The “Fixer Mindset” plagues every nice guy who can’t seem to even talk to an attractive lady, let alone start a relationship with her. If you continue letting this faulty mindset subconsciously guide you, it can end in complete catastrophe:
Like bending over backwards for an ex who still lives with you, and starts bringing new guys into your apartment. Boundary violations like this happen more often than you’d think.
Well, if you haven’t overcome your early childhood traumas, then you’ll subconsciously recreate this dynamic of being taken advantage of in order to earn love in every relationship you have.
Not only will this cause intense heartbreaks, but it also fills you with a deep depression that lingers on you no matter what.
That’s the bad news.
The good news?
There is hope! In fact, I used to suffer from this exact same mindset years ago.
In this episode, I break down the “Fixer Mindset” in nitty-gritty detail, including why it happens, how it happens, and how you can finally overcome it. I also reveal what happens when you don’t address it—hint: it only gets worse. And the three most important steps you can take today to finally free yourself from its destructive grasp.
Show highlights include:
- The insidious “Fixer Mindset” most men silently struggle with that makes you bend over backwards for a girl who wouldn’t do the same for you (2:10)
- 4 deadly coping behaviors you picked up as a toddler that you’re subconsciously using today that scares women away (12:08)
- Why making more money or getting a six pack won’t help you attract the ladies (even if you think it will) (15:32)
- The single biggest fundamental flaw in the human condition that sabotages your chances with women, fills you with existential dread, and causes untold amounts of stress (15:46)
- How becoming a pickup artist can help you get girls (and why this only sets you up for humiliating heartbreak) (18:13)
- Why evolution has failed us when it comes to being emotionally stable, healthy, and happy (and how you can fix this in your life) (22:13)
- The cold, hard truth about why most people don’t end up in happy relationships (25:12)
- How neglecting your “little boy” hidden deep inside you gives you a wicked case of the addicting “Martyrdom Fantasy” which causes you to sacrifice your relationship for nothing (26:00)
- 3 simple steps to finally overcome your “Fixer Mindset” and effortlessly magnetize attractive women to you (33:43)
- Why traveling alone is one of the best “antidotes” to deep-seated childhood traumas (36:13)
Does your neediness, fear, or insecurity sabotage your success with women? Do you feel you may be unlovable? For more than 15 years, I’ve helped thousands of people find confidence, fulfillment, and loving relationships. And I can help you, too. I’m therapist and life coach David Tian, Ph.D. I invite you to check out my free Masterclasses on dating and relationships at https://www.davidtianphd.com/masterclass/ now.
For more about David Tian, go here: https://www.davidtianphd.com/about/
Emotional Mastery is David Tian’s step-by-step system to transform, regulate, and control your emotions… so that you can master yourself, your interactions with others, and your relationships… and live a life worth living. Learn more here:
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Note: Scroll Below for Transcription
Welcome to the Masculine Psychology Podcast, where we answer key questions in relationships, attraction, success, and fulfillment. Now, here’s your host, world-renowned therapist and life coach, David Tian.
David: Welcome to the Masculine Psychology podcast. I’m David Tian, your host. In this special episode, I’m sharing with you a very important talk that I did as part of my old video podcast, Man Up: Masculinity for the Intelligent Man.
In preparing what I’m planning to cover for the next couple of episodes, I noticed I kept referring to this talk, and over the past couple of years, I have referred to this particular video, of which you will be hearing the audio, repeatedly, multiple times. For your convenience and to integrate this into the Masculine Psychology podcast, I’m adding it here. [00:52.8]
This talk was first recorded over six years ago and, at that time, I definitely had the unconscious limiting belief that I had to speak really quickly in order to get and keep the attention of people on YouTube. In watching this video again, listening to myself talking really fast, that stood out to me, but I hope it doesn’t get in the way of you understanding the concepts and transformative insights that I share here.
In watching me from six years ago delivering this, I was struck by how passionate I was back then about this particular topic, and that’s because I was so much closer to it at that time, and I think there’s a real value to capturing that mental state that I was in when this was still relatively fresh and I was sharing it, it felt to me, for the first time. So, I hope you can appreciate that energy, and what I cover in this talk is just as relevant now, if not more relevant than it was back then. Without further ado, here we go. [01:53.3]
I’ve got a question. A couple of questions. Actually, this is a running theme throughout many questions. I would say, at least 30 percent, maybe up to 40, 50 percent of the questions have, underlying them, this issue, and maybe even more than 50 percent. I haven’t done a scientific study or anything, but my impression is most guys are suffering from this and most guys who are looking for help with women are suffering from this, and especially most guys who seek me out are suffering from this. I mean, I call this the fixer mindset. Hopefully, as you go through this, you’ll understand what I’m referring to.
Okay, so question here from Zach. I’m going to read it out. See if you can relate.
“I have a really good friend who has a strange fantasy of being destroyed by a woman. He’s single now, but he relates his picture of his future relationship to The Great Gatsby, American Beauty, Frankenstein, etc. Any idea what to make of this? I have no remote idea why he would desire this and I’ve never heard of this sort of thing from anyone else.”
Okay. Here’s another example. Here’s an actual nice guy. That one was a more extreme, actually more self-aware formulation of that question and maybe it seems extreme to most guys, but, actually, this is a pretty common thing. Just most guys don’t realize it. They don’t realize that they’re suffering from it. All right, but not maybe not to that extreme of martyrdom, but something similar. [03:10.0]
Okay, here’s an actual nice guy who is suffering from this issue, so you can hear it actually form it or actually expressed in his question. I’m going to read it out, and see if you can relate. A question here from Kim, again, in the “Man Up” private Facebook group.
“Just having a mental breakdown. So, me and my ex-girlfriend still live together, but she’s moving out in a few days’ time and she’s just now meeting and dating another guy. Okay, so she told me she doesn’t want to hurt my feelings, but she can’t do anything anymore. So, I said, ‘If you don’t want to hurt my feelings, why is it so easy to leave and go?’ I just had a mental breakdown. The person I really want to spend my time with and cuddle every night is now gone. I really do care, but now I don’t know, I just cried so bad and I don’t know what to do. I’m trying to find maybe someone who’s understanding, but I think I still really love my ex-girlfriend. I know it sounds stupid, but I gave up everything for her.”
This is an important part. Let me just repeat that. “I think I still really love my ex-girlfriend, even after she dumped my ass, stayed in my place while bringing other dudes home.” Okay, so let’s get clear on that. And he says, “But I gave up everything for her.” This is a very common thing. [04:13.1]
“I gave up everything for her and I feel like everything is lost, questioning myself, where did I go wrong? Never been in this kind of situation before. It’s just too much heartache, why some people don’t appreciate your effort.”
Okay, “She doesn’t appreciate my effort.” That’s another formulation. That’s another way to put it. I keep using that word “formulation.”
“It’s been a year. I just wanted to be with someone, you know, how to return the favor. I just wanted to be with someone who knows how to return the favor even if you’re not expecting anything back.”
Okay, so he’s not expecting anything back from the girl, but he just wants somebody who will return the favor. Okay, even though the logic is a little bit convoluted, the important part I want you to realize, to notice is he says, “Even if I’m not expecting anything back,” so he’s going into this thing, “I’m not expecting anything from her. I’m willing to give her everything.” Okay. [05:02.2]
“We are just humans, we get tired, but for now I’m trying to accept the situation. Alright, how can I move on? I’m trying so hard. I’m glad that I’m busy working at my new job. When I have time, I go to the gym and train. Yeah, that’s fine. Then after I still miss her, I pretend that I’m still with her. Can someone help?”
Now, you might think that Kim’s situation is not related to Zach’s and you would be wrong. I’m going to get into the fixture mindset now and I’ve been getting a lot of requests on this. In fact, one of the reasons why I don’t cover deeper issues and concepts and subjects in Man Up episodes is because I’m trying to keep these short.
There is a whole section on all of this, the nice guy, the fixer, and the neediness and all this over multiple weeks in, and these are each week. It’s three or four hours of material, including emotional guided meditations, where we process, help you process this at the emotional level, not just the cognitive, and it’s in our Rock Solid Relationships and Masculine Mastery course. [06:03.3]
That allows me the luxury of going in depth, instead of having to vie for attention on YouTube with the ADD culture, though I’m thinking maybe you would prefer long form. Maybe I can go in for two hours. I’ve tested that before and, generally, it just leads to mental masturbation, so I don’t want that to happen for the guys watching this. I want you to take action or take some steps to actually apply what you’re learning here.
But in this case, I think I’m going to try to give and what I’m going to do is give it a very concise description of the issue and, hopefully, that will whet your appetite for more because this is deep. This is not just like, Hey, let’s just write a paragraph about it. You can spend your whole career decades and decades researching this and helping people through it. [06:51.6]
Anyway, let’s get into it, the fixed mindset. Everything I’m going to share and everything that they’ve shared in their questions, to some extent, I’ve dealt with myself. In fact, every single episode is something that I’ve dealt with myself, unless I explicitly say it’s not. That’s where my answers come from. It’s not just from reading a bunch of books or something. I’ve lived all of these things, so I understand where you’re coming from—and I understand your friend, Zach, who is actually very self-aware. Most people don’t get to that. Most dudes don’t get to that level of self-awareness. And, Kim, I understand where you’re coming from. This is the same thing for the first few relationships, few loves I had as a young man, the same situation.
Now, here’s where the fixer comes from. Typical nice guys are suffering from the fixer mindset. Another term for it that I think is quite catchy is a White Knight Syndrome, though I think online that gets misused, so I’m not going to use that one. I’m going to use “fixer mindset.”
It’s something that goes back to your childhood. If you’ve ever been in a relationship where you have ever said anything after it’s fallen apart or while it’s falling apart, or if you’ve ever thought to yourself after a fight or anytime in the relationship, I’ve given her everything, or I’ve done so much for her, or What else do I need to do for her? then you’re suffering from the fixer mindset, very likely. [08:15.1]
If you’re a nice guy, if you consider yourself to be a good guy, and you have not done some deep work on yourself, then probably you’re suffering from the fixer mindset. That’s why I’m saying it’s so common. It’s especially common for guys who seek me out because my clientele and my following tend to be achievers. These are highly-intelligent people who’ve achieved a lot in their careers. They’ve gone to top schools. They’re quite successful monetarily and, on the surface, they tick all the boxes, but they often have difficulty in relationships.
They have trouble handling drama in relationships. They have trouble attracting women, when they get to flirty banter. There are plenty of women maybe if he’s got the rest of his life together who would want to settle down with him, but he has trouble getting into casual relationships and just having some fun, and flirting and in creating attraction. [09:14.3]
At the root of all these issues is the fixed mindset. What is this? What is this? It goes back to your childhood and, yes, I went there, but I’m not going to get into Freudian things, but the very basic level—we can get a lot deeper, but the very basic level—when you were a baby, you popped out of the womb. Anything you did, if you had a loving family or an average family, anything you did was considered cute and worthy of attention.
The first time you spoke, everyone was like, Wow, that was amazing, the first time you walked. That doesn’t happen anymore for you as an adult. Even when you peed, people would still love you. They’d think it’s almost cute to change the diapers maybe, right? You can pee on somebody and they just clean it up and would not blame you or anything, get mad at you or anything like that. But as an adult, you can just go around peeing on people. They’d be pretty pissed, right? So, there’s a big disconnect now in the way you’re being treated by the world. [10:10.0]
When you’re a baby, your primary caregivers are where you look for your approval and affection, because, literally, you are needy, physically, not just needy, emotionally. If you don’t get the love and care from adults, the ones who are taking care of you, then you will die, so we’re evolutionarily programmed, hardwired or adapted to appeal, to be looking for the love from our caregivers, because if we didn’t, we wouldn’t be able to survive. Okay, that’s fine. That’s at the very basic level.
After you get big, all right, so you grow to a certain age, and for some of you, the trauma happened much earlier, and if you were the victim of baby abuse or child abuse, but at some point, usually around the year-and-a-half or two-year mark, this is where the terrible twos comes, you realize that just when you want to pee or whatever you want, as a little baby, whenever you’re hungry, you just go, “Wah-wah-wah,” and people try to figure out what’s wrong and they’ll try the milk, right? [11:13.3]
If you’re hungry, you’ll go, “Wah-wah-wah,” and this tit comes out of nowhere and you’re just like, Okay, and it feels like you can control the tit by just going, “Wah-wah-wah,” and this tit comes and gives you this delicious food. Then, as you get older, that stops happening, right? It stops happening consistently or stops happening completely, and it doesn’t have to be the tit, it could just be the bottle. But you stopped getting it whenever you cried. You can’t just cry to get your way anymore, and children test that. They’re like, How far? How much can I get? Where are my boundaries?
When they start hitting those boundaries and the adults are saying, “Nope, no,” the typical way to discipline a child—and there isn’t an easy way around. This is very difficult, parenting—is to show the child that he’s got to behave in order to get the love. Of course, they don’t put it that way. They don’t think of it that way. They still love the child. They’re just trying to help the child socialize and behave properly. [12:04.8]
But the child doesn’t know that the child thinks, I’m not good enough because Mommy isn’t coming when I cry, or Daddy’s not coming to pick me up this time when I cry. They’re just letting me cry and then get over it and then come back to the table, or whatever, right? At their baby mind, they’re starting to cope now. “Okay, what are the strategies unconsciously? What are the strategies I can adopt?” and there are roughly three strategies.
Broadly speaking, the three strategies are pleasing, rebelling, or being a recluse. The rebel, the recluse or the pleaser, and a subset of the pleaser is the achiever you try to achieve. You try to be guāi in Chinese, which is much more than obedient. It’s being a really good kid. It’s happily obedient. Plus, you look, you have initiative to try to please your parents, right, so it’s a horrible thing actually. But, anyway, parents want kids who are guāi in China, so in Chinese culture. [13:00.0]
One way to be guāi is to achieve, get good grades, please Mom and Dad. If you get good grades and you achieve well in school or whatever your parents consider to be important, then they will be happy and you will get the affection and attention that you crave, and that you need actually. That’s one way to go, and the achiever is a subset of the pleaser.
Another subset of the pleaser is the joker, the kid who learned that if he makes his parents laugh, then he will get the acceptance and they’ll pay attention to him, so that’s another way to go.
There are different subsets of the pleaser, but the pleaser is a very broad category that it encompasses most of my clientele, and most good guys and definitely all nice guys, they all learn as children, as young as a year and a half or even younger, that pleasing would be the best strategy for them. They latch on to that one. As children, we usually try all three. We will pout. We’ll experiment a little bit with the recluse. [14:00.8]
And I also get loners, right? That’s the other. That’s one of the other strategies, right? The other thing is you can just totally shut down and withdraw into yourself, and that’s another common strategy that I’ve seen guys take into their adulthood. But not many of them are achievers and pleasers.
Then, occasionally, I’ll get a rebel, though that’s a lot more rare for guys, because if you chose to be a rebel, you probably are a pretty adventurous type of guy, a risk taker, and that’s kind of sexy, right? You’d be playing the bad boy card with the lady, so generally, you won’t have that issue of attracting women, so you probably wouldn’t find me at this point in my career.
Broadly speaking, these guys are achievers and pleasers. They are striving to get that love by pleasing the other party, by pleasing their parents, by doing the thing that they think their parents want them to do, and that’s how they win their parents affection and approval, and that’s when they are very young. I mean, the most formative stage of your life. [14:59.0]
Then, as you get older, you just take that relationship pattern forward. You don’t get any coaching out of it as a kid, like, Hey, you’re pleasing right now, you shouldn’t do that. No one ever coaches you or therapizes you. Then as an adult, you think this is perfectly normal, because the whole society and your education system and most other people will reward you for achieving, right?
Right now, online, probably one of the hardest things on YouTube other than the entertainment stuff is self-help around how to make money online or something like that. Everyone just wants to make more money. They think if they make more money, they’ll be happy. If they make more money, then you’ll feel significant. Then they’ll feel worthy. Then they’ll feel good enough. Then, of course, there’s fitness. That also is preying on that as well.
So, this is just such a fundamental problem in the human condition, the belief that we’re not worthy, we’re not good enough. Then one strategy out of that is or to get that feeling of worth is to think mistakenly that if you just achieve enough, then you’ll get it. This is the basis of the nice guy, right? It goes back to your childhood, and you take that into your relationships with women. [16:09.2]
That’s a typical nice guy. He’s just the guy who wants to please everybody. That’s also why he’s afraid of rejection. He’s afraid that if he doesn’t please her, if he disagrees with her, if he says no to her, if he teases her hard, if he ignores her, if he does his own thing, if he puts himself first, that she will lose interest and reject him because that’s what happened when he was a kid. The coping strategy that he took for decades was to achieve to get that love and to please, right? Let me focus on that part, the pleasing. So, these guys are pleasers. The nice guy is the pleaser.
Now, even worse is the pickup artist. The average pickup artist has to learn it, the guys who would be online googling about this stuff and very motivated to learn it and go through thousands of cold approaches, and journaling and posting field reports and watching or consuming tons of video on how to pick up chicks and stuff like that. [17:12.3]
I used to be coaching in that sort of thing. I’ve really moved far out of it, but I still get a lot of people who see my older stuff from seven or eight years ago and still message me for advice, so I’m still in touch with that crowd, that audience. Almost without exception, they are former or they’re pleasers, they’re still pleasers at their base, but they’ve learned to compensate. They’re compensating nice guys. Actually, the clinical term for it is compensatory narcissists or compensatory codependents, or codependent narcissists. There’s different types of terms to talk about the same sort of thing, but we’ll go with “compensatory nice guy.”
So, he’s a nice guy who’s compensating for the fact that his pleasing strategy as an adult with these girls wasn’t working, and most guys don’t even awaken to this fact. They just cling on to their bullshit programming about being a nice guy and how they keep getting burned—and those were the questions coming in, right? [18:11.4]
Then there are those guys who learn some game and then they start to get results from women, because game, most of game is trying to fix the symptoms. Right now, the outer level is of the symptoms is that they have anxiety when they approach women or they can’t keep conversations going because they’re in their heads too much, or they don’t know how to tease properly or flirt properly, or they don’t want to challenge her or they don’t know how to deal with her when she challenges him. These are all symptoms of his deeper problem that he’s a pleaser because of his coping strategy as a child because of his fixer mindset. [18:52.3]
Then they learn to not have those symptoms anymore and they think everything’s fixed. “I learned how to pick up chicks, so everything’s fixed.” And that was a trap I fell into. I got really good at pickup and I thought everything was fixed now. But then when you get into it, after a certain point, all the games fall away and reality hits you, because here’s the issue. We’ll go back to the symptoms analogy. It’s like you have this disease or maybe you have this wound, okay? And it’s rotting because you haven’t treated it, but instead of actually treating it or getting the surgery, or dealing with the wound, the problem itself, instead of dealing with the problem itself, you just put band-aids over it or you take drugs that are palliative and they just numb the symptoms.
So, you don’t feel the pain and the bleeding stops because you started putting all these band-aids over it, and you think everything’s fine. But, actually, inside, it’s still rotting and it’s getting worse and you’re going to have to– Let’s use my arm. You’d have to amputate it, because you haven’t dealt with the actual issue. You’ve just numbed yourself and covered over the problem. And that’s why the compensatory nice guy is setting himself up for an even deeper fall. [20:00.6]
I’m going to talk about in another episode, what type of girls these guys will attract, as a result, and what type of women the nice guy will attract, as a result. What type of women would a fixer be attracted to, and what type of woman would respond to a fixer? That’s a really deep issue, but just focus on the fixer for now.
The compensatory fixer, the compensatory nice guy, the nice guy who learned some game and has papered over the symptoms, but still rotting inside emotionally and hasn’t dealt with his core issues yet, he’s going to actually bring into his life more extreme women, more drama, more and all that that you’ll see. These nice guys—let’s just preview the type of girls nice guys attract—they ended up bringing in women into their lives who need rescuing. I mean, a rescuer is going to look for somebody who needs to be rescued.
That’s why, actually, when you’re a fixer, you’re not generally attracted to women who have everything together, not sexually attracted. They’ll be your friend, they’ll be your sister, but an achiever, especially, he’s looking for a wild girl. He’s looking for the dramatic girl, because those girls need fixing. At the unconscious level, he sees that and is attracted to that. [21:13.3]
Of course, a wild girl will also be sexy and fun and everything that he’s not, because a pleaser can’t be fun. He’s uptight, you’ve got to be to please everybody. An achiever can’t be that fun, because he’s got to be uptight to get all his homework done and get everything done on deadline and so on, so they generally won’t be attracted to other achievers sexually. They might be in the prefrontal cortex when they’re looking for a long-term mate, but then their sexual passion won’t be there as much as for that wild girl who is intelligent.
Intelligence is not divorced from wildness, okay? Intelligence, a lot of people think intelligence is a big deal. It’s not a big deal. It’s very common. There are schools and there are entire institutions devoted to gathering intelligent people together. Just go to those places, and they’re intelligent people all over the place. It’s not a rare thing at all. If you’re an intelligent person yourself, you’ll be surrounded by them. This is part of the peer group effect, by the way, right? [22:08.8]
But what is difficult is emotionally-healthy people. We’re not evolved to be emotionally healthy. We’re evolved to survive and meet or to survive and have offspring. That’s it. But we’re not evolved to actually find happiness. You have to work at that. We don’t just have that accidentally.
No matter their physical strength, for many men, emotions are too much for them to handle. It’s why they can’t give women the deeper levels of emotional intimacy and connection that they crave. It’s why they fail to be the man that modern women desire most: a man with inner strength, a man who has mastered his emotions.
Find out how to master your emotions through David Tian’s “Emotional Mastery” program. The Emotional Mastery program is a step-by-step system that integrates the best of empirically-verified psychotherapy methods and reveals how to master your internal state and develop the inner strength that makes you naturally attractive, happy, and fulfilled.
Learn more about this transformational program by going to DavidTianPhD.com/EmotionalMastery.
That’s D-A-V-I-D-T-I-A-N-P-H-D [dot] com [slash] emotional mastery.
So, anyway, many people, and by the way, if you’re intelligent, you can have that accidentally. You can’t have happiness accidentally, not for very long. [23:28.8]
Anyway, these fixers are going to look for girls that can fix, unconsciously, and they’re attracted, just like this man here, Kim, who was attracted to a girl who, after a year of dating—I assume that’s a year they were together—dumped him. Stayed living in his place, so continued to use him and then dated other guys and brought them home. I mean, that’s just in his face and then she has the gall to say, “Look, I don’t want to hurt you or anything.” Yeah, I was like, Okay . . . . But he’s like, But . . . she . . . I really love her and I’ve given her everything. It’s like, I wish she would just appreciate my effort. He’s not waking up to this. [24:07.0]
Now, the person who is not in that situation or is removed enough from it that you can see clearly logically what’s going on, you might laugh at him and be like, What the fuck? But when you’re deep in it because you have these childhood patterns of being a fixer, you’re going to latch on to it, because this is just like it’s revisiting for you.
It’s making fresh again the trauma that you experienced as a little baby, as a child, a toddler even, with how you had to deal with your primary caregivers, the love that they held savage, that they held hostage from you that you had to go and do things to get it. I’m not saying that they’ve meant to do that maliciously or anything. Most parents don’t know what they’re doing and they just do their best, but that’s how our little baby brains interpret this. If you need to go into more depth on this, I highly recommend an amazing little book called The Drama of the Gifted Child by Alice Miller. That’ll start you on the rabbit hole. [25:08.1]
Of course, with Zach, let’s deal with that. Zach’s more extreme formulation of this is “my good friend who has a strange fantasy of being destroyed by a woman.” Kim is being destroyed by this woman. He doesn’t realize it yet and he’s in it, but he’s actually secretly hooked to this drama. If he gets another girl, this is just going to happen again. He’s never going to have a happy relationship that’s long that will last unless he deals with these core issues, and most people don’t and that’s why they just live lives of quiet desperation, or quiet desperation or lots of fights and drama and then they eventually get a divorce. Or they’re living lives of quiet desperation where there’s no passion anymore.
Zach’s friend pictures his future relationship as like The Great Gatsby, American Beauty or Frankenstein. Okay, I had memory card issues there. Zach’s friend pictures himself as The Great Gatsby or he wants to have a Great Gatsby, American Beauty or Frankenstein relationship. That’s his fantasy. Where does this come from? [26:08.1]
A more extreme version of the fixer is the martyrdom fantasy and this is where you give your life for love, and this might come in a way where, in your dreams, you might dream about sacrificing your body to shield your woman. Maybe invaders are coming in or the bullets are coming in and you jump out in front, you shield them or something like that, along those lines. It’s not uncommon.
What’s really at root—and this is going to be deep, and I’m jumping many steps, but I’m just going to give it to you to show you how deep it is—is that you’ve neglected your inner child, right, so the inner boy, when you first had those traumas as a toddler. You hadn’t processed that yet. You still are this wounded child who just wants to be loved for who he is, not for how he can achieve or not, only if he pleases and he’s like a zoo animal, like a circus animal or something. You want to just be loved for who you are, without having to have to do anything, or say anything to earn it, right? [27:15.5]
But you were told that, you learned as a baby, unconsciously, that that’s not how the world works. So, those initial realizations are very traumatic. You realized you’ve got to be something different from how you are, so you step out of who you are, your true self, and you start to put out these false selves or the idealized selves, or these adaptive selves. You’re adapting now. You’re putting out another self in a bid to get the affection and love, and the one that gets rewarded the most is the one that you stay with.
That’s why these pleasers are so common among my clientele. The world rewards and the parents reward them for pleasing, and in a very toxic family, it can get much worse than that, by the way. Just in case, I just want to put that out as a caveat, it gets really deep. [28:01.5]
But the average guy, right? Let’s say that he becomes a pleaser. What you’ve neglected is that true self, the little boy. And when you want to protect these women, these pure paragons of virtue who are anything but, because you’re looking for women who need rescuing, what you’re actually doing is reliving the fantasy which is not really a fantasy, but it’s an actual need of rescuing your inner boy, your child.
These martyrdom fantasies for the pure virgin woman will, as you age, as you mature, not as you age, as you mature, as you have children yourself—and if you are emotionally mature enough, so they will continue to be there as far as these hidden martyrdom fantasies, but as you mature—they will turn into fantasies about rescuing your children and your family, and these can be healthy things. I mean, obviously, sacrificing yourself so that your kin will continue to survive is a noble thing, and so under normal circumstances, people get medals for that sort of thing, right? Or posthumously, if they die. [29:07.7]
But you might think, Oh, why would the guy do that for some bitch or some girl, right? It’s not so much that he’s doing it for some bitch. To him, it’s not some bitch. When you’re looking from outside, you’re like, What a bitch, right? But for him, it’s his maiden who needs to be rescued from the tower, from the dragon, and he’s got to go kill the dragon, scale the tower, kill all the bad guys and rescue the sleeping maiden, right? That’s the male fantasy, the immature male fantasy. What he’s really rescuing there is his inner child who is the pure virgin, right? You’re really rescuing yourself from the fucking bad things that are happening in this world.
That’s really deep. You don’t have to accept that if you don’t want to. I know I’ve skipped a lot of steps there logically in the argument to arrive at the conclusion, but I just want to preview for you how deep that can be. Maybe check back in a couple of years. Maybe I’ll have a different view on it. But that’s after years of research on this and over 10 years of experience coaching tens of thousands of clients. This is pretty obvious now to me. We don’t have to go to you, rescuing your inner child. You can just stick with the martyrdom thing and just focus on the fixer. That’d be even easier. It shouldn’t just stay there at the basic level. [30:20.6]
What should you do now? Because you’re going to continue to be in relationships where you look for women who need fixing. It doesn’t even appeal to you sexually, emotionally, unless you can rescue her. You’re actually going to be the fixers, the nice guys. They’re always attracted. They think it’s like they have high standards, because she’s got to be hot or why or whatever, and I’ll get to this in the next video or in one of the future episodes.
But they’re actually just going to repeat this pattern, because what they’re trying to do is go back to their original pattern, when they first had that coping strategy, when they first came upon that strategy and then latched on to it, which was to get love from their parents and the primary caregivers if it’s not your parents, and they’re trying to recreate that dynamic every time, and this is what love is about. [31:08.1]
If it’s just sex, it’s totally different, right? I mean, it’s not totally different, but it’s different. But when you’re in a relationship and there are emotions involved, as all of these guys are talking about, and most of the questions that I’m getting from the “Man Up” group are about emotions, then that’s what you’re recreating. You’re trying to get that primary emotion of love and approval, and attention, basically.
At the most basic level, attention, approval, affection, love, and connection from this woman that you have mistakenly put in the position of the one who can give that to you. If you would just do finally please her in the way you couldn’t fully please your parents, because you can never fully please anybody, right? You’re fully always, forever, right? You always have to re-please, re-please, reachieve, reachieve, achieve more, achieve more, achieve more. Anyway, the same with a woman. You’re going to be in that relationship and eventually you’re going to give her everything. [32:05.8]
This is one of the common refrains from guys in this situation with fixers suffering from fixers’ fixer syndrome, from the White Knight syndrome. It’s like a disease. It’s an addiction. They’re addicted to this dynamic, and after a certain point, they’ve given everything. I’ve been in this situation multiple times, unfortunately. I was kind of dense. There was no one to teach me this stuff back then. I was just listening to pick up artists who just teach you tactics and stupid shit like that, again, just dealing with symptoms instead of the actual problem. I can go into a lot more detail on this, but I’m going to just stop there at this point.
I’ve gone over the fixer. I talked about how it goes back to childhood and the three coping strategies are the most common, or, actually, they pretty much encompass everything and that most guys choose the achiever or the pleaser coping strategy, which is also encompassing the achiever and the joker. [32:57.9]
Because of that, they’re attracted to girls who need fixing, who need rescuing, and at a more extreme level, or, actually, many of them have this martyrdom fantasy. They’re just not aware of it or they’re not self-aware or not mature enough to start to reach that point yet when they can give it all. You’d have to reach a certain level where you’ve sort of given a lot and you’re like, What more can I give? when those martyrdom things, the fantasies start to come up?
Because if you don’t have a woman at all if ever, and you’re just excited about saying hi to a girl and having a conversation with an attractive woman, you’re not even at that level yet where you’re fantasizing about rescuing or martyrdom yet.
Then what can you do? Let me see. I gave you three steps, right? And there’s a lot more to it. I go into a lot more detail on this in Rock Solid Relationships and Masculine Mastery. But let me give you three quick tips on this. [33:54.8]
The first step is to stop rescuing women. Just stop. Stop rescuing women. You have to start to catch and identify, notice when these tendencies are coming up. Listen to yourself. If you’re starting to say things like, “I’m going to give her everything,” or if you catch yourself having these dreams of sacrificing your life or yourself for this innocent, pure paragon of virtue, this woman, or that you see inside. “On the outside, she’s this damaged woman, but inside, she’s this loving, caring, pure, innocent, good person. If only I could . . . I could be with her and shower her with love, then she would flower and her goodness would come out.” If you’re dealing with that kind of shit, they’re blinding you, man, to reality, and that’s because of your own fantasies. That’s your own shit happening. That’s your own fixer mindset just poisoning all of your perceptions. Stop doing that. Stop rescuing women. [34:46.5]
Okay, so on the one hand, basically I would recommend that you do not get into a relationship. Getting into casual sex is fine, depending on your morals. I’ve got no problem with [casual–] You have the sexual need. That’s different from your emotional need for love, so you can fulfill that. You can have fun. You can go on dates. Just don’t get emotionally attached too much, right? Because what’s going to happen is, until you’ve healed, until you’ve dealt with this issue specifically, you’re just going to recreate this dynamic, and every time you experience it again, you’ll get more addicted to it. Every cycle that you have, the addiction gets deeper, so just stop it. That’s the first. You’ve got to stop the bleeding. Stop the bleeding.
Okay, then Step 2 is what should you do? That’s a pause. That’s a negative project, right, what not to do. What should you do then? The positive project is to put yourself first. Treat that inner boy that has been neglected, by society, by your upbringing. Go back to the inner boy.
Every day, do something for yourself, something that you probably think as a nice guy, fixer mindset, would think is self-indulgent. Maybe it’s having a little bit of ice cream. Don’t do that if you’re well overweight, though. But maybe it’s getting a massage. I don’t know, maybe it’s reading a book that you really enjoy or maybe it’s going to watch a movie that you really enjoy. It’s okay to do that. In fact, it’s really good to do that. Find something every day. [36:09.4]
In fact, even better, go even further into this. Rather than doing these little things every day, or, actually, you should do those, but in addition, even more important, I should say, is to do something big to break the pattern, interrupt the pattern of your life to put yourself first, and to really show your unconscious mind you are indeed taking a new step and starting a fresh chapter and you’re going to do something drastic or dramatic for yourself. One of the best things you can do is to travel and travel alone.
If you travel with other people, unless they’re on the same journey, other guys also recovering and maybe you and your buddy are in the same realization—maybe you watch this video and he’s going through some stuff, too, and you’re like, Let’s just travel together—but whatever it is, make sure you have a lot of alone time on these trips where you get to be with yourself. [37:00.0]
You need to be with yourself more instead of pleasing everybody, because the pleaser isn’t just a pleaser for his girlfriend. He’s a pleaser for everyone. He’s going to have a hard time saying no to people. He’s going to have a hard time drawing boundaries. He’s going to have a hard time asserting himself, and that’s all rooted in that childhood trauma and the shame that is a result of it, and then his coping strategy of pleasing.
So, travel alone. Traveling will give you new experiences and break your patterns, and give you new associations and anchors. It will also challenge you, so you’re going to develop resilience and independence, depending on where you go. Hopefully, you go somewhere that’s not just five-star luxury everywhere, but go somewhere that’s new and challenging.
Maybe go to a place– definitely go to a place where you don’t speak the language. Go to a foreign country where you don’t speak the language. Try some new foods. Go see, do some adventurous things. Go bungee jumping, skydiving, whatever. Throw in scuba-diving. That’s a really good one. I didn’t write that in my little notes, but scuba-diving is great. Just as a little [unclear 37:59.5] on that, it teaches you a lot of independence, but it also teaches you resilience. Anything along those lines. [38:05.6]
Almost all my friends have their PADI licenses, but I didn’t. I grew up in landlocked Toronto. Came out here and, in these parts, there’s just so much amazing diving out in Southeast Asia. It seems like everyone has a diving license. So, I went with my buddies and they all went off diving, and I did a crash course, a PADI course that was condensed because we only had two people in the class.
The first day you’re in the pool. You’re in a 10-foot pool and you’re looking up, but it’s kind of freaky at first, breathing underwater, but it’s not too hard to pool and you learn how to jump backwards. Then you go in the open. We went into open water on the second day.
I remember the first time I’m on the seabed and look up, it’s about 20 feet up or whatever, and you’ve never been down that far and you’re not fucking breathing. You’re breathing underwater, and then you’ve got to take the respirator out and throw it off, and then you’ve got to do that emergency grab thing. That whole thing is fucking freaky. I was a mature man, but I was like, Okay, don’t look up, because those things are really good for you. Anything where you’re testing yourself physically and mentally, especially physically. Physical and mental together. [39:12.3]
I also suggest you do some Brazilian jiu-jitsu or wrestling. Submission grappling of any kind is good, more so than just hitting pads. Actually going up against another guy in a good-natured, good-spirited competition is really good for training, your resilience and independence, and belief in yourself.
Meditation is indispensable. I’ve done other videos on meditation. Go look at those. I do a transcendental type of meditation. It’s not TM, but it’s a Vedic mantra meditation. I also do mindfulness. You can learn it from an app if you can’t find a teacher. That’s a good way to start.
So, meditation, traveling alone, physical challenge, all really great ways to put yourself first, all right, and be in a situation where you’re not have tempted to please people, where you can really be with yourself and your emotions and notice all of the thoughts that are swirling around in you, and to develop that independence. All right? [40:11.5]
Then, thirdly, it’s not done. I mean, you can do the putting yourself first. You can try to shut it down. But it won’t be done. You won’t be on the right path until you’ve done the grief work, and the reason why is because there are different levels of consciousness, just say like we have different parts of the human brain. The prefrontal cortex, this is very common knowledge now, at least the two systems, System 1 and System 2, Daniel Kahneman, Nobel-Prize-winning economist, blah, blah, blah, right? Jonathan Haidt, another easy way to get into this literature, The Happiness Hypothesis.
The prefrontal cortex is not able to control a lot of what the brain is doing. You think in your conscious awareness that you’re in control, but actually, the unconscious mind is in control, and that’s a very brute way of putting it, a brute force way of putting it. But we have different levels of consciousness. One is the cortex kind of consciousness and then there’s the emotional consciousness, and then there’s sensory-level consciousness. [41:07.7]
I’m not going to get into that right now, but I will just point out that the emotional trauma has to be dealt with at the emotional level. You can’t fix or heal. I want to use the word “fix” because that’ll trigger you, or tempt you, I should say. You can’t fix the emotional trauma at the cognitive level. You can talk all you want and intellectualize all you want, but you won’t fix the problem. It’s just like you’re basically just putting more band-aids over it. At least, actually, you’re tearing off the band-aids and you’re just looking at it.
Okay, so you see the problem, but you’re not fixing it. It’s still rotting and you’re not doing anything, so to actually solve the problem, you’ve got to go at that level and that means you have to go at the emotional level. All the intellectualizing and all this won’t help it further beyond just seeing the problem, and the travel alone and the physical challenge, and the meditation will really help. It’s the beginning of just cleaning the wound, so to speak. [42:02.0]
But to actually get it solved, you have to do the grief work. This is a term of art from clinical psychology and I was hesitating on whether I should go that deep in these “Man-Up” episodes, but I’m going to do it, so grief work. Usually, I take four weeks, four modules, to ease guys into that deep stuff. Some very sexual, isn’t it? To ease guys into the deep concepts in Rock Solid Relationships and Masculine Mastery to moving them into grief work. We begin to do grief work at a basic level, and by the second and third week in a deeper level and then the fourth week, and then they can come back to it.
Another way to do it is to get a therapist or counselor, and if you do that every week, the average person, the average adult seeing a good psychotherapist, the average achiever, especially, a really smart go-getter guy who is making six figures in his 30s and just real a go-getter, he could really benefit from therapy actually even more so than the guy who is not achieving very much. [43:03.0]
So, you’re doing that every week and, maybe eight weeks later, you start to really see this problem solving, I mean, the problem being fixed. I mean, the average therapy rates are 200 bucks an hour, so if you want to kick start it, I’ve made a course. Of course, it doesn’t replace actually ongoing, monthly or yearly counseling support, but it definitely is an amazing way to jumpstart it and to introduce you to how to do this.
To summarize it, the fixer mindset plagues every nice guy. It’s based in his childhood coping strategies that he latched on to and then took into his adulthood through the decades. He is now recreating this dynamic with every woman, every significant target of affection and approval that he’s attracted to. He’s going to continue to create this dynamic unless he fixes the problem, unless he stops the bleeding. [43:57.4]
That led into the three steps you can take. One is to stop the bleeding, just stop pleasing and rescuing and fixing women. All right? And you’re not going to be sexually attracted yet, unless you’ve done the other two steps to women who don’t need rescuing, because you won’t have any chemistry. Your neuroses don’t match their neuroses.
Chemistry happens when your neuroses match. Actually, that’s not strictly true, but it’s a good way of thinking about it. In this case, it’s definitely true. For the fixer, he will be attracted, he will have chemistry with women who match his neuroses. You’re not going to get that attraction with the girl who has got it all together. She’s going to be boring and sort of straight-laced for you. I’ll get into that, hopefully, in another episode.
Then the Step 2. Stop. You’ve got to stop the bleeding, though, so stop rescuing women, and, preferably, not committing to long-term relationships anymore for the time being. Then the second is to put yourself first. You can do that through traveling alone, treating yourself to things that you’ve been putting off, and it includes physical challenge. That didn’t includes meditation. All right? [45:02.3]
Then the third step is the grief work, and as I pointed out, I have courses that lead guys through it. You can also get a counselor, a therapist, a good one. There are a lot of bad ones out there, just like there are a lot of bad fitness trainers out there, but there are some really great ones, so make sure you get picky and you find a good one that matches you and is very empathetic with you, and commit to it. You’re going to need the eight weeks at least to start to see those results so stick with it.
So, there you go, the fixer mindset. It plagues every nice guy. It plagues every pickup artist who used to be a nice guy. [45:35.3]
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