Leaping to the rescue


By Noni Boon

The rescuer archetype is usually most evident in those who come to the aid of people in genuine need, such as those caught in a life-threatening situation. Firefighters, for example, have a profound rescuer archetype.

However, there are more subtle ways that this archetype works its way through your life. When you go to the aid of a friend who is in need, physically or emotionally, you are activating your rescuer archetype.

It is important to have an understanding of this archetype in you because you need to be able to evaluate the motivation behind why you are giving assistance to another person – and whether or not it is the right thing to do.

There are times when it is good for people to struggle because it builds their strength, independence and self-esteem. So, before you act, it is important to use your intuition to assess whether or not a person needs to be rescued.

Rescuing people is a positive thing to do provided you do it with consciousness and awareness. A healthy rescuer comes to the aid of another who is perhaps ill or emotionally wounded, and then promptly leaves when the job is done. The tricky part is knowing when the job is done.

There are some people (think damsels in distress!) who want to be rescued all the time. But these types present a problem because they can make a rescuer’s inner craving go into overdrive, resulting in them staying around far beyond the initial rescue requirement.

Always ask yourself, “What am I gaining through this?” If you are feeling needed and validated beyond what you would normally feel from briefly helping somebody, then you need to let go.

The shadowy side of the rescuer archetype may purposely set up relationships that result in the need to rescue people. For example, an underdeveloped rescuer will befriend people who are needy, weak and emotionally frail. By doing this, the rescuer feels valuable and gains a sense of strength through rescuing this poor, helpless person. This is an unhealthy situation, especially for women who enter into romantic relationships in order to “rescue”  someone.

Before embarking on any rescue missions, you must first learn how to rescue yourself by making sure that all your own needs and wants are met. Once you have done this, you are good to go to the rescue of others provided your agenda is clear and intentions pure. But remember to assess every situation carefully and, unless it is an emergency, hold off before diving in to resuscitate the “victim” – wait first to see if they can “swim” by themselves. If they are clearly drowning in their situation, throw them a life jacket and perhaps help them on with it, but make a quick exit once they are safely “back on shore”.

If you feel the temptation to stick around for lashings of glory and praise, then you know that you are in it for the wrong reasons.

To learn more about your archetypes and how to achieve holistic happiness and well-being, contact Noni Boon:





0417 287 428

Noni Boon

Noni Boon is a woman who genuinely cares for people. It gives her great pleasure to be able to live her life helping others to discover their true potential. Noni is a writer, international bestselling author and motivational speaker who holds a Certificate in Holistic Counselling and Communication. She’s also an artist, mother and nature-lover. Learn how to design the life you want with Noni’s online personal development course.


  1. Kate Edis

    August 29, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    Well now! As someone not of an ‘alternative’ nature, I rarely do more than skim articles with topics such as this. HOWEVER, this article’s message has particularly resonated with me. With a tendency to gather needy people around me, and lately recognizing that this may not be healthy for me, it is very interesting to read a view examining why rescuing may not always be in mine or my friends’ interests. Thank you for this food for thought!

    • Noni Boon

      Noni Boon

      September 2, 2013 at 11:27 am

      Hi Kate
      I hear what you are saying about ‘needy’ people. They do gravitate towards rescuing types. It is nice to be giving, so long as you give to yourself first, otherwise, you will become resentful in the long run.
      Noni x

  2. Narelle Stillman

    August 29, 2013 at 8:30 pm

    I Like the way Noni’s article breaks down the variations in this archetype – it makes it easy to parallel with the goings on in my life and give light to situations where the “Rescuer’ appears. Interesting and insightful reading.

    • Noni Boon

      Noni Boon

      September 2, 2013 at 11:46 am

      Hi Narelle
      I’m glad you found this article insightful. Thank you for your comment.
      Noni x

  3. Terry Wildemann

    August 29, 2013 at 10:26 pm

    Noni, thank you for sharing the positives and negatives of this archetype. In my younger years I played this role very well; always helping and rescuing the world. It has taken lots of healing and clearing to recognize how the constant rescuing deprives others of taking ownership and growing from their experiences. Now it’s about holding the space, making suggestions when invited and letting go and allowing others to go through their process. Thanks for a timely article.

    • Noni Boon

      Noni Boon

      September 2, 2013 at 11:48 am

      Hi Terry
      I can relate to you. I have also helped and rescued the world! I totally agree with what you say about depriving others of their responsibility. Becoming independent builds self esteem and confidence. By rescuing someone who is capable of helping themselves, you are depriving them. Very good point.
      Noni x

  4. Claire

    August 29, 2013 at 11:42 pm

    Great article Noni…in my experience it’s also good to ask the question “Am I best serving this person by rescuing them?” as it could be possible that you could support them in becoming more empowered by supporting them in helping themselves out of a difficult situation…and that by rescuing them you keep them in a less-empowered victim-mode.

    • Noni Boon

      Noni Boon

      September 2, 2013 at 11:50 am

      Hi Claire
      Always ask that question… Supporting people in their own empowerment is the greatest gift a rescuer can give. Helping someone to stay in their victim archetype is no help at all. Well thought out!
      Noni x

  5. Natasha Weber

    August 30, 2013 at 9:01 pm

    Brilliant advice! I will now feel more confident stepping into the role of rescuer because I know I can step out when the deed is done, minus the guilt. Thank you Noni!

    • Noni Boon

      Noni Boon

      September 2, 2013 at 11:54 am

      Hi Natasha
      Knowing when to ‘step out’ is paramount. No need for guilt. You can only help those who are willing to help themselves. You are powerless to do anything else.
      Noni x

  6. Kate Gardner

    August 30, 2013 at 10:10 pm

    I know all about wasting your time trying to rescue someone. I did this myself in my last relationship and what a waste of my life that was! I couldn’t rescue my partner from his drink problem, nobody could.
    It just took a while for me to see that …..and when I did I was out of there!
    Great post Noni . Thank you for sharing 🙂

    • Noni Boon

      Noni Boon

      September 2, 2013 at 11:57 am

      Sounds like you have had quite the run as a rescuer. I imagine it was very frustrating for you and exhausting. I hear you say that it was a ‘waste of your life’. When you did ‘see’ it, you left and ‘rescued’ yourself. That is the lesson. I doubt this one will come around again for you now that you are conscious of it. Hard work by the sounds of it but tremendous growth for you. Proud work!
      Noni x

  7. Kim Boudreau Smith

    September 1, 2013 at 11:29 pm

    Noni, A great topic especially for women! We do like to rescue everyone else. I don’t think I have ever been a rescuer, but I have surrounded myself with people that do that and also are unhealthy. One thing that I do for myself is stop and ask what it is that I feel I need rescuing from, then I turn into my journal or meditation and this helps me stay healthy and focused so I am attracting other like minded individuals.


    • Noni Boon

      Noni Boon

      September 2, 2013 at 10:12 pm

      Couldn’t agree more Kim. Women are born rescuers and nurturers. I love that you use your journal or meditation to sort it all out.
      Noni x

  8. Patty Farmer

    September 2, 2013 at 12:58 am

    I love this article because it challenges you to look at the “why” behind the rescue. There have been times I have had someone try to rescue me but it was clear to me it was for them not me, I didn’t need to be rescued they needed to rescue me.and it lead to a difficult conversation. Having raised 6 daughters I learned early on to listen and wait… sometimes they just need an ear and if you are open they will ask if they need more. Great post!

    Patty Farmer

    • Noni Boon

      Noni Boon

      September 2, 2013 at 10:14 pm

      Hi Patty
      It sounds like you have become very wise as a mother of 6 daughters. I can’t help but wonder what ages they all are! It would be easy to jump in and start ‘fixing’. I like that you listen and wait. Often when we do this and add some trust into the mix, it all works out with a little bit of divine assistance.
      Noni x

  9. Kristine

    September 20, 2013 at 2:23 am

    Interesting, I can honestly say I think most of us don’t even realize we are gathering so many needy people. Something to really think about.

  10. Beverly

    September 20, 2013 at 8:50 am

    Great article. I call this energy or you’re of person a martyr mother always looking for someone to save. Thanks for sharing

    • Noni Boon

      Noni Boon

      September 25, 2013 at 8:53 am

      That is true Kristine. It happens instinctively… which is what archetypes are, instinctive behaviour patterns that unconsciously direct us.

    • Noni Boon

      Noni Boon

      September 25, 2013 at 8:54 am

      Yes Beverly. The martyr and the mother are also archetypes. Both have a strong bond with the rescuer. Good connecting. Your are right.

  11. Stacie Walker

    September 30, 2013 at 3:14 am

    Hello Noni,

    Excellent article. It’s always important to evaluate if you are aiding someone for the right reasons. Thanks for further discussing the rescuer archetype. I look forward to future posts.

    Stacie Walker
    Woman in Leadership Founder

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