Pathological Relationships – The Rescuer

The Rescuer

I have referred to the Rescuer, earlier. Some men confuse being a Hero with the archetype of the Rescuer. They always walk into the trap and feel the need to rescue dependent, oversensitive, emotionally unstable women. These are often the women who slice at their arms when the men walk out. These women need to be treated “sensitively” because they have emotional troubles. Eventually their emotional oversensitivity consumes the man, who ends up counting his words and walking on egg shells, lest he upsets her. These are often the men who are motivated by those deep seated guilt complexes.

The oversensitive, “damsel in distress” adopts a victim mode and gets secondary gain from the man’s “handle her with gloves” behaviour. The man reinforces the victim mode. If he does not pay attention to her, dance to her fiddle and compensate for her “sensitivity”, she pouts, sulks, scolds, bites, withdraws and punishes him relentlessly in several ways.

In such a manner she skilfully manipulates him into becoming her puppet, catering to her every emotional whim. She alienates and isolates him from his friends and family. The moment he indicates he needs a breather and time-out with his friends, she creates some drama he has to attend to. She has absolutely no tolerance for his female buddy and often issues an ultimatum to him in this regard.

Sometimes insecure men prefer to rescue these “broken wing” women, because these men find normal, stable, mature women a threat to their own fragile egos. Some men I interviewed immediately recognise this female behaviour as pathetic manipulation tactics.

“No matter if you turn left or right, it would always be the wrong choice,” said a recovered ex-Rescuer, “I always felt as if I was in trouble, no matter what.” Another man described this relationship as a Big Black Hole. “She remains the centre of this hole and you just get sucked into the nothingness, losing yourself completely.”

The Greek hero Thesseus entered the labyrinth at Knossos to find and slay the Minotaur, but his love, the princess Ariadne, gave him a ball of string to guide his way out. Unlike Thesseus, the Rescuer eventually becomes a mouse in a maze who can never find his way out. Unlike Ariadne, who aided her lover, this victim-woman finds pleasure in placing obstacles in his path. Where there was a path yesterday, and he ventures there today, she has moved a thorny bush in his way. He may buy her roses because he knows they are her favourite flowers, but when he buys them again, he gets berated for spending too much money.

There is no order, no pattern, no route, but he desperately tries to figure it out, against the odds. “You need to fight for me,” she calls, but at some stage a tournament is won and the victor is rewarded with the lady’s scarf. Not the poor Rescuer lost in the labyrinth. He will never reach the epicentre of the labyrinth and be rewarded the peace and tranquillity one is supposed to find in a mature relationship. Eventually he sinks down and covers his face for he can no longer face the futility of the madness of trying to please her. Hopefully he has friends who can rescue him, or a good therapist. Remember the sayings: If you want to feel good, then you have to let go of bad feelings,” and “you cannot start a new chapter if you keep on reading the last chapter.” To save himself, a Rescuer HAS TO LET GO. Don’t just walk away… run like hell.

There is a neuro-psychological theory explaining the Rescuer-Victim duet. The hypothalamus in the brain produces chemicals (peptides) which match our emotions such as anger, sadness, victimization, lust etc. and our bodies respond in a pre-programmed manner to these chemicals. When we become addicted to these emotions, or states of being, we will subconsciously attract someone or something to the brain cell which gratifies the bio-chemical craving of the cell.

A woman with victim-mode peptides will always attract a situation that would gratify their sense of being the victim. The Rescuer will always be drawn to the “damsel in distress” for it fulfils his brain’s biological craving to rescue. If one cannot change one’s emotional state, one is addicted to it. Breaking an addiction requires effort, and you cannot expect your life to change, if you are not prepared and willing to make the change.


Case example

He meets her in a bar. She is quite sexy, and has a certain vulnerability about her. Perhaps she had a tad too much to drink. Clearly she needs protection. He takes her home – his home. She is not that drunk, he finds out, when she seduces him. It is wild sex. He can hardly believe his luck. The next morning he offers to take her home. (She has already sussed out his car, wrist watch and his abode. “I can live here”, she thinks).

She is currently crashing at a friend’s place, because she recently lost her job, because her boss was sexually harassing her, so she resigned. “Don’t worry,” she says, “I will find a place to stay and a job.” He calls her later, fantasizing about that wild sex. She does not take his call. She went for a job interview, she tells him later. As a bar lady. It’s not ideal, she explains and her house mate is kicking her out and she needs the work to get her own place. “It is not ideal at all,” he answers, “why don’t you move in with me in the mean time? I will take care of you.” Gotcha.


Our parents warned us: Don’t pick up stray cats. They have fleas, they stay in our homes and fall pregnant and it is very difficult to get rid of them.

Victim-women have more staying power than super glue. They are master manipulators. At first she rewards him with great sex for rescuing her. Then she starts becoming extremely pathologically possessive and jealous and he has to report his every move to her. It is a major catastrophe when she can’t get hold of him immediately and then like an AK47 rifle set on automatic rapid fire, she blasts him with hundreds of SMS messages per minute.

She scowls every time he responds to someone else’s sms and she scrutinises his phone to check who called. She checks his whats-app sign-on times and compares them to sign-on and sign-off times of perceived female rivals. She tries her very best to get hold of his cell phone and deciphers his passwords. She keeps tabs on his car’s mileage and intercepts his bank statements and cell phone records. She consumes him and drains him, but he becomes addicted to the crazy sex. “These women f*** as if it is the last time in their lives. It is wild, but also desperate and there are no deeper feelings involved,” said one recovering Rescuer. In some sad, sad cases, there is not even any sex at all.