I’ve always been the “knight in shining armor” type.
Whenever a girl I care about expresses that she’s struggling with something?
I’ve always reached out to see if I can help.
This took its ultimate form in my own long term relationship.
I married a little love addict who saw me as her hero.
Only to have that hope dashed shortly after we married sadly.
Because I couldn’t make good on it.
You see, I was what is known as a love avoidant. Usually love avoidants come into being because they have a parent who engulfs them emotionally.
In my case my mother didn’t feel loved by my father.
So she tricked him into giving her a child.
My whole life I took care of her and she confided in me and she rooted for me in everything I did.
What I didn’t recognize is that without meaning to do so?
She wounded me.
Kids aren’t supposed to be their parent’s emotional nurturers.
It’s supposed to be the other way around.
But she was wounded because she was a little love addict too.
When she passed away in 2015 I didn’t really cry about her death until the moment I quietly said to her, “So can I quit taking care of you now?”
I was exhausted.
It isn’t easy being anybody’s knight in shining armor.
What it teaches you to do is shut down emotionally.
Because you come to associate intimacy with pain.
With being drained.
There is an exercise Ken Page recommends in his book Deep Dating.
He says to think back to a significant moment in your life.
One where you felt truly happy.
As I thought back I realized my happy moment was with a cat we had named Fox (after Fox Mulder of the X-Files!). Fox loved me unconditionally.
Whenever I came home like a puppy dog he was waiting at the door to greet me.
When I picked him up he gloried in it.
When I pet him he pushed his head fiercely into my hand.
As I thought about these memories and how completely Fox just loved me without wanting anything from me?
I began to weep.
I realized how exhausting it really was being the strong one all the time.
Because that’s how I’ve always felt.
I needed to achieve.
I needed to put the financial world together so my partner could be safe.
I guess so my mom could be too.
I needed to “be a man.”
But I couldn’t.
Endlessly, time after time, things I attempted to achieve evaded me.
I always accomplished “something” of course.
But never the full thing I was actually striving for.
And being a love avoidant I couldn’t connect with my partner.
Everything I tried to do was for her but I just couldn’t achieve it.
I could never deliver on the promise to save her from life’s challenges.
Finally things came to a head and she was thinking about leaving me. Because what she really wanted was ME. Not everything I was trying to DO.
Then God did a very strange thing.
He put me in an empty house for four months so I had lots of time to think.
Lots of time to surf and find answers.
I couldn’t really do much else.
I’m so grateful for that time.
It was then I learned about love addiction and love avoidance.
I realized why I had never really succeeded much at anything.
I saw that all my bravado and “knightly” action was based in deep emotional wounds of fear.
Fear of intimacy.
Fear of abandonment.
Of being alone in the world.
I didn’t know how to connect with my feelings or my partner.
How to truly love.
At that time I turned around and found my heart. Since then that incessant drive to achieve has left me.
Not that I don’t still desire to make my way in the world.
But I no longer feel the need to save anyone.
To be strong for anyone else.
Not for my (now former) partner.
Not for any of the other girls presently in my life.
Do I love them?
Of course I do!
Do I enjoy them?
But do I feel the need to be their hero anymore? Definitely not!
I’m no hero.
And I don’t need to be one anymore.
That was so exhausting.
I’m so grateful I said goodbye to that life.
Now I help other guys find their hearts and free themselves also.
Maybe you’ve heard a bit of your story in mine?
If so, reach out to me.
What do you think? Are you tired of saving the girls in your life like I am?