My name is Cathie and I have a messiah complex

I love being needed.  It makes me feel value-able but the older I get, the more I am able to contain it. It has cost me financially, emotionally, energetically but I have also gained. I have always felt the need to save people, fix things, meddle without understanding the consequences to myself.

As a little girl, I always tried to be kind, useful and help, apart from helping my little sis, who I apparently bullied. Sorry Debbie. But I found myself always wanting to be involved, sometimes when I wasn’t needed.

At 12, I had my appendix out and closed curtains around other patients sparked my curiosity. So from then on, I wanted to be a nurse. The world needs nurses, right? Plus I could pick scabs and look at anyone’s nasty injury with the morbid curiosity of a serial killer, so nursing was safer for the human race. Mum tried to talk me out of it but I was determined to make a difference.

I set off at 17 with the innocence of small town living, to the buzz of the big Jozi city. It was more a ‘Yohannesbergg’ energy than Jozi at the time but it was still a world away from my hometown. I never expected to fall in love with ‘live’ music and I threw my energy into being an almost stalkerish fan of èVoid. Night shift willing, I was at every concert my nursing stipend could afford and my need to save was sidelined briefly. After 12 long months of trying to help, fix and save as a nurse, I knew I needed to walk away for my own sanity. But I was left with this need now no longer being met.

My radar would find friends who I would rush in to fix and sometimes it left me scarred and hurt. Many years of fun sound engineering work later I set out on a path in the healing field. Workshops and courses taught me skills that lay dormant and I became a therapist. A rather good one, if I have to say, which feels odd owning but it is true. It helped me learn to only give help when asked but my  ‘saving addiction’ still finds friends,acquaintances  and even strangers that I almost feel compelled to fix. One of the hardest lessons is to wait to be asked for help. I still offer and occasionally I rush in without permission only to be bruised and battered again. My running friend calls me the ambulance chaser because I was always asking if others are ok, or if they need help. I have improved though, now I will dish out a pill or gentle encouragement and keep running instead of waiting with them.

I had a recent walloping when a so called friend who I had helped for over a year accused me of being insincere but I realised that I had meddled when it wasn’t really my business. I learned a big lesson on that but I now listen to those closest to me when they recognise my rush to save. The upside of this that I am no longer beating myself up if I ‘slip up’. I find lessons in it and bring it back to me which in the greater scheme of things is all I am responsible for.  It is fun- this self learning and hopefully self loving but I am still a work in progress.

Besides, the world ain’t broken really. It is perfect just as I see it.

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