Recently, I have been editing a book written a couple of years ago by myself and a (non-adopted) co-author. The two main characters are a sister and brother non-blood-related pair of adoptees (four years apart in age). The primary arc of the narrative concerns how the older sister arrives finally at the point of weaning herself from her practically involuntary gesture of rescuing her little brother–a gesture that, over the course of the book, she has sacrificed virtually everything to (her life, her home, her work, to some extent her family, and her romantic life). The book is called “Gratitude”.
At root, my co-author and I were concerned to write a story that asked, “What is your breaking point as far as loyalty to family is concerned? How far can you go, before you will go no further?” The choice of the title “Gratitude” was his (if memory serves). For the older sister, her mission in life is to rescue her little brother. Her parents, who adopted the infant boy and took the four-year-old girl in the process, most decidedly felt themselves as “doing a good turn” when they adopted and went out of their way to adopt “within type”. The parents are bourgeoisie who’ve fallen on hard times, taking their family down into the dumps of poverty with them. And the book features a deus ex machina (in the form of a rich girl) who happily throws her money around as a solution to the problem of poverty, with mixed results.
I mention these details, because the older sister seems to have inherited her parents’ gesture of rescue. But unlike her parents, who suffer from bad luck (or who could be accused of placing too much faith in the Devil’s bargain of the American Dream), she goes a very long way toward destroying her life for the sake of her project of rescuing. In part, this invokes the savior complex, and comments pertinent to that are welcome (even in the book, the sister is accused of being “our own home-grown Jesus”), but I’d invite thoughts as well about being a “rescuer” not just a “savior”.
My question then is this. Ourselves having been rescued–whether that’s what we were told, whether that’s how we felt, or to whatever degree we eventually realize how much is false about any claim to such rescue–how has this expressed itself in, been something resisted as part of, or been something whose presence distorted or enriched, your life? Or in some other way?