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Old 11-10-2010, 04:45 PM
Location: Marshall-Shadeland, Pittsburgh, PA
32,200 posts, read 74,161,498 times
Reputation: 18393


I could really use some advice and support right now if at all possible. Since March I have been in weekly therapy sessions to try to overcome my "White Knight Syndrome" or "Savior Syndrome." Essentially I become so obsessive about wanting to make others happy, wanting to shield others from experiencing pain, wanting to control the lives of others so they don't make rash decisions that will ultimately hurt them, etc. that I can't experience happiness myself. I feel so debilitated right now, and I'm in so much pain inside. Some may think of us merely as micromanagers, but it's tough to describe, really.

Just today a guy I formerly thought of as "the brother I always wanted but never had" sent me a Facebook message telling me any further attempts by me to "help" would be construed as harassment and would be channeled to the proper authorities before he deleted his Facebook account. Nearly all of my closest friends have left me, and I even quit my job yesterday and am moving to Pittsburgh for a chance to start over away from the people I've hurt. I'm in such a world of hurt right now that I've been crying for about an hour now.

Has anyone else ever had to endure this syndrome before, and, if so, can you please share with me how you overcame it? I have a very severe form of it because I've debilitated myself so much that I've lost hope for my life. I'm worrying I may not make it through the night because I feel so hopeless. Everyone whom I used to care about is gone now. They were all alienated from how persistent I was in wanting to make them happy, and now there's nobody around for me to turn to. My parents, no offense, are simple-minded when it comes to mental/emotional wellness issues, and they wouldn't understand. I even just posted an ad under "Rants & Raves" on the Northern Virginia CraigsList pleading for help.

What can I do? I've been in therapy. It hasn't worked. I cry so much. I feel like I'm just at the point where everyone wants me dead. I just celebrated my 24th birthday alone and in tears. Please, if you've been through this before, how did you overcome this?!
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Old 11-10-2010, 05:42 PM
Location: Floyd County, IN
25,297 posts, read 43,205,497 times
Reputation: 18037
Are you on any anti-depressant medications? Has this "white knite syndrome" been getting progressively worse over time?

I would put all of those self loathing feelings aside and take a drive to go see a movie or do some shopping. A diversion of self-perpetuating negative feelings is often a very good thing.
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Old 11-10-2010, 06:27 PM
Location: In the real world!
2,178 posts, read 9,292,555 times
Reputation: 2841
I use to be like that until a counselor told me that I CAN NOT jump into someone else's life and fix it for them, that they had to fix it themselves. He told me I was a "fixer" and I had to stop trying to help... That made me so mad I never spoke to that person again.. (he was a new friend that was a counselor and he told me that over coffee one night)

I saw that he was right once I thought about it and I shed a lot of tears about the realization that I really, indeed, could not "FIX" someone else's problems, protect them from getting hurt or make their life better.. That is their own responsibility, NOT MINE!

Hay RestonRunner86, let me tell you what. Life has been so much simpler for me and coming to gripes with that took a big burden off of my shoulders. I did not ever realize what a big weight that was that I carried being a "fixer".

I no longer go charging into anybody's life thinking I can fix it for them... Usually, they are that way because they WANT to be, only THEY have to power to change it and their own behavior.. Think about it and you will see I am right!
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Old 11-10-2010, 06:47 PM
Location: Shelby County
279 posts, read 959,169 times
Reputation: 263
It can be frustrating watching others make bad decisions, especially when you've been right in the past, but you have to let them live their own lives. You can't help everyone, as I have learned being a police officer.

I understand you are upset about your close friend asking you to leave him alone, but tomorrow may bring you new friends that understand you and want your help. When I am going through a rough time, I remind myself that today's problems probably won't matter a week/month/year from now. If you really need help TODAY, I would call a hotline and talk to someone, or see if there is a church pastor you can talk to. Some people think the hotlines are stupid or embarassing, but they will provide you with someone who will listen. Online message boards aren't personal enough.
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Old 11-10-2010, 07:08 PM
Location: Tucson/Nogales
22,355 posts, read 26,846,938 times
Reputation: 31106
Remember, you may be cheating someone out of a good, solid learning experience by with your help.

As they say, no pain, no gain!

If you want to make someone else happy, make yourself happy first. You simply can't love another person until you show love for yourself first.

I understand where you're coming from. Feeling needed is one the greatest high's available to us on this planet.
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Old 11-10-2010, 08:09 PM
Location: Mostly in my head
19,856 posts, read 63,498,797 times
Reputation: 19347
RR, are you seeking a geographical fix? How many times have you moved in the last 4 years?

Meds plus a behavioral therapist is what you need. I hope you have the meds.
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Old 11-10-2010, 10:10 PM
Location: Marshall-Shadeland, Pittsburgh, PA
32,200 posts, read 74,161,498 times
Reputation: 18393
Thanks so much for all of your support, suggestions, and concerns thus far, everyone! I do realize the irony in someone who helps too much asking for help himself, but I was in a very bad place earlier. That message on Facebook really opened my eyes about my life. I went through a bout of depression earlier this year, and I finally realize it was brought on BY my "White Knight Syndrome". I was a buzzkill when I was depressed, and I assumed people started leaving my life then because they didn't want to be near someone who was weak and wounded, but now I realize that they left me because they saw my Syndrome in action and were freaked out.

Here's a brief synopsis. I dated a guy briefly in Summer 2009, knew he was bad news, and we split. In Fall 2009 a colleague of mind developed a "Bromance" with me. I grew closer to him, but then he rejected me romantically when I asked him out around the new year in 2010. Immediately afterwards my ex came back into the picture and pounced on him. I thought my colleague was vulnerable, and I knew my ex preyed upon weakness to make himself stronger, and I fought from the onset as hard as I could to "save" the my "Bromance" partner from my ex. I was defeated in the end, and then as my ex began to drag him down progressively more and more from the wonderful person he used to be I felt so ashamed and so guilty for having been so unable to save him that I eventually fell into deep depression and attempted suicide.

In May 2010 another colleague of mine was a train wreck because her live-in boyfriend walked out on her and left her high and dry. She was inconsolable. I drove down there in the wee hours of the morning to hold her while she cried. I took her out very frequently. I let her distract me at work all day while she IMed me and I counseled her. For a couple of months I was really helping her to make progress. Then in July she was about to go back to our hometown to visit the guy who walked out on her for a "hot date". I knew from talking to her ex all along that he wasn't interested in her as more than just a lay, but she thought she could "show him what he's been missing" and score him back. What was my response? I was so jittery thinking she was walking right into a lion's den that I consulted my closest confidant and asked him for his advice, breaching her confidentiality about her plans. He told one person (who told one person, who told one person, who went back and told HER). I lost her friendship because of that.

It just keeps happening.
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Old 09-13-2011, 03:20 PM
1 posts, read 9,999 times
Reputation: 11
Trust me, i'm living this nightmare right now and you just can't save people. tijlover said it best, you can't love someone until you love yourself first. I had a counselor ask me, "when are you going to stop chasing after the same kind of women".....I was dumbfounded and didn't see it. Every person i had ever dated, or married, has lost thier own dad through either divorce or death. They were lacking something that i thought i could help them with. I broke off a relationship with a wonderful lady who had a great job, her own house, kids grown and gone (life of thier own)....only to marry someone with five kids, financial problems, multiple ex's, ..etc. I was happy....and now i'm misserable.
My advice, is find out what is important to you? It should be you! Work on that for a while and foret everything else.....after a while, everything will start falling back in place, but remember, the key here is not to fall so far back into the "rut", that you start making all the wrong choices. You have to learn from your past somewhere along the line....take that with you and be happy. Lord knows I'm trying to get back there. Good Luck and God Bless
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Old 09-14-2011, 08:48 AM
Location: In transit...
377 posts, read 846,624 times
Reputation: 275
Dear SteelCityRising,
what I'll say may sound harsh, but I feel I need to say it because by age I can be your mom and because I used to be a "rescuer" too .

Get a life!
That's right. You don't have a life and you're living your life through others, rescuing and counseling them and getting too involved in their lives. I bet you inconvenience yourself in order to "help" someone on regular basis.
I know I did. Because they "need you". And it feels good to be needed.

Create your own life. Start with getting to know yourself and loving yourself (as several posters already suggested). Find out who you are. Really. Not what others think you should be, but what deep down you know you are.
Your priority should be you. The only person you're responsible for saving is you.
Do not try to fix or change other people and their circumstances. It is not your job.

We all grow from our experiences. And, without realizing it, you're hindering this growth in some people by interfering with their lives. You are still very young and have a lot to learn. You should pat yourself on the back for admitting you have an issue. Now get to work on it
Create a balance of giving and receiving. At this time it sounds as if you only give. Some people (and boyfriends) will be only too happy to take advantage of that. Be careful, dear.

Best of luck to you.

Recovered Rescuer.
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Old 09-14-2011, 09:31 AM
139 posts, read 629,104 times
Reputation: 260
Have you ever thought of getting a Velcro dog? A Velcro dog is a dog that sticks to you like Velcro. They are needy and clingy. They need a lot of walks, play time, fetch and attention. A Velcro dog would distract you for your pain. You can't think about how bad you feel if your dog is bothering you to play fetch until your arm falls off. All you can think about is taking care of your needy, clingy dog. Petting a dog lowers the blood pressure and stress rate. This is why people train their dogs to become service dogs to go into nursing homes, convalescent homes, old age homes and hospitals. The patients pet the dogs, get their stress lowered and their blood pressure is lowered as well. Patients who get a therapy dog visit do better and get discharged sooner from the hospital than people who do not get a therapy dog visit. It works. It really works to have a dog. Simply petting the dogs lowers stress and anxiety. If you Google "Velcro dogs" I am sure some site lists them. I had Whippet when I was a kid. It looks like a smaller Greyhound. It would lean into us because it wanted to touch us. Whippets are sight hounds and can run at 36 mph. They are amazing! Inside the house they are a couch potato. They want to lie on the sofa with you and watch TV. They are not barkers. Yorkies are a small apartment dog that need a lot of attention. They are also a Velcro dog. Maltese, Pomeranian and Papillon (butterfly dog) are good apartment dogs. You can find a dog on PetFinder.com. You sound very stressed out and like a little dog companion would be helpful to you. Just look for a breed that is known for being quiet and not a barker so your neighbors do not complain about noise.
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