This quickly opens the door for fake female romance scams.
What Is The White Knight Syndrome?
The “White Knight Syndrome” is also called “The Hero Syndrome.” Not to be confused with Savior Syndrome
White Knight Syndrome is a term used to describe someone who feels compelled to “rescue” people in intimate relationships, often at the expense of their own needs.
Although the term frequently refers to males who rush to save the perceived “damsels in distress,” anyone of any gender can technically suffer from White Knight Syndrome.
In fact, since women are socialized to be emotional caretakers in relationships, they can also demonstrate signs of White Knight Syndrome in their relationships, and this makes them subject to easy manipulation by scammers.
White Knights are the ones who dream about being the great hero, riding in on their charger [horse] (or motorcycle, muscle car, rocket, etc.) to save the damsel in distress. They are the ones who try to live by a self-imposed anachronistic code of chivalry and gallantry. They’re the ones attracted to the “distressed”, the depressed, needy or damaged women, convinced that they can “rescue” them from themselves.
This makes them predisposed towards being manipulated in both real life and in scams.
White Knight Commonalities
White Knights often have a history of loss, abandonment, trauma, or unrequited love. Many of them are emotionally sensitive and vulnerable; traits that cause them to be hurt easily by others and a perfect victim for romance scams.
Empathy, the ability to understand and identify with the feelings of another is a highly developed character trait of all White Knights. Yet the White Knight’s ability to put himself into another person’s shoes can be used against them in a scam.
How Does White Knight Syndrome Work?
Men with the White Knight Syndrome have a strong inclination to seek women who are or appear to be in need of help (usually the more help the better) and can easily be manipulated into providing that help without requesting anything in return.
With this penchant towards saving women comes a whole set of perceptions (many of them unconscious) that model the White Knight’s emotions and behavior.
The Archetypal White Knight:
- They see women as powerless and unable to defend or take care of themselves
- They see women’s problems as the result of misfortune or the cruelty of this world, never as their own fault. Women are never responsible for their troubles
- They consider it is men’s responsibility to help women solve their problems and sees doing so as a sign of nobility
- They think a woman will forever be grateful to a man who helps her. She will praise him, love him and give herself to him
- They see men in black and white: they are either good or bad, there is no middle ground, and the decisive factor is how they treat women
- The needs of others are treated as more important than their own
- They will persist in helping even when it has been made clear that their help is not needed
- They think they know best about what works and what doesn’t for others
- They want other people to need them and will go from one person to the next offering assistance in order to gain this sense of being needed
- When others ask for their assistance and they are unable to help they are overcome with guilt
- They exhaust themselves in taking care of other people’s needs
- They feel utterly rejected when their assistance is not welcome
The Typical White Knight Romance Scam
Typically men are contacted out of the blue by a pretty woman – usually, drop dead gorgeous. Of course, these are usually stolen photos of a porn star or model – since they offer the most alluring images and these women are selected for their visual appeal.
The fake female will quickly develop an emotional connection with the man and then initiate an emergency. This allows the White Knight to come forth!
Any scam victim who has gone through this will immediately recognize this chain of events and their own response to it.
Like all romance scam victims, the scammer uses this White Knight trait against the victim and exploits the syndrome. This can lead to significant financial loss for these victims.
However, once the scam ends, this is where the White Knight diverges from regular scam victims in the best approach for their recovery.
In almost all romance scams the scammers use every trick in the book to trigger the initial Amygdala Hijack and then employ significant continuous manipulation to get what they want.
Most romance scams victims were vulnerable. Some had a marriage or relationship end. Some lost a loved one. It places them in a particularly difficult place once the scam is discovered and ends, but these can recover in time.
White Knights, on the other hand, need to recover from the scam and also address their deeper issues with being a White Knight.
In most cases, this is beyond the romance scam victims’ support that can be provided safely and effectively. In their cases, this will likely need the help of a professional counselor or therapist to help them unwind both the scam and White Knight Syndrome at the same time. We have observed that such men also have a great feeling of rage once they discover the scam that does not fade in time as would be normal for most victims.
It is for these reasons that we recommend counseling for most male victims
Fortunately, whether man or woman, in the United States we have governmental support to pay for counseling for victims of reported crimes. Counseling is also available in many other countries as well paid for by their national health system.
Additional Information For White Knights: