Messiah complex

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

A messiah complex (Christ complex or savior complex) is a state of mind in which an individual holds a belief that they are destined to become a savior.[1] The term can also refer to a state of mind in which an individual believes that he or she is responsible for saving or assisting others.

Religious delusion[edit]

The term "messiah complex" is not addressed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), as it is not a clinical term nor diagnosable disorder. However, the symptoms of the disorder closely resemble those found in individuals suffering from delusions of grandeur or that they have grandiose self-images that veer towards the delusional.[2] An account specifically identified it as a category of religious delusion, which pertains to strong fixed beliefs that cause distress or disability.[3] It is the type of religious delusion that is calassified as grandiose while the other two categories are: persecutory and belittlement.[4]

Examples[edit]

The messiah complex is most often reported in patients suffering from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. When a messiah complex is manifested within a religious individual after a visit to Jerusalem, it may be identified as a psychosis known as Jerusalem syndrome.[5]

Adolf Hitler is considered to have had an acute case of the messiah complex.[2] This was evident in his preoccupation with himself as a political actor, his meticulous concern for his self-presentation, and his identification with himself as the savior of the German people.[6] Hitler believed that he was fated to lead Germany to a thousand-year-long period of European domination and that he was chosen to rid Europe of undesirable people.[7] This example shows how the messiah complex in such rare individuals can cause unimaginable destruction when combined with narcissistic and paranoid traits.[7]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Messiah Complex Psychology". flowpsychology.com. Retrieved 25 July 2015.
  2. ^ a b Haycock, Dean (2016). Characters on the Couch: Exploring Psychology through Literature and Film: Exploring Psychology through Literature and Film. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO. p. 151. ISBN 9781440836985.
  3. ^ Clarke, Isabel (2010). Psychosis and Spirituality: Consolidating the New Paradigm, Second Edition. Oxford: Wiley Blackwell. p. 240. ISBN 9780470683484.
  4. ^ Clarke, Isabel (2010). Psychosis and Spirituality: Consolidating the New Paradigm, Second Edition. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons. p. 240. ISBN 9780470683484.
  5. ^ "Dangerous delusions: The Messiah Complex and Jerusalem Syndrome". Freethought Nation. Retrieved 25 July 2015.
  6. ^ Post, Jerrold (2010). The Psychological Assessment of Political Leaders: With Profiles of Saddam Hussein and Bill Clinton. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. p. 46. ISBN 0472098381.
  7. ^ a b Haycock, Dean (2016). Characters on the Couch: Exploring Psychology through Literature and Film: Exploring Psychology through Literature and Film. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO. p. 152. ISBN 9781440836985.