We want to save everyone. Scratch that, INFJs want to save the world. I really don’t exaggerate when I say this. People call us many names, starting from counselors, protectors, and diplomats. The truth is, INFJs are something more. We have what I call a Savior Syndrome.
INFJ Savior Syndrome. Wait what?
If you’re confused by reading this, trust me, you’re not the only one. When I first realized this, it took me a lot of time to accept that this weird savior term even exists in the first place. But then I wrote down a list of all my previous relationships and friendships that eventually broke down. What I found left me speechless and sleepless for some time.
There was a pattern in my INFJ savior syndrome behavior. You see, many of my connections were established based on my view that I have to “save” the person who becomes close to me. I thought: “They’re having problems, so it’s my duty to sacrifice my own well-being to help and ‘fix’ it.”
This was the major cause of every breakdown in my former relationships and connections. I was always putting others first, but it gets worse.
My INFJ savior syndrome went to an extreme. When I didn’t receive the feedback I gave to others, I would feel betrayed and lonely. Suffice it to say, this wasn’t a very healthy way of thinking.
The main problem with INFJ savior syndrome is that it carries extremely high expectations and unreasonable demands that we put on others. Almost all INFJs have this desire to help, but it’s not something that’s all bad. Let me explain.
Wanting to help is not wrong
It’s perfectly okay that you want to help, and it’s even better if you have that urge to be there for others. But you have to set a boundary between a healthy presence, and a needy pressure. Most INFJs, including myself in the past, always have an issue with finding that right balance.
I want you to know that wanting to be there for the ones you care for was not the reason why you’re not friends with that person, or why they left. If anything, this world needs more kind hearts like yours.
But you mustn’t allow INFJ savior syndrome to take over, because you’ll be overwhelmed to the extreme.
Give yourself the permission to “sign off” a little. I’m not saying you should stop caring, but just give yourself a break, dear. No, don’t shut down your mind, but just be. Sit in your room for 30 minutes and just breathe. In case you forgot, here’s a gentle reminder.
You don’t need to save anyone, you just need to support them
You can’t fix or save anyone. Please understand, most people are not ready to embrace that warm affection and care that you give, my fellow INFJ. You need to be there for yourself first, and I won’t even talk about being arrogant, because self-care is not a selfish act.
Do you know what happened when I stopped trying to solve everyone else’s problems and gave just an ounce of that concern to myself?
I felt as if a huge medicine ball was replaced by an ordinary one in my hands. All of you who ever trained with those hellish objects know exactly how it feels. I felt free.
INFJ savior syndrome is not a curse, it’s a part of who we are. With a little practice, it can be brought to an acceptable level where an INFJ will feel more at ease and more inwardly focused.
That’s exactly what you will learn in our brand new INFJam:
How to Overcome INFJ Savior Syndrome
Join us this Tuesday May 1st at 1pm PT and discover why savior syndrome can be so detrimental for INFJs and how to avoid its pitfalls, while still making a difference in the world.
• Why savior syndrome can be so destructive for INFJs and what to do about it
• 6 warning signs that your need to save is sabotaging your health and happiness
• How to overcome the painful guilt that goes hand-in-hand with savior syndrome
• Steps to stop attracting narcissists and victims and set healthy boundaries in relationships
INFJams are live interactive webinars in which we discuss topics that matter to INFJs. It’s a great way to connect with INFJs from all over the world, ask questions, and get INFJ-specific advice to overcome your biggest challenges and live your best life.
Join This Tuesday’s Live INFJam
This is well timed. I have a friend that is like this, maybe she’s an INFJ I’m not exactly sure, but she fits the profile in many ways. I’ve actually had to point this out to her. I discovered that she was married to a sociopath, he fits every single item on the list. He went to prison for armed robbery.
I’m an INTJ, and yes I too have had experiences with “saving” others, yet not to the extent of my own detriment. I actually believe strongly in boosting others and empowering them to be more successful in all areas of their lives.
For my friend I helped her triple her income, move from the ghetto into a home for her and her children and have a better life financially and emotionally.
She does suffer from complex PTSD and as we’ve talked and connected on an emotional level. I encouraged her not to bring monsters into her home, that that was her safe place and people male and female wanted to take advantage of her kind nature.
After her husband got out of prison, she moved him in with her. In her mind because he told her that he had a bad childhood she should save him. As a husband she wants nothing from him she just wants him to be a dad to their two children. So she made it easy for him so he didn’t have to struggle. She pays for everything, rent, utilities, food, petrol and bought him a car. She even talked me into doing his Resume so he could get a job.
I honestly don’t know what to do to help her see that this guy will eventually destroy everything good about her. She’s familiar with domestic abuse help lines and shelters and still she tries to save him. She wants to believe that there is something good in there, but his history proves otherwise. I told her she can’t save someone without them having a conscience.
For me it’s incredibly frustrating to watch someone you care about get abused all due to some mission to save others. For now all I can do is support her emotionally.
Hi James, I’m so sorry your friend is going through all this… I believe this is so hard for you to watch… I do hope that it will be okay, and like you said, your support is needed, and it’s good you are there for her. I’m glad the article arrived when you needed it.
Hi Marko. This webinar sounds very interesting and beneficial. I work until 5pm EST, and cannot attend.
Will a transcript of the webinar be available? Might you have future webinars on the weekend?
I appreciate what you are doing. Keep up the good work!
Hi Kimberly, you will receive a replay that will be active for 48h. it will be available to you after the live webinar. Just make sure you sign in so you can receive the replay. 🙂
Thank you so much for your kind words! 🙂
THE ACCURACY OF THIS!!!
I think this general desire to fix what, to me, is broken is why I eventually overloaded and decided to completely delete Facebook. Too much of what people support and do weighs on me. Those who aren’t feelers don’t understand this but what matters is that I do. If I can’t fix it, I have to finally close the door. The lucky thing…I can still read the infj pages posts, I just can’t see the comments. I can also see the memes on some humor pages. Best of both worlds…I can seek out the stuff that feeds me and be oblivious to the stuff that burns. Best for me to not see, at all, the things that cause unrest and then outweigh the sum of all the bouyant reads. I sure appreciate your insight! I know there is the forum if I should need. For now I am satisfied with the balance of reading and contemplating the infj thoughts and my own peaceful family life. ?
I just love what you wrote here Becky: “For now I am satisfied with the balance of reading and contemplating the infj thoughts and my own peaceful family life” Wonderfully said! 🙂
Hi Marko, which websites give free assessment for Myers briggs? I vaguely remember i am IN something, but have forgotten.
in DISC, i am more of a C S I.
Hm, I think when you type 16 personality types test it will give you Myers Briggs one right at the top. 🙂
As an INFJ myself I do not desire to rescue people, but to help them with the necessary tools to help themselves in the long run. I love to help others, but feel that I have healthy boundaries and am very aware of others who take advantage of that help. I think of it more in terms of Christian service. We should serve others without expectation of a return. I do think that those who take advantage are surprised when limits are set though because they don’t expect someone who os so kind to be so strong.
Well said Jill! 🙂
Hey, it’s very nice to have other INFJ’s to communicate our difficulties to. I can so easily read people and see when they are sad – or if they think that I dont like them, etc. And because of that – and because I almost feel the their pain – I tend to act in a manner that reensures them that they are ok (with bodylanguage, smiles, conversations).
But it is EXHAUSTING. And I do it in my default mode (yes, I was brought up by a very demanding and somewhat selfish parent – you know, the codependency thing).
I shape myself around people (it is a struggle not to do it). That’s why I sometimes avoid people in groups – there is simply to many signals shooting across the room/table).
I hear you Anne… It’s not easy sometimes… The INFJ empathy is strong and we do absorb other people’s emotions… But you are understood here, and i thank you for choosing to share this. 🙂
thanks for sharing this you’ve just gived me answers about the biggest problem i had i’ve never understood why i was different, why despite being gentil and being there for who ever needed my help i were always alone.
You are so welcome Amina! 🙂
In the topic, 4 Ways INFJs can move on from toxic friendships, you put the caps HSP. Does this stand for Highly Sensitive Person? Which I am. Thank you for all this info, it’s great to know there are many INFJs who are also trying to fix their lives by supporting themselves first and foremost before supporting others in theirs’.
This makes a lot of sense to me, also, as an INFJ too. One thing I have learned until I actually understood my personality type, or was even aware of it, was that I was guilty too of trying to rescue people around me. A pattern of what seemed like all of the broken people somehow finding me. I was a magnet for them. My relationships became toxic because I noticed that they usually started to convert to a form of co-dependent behavior. It took me a long time to realize this. Once I became aware of this, it would take me less time to notice the red flags, and the process of detaching sped up, once I went through the entire affirmation of inderstanding that it was no other truth than what it actually was.
I have always had the feeling that I was here to do more. To help people, causes, advocate and make the world a better place. But in the process, I think we often feel that even helping people plays a role in the overall big picture of what we feel our purpose is. It is incredibly important to be able to recognize the differences in this. When I have been to a point where I realize that I am not helping and it becomes more defined as “enabling”, then I know it’s time to move on and suggest someone else may be better suited. And if that response falls upon deaf ears, well, I think we all are aware of that good ol’ INFJ door slam. I’ve had to use it a few times myself for survival. We can come to the conclusion about certain people, without judging, that we are not going to be able to help them in anyway. And we can accept that. It’s not always an easy acceptance, but learning that it will only repeat over and over, it makes it a little easier to understand why we must do it. In order to contribute to what we feel that we were meant to (and some of those things are given to us to which we have no choice because I feel it’s part of our divine destiny), what we offer has to be received. And unless it is received by these individuals, it can serve no true value. Sometimes we are not meant to help certain individuals, but through this, we can reach lots more that are ready to receive it. If someone can’t be reached by us, it is ok to recognize that we weren’t meant to be the one that gives the message. And it’s not meant as a “defeat” but as an awareness. What’s funny is, as I have read some of the stories of the Bible, I have viewed who historically is known to us as Jesus, as an INFJ personality also. He was on a mission to save the world through messages of love and spreading the word of kindness and acceptance to everyone. He did not believe in judgement, for he felt that judgement only comes from one’s self. He was matter of factly and forward. I think many of us INFJ’s view things very similarly. We may have the tendency to want to help those we feel sad for, but intimately we all know that we can’t help anyone that isn’t going to be open to helping themself. And we can’t hyper-focus on those people. We have the need to help many more and won’t be held back from doing so for very long, once we recognize this trait. But ultimately, I think this is probably why I love being an INFJ personality. Because at the same time we have this strong desire, we don’t get trapped to one society or cause that we are drawn to. We are drawn to all. It keeps us constantly energized to want to help. And gives us a certain spark to get things started, rather than being stifled when we feel like we aren’t doing enough.
One important thing I would like to express, especially if we have children who are similar, is to start teaching them at a young age about those boundaries and recognizing certain behaviors of those they interact with. And let them know it’s ok to see others for who they truly are and it’s ok. How we choose to accept a relationship with these people is up to them. If boundaries are necessary, then set them. If people become too toxic then it’s ok to distance and in some cases, cut them off completely. It will set a presedence moving forward so that they don’t start becoming trapped in co-dependent relationships when they feel like they are “supposed” to help them or rescue them also. No one can rescue anyone. They have to be willing to rescue themselves. But we can support, love and encourage them. And if we can do that regularly and emcourage others to do that, then eventually I feel we will all contribute to changing the world. ♡
I am an Aquarian INFJ and I often wonder which of my characteristics are “Aquarian,” which are INFJ and which are something else. I am an empath and very intuitive to the point I can see and sense things in my gut. Physically. I know people who seek out broken people, court dysfunctional relationships. Example they date/marry/work with the “same” people over and over and over. I don’t do that. But when someone in need (money, resources, education, ideas, support) bumps up on me as I go through life, my first reflex is to help. I am under no illusions. I dont have expectations e.g I give money knowing that once I give it, it’s yours to do as you please. I do not feel I should dictate what you do – or else. I hear Tracy above. I love her post! I say all this to say 2 things: generalizations miss the nuances and 2. helping (even over helping) does not always come with unrealistic expectations.