The road of progress is never a smooth one. There are bumps and grinds, hills and valleys, and the occasional slide backwards. I have a goal or two to reach, but I've lost sight of some of them along the way.
I think today would be one of the valleys.
I've found myself falling into old patterns of abuse. Self-abuse primarily, having to do with my relationship with women and dating. It's not something I'm proud of; I recognize the behavior even though it is disguised in a different façade. It's commonly called the White Knight Syndrome, the rescuing of damsels in distress, and getting involved with them along the way.
The primary problem is the confusion of emotions, taking gratitude and relief as love, fooling yourself into believing that the temporary is permanent. It's a kind of "soft" abuse, in that it doesn't involve physical violence or anything outrightly negative, but it breeds contempt and negativity when she starts feeling pressured to feel emotions that she really doesn't feel, but doesn't want to hurt your feelings because you're so nice.
And you as the subject tend to hide and avoid the resentment, and try to do nice things to counter the building resentment, and it feeds on itself like a snake eating its own tail.
When I first recognized that this was my main mode of operation and understood how self-destructive it was, I made a concentrated effort to change. I worked hard at reprograming myself to be attracted to strong, healthy women, and to be able to say no to the rescues. And it was working for quite a while.
Except now I have this vulnerability. There's this big emptiness inside that doesn't just go away, even though I try to distract myself from it with work, or projects, or watching movies, or any of a number of things. It's a kind of deep loneliness, where even being with good friends doesn't fill the need.
I could drink, or do drugs, or go hang out with strippers, or any of a number of other things to try and fill the hole, or defocus it enough that it doesn't hurt so much, but I know from experience that none of those things work beyond a limited time.
Problem is that I don't have a good track record with women. All of my relationships have pretty much been rescues, and all of them have had the same kind of ending. Different flavors, same texture.
But I don't really know how to be any different. I'm a nice guy. I'm the guy that when you're in a tight spot, you come to for support and strength. I'm a friend, and I can be a very good, solid friend.
But that doesn't mean love.
I don't know what to do. I think it's probably a good idea if I pull back from dating again until I figure something out, because I really don't want to get into this cycle again and again. But the loneliness can be overwhelming, and I'm afraid that I will fall into a different abuse pattern (drugs, alcohol, food) to try and get away from it.
I kind of want to say something wry and humorous here, but there's nothing. This is a serious problem for me, and I don't know what to do.