Do you remember this movie? Many of you probably weren't born when this movie was made. I still think Christopher Reeve was the best version of Superman. His gentle nature and modesty showed through the superhuman character he brought to life and then into the latter years of his life when he tragically fell from his horse, becoming a quadriplegic. Even in his altered state of disability he was a superhero of the human kind.
My 5th and final 'voice in my head' is not a naysayer or even a critic of any kind. She is a wanna be superhero of epic proportion. It was her need to rescue every sad, lost, homeless, hurt, bleeding, needy person on the planet that allowed all the other characters to exist. You may have an intimate relationship with one yourself. She is the Rescuer.
Who rescues the Rescuer? I use the analogy of Superman rescuing Lois Lane as she plummets to her imminent death, as a perfect personification of the rescuer. He says, "Easy Miss. I've got you."
To which she replies, "You've got me? Whose got you?"
I will let you in on a little secret... no one. Not because it is not possible but because the Rescuer does not want to be rescued. They don't want to be saved. I mean, who would they be without their superhero status.
There are those who use their Rescuer archetype to good use and become real life heroes and enter into occupations to rescue people from danger, while putting themselves in harms way. Their work maybe with people who are underprivileged or harmed in some way. They may be acting out their strong Rescuer archetype in an obvious way but they are still in danger of having it take over their lives and their relationships suffer, because they cannot separate their work from their life. How could they when it is innate in them and a huge part of who they are? Keeping the Rescuer under control is a constant challenge.
What happens if your Rescuer self-hides behind a kind, giving, generous person, who is always there for everyone else, selflessly doling out good deeds like lollies and being the ultimate shoulder to cry on?
Don't get me wrong, doing good for others is not unhealthy when done for the right reasons and in the right proportions but when it becomes the be-all and end-all, then someone needs to plan an intervention on your behalf.
One of my many expressions of the Rescuer archetype was as a Funeral Celebrant officiating at funeral services for 15 years and I can't remember how many eulogies I listened to over that time, delivered by family and friends, of women who had died young aged 30 - 60+. Yes women! Superwomen, who were selfless, devoted, caring and always there for everyone no matter what time of the day or night. The irony of it was not lost on me, that while their virtues of selflessness and service to others were being extolled without reservation, they were dead. Should the dots not be joining up right now to create a picture that perhaps being 'that selfless' was not such a good thing?
Ironically, when the Rescuer is in the driving seat not even a speeding freight train can stop them and like the Mermaid calling the fishermen to their deaths the Rescuer calls to all lost souls to come forth and be saved so they can feel better, valued, worthwhile and liked. Death is a big price to pay for being a Superhero. Ultimately it is the greatest honour we can bestow upon the Rescuer, to have died in the line of duty. Not so great for those who are left behind to clean up the mess.
So why do we become Rescuers?
To answer this I have to introduce another archetype into the mix, who is a constant companion of the Rescuer. The Victim. If you had a coin with Rescuer on one side then the Victim would be on the other.
Every Rescuer needs a Victim. Like the Knight in shining armour who went out in search of a Damsel in distress or good deeds to perform, the Rescuer likes to save helpless people from their plight, be it physical, mental, emotional or spiritual.
I can speak from experience and say that I did it because I needed a rescuer myself. From an early age I would run into harms way to save my family members from harm. What I really wanted was for someone to rescue me. I needed a Superman to swoop in and say to me, "Don't worry Olwynne. I've got you." I could then look in awe at them and feel safe and loved.
That didn't happen so I became the Rescuer. I wanted to be the Super-heroine for people just like me and I did. Not everyone wants or needs to be saved. You know the analogy of the boy scout helping the old lady across the road, because he has been told that helping old ladies across the road, is what boy scouts do, even if the old lady doesn't need or want it? That was me and many other Rescuers I have met. We need victims to save.
How do we find them?
We tell our story and they tell theirs. We have stories of our victim-hood and we tell them to others looking for other victims with whom we can be kindred spirits and rescue.
It took me decades to discover my Rescuer character. I had fallen victim to so many rescues, which is the most common outcome, when one is unqualified to go into swollen choppy waters after a sad soul who is drowning in the misery of their own lives.
I would rush into the raging sea to rescue a drowning soul, they would grab onto me, push me under a few times to keep their head above water, cling on for grim death until we were on safe ground, stay around awhile until they got their breath, then leave me standing on the beach feeling exhausted and abandoned.
I was deaf to my own cries to stop being the life guard to every drowning person I ran into. I felt akin to their sad stories of how life had treated them.
My parents had a white cat called Rinso. She was deaf. Rinso would go out stalking birds as cats do and just before she was ready to pounce, all pent up and excited at the prospect of the catch, she would stick her little white head up and Meow! Her prey would fly off having had a narrow escape, leaving Rinso most bewildered by what had taken place. How did that happen?
That is what being a chronic Rescuer is like. As with Rinso, we are unable to hear our own verbal or inner voice, and are consequently left bewildered by the actions of those we have rescued who in turn are just as baffled by our reaction to them. We feel misunderstood and abandoned. Life is not fair! And so enters the Victim. It's like being a mouse on a wheel. The cycle of Rescuer and Victim, one perpetuated by the other.
Through the process of self discovery, I uncovered my Rescuer self and I didn't like what I found.
She was way out of control, needy, sad and was preceded by a trail of destruction.
How do we identify and give our Rescuer/Victim self a makeover?
We have to hear our own voice. Listen to how we speak about everything. Monitor how we spend our time and who we spend it with.
Look deep inside ourselves for the part of us that needs rescuing and why. We also need to ask for help from the right people and accept it when it is offered.
I staged my own intervention. As with my Gatekeeper, Petal my lizard self, Critical Critic and Drill Sergeant Major, my wise, strong, insightful self stepped up to the plate and took charge.
How did I do this? I retreated. I gave up Funeral Celebrancy and took stock of my life. For how ever long it took I shut myself away from the outside world and went on an internal journey of self discovery. It felt like walking The Camino. A pilgrimage of releasing the old and exercising forgiveness; allowing myself to feel vulnerable like a snail without a shell.
Being authentic and practising Maitri - unconditional love and acceptance for oneself.
When I came out the other side I decided that if I came across another victim, I wouldn't grab my life preserver and run head long into the waves. Nope, not any more. I would stand on the beach dial 911, 111 or 999 or whatever emergency number was relevant and save myself. Sounds really selfish doesn't it...
Well, I suppose it is. I want to clarify something here: this doesn't mean that if I saw someone drowning or in danger I would leave them there or not try to help in some way. I am talking about the Rescuer in my psyche.
Instead of plunging myself into perilous situations, I decided to express my healthy Rescuer through my work as a Therapist, Teacher and Writer.
Through these mediums I can create healthy boundaries for myself and those I wish to help.
My new Gatekeeper helps me to keep the boundaries in check because rescuing is also akin to people pleasing, so I have given up trying to please everyone so they will approve of me. The late Dr Wayne W. Dyer's words ring in my ears - "Live your life independent of the good opinion of others." They are very powerful words and I intend to be prepared to disappoint everyone but myself, a vow I made 12 years ago. There is so much freedom in living with that intention.
What or who saved Superman - was the antidote to Kryptonite? Love. Unconditional love. It's saves us all.
I have just reminded Petal of Superman's words to Lois as he leaves her after her brush with death via a helicopter accident - "Statistically speaking, flying is still the safest way to travel."
She flaps her wings and smiles her sweet smile. We all hug the Rescuer, reassuring her that we have her back and will keep her safe from harm. You've got us and we've got you.
My merry troupe of archetypes are signing off now. We look like the Clampetts heading off in our rumptey old truck singing "Three Little Birds", by Bob Marley.
See you next time when something comes "Write From My Heart."
Please feel free to comment below...
Olwynne is a Soulologist and Life Coach, Teacher, Speaker and Writer who specialises in the soul's journey through the fields of reincarnation, past lives, life between lives, life after death, human consciousness, intuition, spirituality, health and well-being. She has studied and practised for 28 years in these fields.