Why You Shouldn’t Fall for the Knight in Shining Armor (aka The Toxic Relationship Scam)

knight in shining armor

“My knight in shining armor turned out to be an asshole in tinfoil.” Anonymous

I fell for a knight in shining armor after my first divorce.  Very, very soon after my first divorce, in fact.  I knew I was terrified to face the world alone, but I never thought I would be the type of woman who would get into a relationship because she was too afraid to be alone.

I was, in fact, that type of woman.  Then.  

Hindsight’s gaze provides much clarity.

At the time, I thought I was in love with this man.  I thought we were perfect for each other.  I can see now that I ignored all the signs of a knight-gone-wrong.  I ended up marrying him.  Thankfully, after our divorce, I figured out how to avoid following the same pattern again.  

Why the knight in shining armor is appealing:

The knight is insanely appealing.  Perhaps you’ve been going it alone for as long as you can remember. Even when you’ve been in relationships, you haven’t felt like you’ve experienced a true partnership.  You’re fucking exhausted, and you just want another human being to be on your side.  It makes perfect sense.  It also creates a perfect storm for a toxic relationship to begin.

Why we fall for it:

Part of you actually wants to be taken care of, no matter how independent  you are.  That’s how freaking tired you are.  You’ve ignored your own needs for so long that you don’t even know what you need anymore.  The knight comes along and seems to have all the answers.  Seems to.  In reality, he doesn’t have the answers for you.  No one else but you can.

What it really means:

Whatever the knight offers to fix for you comes with an insidious hint:  you aren’t cutting it in this area, so I’m going to swoop in and handle it for you.  Whether it’s related to your career, child-rearing, or friendships, the knight looks at any area of your life that you may be having difficulty in and attempts to take over.

There’s a difference between a knight and a man who genuinely wants to help.  The knight will offer his opinion in an attempt to make you feel less than, unreasonable, or stupid.  The genuine man will offer his opinion when you’ve asked for it or will offer his opinion to show you a different perspective.   The knight will claim that what he does is for your sake, that he cares about you or loves you so much that he just wants to help, and just wants to see you happy.  In reality, he’s setting you up.  He’s setting you up to feel like a failure, and like you need to go to him to be saved.  He dives in after only being told about a difficult situation – you’ve never actually asked him for help. A genuine man knows that only YOU are responsible for your own happiness.  Period.

Sometimes it can seem like we want a man who doesn’t wait to be asked for help.  It can appear comforting and gallant and like we’re being taken care of.  We aren’t being taken care of, though.  We’re being groomed to be controlled.

How to avoid it:

Have a passion you are following.  The more you are in tune with who you are and what you want to be doing, the less likely you are to need or seek approval from outside sources

Recognize and heal the patterns that cause you to be attracted to the knight in the first place.  Are you afraid of being alone?  Why?  Do you think you can’t make it on your own?  For what reason?  Figure it out, and work to be more confident in your strengths.

Be okay with not being okay.  Some days are more difficult than others.  Sometimes the fears will rear their ugly heads and force you to take a better look at them and why they pop up.  Honor why they are there — don’t ignore them or force yourself to stop thinking about them.  They’ll only come back with a vengeance, and possible with another knight in tow.

Remember:  You don’t need anyone to save you.  You aren’t a damsel in distress.  You are badass who can take care of herself no matter what.  Believe that.

With love and light,

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