The Savior Complex [*Spoilers from OITNB*]

One of my favorite shows right now is Orange is the New Black.  For those who aren’t familiar with the plot it is about a privileged female named Piper Chapman who is sent to prison for a drug trafficking crime she committed years ago with her then girlfriend, Alex.

I finished watching season 2 with Mr. Squigglekins and found one inmate’s back story, Sister Jane Ingalls, fascinating because it focuses on her savior complex.


Ignalls is introduced in the first season as a devoted, no bullsh*t, nun who is respected by many of the inmates because of her hip and open attitude. In the second season, the audience sees that Ignalls was sent to prison because of a political protest at a nuclear plant. They also see that she was excommunicated by the Catholic Church because she used her activism and writing for fame rather than for God.


Sister Ignalls intrigues me because I can also have a messiah complex. Rather than being altruistic for the sake of it, I sometimes do it because I want people to think highly of me. One example was the Peace Corps.

In hindsight, I applied for the Peace Corps because:

1. I wanted to get away from my controlling parents.

2. I wanted to be fluent in another language

3. I wanted padding on my resume

4. I wanted an adventure.

5.I wanted approval

6. I wanted to be “better” than everyone else.

The reasons were selfish rather than selfless. It was a blessing that I was rejected because I wasn’t mature to join. I still feel that I don’t have enough experience because from what I’ve read from Peace Corps alumni, it’s not easy. It’s mentally, emotionally, and physically taxing.

Similar to Sister Ignalls, there are still parts where I want fame and glory for my “achievements,” but I’ve learned that majority of people are focused on their own life that they hardly notice others. It’s better to have approval of yourself because approval from others is fleeting.

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