemies of her own people, now securely imprisoned in a labour camp, simply because she felt sorry for them. Those examples of different kinds of charity have one common notion in them: the sense of freedom. The people there do not have a compulsion to do good; they are free to give and to stop giving; a missionary for example can pack up and leave his island if feels he can no longer carry on because he is burnt out or because of the change of circumstance i.e if the locals there began hating his activity, for whatever reason, and want him to leave. Just the same, a charitable person can choose to place his money somewhere else if he discovers that those to whom he was giving were not as poor as they presented themselves and in fact quite dishonest. I am quite certain that my great-grandmother also would stop giving her spared bread to the Germans if they swore at her and spat into her face in a response to her attempt to relieve their condition. Those things are very obvious but they appear to be beyond the grasp of the particular type of a compulsive giver I am writing about. My hero is someone who is not free but bound to do good; the bondage is always intimately personal.
I probably should give a few examples, which, just like the examples above are well-known to many. Most people know the phenomenon of a “good self-sacrificial Christian wife” who does not leave her abusive alcoholic husband because she wants “to save him” – he visibly cannot stand her, regularly beats her up and abuses her otherwise but she is determined to stay to save him. Or (a far less known phenomenon) is a “very kind and selfless man” who is remaining in a marriage with an extremely emotionally and physically abusive woman because he fears that if he leaves he will not be able to prevent the abuse of their children – it is not likely that the court will grant him custody over them because they are not actually his but from the previous relationship. Or it is a devoted friend of a narcissist, quietly in unrequited love with him – a narcissist is trying to save the world via engaging in some ambitious project and his friend puts her entire life and resources at his service because the narcissist is too disorganized and could not complete anything without her help.
The people from those examples above stay in the abusive relationships “for the sake of a greater good” – for the sake of saving an abuser or others connected to him or the world or all the above. Someone may say that if they are free to stop doing this and to leave but do not do that then it is their free choice and there is no much difference between them and the other three people whom I described just before, as the examples of free giving. Theoretically speaking it is true: the two spouses of the abusive people and the friend of the narcissist can leave any moment but they do not do that; furthermore, such individuals typically reveal (in private) that they cannot leave because they are afraid that if they leave those to whom they are bound will perish, a spouse or children will perish or (in a case of a lesser stake) a project will perish. It may sound self-sacrificial but, in my experience, when the circumstances change – an alcoholic spouse dies, children grow up, a project is finished (or ruined) – the compulsive saviour remains bound to the abusive subject of their efforts to rescue or to another one, promptly found.
It must be clarified that I am not speaking here about the victims of abuse who either truly cannot leave the situation, like children abused by their parents or a housewife with small children battered to the extreme who is trying to merely survive until she can leave – in one word not about those who are truly imprisoned and have no choice or cannot exercise their choice to leave their prison yet. I am speaking about those who appear to choose to walk down into the prison, to carefully lock the gates and to live there, determined to never leave the prison and those who dwell therein.
Much is written about the phenomenon of a compulsive saviour, also called “white knight syndrome”, and I have not much to add to its explorations by others, from the point of view of clinical psychology. One and probably the most pervasive theory argues that “a compulsive saviour” suffered some kind of emotional trauma in his childhood that impaired his sense of a normal self-worth. For example, a boy who is in a relationship of emotional incest with his mother would become accustomed to being her “rescuer” from her suffering caused by her emotionally unavailable husband, effectively becoming a vice-spouse or a surrogate spouse.
A mother, a source of a life, is a god or goddess for a little child who is expected to satisfy the emotional needs of the goddess – if he can do that he is obviously omnipotent, just like God is omnipotent; if he fails he is shameful and useless, not necessary because his mother treats him as such but because her palpable sorrow, which he instantly feels without understanding its true cause, fills him with a fear and shame “I failed to comfort”, “I failed to prevent”, “I failed to save”. And, if his mother’s private sorrows periodically make her emotionally unavailable (emotionally dead) to him he may experience such periods as “I failed to keep her alive”. This is why, the theory goes, a grown man (or a woman) willingly sacrifices himself without discrimination – the worst case is the better because the worst is closer to his childhood experience, not necessary because of the cruelty of the emotional exploitation (abuse) but because of the magnitude of the demanded rescue. The mother is the worst and the most grandiose case of a rescue par excellence because she is a goddess and this is what makes her “the worst possible and the most difficult case to rescue”; if a boy could rescue his mother goddess he can rescue anyone and he must do that, for the sake of who he was made believe he is.
I cannot help but make a passing remark here, about a strange parallel that came to my mind right now for whatever reason, between the dysfunctional family, an emotionally absent = “dead” father, a grieving mother and a boy = a surrogate spouse and the Egyptian myth about Osiris, the spouse of the goddess Isis: Osiris is slain by his envious brother Set, Isis reassembles his body and conceives from a dead husband a son Horus who later becomes a rival of Set and a king. His victory over Set completes the reconstruction/resurrection of his father, Osiris.
I have never thought about that myth in the context of emotional incest; being taken as such it is quite chilling. It can be continued like this then: a little boy, now glorious “king Horus” spends his life “resurrecting” his father, first for his biological mother and later for her countless successors. His manhood then lies in providing a woman with a vice-spouse, a strangely blurred figure in which a son, a father, and a lover are united. Most important here are the ever-present notions of self-sacrifice and of an impostor. He sacrifices himself to resurrect his own father, the true legitimate spouse of his mother, in himself. Via doing so he also acquires the omnipotence of his missing father – the ideal, his and his mother’s fantasy (a mother hoped to be “saved” by her spouse and is “saved” by her child instead, thus the omnipotence is taken from the father and given by her to his son, again a parallel with a pagan myth).
From right to left: Isis, her husband Osiris, and their son Horus,
the protagonists of the Osiris myth, Twenty-second Dynasty statuette
[Notice that Horus, being a vice-father ceased to be human; notice also that Osiris, the real father is a kind of a statue here, not really alive and looks somewhat meeker than his wife and own son; he looks more like son than his son who truly looks like a spouse of his own mother. Obviously, I speak only about the impression this group made on me, totally ignoring the Egyptian symbolism.]
Returning to a real boy and then a grown man, his self is being highjacked by the noble [and thoroughly blasphemous, for a Christian] self-image, first imposed on him and then willingly embraced. He is to give not out of the abundance of the very well developed generous altruistic self that knows its human limits but out of his false self-image of an unlimited omnipotent benefactor, a saviour who takes his strength not from God – God the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit – but out of the compulsive need to keep alive his father in him, his mother in him, their relationship (idealised) in him and countless others in him; if he keeps them alive he will be alive as well; if he sacrifices himself = dies he will keep them alive as well and thus he wins. I am speaking here about the death of a true Self or, better to say, a partial death; the true Self is alive as much as it is necessary to be alive to perform its own daily sacrifice.
Here we return somewhat to the grotesque in the beginning of this story, the strange perversion of Christ done out of good intentions. Like God, a compulsive saviour must keep all dear to him in his memory to keep them alive; like God he must be always present within them (with them in his case) to keep them alive; like Christ he must sacrifice himself to release them from death. The only difference is that it is a fake. The proof? – First, Christ actually dies in His Body on the Cross and a saviour dies psychologically; this death has no end hence there is no resurrection. Second, Christ did not compromise Whom He was/is for the sake of others. He did not compromise the absolute Good, Himself for the abolition of metaphysical evil – on the contrary, he died as a result and for the sake of the most complete confrontation with the evil, down to entering hell which, according to the Church Fathers, swallowed Him as a mere human and then was destroyed because it came in a contact with the Son of God, the total antithesis of the evil. A pathetic tiny cage of the evil could not hold the omnipotent God.
Here is a point I have been trying to make many times to “the compulsive saviours”: if you are good/servant of God you cannot remain in the evil situation (endure evil abuse) without confronting it; even if you do not oppose the evil physically/visibly the good inside you will challenge the evil and the confrontation will be inevitable. Then several things can happen: the evil may be scared by God within you, reduced or abolished, it may spit you out or, in an unlikely case, you may be destroyed by the evil physically – in an unlikely case because, thankfully, you are not in a concentration camp so you can leave when the evil is beyond your limit or to sever your connection with it by other means. And here is a typical answer: I am very good but I cannot leave; I chose not to confront the evil for the sake of the greater good; I chose to remain there so the other (for example, children of an abusive mother) would have me and my good influence. That “a good influence” is supposed to come from a fellow abused who, by the virtue of his choice, has to inevitably accommodate/bend to the evil somewhat, for the purpose of remaining with it and keeping it at bay – and hence in reality he can provide no “good influence” because one cannot teach good while compromising with the evil – this somehow escapes the speaker entirely. And even if a saviour manages to convey his goodness in that situation he also conveys something truly vile: goodness being imprisoned by the evil with neither willingness nor hope to escape – unlike the hope of exercising a choice given by some “bad” person, “a traitor”, who chose to leave the abusive system.
Being examined closely, his conviction, that he can magically emit goodness in any circumstance, is probably not surprising. As a boy used to be a “prisoner of conscience”, of his mother; he has never willingly left his mother because if he did, he would “fail” to rescue; if he leaves, he typically goes for another (substitute) case to rescue similar to his mother.
There are other very important aspects in his childhood story, some of them already mentioned but I will sum up them here. First, his mother, keeping him a prisoner (an imposter) made him believe that he succeeds in rescuing her via his very presence. His presence is enough to ward away the beasts and to prevent disaster. Hence it follows that he indeed cannot leave an abusive situation, especially if some others (typically “helpless others”) are involved. Second, he “rescued” his mother for the price of the denial of who he truly was, not an omnipotent rescuer of a goddess but merely a weak child hence the sense of omnipotence. Third, he took the place of his father hence he became an imposter and he became accustomed to this role, of taking the responsibilities and the place of someone else, even to the point of becoming them. Paradoxically, the fiction character feels more familiar and more comfortable then a real self. Again, this makes Horus even more the antithesis of Christ Who did not pretend to be the Father but kept insisting that He came to do His Father’s will for the Father’s glory and not for the Saviour’s glory. Also, it is God the Father Who resurrects His Son, unlike Horus and a rescuer who “resurrect” their fathers.
So far, a compulsive saviour appears to be a victim, of his childhood circumstance and of his self-image, a somewhat misguided person with good intentions, used by others and living in an illusory world of murky relationships. There is one jolt or turn in his personality though that remains hidden until the blow of a trumpet of his personal doom – a saviour remains a good selfless omnipotent victim only until someone catches him on something in the realm of the interpersonal relationship that clashes with that image. Then a sudden and unexpected flip-like transformation takes a place: a saviour-victim disappears giving a way to a prosecutor who acts and even looks like the embodiment of that very evil he has been trying to save the others from.
As an illustration let us consider a situation when a saviour, to satisfy the demands of those whom he is trying to rescue by his mere presence (the members of his narcissistic family for example), is “forced” by them to do something that he promised never to do to a third party, someone outside of the system and dear to him, because it would hugely compromise her interests and their relationship.
Via continually doing that “something” that he promised not to do, he is betraying himself, his promise, the interests of the third party and their relationship thus exchanging the betrayal for being allowed to remain a part of the toxic family so he could continue saving them and not being spat out.
Being fearful of losing the third party whose trust he violated he says nothing i.e. lies to them about his continual betrayal thus violating their trust even further. Noteworthy, his “bad” actions are entirely driven by the fear of not satisfying = losing both parties. And so it goes, until the victim of his deception discovers the truth i.e. the lie, the deception serious enough to blow away her trust and cause lasting damage to her sense of self-worth and also of reality/unreality because the “good caring man” she has known somehow treated her so badly i.e. not like a good caring man does. However, the worst is yet to come.
His betrayal being uncovered, the saviour then does something even more alien to his “rescuer” nature than the actual betrayal: he leaves the victim in distress, out of shame. Later, being demanded to explain himself, he rages, guilt-shifts, and abuses the victim failing to show anything reminiscent of true empathy. In one word, he exhibits the behaviour disturbingly similar to someone he passionately hates: a narcissist.
The victim of a saviour then is being left in dismay, unable to reconcile her experience of him before and after the discovery of his betrayal. The very reaction [narcissistic] of a selfless saviour, to the discovery of his lies, appears to totally deny who he is = who he was known to be by her. And, if his actual betrayal already quite damaged her sense of self-worth, his reaction to the discovery of his betrayal hammers her even further down.
Paradoxically, the saviour who has spent his life saving the victims of self-abuse and of the abuse inflicted by others, via attempting to make reparations for others’ sins, now seems to be unwilling or unable to save the victim of his own abuse from her despair caused not just by his abuse of her trust but even more so by his refusal to engage in the most natural response a regular human being would have when he sees the pain he caused to the other – a heartfelt repentance and reparation. [I.e., no “saving” is needed here apart from the saviour’s soul. ]
Unfortunately, for a victim and for a saviour, the unreserved repentance of his evil deed and the reparation, while being the only means to return to her the good person she has known, to the savour means his destruction – in his mind, the destruction of his flawless self-image.
Earlier this paper explored the probable role of emotional incest with the mother in making a child into a compulsive rescuer. The same is often true for the making of a narcissist who never truly separates from his mother. Both a rescuer and a narcissist are assigned an omnipotent role; both frequently play a role of a surrogate spouse; if they fail to satisfy their mothers they “fail” as persons in a grand sense (i.e. cease to exist) and this is probably why their rage appears to have an identical nature (i.e quite primal and deathly, in its essence and in its intensity).
The differences are, firstly, that a narcissist defends against the perceived destruction of his fake grandiose self, of being a grand person in essence while the rescuer defends against the perceived destruction of his fake grandiose self-image of a grand rescuer, grand in his actions. A narcissist is made believe that he is grand as such, by the right of birth, without doing anything else; the grandeur of his deeds – any deeds – is determined by who he is, the grand person. A saviour is made to believe that his deeds are flawless, grand in their supreme goodness – and they make him good and flawless. That means that, when one challenges a narcissist about his lie, a narcissist may react in a shameless way as someone entitled to lie because it is who he is – “Yes, I lied to you so what?” said with a mocking smile.The immoral deed, however bad, cannot reduce a narcissist in his eyes. However, if someone points out to him that he is a small pathetic liar who lies to cover his insignificance there will likely be a rage, as at any time when the word “small” is being applied to a narcissist.
On the other hand, if someone points out to a rescuer that he is flowed (not grand) in the areas other than his rescue activity he will take it fairly well but if someone confronts him about his flowed or evil, if deliberate, deed that let the other down he is likely to throw in a typical narcissistic defences because he cannot act in a deliberately bad way towards another human being – such a deed would destroy who he is. He can admit any of his flaws and misdeeds as long as they have nothing to do with hurting others, especially deliberately.
A catch twenty-two for him then is being squashed between two parties with contrary interpersonal demands, like a person who “flipped” in an example in the previous chapter. Trying to satisfy both, a rescuer inevitably compromises something beyond him – the objective good and bad. This is another difference and similarity between the two: both a narcissist and a rescuer have their own moral low. A narcissist measures good simply by how good it is for himself. A rescuer measures good by how good it is for the other. [I cannot help but to compare it with a capitalist and communist ideology, respectfully.] Both seemingly opposite measures are relative. I would like to examine both in comparison with two absolute measures (commandments) given by Christ: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbour as yourself.”
The case of a narcissist is quite straightforward: he is god so he loves himself as such “with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength and with all his mind”. As for a neighbour, since he is god he simply expects (according to his understanding of God) others to adore and serve to him (what they do between themselves is beneath him) – and this is all about the narcissist.
The case of a saviour is far more complicated. He is naturally inclined to love his neighbour but there is one problem here: Christ demands of him to love his neighbours as he loves himself. This means that the neighbours and he are equally valuable to Christ; while He (Christ) said “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” he did not say “Greater love has no one than this, that someone is engaging in the slow murder of his own soul by those who abuse him, for the sake of others”. Because a saviour believes that he must save others by any means i.e. that others are more valuable than him he cannot fulfil this commandment. He also fails the preceding commandment, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind” because if he did that, he would be forced to subject his rescuing activity to God i.e. to strive to do His will and not his own, truly (not just in imagination) following Christ.
Finally, Our Lord said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” and also “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” Meaning, that one is demanded, first and foremost, to hate = to deny himself for God, not for human creatures; to deny the God-given self for another creature is idolatry. Hence a narcissist and a compulsive rescuer are two sides of the same unacceptable for a Christian thing, two flipsides of a coin: a narcissist sacrifices others for himself, a true god (pagan idolatry and blasphemy via self-delusion) and a compulsive rescuer sacrifices his Self, the image of God in him (via compromising/bending to evil), for the others. That is also idolatry and blasphemy but far better concealed from others and from himself. I must add that personally I find the rescuer to be far more potent in the destruction of others and of himself precisely because he has genuine goodness in him.
This increase of evil in a proportion with the increase of the misguided good is something truly mind-blowing, something that comes to the light only when the shadow life of a saviour comes to light. Truly, the better a human being he is the more appalling is his deception “for the sake of good”; the more appalling his deception the more damage to another soul (and his own) he does; the more genuine is the unfortunate victim of his attempts to find a compromise with the evil the more she will be stuck, paralysed and unable to decide who he is – truly bad or truly good because his good seems to make his bad more monstrous and more potent. The more a victim tries to reconcile the two the further she sinks – just like the saviour himself. She has zero chance to extract anything meaningful out of the saviour because as soon as she challenges the motivation behind his unsightly deeds, he will fly into a self-image-protecting-rage akin to that of a narcissist, the very person he hates because he is so opposite to him. It is exactly the question about the goodness of his motivation, not the deeds themselves that throw a saviour out of the balance. Not being a narcissist, he is able to see the vileness of his conduct providing that it is agreed that even the most damaging things were done out of his goodness/selflessness, not out selfishness – thoroughly rotten fruits from a good tree so to speak. And here we come to something very interesting: selflessness as a measure of good and evil – contrary to a narcissist for whom selfishness is the measure.
As it was said before, a narcissist measures good and evil by himself; what is good for him is the ultimate good and what is bad for him is the ultimate bad. That effectively makes him a god. Although it is obnoxious, it is entirely natural. All small children, before learning the objective good and bad, measure this by themselves. Later they learn to subject themselves to the objective (universal) moral law and find a compromise between their own needs and desires and the desires and needs of others. This is the equality proclaimed by Jesus Christ “love your neighbour as you love yourself”. This equality has plenty of space for a genuine altruism stretching all the way up to sainthood. A saint is someone who treats others with a true love that mirrors the Love of God. Wouldn’t you like the other to love you as God loves i.e. genuinely, desiring the genuine good for your soul? A good question, because such love is not [only] all-embracing but demanding as well. A saint can spend weeks working day and night in a hospital taking care of lepers and the same saint can challenge one of them and publicly accuse him of doing evil things in the eyes of God and demand him to change. A saint can also walk away from someone when he or his message are not accepted or his help is not wanted; he can also refuse to help (without caring what effect it would have on his reputation) if he perceives that it is not what God wants him to do. In one word, a saint is someone who is striving to follow Christ and thus he is just as uncomfortable for others as He. To follow Christ means to allow Him to change his person = self in conformity with His Own Person. That means that saints were persons; they had selves which they did not hide and the palpable presence of those selves in a process of being conformed to Christ made not less impact on others than their deeds, sometimes more and sometimes without deeds altogether. Just as Christ, a saint is someone who causes polarization between good and evil in a measure of his conformity to Christ, preparing the way to the Lord.
A rescuer, someone who remains in a toxic environment at all costs, including a cost of his own true Self, cannot thus cause such polarisation; to be able to remain in the evil environment causing as little turbulence as possible he hides his true Self. He is akin to a Christian who was convinced “just to stand near a pagan statue while someone else does the sacrifice” for the sake of preservation of his life for the cost of his betrayal of Christ, with the difference that a saviour betrays himself (and thus the image of Christ in his soul) for the sake of his pagan god, the perceived good of the other. (It must be remembered that via doing that he makes himself incapable of achieving the very thing he sacrificed himself for, the true saving others.) Thus, the perceived good for the other becomes for him the measure of the ultimate good and the ultimate bad = a god and this is why, just like a narcissist, he fails to fulfil the first commandment.
It is commonly said that a rescuer, appearing to be so self-sacrificial, in his depth is selfish because his selfless actions feed his grandiose self-image of a saviour that he is unable to give up. I think it is very likely indeed, simply because a rescuer was forced to assume his grand role while being a child so he grew into it so to speak. It also means that his selfishness can be quite unconscious. Yet the semi-unconscious nature of selfish motives behind seemingly selfless actions cannot excuse the harm to others (and to himself) a rescuer causes – the harm he himself is mostly curiously oblivious to. The reason for this, in my opinion, is his habitual detachment from his Self. [Yet the fact that a saviour is oblivious to the selfish motives behind his seemingly selfless actions cannot excuse the harm they cause to others (and to himself) – the harm to which he mostly remains curiously oblivious. The reason for this, in my opinion, is his habitual detachment from his Self.]
It is quite simple: providing that a rescuer has a so-called genuinely good nature (and I have no reason to believe otherwise at this point) he can act in a harmful way only if he loses sensitivity to that harm, to himself first of all and this is precisely what he does to be able to remain in a harmful environment and with harmful (evil) individuals, for the sake of “saving” them. There is absolutely no way for even the most virtuous person in the world to remain unaffected while “sleeping” (sometimes literally) with the evil. If one partakes something/unites himself with someone it becomes a part of him, quite organic with time.
The evaluation of good and evil happens through the true Self. If contact with the true Self is impaired, for the sake of the ability to remain in an evil environment for the sake of doing “good” who does the evaluation then? – Yes, the evil other; the logical outcome of the saviour’s activity is allowing the engrossed by the evil others to decide what is good and bad for him – while he decides what is good and bad for them from the point of his grandiose self-image i.e. that it is good for them to be saved by him (not by anyone else, not by God even) at all costs and this maxim becomes the motto of his life. Anyone who tries to take this motto = the substance of his self-image away is doomed to experience his grandiose = narcissistic rage because the rescuer does not differentiate any longer where he is and where they are; the narcissistic victim and the selfish rescuer have become one, bonded by life in the evil domain. This is why a rescuer who was caught on lies and deception for the sake of those he wished to rescue gives the full impression of narcissist rage. Them (them and him entwined) and saving them (them and him entwined) became his measure of good and evil and his justification; the absolute nature of narcissist rage perfectly matched the absolute nature of his attachment to his mission.
[I will note here that a Christian ‘saviour’ is not usually as eager to save or to help those who are not of his immediate circle i.e. family or work, unlike the Christians in the beginning of this paper who help those who are in need without discrimination, simply because their hearts moved them to do so. This fact supports the idea of selfishness hidden within selflessness, in the heart of a saviour – or at least the idea that he is bound to prioritize what is beneficial to his self-image over his true Self. It also supports the idea of the necessary merging of a saviour with the objects of his activity – it is easier to merge with an immediate circle thus; hence satisfying its most ethereal needs commonly takes precedence over the most desperate needs of those who are far away.]
The last paragraph of the grotesque sketch in the beginning describes the transformation of a compulsive saviour into one he is trying to save. It is the exact opposite of the true Saviour, Christ; one who recognizes Him as his Saviour, picks up his cross and follows Him is to be slowly transformed into His likeness. The key phrase that makes the whole difference is “one who recognizes Him as his Saviour, picks up his cross and follows Him”. This is an action of a free will – to recognize, to accept the cross and to follow. Such recognition is only possible if a person clearly sees the Person of the Saviour, the Christ. The presence of the true Self, clear and unobliterated, in the Saviour, and His acceptance of the choice (“yes” or “no”) by the one to whom He offers Salvation are the necessary components for the transformation into His likeness = into the Salvation = deification.
I did not make a mistake here: Jesus Christ is Salvation and He offers Salvation, Himself. To be saved, one must accept who Christ is. That means he must accept the very real fact, that he cannot be [in communion] with Christ = Salvation unless he begins changing. Salvation is given to him in advance, via Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross; to actualise and to retain it/ to grow into it he must be conformed to Christ via giving Him his free permission to change him, with his cooperation. Here two free wills are acting together. Here also is a clear recognition of the ultimate good and the appalling lack of that good in oneself. I.e. it is the active stretching of a human hand up to the Son of God, out of his own misery and inability to do anything by himself – for himself and for others.
God is omnipotent but He is also not able to do anything by Himself here. He is unable to do anything against a human will, to violate it. He does not rape a human being with His good – unlike a compulsive saviour from the grotesque sketch above.
A compulsive rescuer is doomed to violate another’s human will and to deceive because he does not present himself to the object of his attempts to save as who he is. If he did, the one whom he was trying to save and who has succumbed to the evil would either throw him out with disgust or run away with a fear or repent, just as he would do with Christ. To be accepted by the object of his efforts = to have a chance to save, a saviour pushes away his true Self and bends to the one who succumbed to the evil and, via him, to the metaphysical evil itself. He accommodates to the evil at the expense of pushing away his true Self that is the image of God, ultimately at the expense of his being. Yes, he “saves” at the expense of being who he is supposed to be in truth i.e. a feeble human being who is trying to do the will of God, and via presenting the false self-image, of a grand saviour who is prepared to do anything, even to lose his Self.
Christ sacrificed Himself, He did not lose Himself because if He did, He could not sacrifice Himself – there would be nothing to sacrifice. Meaning, Christ offered Himself Who is the Person and the Action as well, two in one, quantum mechanics, a particle and a wave. A saviour offers an action detached from his true Self and thus lacking its source, frozen in a time and a place – if he did not do that his offer would not be accepted by the evil. He gives the wave so to speak and the particle, the object of his efforts, being unchallenged by another particle, his true Self, remains the same. I am speaking here about the absurd situation when a good-willing husband for example, being hated by his toxic wife, refuses to leave her because he must “save” her – but to be able to stay i.e. to be tolerable to her he bends to her evil because the open opposition to her would cause him being thrown out and losing contact with her, the only way “to save” her. I did not invent this situation; it’s absurdity lies in the fact that “to save” a saviour must first conform to the evil (even if only superficially or partially) and thus to lose the very ability to save out of his core, out of who he is, out of his real Self. If Christ was to assume this method he would have to throw the stone at the adulteress to convert Pharisees, or to save her but not to add “go and sin no more”, or not to call Pharisees “white washed tombs” but to commend them for good cleaning, or to leave the sellers in the temple but to oblige them to give a half of profit to the poor etc. In the context of Christ, the perverse self-sacrifice that is in fact pushing away the true Self until the contact with it is lost would be equal to the Crucifixion without Christ truly being present on the Cross – because the real Christ was crucified not for what He did but for Who He was.
The Crucifixion was the result of His Self’s confrontation with the evil, not of the clash of his actions with the other’s points of view. Hell swallowed Him, not His actions, and was obliterated by Him, not by His actions. It is Him, the Saviour, not a saviour who extinguishes the evil by mere contact with it. A saviour then has no other choice but to submit to the Ultimate Saviour, to align his will with His and that will mean, among other things, to say “no” to the evil, to walk away, even for the price of the true losing of oneself, in Christ and for Christ.