You can't save those that don't want to be saved

"That's when she said, 'I don't hate you boy, I just want to save you while there's still something left to save...'"

Taken from my current favorite song, I once again heard it - "Savior" by Rise Against - on the radio tonight and it got me thinking about that line.

Why is it that so many seem to think they can save others from their destructive behavior?

I mean we see and hear about it all the time - if we haven't been there ourselves, we know someone who has.

They get in a relationship with a person who honestly shouldn't be in a relationship for one reason or another (coming off a bad break up, depression, they have some serious issues, alcoholism, abusive, etc), but despite all the warning signs, they seem to think they can "save" the other and turn them into someone better. While it does occasionally happen, it's very very rare - unless the person that needs the "saving" really wants to change and be "saved" from whatever, it won't ever happen - no matter how much blood, sweat, tears, heart soul, time and energy the other person puts in.

I've been there.

Just take a look at the guy I dated in college. When we first started dating, well, he really shouldn't have been getting in a serious relationship. He had just come off a bad break up with his girlfriend of several years (who I learned treated him like crap) after having caught her cheating on him and he spent most of the next semester in bed, depressed. The guy was a mess when I first met him, but he hid it pretty well, acting like he was over it. He had severe trust issues and no matter how much I tried to support him, show him I cared, and be understanding of what he had been through and was still going through... it didn't seem to matter, as evidenced by the fact that when he checked into group therapy for a few weeks back home and didn't bother telling me about it until after he had left, I asked him why he didn't tell me and the response I got was "well I didn't think you would care... my ex never cared about me." Honestly, until he had his issues with his ex and depression/chemical imbalance figured out, he really shouldn't have been getting involved in a serious relationship.

I endured though and stayed with him, thinking that with enough care, love and support he'd get better. Looking back, I can see how lazy and unmotivated he was, despite claiming to have an aspiration to get a teaching degree and his constant talks of eventually getting a job (his parents were paying for everything - tuition, rent, utilities, car insurance, cell phone and they even paid off over $1000 in credit card debt he managed to rack up during his depression phase - despite the fact they were struggling to pay their own bills back home and yet he was pretty much at the computer playing WoW or watching anime 24/7, rarely going to class and obviously pocketing the money that was supposed to go towards the electric bill). I bought into everything he said and still supported and encouraged him. But you know what, until he got off the computer chair and actually went to class or went out to get a job, everything I did to try to help him along did nothing. He heard it, but it's like it went in one ear and out the other. He knew how I felt, I expressed it to him, and despite everything he told me, he never bothered to do anything about it until it was too late. And you know why? He was quite content in his ways and being lazy.

While my situation wasn't as "severe" as some others, we see people get stuck in similar relationships all the time. There's some major flaw with one partner and they're set in their ways, yet the other person seems to think they can "save" them from their troubles, help them to overcome it. But like I said, unless the person that needs changing genuinely really wants it, it's never going to happen no matter how much you try to help them.

Alcoholics and addicts are a prime example of this - you can do the intervention, they can hit rock bottom and while it's painful to watch, unless they realize for themselves there's a problem and WANT to change that, you can't help them. You can't help someone who refuses to help themself. It just doesn't work. I'm not saying to give up on them (especially when it comes to alcohol and addicts as they need all the love, care and support of family and friends when they finally decide to get help), but don't think you can "save" them because you can't.

While it is often the girl is that one that wants to "save" the guy, you can't really say it's like that all the time. There's plenty of the girls out in the world that are total trainwrecks, but unless they acknowledge it and genuinely want to change for the better, you're pretty much out of luck.

I don't know if any of you watch the reality show Tool Academy on VH1 (the premise is, the hurting partners of "tools" sign em up for the academy to do counseling and exercises to help fix their broken relationship and the "tools" go alone at first, thinking they're on a competition to be the next Party Ambassador, revealing to us their tooliest behavior and often admitting to infidelity), but this most recent season, for the first time they introduced 2 female "tools," one of whom was a girl named Jennavecia who constantly took her boyfriend Kyle for granted (who seemed like a really sweet guy and deserves soooo much better than her!) and had a horrible habit of cheating on him and flirting and coming onto other guys. Being that her mom runs a brothel in Vegas, she really didn't seem to think what she was doing was a big deal and her and her family (on the family episode) all stated that Kyle knew what he was getting into when he started dating her, as that's just how she is. As much as we all felt for Kyle, as no one deserves to get treated by their partner the way he was, her family did have a point - he knew how she was when he first started dating her, yet he made the choice to get involved, mostly likely thinking he could "save" her.

So it's not always just guys that need "saving" or that the girls are the only ones who think they can "save" their partner.

So as a message, save yourself the time, energy, tears and heartbreak and just realize this:
  • you can't save someone who doesn't want to be saved
  • you can't help someone who won't help themself
  • you can't change someone who's set in their ways and doesn't want to change
  • they'll make empty promises that they'll change to make sure you won't leave, but if there's no action to go along with it, they obviously don't want to change - they just don't want you to leave. They still want you, but they don't want to change (ie: they want to have the cake and eat it too)
  • if they don't care enough about themselves, why would they care about you?
  • if they have no respect for themselves, why would they have any respect for you? 
If you get in a relationship with someone and learn they have some major flaws that could causes problems down the road, feel free to point it out and bring it to their attention - maybe they really aren't aware - but unless they bother to make an effort to change it - and just saying they'll change or whatever doesn't count, remember, actions speak louder than words! - get out before it gets anymore serious and you end up wasting your time on a relationship you're likely to regret.

1 comment:

  1. so true. i once get involved in a relationship like that. i thought i could change him but i was wrong. it was just a waste of time. i am glad i get out of it.


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