White Knight

A white knight is somebody who presumes to help another but who does so in a way that causes more harm than good, usually oppressing instead of truly helping the person.

This white knight can take many forms. A white knight in one’s life can be a spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend, friend, parent, or even a son or daughter. One could even go so far as to say some countries’ governments, or other institutional programs, can work much like a white knight.

The most common manifestation of the white knight, however, is in a spouse or significant other. An abusive spouse is the most negative of these, with the abuse being an escalation of the behavior over time. Some white knight spouses are never violently abusive, but they are codependent and must always feel needed by their spouses. White knights will discourage and undermine the independence of their spouses. A husband who discourages his wife from seeking higher education, or even obtaining a driver’s license, is an example of this. Sometimes white knights even cause problems just so they have a situation in which they can be heroic.

Being a white knight doesn’t do anyone any good. Not only should one not fall into the trap of being “rescued” and perpetually oppressed by a white knight, people should avoid becoming white knights themselves.Yes, we should help one another. In relationships, we can help care for each other in good times and bad. However, we need to be responsible for ourselves, and we need to not have our own sense of self-worth be determined by others.

Instead we should encourage personal responsibility and a sense of empowerment. Own yourself! And that includes your problems. This will then put you in charge of the solutions.

Leave a Reply