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May. 27th, 2005

This is hard, and a little ugly.


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.

Comments

( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
azul_ros
May. 27th, 2005 06:56 pm (UTC)
Try a counselor. They always say the first step is admitting you have a problem. I always say awareness is the first step. Admission isn't as important, but it does help to state it to others.
vixenly
May. 27th, 2005 07:01 pm (UTC)
Buck up bucko....*ducking*
Strong healthy women are attracted to strong healthy men. Not necessarily physically but emotionally and with heart.
I'm familiar with men that are the "rescuers" and myself, I am repulsed. I want to share romance with someone who will take my hand and lead me yet be alright with being lead as well. And I'm a picky ass bitch.
The loneliness I also can associate with. It bites man! But that doesn't mean you should let that be a reason to fuck yourself again. You know better!
So concentrate on what makes YOU happy. What makes you STRONG. What are the amazing qualities about yourself that make you attractive. If you can't begin a list, well then my dear, you have some work to do in the confidence department. Be selfish and dish. When you begin to feel confident with your own soul, than you become incredibly attractive to others.
Bla bla bla
This is me being a philosopher of confidence! I'm sure you've heard the whole song and dance before!
I'll stop!
magicmarmot
May. 27th, 2005 09:11 pm (UTC)
Confidence building is something that I've been working on for a while now. Confidence in my abilities in a number of areas I have no problem with, but I am shaken by relationships. I suppose that makes sense in the long-term view, but seeing the old patterns emerge has left me a bit shaken.
As for what things make me attractive... I know what things I like about myself. I don't know that they are necessarily attractive to someone else.

But I do appreciate the advice. It's helpful in that it gives me an outside viewpoint to things that I can't see right now. And that's what I like about friends.
lexinatrix
May. 27th, 2005 07:53 pm (UTC)
Just curious: you're having a friend stay with you before and after her trip... is that another manifestation of the White Knight Syndrome?

Unfortunately, I don't have anything helpful to relate regarding White Knights. I was in a short-lived relationship with one when I was 20. Ultimately, he helped me feel better about myself, but once I did he felt vulnerable (I didn't need him anymore) and so he began trying to chip away at the confidence he helped build... so he could start over.

I put a stop to it. And, frankly, I've come to develop a fair amount of disdain for White Knights because of that experience, and the fact that the generic White Knight assumes that women need to be saved in the first place.

Your 'rescues' are coming from a place of kindness, and that kindness isn't something you need to change. How you express it, perhaps, yes.
magicmarmot
May. 27th, 2005 08:56 pm (UTC)
Just curious: you're having a friend stay with you before and after her trip... is that another manifestation of the White Knight Syndrome?

Not exactly, but it was close enough that it made me pause. It more has to do with her situation and a relationship partner that is less than stellar. I won't say he's abusive, but the relationship has an unhealthy component to it that she does recognize.
I am staying away from interfering, or offering advice. She needs to handle it on her own. However, I'm also giving her a place to stay (he can't/won't) which helps her avoid the issues; but if it wasn't me, she'd move in with someone else who would be a significantly worse situation.

It's a balancing act. And it doesn't help that I'm attracted to her for reasons which are very good (she's a genuinely good person, smart, funny, creative, passionate, etc.), but it also would be really easy to be "opportunistic". And I will not do that.
lexinatrix
May. 27th, 2005 09:11 pm (UTC)
Hmm. Good that you're thinking about it, and trying to be proactive in avoiding the situations you know are pattern-inducing-pitfalls.

And it doesn't help that I'm attracted to her for reasons which are very good (she's a genuinely good person, smart, funny, creative, passionate, etc.), but it also would be really easy to be "opportunistic". And I will not do that.

I'm torn on how to interpret this bit. Firstly, I think you mean to say that you're not going to make advances, because you know No Good Would Come Of It. Yet, is there a bit of an implication there that if you were opportunistic that she'd readily accept your advances? It's almost like you're the only one keeping the two of you from teetering over the brink into Bad Decisions... when she's also an active participant.

... now I'm doing silly noodling on how this may or may not relate to how you seem to take the lion's share of the responsibility for the failings of your past relationships, like the women involved had no accountability for their choices.
magicmarmot
May. 27th, 2005 09:19 pm (UTC)
I can only change myself. I can't foist responsibility for situations off on others without seeing what accountability that I have myself. And when all of my past relationships have happened the same way, it ain't coincidence.

If I were opportunistic, would she accept my advances? I don't know for sure, but I will say that there is enough of a history there that I believe there is a significant chance, yes. However, it would break my ethics to do it, and I'd really like to be able to look at myself in the mirror.

The other option is that I've totally misread the history, and would get shot down like a turkey on thanksgiving day. I don't think I'm that far off base, but there is nothing of clarity there. There is the risk of my being foolish.

She's also a friend. And damn if that doesn't complicate things. :|
loba
May. 28th, 2005 04:42 pm (UTC)
For the record, INTEGRITY *IS* SEXY. :-)
(Anonymous)
May. 27th, 2005 08:24 pm (UTC)
Yeah...
Been there, done that...it sucks.

Maybe it will help to look at what you've got besides the White Knight thing going on.

For one thing, being helpful and dependable and supportive is different from being a rescuer...although it is easy to confuse the two especially if you've got someone playing the damsel in distress saying "mah hero" and batting her eyes at you.

Anyway...a quick partial list

1) You've got the sexiest voice I've ever heard.
2) You've got georgeous hair.
3) Strong hands are a real turn-on, and you've got 'em.
4) You've got definate magnetizm. (you've got car-azz-mah)
5) The McGyver thing. What was up with that guy? He was scrawny, had goofy hair, and he was goofy-looking as the day is long. Yet the chicks really dug him. Why? Because he was smart, creative, resourceful and quick-thinking. You can do that, and you don't even need script writers.

magicmarmot
May. 27th, 2005 08:45 pm (UTC)
Re: Yeah...
This comes back to the self-confidence thing, I think. There's a lot buried there with family stuff that I need to look at separately.
lexinatrix
May. 27th, 2005 09:12 pm (UTC)
Re: Yeah...
What was up with that guy? He was scrawny, had goofy hair, and he was goofy-looking as the day is long. Yet the chicks really dug him. Why?

Hey, I thought it was because he had a hockey-player's ass. ;)
magicmarmot
May. 27th, 2005 09:20 pm (UTC)
Re: Yeah...
I used to have a hockey player's ass, but I left it in the trunk when I sold my last car.

Sorry, couldn't resist.
loba
May. 28th, 2005 04:43 pm (UTC)
Re: Yeah...
*grins* See... I KNEW that The List would show up here.... this is gonna be fun to watch grow. Perhaps you ought to post it somewhere (and maybe even READ it every morning...? Maybe.)
loba
May. 28th, 2005 04:44 pm (UTC)
*hugs*

That lonliness sucks -- I know it. And I'm also bangling my head on an issue you've dealt with.... being in love w/someone who's not in love w/ you (that old "love" vs. "in love" thing.) Am not sure how long I can deal w/ this one...but am okay for now. Problem for *me* is that I fall for people who DON'T fall for me. :-P (Fate is cruel, is she not?).


What I read in this post, dear, is that you *are* dealing with the difficult stuff inside. And "strong" and "healthy" -- while they are excellent aims.... are not always a true state for everyone. Balance is the key. We *all* have skeletons in the closet to deal with (some people never gain the courage to do it, some run from it, and some of us cope). Even if it *sucks* to be in the lonely space... you ARE coping... and that means you ARE gaining the "strong" and "healthy" parts that are attractive to strong, healthy women.

For the record, I consider myself to be relatively strong and relatively healthy... even so, I doubt I'd be able todate ANYONE who was not open and familiarwith their own issues.... kinda like if you don't know WHAT your shit is, it can sneakup and BITE you ("know your enemy"...?). ANd it takes a HUGE amount of self-confidence and strength to *be vulnerable* -- to open up and be honest about scary stuff. YOU have that. I KNOW you do. And those "old patterns" take a LONG time to break and re-pattern. Patience eludes me sometimes...but small steps of progress are the *only* way that anything really ever gets built. You're building something wonderful... it's not gonna happen overnight. :-)

*laughs* I liked what Vixenly (above) said about concentrating on what makes *you* happy...because bliss is contagious, and happy people drop "invitation" pheremones like moths. :-) Start a romance with *yourself* ... :-) And true, "if you can't begin a list, well then my dear, you have some work to do in the confidence department"....but that's where friends come in. Until I really *could* love myself -- I had friends who loved me for me... and told me so. And on the occasional "off-day" it helps to have that.

*grins* And if you need help starting that "list of good qualities"... *grins*.... I know there are *LOTS* of women here that can add stuff to it (to get you started).

*hugs*
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )

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