What's the term for people who cause accidents so that they can step in, save the day and look like a hero?

  • You mean someone who intentionally creates dangerous situations in order to look like the hero of the moment? – Alenanno Aug 9 '11 at 21:53
  • Aye, that's probably more precise. – Problematic Aug 9 '11 at 21:54
  • 3
    Sounds like Münchausen by proxy to me. – z7sg Ѫ Aug 9 '11 at 22:58
  • Attention seeker. – Sarawut Positwinyu Aug 10 '11 at 3:32

They would be said to have "a hero complex" or "hero syndrome". This New York Times article claims there's little research into it, so that may explain the lack of nomenclature.

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It's Münchausen Hero syndrome. A person with this disorder will put another in a dangerous situation so that he/she can then "save" them.

(Münchausen by Proxy is generally used to refer to a parent or guardian who knowingly and willfully harms their child or another in their care in order to garner sympathy and attention.)

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  • Münchhausen (two "h"s, by the way) specifically refers to a false illness. Do you have any reference for this use or is this something you came up with on your own? – wfaulk Aug 10 '11 at 17:06
  • You'd be correct if we were talking about the Baron Münchhausen, but the disease (at least in most medical textbooks) is spelled with one H. – Dennis Aug 10 '11 at 23:48
  • Ugh. Looks like you're right. Fie to coiners who can't spell! – wfaulk Aug 11 '11 at 0:04

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