The White Knight Syndrome: How Does It Become Dangerous?

a knight in shining armor

Do you know that helping people can become an obsession? Yes, the obsession with helping people does exist. The name of that obsession is the White Knight Syndrome.

In hard times, some people tend to care more about other people’s well-being. Perhaps, it is because those people (who choose to care for others more than themselves) have a strong emotional connection to that person. Or it is because they prioritize others than themselves. The sad fact is, the knights will start to neglect themselves.

If you see yourself as a part of people with White Knight Syndrome, it is time for you to press pause and think of your actions. While you think that other people will see kindness in yourself, they might think otherwise. You will end up not helping them. And on the other side, you are also neglecting yourself.

Through this article, you will know why you should limit yourself and the signs that you have to take care of yourself more.

The Reasons to Limit Yourself

You might feel the feeling of accomplishment when you see that your advice works on other people. And you find yourself addicted to it.

The reason you feel addicted is that your brain emits three chemicals. Those chemicals are also known as happiness trifecta. Happiness trifecta consists of serotonin, which will affect the feeling of someone’s well-being; dopamine, which will intensify someone’s motivation; and last, oxytocin, which will increase the connection of someone to others.

The moment when you are addicted to these feelings will lead you to repeat your actions. The problem is when no one is asking you to do that.

You might have intrusive questions and advice

When you help them once or twice, you will feel your connection to that person grows. Your need to know their updates will also affect your action. You start to ask questions to update their progress. While it is good to check on your friends’ updates, you have to know your limit. The connection that you feel with your friends makes you forget the barrier. You start to ask intrusive questions or giving them advice that they don’t ask you to.

Instead of helping them, you will make them feel uncomfortable. The people that you help can feel uncomfortable with your questions and advice. Most importantly, they also feel uncomfortable because you take their feeling of being independent. Your intrusion will prevent them from solving the problems by themselves.

Thus, evaluate your actions. You have to know when to stop asking and which question that you can ask. Carefully confirm to them whether or not you can ask certain questions. Recognize whether they are asking for your advice or not.

a knight kneeling down to a princess

You will set your standard for other people

Somehow, you will develop a feeling of responsibility for other people’s well-being, as if their failure is your failure. You will begin to evaluate someone else’s decisions even without them asking you. You start to point out their mistakes. At some points, you will press them to catch up with the standard that you set on their success. You want them to follow your way and feel anxious if they decide not to. The worse comes when you guilt-trip the one you are trying to help and manipulate them to do what you want. It is the negative side of the White Knight Syndrome.

You might control other people’s life unconsciously. And start blaming them if they don’t follow your advice. You have to notice that it is wrong and it is their life. Start to mind your own life. Because when you care too much about how other people live their life, you might start to forget to take care of your own.

Save Yourself First

Another negative side of the White Knight Syndrome is they tend to sacrifice themselves. They will go through sleepless nights to comfort the ones who seek help from the knights. The thoughts of other people’s problems combined with the lack of sleep will cause a complex problem, mostly related to health issues.

As they feel responsible for other people’s lives, the knights will think of the people’s problems as theirs. It can stress them out and impacting their health. If you start to feel tired, feeling that it is hard to focus or concentrate, sleep yourself. It will refresh your brain and your body. But if your sleep is not refreshing anymore, it is a sign that you are suffering from chronic fatigue. Seek treatment to save yourself. It means that you are sacrificing your body too much to help others.

It is indeed a good thing that you have the will to help someone else. But ‘too much’ is never good. When helping someone becomes your obsession, it can lead to unhealthy behavior. You will make them feel uncomfortable and sacrifice your health. Just like the emergency instructions in a plane: save yourself first before the others. Hence, self-care is essential for you and your surroundings.


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