I suffer from an ailment that I have named “Superman Syndrome”. It is a disease that most people don’t even realize that they suffer from, but if left untreated, it can cause sleeplessness, anxiety, mood swings, frustration, and physical illness and in rare cases….DEATH. Let me explain to you what Superman Syndrome is and maybe you can see if you suffer from it too.
I am a caregiver and a nurturer; I have been my entire life. I have always felt the need to care for others and try to be there for other people. People seek me out for advice, knowledge and wisdom and I am more than happy to oblige them. It is very gratifying when people look up to you enough to want to hear what you have to say and what you think. That’s the good news. Here’s the drawback. When I myself am in need of someone’s guidance and advice, I don’t get reciprocal treatment from the people that I help; no one is there for me to help me to navigate through my issues and problems. It is not only frustrating, but it is extremely painful. How come the people that I listen to won’t listen to me? How come they won’t help me? This made me resentful and bitter towards those people.
As I grew and matured, I realized that the fault really didn’t lie with the people that weren’t listening to me, but it actually was on ME. I know that doesn’t make sense, but that is part of the syndrome. Let me break it down like this: We all know who Superman is and what he was sent from his home planet to do here on Earth; Superman is the protector of the weaker and the savior of down trodden. He swoops in and saves people and takes them out of harm’s way. That is his job. That is his mission. However, when Superman himself is in trouble and needs help, can he realistically rely on the SAME PEOPLE THAT HE SAVES to save him???
Superman’s personal problems, battles and fights are much, much bigger than the people that he saves; therefore, the people that he saves are NOT equipped to save him or help him. THEY ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO. So who saves Superman??? The answer is other HEROES that are equipped and ready to handle problems and situations on that level that Superman is used to dealing with alone. Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, and Green Lantern etc. are all powerful and are equipped to help someone like Superman. The average townsperson is nowhere near equipped for such a battle. Can Superman fault them for that? Certainly not.
Now let’s look at our lives. Constantly we may help people, but when we are in need, we expect those same people to help us. The problem is that they may not be equipped to help us. That is not their fault. It is not your fault. That is the way that it is. Therefore, we need to seek help from people that are truly equipped to help us. The problem is because you are SUPERMAN; you may not feel that it is right for you to ask for help. After all….YOU ARE SUPERMAN AND SUPERMAN DOESN’T NEED HELP, RIGHT?
The bottom line is we all need help at times, but we may be turning to the wrong people for help. God puts people in our lives that are ready and have the provisions to help us, but we may be too embarrassed, proud or stubborn to ask because we are so used to solving problems for others. I had to learn that I had to HUMBLE myself, swallow my PRIDE and ask people to help me; people that were EQUIPPED to help me with my struggles. I had to learn that the same people that confide in me, may not be the people that I can confide in NO MATTER HOW MUCH I MAY LOVE THEM. This is not about love. I can love them and care for them without looking to them for help and that is perfectly okay. I have to know that however, when I do need that help, I can turn to people that may be SMARTER, WISER, MORE EXPERIENCED, RICHER OR MORE POWERFUL THAN ME. That too is JUST FINE. God did not put us here to do everything by ourselves. People are here to help each other. Why not take the chance and allow for the help.
The other part of the syndrome is understanding that as powerful as you are, YOU CANNOT HELP OR SAVE EVERYONE. You also cannot feel guilty or defeated because of this. WE ARE HUMAN. We are going to let other people down as well as let ourselves down. The key is to forgive ourselves and keep moving forward.
DO YOU OR A LOVED ONE SUFFER FROM SUPERMAN SYNDROME? IF YOU DO…THERE IS HOPE.
The first step lies in you. Recognize that you have the disease and start treating it IMMEDIATELY
1. Stop trying to solve everybody’s problems.
2. Stop looking for the people you help to always help you.
3. Start looking toward people that may be stronger than you and find strength to ask for help, trust and confide in them.
4. Look in the mirror and say “I AM NOT SUPERMAN”
5. REPEAT STEPS 1-4 AS OFTEN AS NECESSARY UNTIL YOU ARE RECOVERING.
There is no cure for this syndrome. If you are a nurture/caregiver type, then that is who you are; however, you can find the strength within to know when you can’t help anyone if you don’t first help yourself.
Make sense? I hope so.
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