The Hero syndrome is a psychological disorder where you cause scenarios that would make you save the day, like setting a building on fire in order to be seen as a hero.
It a phenomenon affecting people who seek heroism or recognition, usually by creating a desperate situation which they can resolve. This can include unlawful acts, such as arson. The phenomenon has been noted to affect civil servants, such as fire-fighters, nurses, police officers, and security guards.
Acts linked with the hero syndrome should not be confused with acts of malicious intent, such as revenge on the part of a suspended fire-fighter or an insatiable level of excitement, as was found in a federal study of more than seventy-five fire-fighters arsonists. However, acts of the hero syndrome have been linked to previously failed heroism. The hero syndrome may also be a more general yearning for self-worth.
A few of those who suffer from the Hero syndrome or complex may begin to turn ‘toward the evil side’. The need to help becomes the want to hurt. Those that are closest will be pushed away, and a secret longing to create a quiet oblivion begins to form. Instead of using powers for good, they begin to think about how to use their powers for evil purposes. This has also been called the ‘Villain Complex’.
In the field of criminology the syndrome has often been diagnostically related to a narcissistic personality whose attention and recognition needs are not met.