Have you seen these two caricatures in the dating world?
One is the arrogant guy whose obnoxious behaviour brings him attention from women. And the other is the nice guy, who believes that helping a woman will earn her affection.
These are two common roles that men play in dating. But these two extremes don’t create a solid foundation for a relationship. Instead of bringing you happiness, these behaviours manipulate and repel the right women.
But you don’t have to play these roles in order to find happiness with your ideal woman.
Listen now to discover how living out your own values attracts the right women for you.
Show highlights include:
- Why being a “nice guy” isn’t the same as being a “good man” (3:36)
- How she sees through your attempts to trick her into bed (and why this manipulation always backfires) (4:19)
- Why you won’t find happiness in a relationship based on obligation (and what to build your relationship on instead) (5:15)
- How letting your morals shine naturally attracts women with similar values (8:05)
- Why doing good for others (without trying to spark sexual attraction) opens more women to your personality (19:35)
- How a deeper understanding of your own childhood lets you connect with your emotions so you can “live in color” (23:48)
- Ask yourself these 3 questions to discover what’s gone wrong in past relationships (so you can a create healthier relationship with your ideal woman) (33:47)
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/
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Note: Scroll Below for Transcription
Welcome to the Masculine Psychology Podcast, where we answer key questions in dating, relationships, success, and fulfillment, and explore the psychology of masculinity. Now here’s your host, world-renowned therapist and life coach, David Tian.
David: Welcome to Episode 16 of the Masculine Psychology Podcast. I’m David Tian, your host.
In this episode, I’ll be explaining how you can attract women the ethical way—and why is this such a big deal? It’s because most of the men that I work with want to be good men. They don’t want to have to sacrifice or compromise their ethics or their moral principles in order to be attractive to women. They don’t want to manipulate or deceive, or lie or cheat, in order to make the most of their dating lives.
As you might be able to tell, this is for all of you guys who self-identify as nice guys. I’ve used the term white knight in this context and I just think that I felt that white knight might be a little bit too pejorative, so I’m going to stick with nice guys, but there’s all kinds of terms, fixers, pleasers, but I’m going to stick with nice guys. [01:13.5]
If you identify as a nice guy or the term “nice guy” kind of resonates with you, then this is even more important for you, but it’s also for any man who doesn’t want to compromise his moral principles in his dating life and feels like maybe he’s had to, or he looks around and sees that the guys who are winning or doing well, succeeding in dating, the guys who are getting the girls that he wants, the hottest girls or whatever, are the type of guys who are arrogant or shallow or air headed or something like that. Then these good guys, they don’t want to have to become that way in order to attract physically-attractive women. [01:55.7]
Right away, let’s just notice that that is a myth, that there’s a myth of this false dichotomy between either you’re an arrogant, shallow, airheaded bimbo—and in the incel subculture, they call this a Chad, an unethical bad boy—or you’re a nice guy who gets taken advantage of and is not appreciated, and has the best of intentions, but ends up getting friend-zoned. It’s not either/or. That’s a false dichotomy.
In this episode and in the next couple episodes, I’m going to be breaking down for you how you can be a good man, that is a man who has moral principles that you follow and cares about ethics and tries to follow ethics, tries to be a good person, and still be and maximize your sexual attractiveness that you don’t need to be an arrogant, shallow airhead in order to fulfill your potential, your dating potential, your mating potential.
Okay, first off, that’s a false dichotomy between either you’re a nice guy that gets taken advantage of or you’re an arrogant, shallow airheaded Chad. Okay, that’s the myth or we can just call it false dichotomy. [03:10.0]
Then there’s another myth. I’ll call it the “nice guy” myth, which is that bending over backwards for her will trigger attraction or, to put it differently, being nice will work. That’s a myth, being nice will work in getting her to like you more. I think that’s what motivates nice guys to be nice and that’s why nice guys aren’t good men.
Let’s set up a proper dichotomy there, proper contrast, proper distinction between being good versus being nice. A nice guy is nice because he’s trying to trigger reciprocation in the other party. In this explanation of nice, the nice guy is being nice in order to get other people to be nice back to him. [03:57.3]
Specifically in the dating context, the nice guy is trying to be nice to the woman in order to curry her favor or to please her in the hopes that, by doing so, by being nice towards her, she will like him. She will be sexually attracted to him or at least she will feel guilty if she doesn’t. She has got a conscience then she ought to feel sexually attracted to him because he has done so much for her and he’s hoping that he can bank on that to get her to be his girlfriend or at least get her in bed.
That’s just a lie. It’s a myth that doesn’t work. That’s not how human psychology works. Actually, you might make her feel guilty, but that won’t lead to sexual attraction. She might have sex with you out of guilt or for just feeling sorry for you or out of pity, but it’s not sexual attraction. She might also feel obligated to have sex with you, but that’s not sexual attraction. [04:59.1]
Now, some of my nice guys might just settle for that and they might just be fine with, I don’t care if she’s sexually attracted as long as she’s with me, as long as I’ve got her, as long as I’m the one having sex with her and I’m the boyfriend.
If a nice guy thinks that, that just tells me he hasn’t been in a relationship before, because you do not want to be in a long-term relationship with someone who’s not passionate about you, who is sort of there out of obligation or because of other circumstances, logistics, for instance. It’s like a slow death. That’s sort of like a slow-burning hell.
If that’s what you like, just give it a try because you’ll find out the hard way that that is not pleasant. It’s not fulfilling. It won’t lead to happiness. I’m just going to assume that you understand that that’s not what you want. You want somebody who is sexually attracted to you, and then, of course, for a relationship, also other things like loving, connected, and compassionate and all that other good stuff.
Those are different, by the way. Love and attraction are different emotions. I’ve done an entire other seminar on this. You can find it by Googling “David Tian love versus attraction” or you can do a YouTube search on my channel there and find it. [06:10.3]
So, nice guys or being nice is contrasted here with being good. Being good is its own reward. You’re being morally good, not because it gets you more pleasure or because it gets you more money, or because it gets you more status or accolades or attention or whatever.
Then that would actually undermine any moral merit there. You’re being good because it’s good to be good. The very definition of moral good would mean that it’s good in and of itself. It’s not instrumental. It’s not good for something else. It’s just good. That’s part of what it means to be good.
For instance, setting the bar really low, just for an example so this can appeal or make sense to as many people as possible, not killing or not murdering. Let’s say, not murdering somebody is good. At least it’s not bad, right? Not murdering somebody. Let’s just say that being good equals, at the very base level here, not murdering somebody. [07:08.3]
Now, you’re not refraining from murdering somebody because it will get you more money or some kind of more merit. You’re refraining from killing people because you know that that’s a bad thing. It’s the morally good choice to refrain from murdering somebody.
Okay, this should just be obvious now. I don’t want to dive any deeper into it, because if that’s not obvious to you, then you’re probably not my audience. I’m aware that there are tons of guys, it’s still a small minority, but still sizable given the population of the world that listens to podcasts and YouTube and stuff like that, they comment things like that on forums and all that because they have a lot of free time.
If that’s you, my channel and my message aren’t for you. If you’re just out to get yours and to manipulate people, as in you’re only being good if it gets you something and then you think that that’s fine, then we don’t really have any common ground here. [08:05.2]
But for my audience, I think part of the reason I’ve chosen this topic is that I know that the majority of my audience is made up of men who care about being good and they don’t want to compromise their moral values or the principles in order to be successful in dating.
But then they feel like the pop culture and maybe liberal culture where there’s a kind of moral relativism doesn’t support their moral stances or being ethical, and they might see around them guys who are or they perceive them to be arrogant, shallow airheaded guys who are succeeding in dating. I want to break that down for you and show you that that’s not what you need to do or to become in order to be sexually attractive or to fulfill your potential in sexual attractiveness.
I want to also set up this dichotomy, a proper one, between being good versus being nice. When you’re good, you’re good because you value the good, not because you think the good will get you something else. Okay, that’s contrasted with being nice because you’re being nice in order to get something from somebody else or you’re being kind in order to get others to be kind back to you. [09:16.0]
If there’s no moral merit there, in being kind to those who are kind to you, by the way, or only being kind to others because you want them to be kind back to you, that’s what everybody in the entire universe in the world already does normally, not any more special as a result of being nice that way. So, you’re not really nice. You’re just manipulative in a kind of backhanded way because you’re doing it. You’re manipulating by being nice.
In a bigger sense, a lot of guys who are nice guys in this sense end up becoming bitter and resentful, and joining one of those undercurrents, the underbelly of men’s movements, like a Red Pill or MGTOW, or even worse, incel, because they started off as nice guys who never were rewarded with what they thought should be reciprocated by their nice guy behavior. [10:11.8]
They go out of their way to do all kinds of things. Maybe they fund this girl’s life, or when she’s sick, he drives all this way over and brings chicken soup over to her house. That’s a real example I’ve encountered multiple times in Singapore. They’re not even dating. There’s no real relationship. He just happens to be in the same class as she is and finds out that she’s sick, so he goes out of his way to do a favor for her, and then he’s really angry that she doesn’t go out of her way to thank him.
All right, obviously you were being nice to her, not because you were nice or because you were kind. It’s not because it’s an outflowing of a character trait in you. You are doing it because you’re hoping that you can manipulate this person to act and reciprocate back to you being nice. That’s just another type of manipulation. [11:05.5]
Okay, so to recap here, we’ve got a couple of dichotomies I’ve set up here, some false ones, some real ones, and a myth.
- The first thing I mentioned was the false dichotomy between being nice and being an arrogant, shallow airhead. Those are not the only two choices.
- Then I mentioned a real dichotomy that I’m setting up a real contrast here between being good versus being nice, good versus nice, two very different categories.
- Then finally the myth, the nice guy myth, that being nice actually works to generate attraction, that’s a myth, that bending over backwards for her or investing lots of time and effort into her will somehow trigger attraction in her. In fact, what it does is it just gets you more invested and you become more attracted to her. You end up overvaluing her, just by the very nature of you investing so much time and effort, hoping that she will reciprocate to you. That’s the nice guy myth. [12:03.4]
Now I’ve got four points to walk you through, what’s actually going on here, four points.
The first point is to understand how the nice guy came to be. How did you come to this conclusion? Where did you get this idea, this belief that by bending over backwards, by placating, by pleasing, by appeasing, by currying favor with her in this way, by being nice in this way that you would then trigger her attraction? How did this come about? Where did you get this belief?
In many other videos, seminars, podcast episodes, I’ve gone over the three major strategies, coping strategies, that we human beings tried out and then eventually settled on one as our main coping strategy for getting and keeping the love and connection that we required as a fundamental human need, growing up as children, and this beginning as early as six months and definitely solidifying by the third-year mark absence, major trauma, severe trauma could activate a new coping strategy. [13:07.6]
But most of us would have figured it out somewhere between six months and 36 months, and the three options, broadly speaking, the three main categories are a pleaser, the reckless or recluse, and the rebel. The pleaser, the recluse and the rebel.
The nice guy generally is coming out of the pleaser strategy. I’ve done a lot of other videos and episodes on these three coping strategies, so I’m not going to get into a lot of detail on that right now, but you can kind of understand it just through those terms, right, those labels, that the pleaser obviously is trying to please the parent figures in order to get and keep their attention, their approval, their love. [13:49.2]
Then the recluse just sort of gives up and withdraws to protect his hurt and vulnerability, so he doesn’t get hurt again, but really there’s underneath that this bid for attention and love, right? Have you ever followed or tried that approach where you just sort of huddle up in the corner, hoping the one that you love will notice and then come over and comfort you, sort of like sulking there in the corner and hoping that that will draw attention and then some pity, and then you’ll get your love. That’s the recluse strategy.
Then there’s a rebel who is just sort of like a “fuck you” strategy, and underneath that also is agitation and anxiety, hoping that by pushing away, the parent figure will say, Oh, I finally noticed how much I’ve hurt you and I will love you. Of course, if you’re a pleaser like I was, and so, again, just in case anybody takes this too personally, these terms, nice guy, I’ve learned all of these the hard way. I started off as a pleaser as well and most of my friends and peers chose to be pleaser achievers, the achieving subset of pleaser. [15:00.8]
But I also understand the recluse and the rebel. Maybe some of you chose the recluse and rebel or the rebel strategy as your primary default way of living, and underneath that is still this need for love, and we’ll just say, the maladaptive way of getting it in the long-term.
Now, in the short-term, we must have been rewarded. That’s why we chose it. It’s obvious how the pleaser could have caught on to that strategy, because when he got good grades or he tidied up his room, or basically obeyed his parents, he pleased them and then they showed him attention and lavished praise on him, and then was born the pleaser. The more that that happened, the more conditioned he was to become a pleaser.
Then, of course, the same with the recluse. Maybe he withdrew and then they’re like, Oh, I feel sorry for Johnny, and they come over, and every time he withdraws and sulks, they come over and then he gets rewarded for that, or maybe he tried the other two strategies and got more punished by the other two strategies than by the recluse strategy, so then he settled on that recluse strategy. That could work for any of the three, by the way. He just got less punished for the others, for that one than the other two. [16:04.5]
Then the rebel, too, he ended up getting other needs met, maybe his needs for adventure or uncertainty or whatever, a variety, by being a rebel, and that outweighed any kind of other advantages to following a pleaser or recluse strategy.
The nice guy flows out of the pleaser strategy, and then as a certain subset of pleaser. It’s a pleaser who is like a fixer. It’s kind of a savior. That’s why I used to call it white knight. That’s a little bit more specific and descriptive, I think, but then again, it sounds a little bit derogatory or more derogatory than a nice guy.
The fixer is feeling like it’s his job or at least that is within his control to fix the other person or to save the other person, or to rescue the other person or, in some way, to take responsibility for the other person’s emotions, and even at the most basic level, that emotion might be sexual attractions that it becomes and it feels like it’s his responsibility to generate or spark sexual attraction. [17:09.8]
Almost all pickup artists started off as pleasers. Not all. There are some pickup artists who might have just been fully into the manipulation thing and just saw some of the pickup strategies as another set of tools that he could put in his toolbox to manipulate people. Those are relatively rare, because if he was already dialed in on that, he’d probably already have quite a lot of tools to manipulate women, so that would be kind of like a psychopath or sociopathic type of approach.
But most of the pickup bars I saw and met were good at heart, I noticed. They were nice people. They want it to be kind. Just like most people, we default to being kind because it actually feels good to be kind. Then we harden up when our kindness is not rewarded or is punished, and then we kind of learned street smarts that way. [18:00.0]
So, many men developed a kind of protectiveness around being kind, around being nice, and then they began to use their niceness as a tool to manipulate others to get a certain reaction, right, so the niceness became a kind of currency—I’ll be nice to you in exchange for you being nice to me or you giving me something else that I want, maybe sex, maybe it’s just attention, maybe it’s a make-out, maybe it’s a date—and then they use that as a kind of weapon.
It must have served them at some point earlier on, probably with non-sexual contexts like just friendships, buying this other guy a beer, maybe you notice, then the guy is nicer to you, and then you started to use this over and over. But, of course, when you’re trying to get back from the guy or these other friendships or professional circles or circumstances, it’s not sexual attraction. It doesn’t work for sexual attraction, which is an emotion. It will cause guilt perhaps or it could trigger reciprocation. [19:07.6]
That’s the norm. That’s why I keep saying reciprocation. That’s a real psychological trigger. That’s a real psychological effect. When you do something for somebody else, they feel an urge to reciprocate. That’s normal. But not when it comes to sexual attraction, because when a guy does that for a woman in the sexual marketplace, she already assumes that he wants sex or wants something from her that’s sexual, so it soils the whole thing.
Now sincerity really matters, being authentic about your intentions, that you’re being nice, not to get something from the other person, but because you just feel like being nice, that it’s just part of your moral code, being good. Then it’s pure of heart. You’re not doing it in order to get something else from somebody, right? It’s not a transaction. You’re just doing it because it’s an expression of your moral and ethical belief system. Then that’s different. That’s the difference between good and nice. [20:06.3]
Okay, so that’s the first point that the nice guy is a kind of pleaser and this is something that gets set very early on around six months to 36 months of our lives, the first six to 36 months. It might even be earlier, but we don’t have very much research on earlier than that.
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Now what’s happening is, and now we move into the second point, in developmental psychology and psychotherapy, this condition is called a parentified child. That is somebody who is a child who has been put in the position of being a kind of parent or parenting the parents emotions, taking responsibility for how the parents feel.
In traditional Asian societies and cultures, this is actually the norm. This is the default. This is just normal. It’s normal for the parents to shame their children into behavior by saying that their kid’s behavior makes them feel either this or that, either good or bad. The effect on the parents of the way you are, whether it’s getting good grades or getting bad grades, might make your parents feel more anxious, and therefore you ought to get good grades. This is an argument that is sort of foisted upon you, forced on you. [22:08.8]
When a child is made to feel responsible as a parent’s emotional caretaker, the child is forced into an impossible role. Since a child couldn’t reasonably be expected to have the emotional maturity or resources necessary, the child would eventually and inevitably fail in the role as a caretaker of the parents.
Even worse, when that happens, the parentified child is not taught why his boundaries have been violated by his own parents and the child does not understand why he fails. Instead, the child’s natural conclusion is that he’s deficient or unworthy, or not good enough, which leads to toxic shame, which in turn generates destructive patterns of thought, emotion and behavior. All of this leads to a nice guy strategy, a kind of protective mechanism for getting his needs met. [23:01.5]
Now, researchers call this type of relationship enmeshment. If the parentified child continues in this enmeshed relationship, he will come to believe that, if he could just be X enough, he could finally prove to his parent figure and to himself that he was a worthwhile or adequate person.
This faulty thought pattern often persists into adulthood, and even when the adult understands intellectually why this thinking might be toxic or harmful, at an unconscious and emotional level, he still feels responsible for his parent figures’ feelings and still feels like he ought to caretake their emotions.
While a child can stay alive with just food and shelter, a child cannot thrive without emotional nourishment. The parentified child deals with this toxic upbringing by turning off his own emotions and emotional needs since those are merely ancillary to his parent figures’ needs. [24:01.5]
In adulthood, those of us with an enmeshed to childhood discover that it’s difficult for us or almost impossible to turn on our emotions again even when we want to, or when we do turn them back on, our awareness of our own emotions is so stunted or so basic that it’s like seeing life in black and white instead of the richness of full color, so that, in the end, it actually becomes difficult to tell whether you’re even a nice guy, because to understand whether you’re a nice guy in the way I’m using the term, you would need to have enough self-awareness to know why you’re doing what you’re doing underneath the surface. You’d have to have access to your unconscious.
But because you’re a nice guy, you would have had to be enmeshed as a child, and therefore you would have had to shut down your emotions to a great degree in order to survive in that context, in that relationship, because your needs were not paramount. It was your parents’ needs that were most important, your parent figures’ needs. [25:03.5]
So, actually the nice guys don’t even know that they’re nice guys. Therefore, this message is really only going to resonate with those who are sort of at the last straw or have almost hit rock bottom, or maybe already have hit rock bottom and are looking for a deeper level to find the solution to their issues.
That’s the second point I wanted to share here that the nice guy is a subset of a pleaser strategy and that it’s a result of a parentified childhood, a childhood in which there was an enmeshed relationship with parent figures, and that means that your boundaries were violated repeatedly by your parents, maybe unconsciously by your parents, because very likely they just adopted the parenting style that they were exposed to and saw growing up, so they’re just continuing what they’re their own parents did and right up the generational chain there. We’re not trying to assign blame or fault here.
It’s our responsibility now with what we’re given to do to play the hand we’re given, right? Play the hand we’re dealt. But it’s important to recognize the condition that would have led us into this coping strategy that created this nice-guy dating strategy. [26:15.6]
There’s so much more to explain, to go into detail here about parentified childhood, enmeshment, boundaries, assertiveness, etc., especially toxic shame. All of that is laid out in a lot of detail in my course, “Rock Solid Relationships”.
In fact, I devote five modules to exploration of this, along with the guided meditations that are required to get you through the processing, the unconscious processing at the emotional level for the unburdening and the healing to occur to get freedom from these neurotic patterns that, if you are a nice guy, you have been subjected to for most of your life, probably for decades. [26:59.3]
To undo all of that in a period of weeks is like a miracle and, in fact, that’s what we do in that course, “Rock Solid Relationships”, as well as my course, “Freedom U”. I highly recommend those, and I go into a lot more detail there. In this episode, I only have enough time to do this, kind of a very brief overview of one small component of it.
Let me share with you the third point, which is a kind of cheat code for figuring all of this out. This is a series of questions that can act as a kind of a secret key to unlocking all what’s going on underneath to explain why you’re a nice guy, how you’re a nice guy, all of these neurotic patterns that come up in relationships, especially long-term relationships.
I just want to put this out as a caveat. You might be kind of a sexy nice guy, like a rebel, a bad boy on the outside, and I ended up becoming like that by learning how to put on the persona of a kind of a bad boy. I’ve met plenty of other bad boys who have been kind of sexy, dangerous type of guys from their teenage years, but an underneath there were still pleasers. [28:09.3]
A lot of Asian bad boys are actually pleasers and nice guys at heart and they get wrapped up in these toxic relationships with these narcissistic or emotional-vampire women that they don’t recognize until way too late. Those types of nice guys will only discover that they’re nice guys much further down the road in a long-term relationship.
They may not have that much difficulty with getting attraction or getting laid, but when in a relationship, over time, then the nice-guy strategies will start to come out in trying to appease or please the girlfriend or wife, and then the problems are a lot more obvious.
Okay, so here’s the question you ask yourself to understand at a deeper level what’s really going on, and, in fact, this isn’t just for nice guys. This is for everyone. I’ll lay out these questions. I learned these from the Tony Robbins coaching certification, my first coaching certification, but these questions aren’t unique to the Robbins approaches. [29:13.8]
It’s not just a life-coaching thing. This is basic psychotherapy, but the wording of the question is really powerful and effective and gets right to the heart of the matter, so I’m going to just adopt what I was taught there, and here’s the first question. When I ask the question, pay attention to your first gut reaction, all right, so what’s your first gut reaction, instinctive answer.
Growing up, whose love did you crave the most, your mother or your father? Maybe it might be someone else who raised you. Maybe it’s godparents or grandparents, or an uncle or aunt. That’s why I say parent figure instead of a parent. Whose love did you crave the most growing up, whichever parent figure, mother or father? Gut reaction, boom, what is it? [30:00.8]
Here’s a clue. For those of us who are nice guys, you probably don’t know because, in order to survive growing up, you had to numb your emotions and your own needs in order to take care of your parents’ emotions. Here’s a clue. It’s probably the parent figure that you didn’t see very often or that you saw less, or the one who was maybe spending the whole day or weekends at work or who was away.
That’s the one that you’re craving the most because the other parent was there more often, and even if you’re closer to that other parent and you might think, Oh, the other parent because I spent more time with them, very likely in your unconscious, you craved love from the one that you couldn’t get love from.
Okay, so that’s how often it works, not always, but that’s just generally speaking the case. So, the first question is, whose love did you crave the most growing up, your mother or your father? Maybe it was someone else who raised you and who wasn’t there very often. [30:56.7]
Okay, whoever that is, the next question is, so think of who that is first, okay, so you’ve got the answer to that, the next question is, who did you have to be for that person? Who did you have to be for that person? That wording in English was so powerful because it’s purposely vague. It’s purposely ambiguous. It’s open-ended. Who did you have to be?
For those of you who are nice guys, you may not know what that means, so I’m going to say a little bit more, but as I say a little bit more, I’m already kind of spoiling the question because it’s always the first gut reaction. Who did you have to be?
Maybe you already have an answer to that. Maybe the way you had to be was to be obedient or hardworking, or quiet or getting good grades, or somebody that they could show off to the other parents in their community. Maybe it’s just not around. Maybe you were just not supposed to disturb them, or maybe it’s just that you needed to excel. Who did you have to be for that per parent to keep their love or get their attention? Who did you have to be for them? Okay, that’s a little bit more detail on that question. [32:06.6]
As you think about that, who did you have to be for that person? for a lot of nice guys, it’s that you had to please them. What did you have to do to please them, to please mother or father? Often it was that you had to do stuff or that you had to take into account how they were feeling.
Maybe they came back from work really tired and agitated, or frustrated or angry, or snapping at people or you, right, so that you had to be quiet or you had to be in your homework, or in some other way, you have to take care of their emotions, and how did you do that? How did you do that? What kind of personality traits did you end up having to adopt in order to get their love or attention or approval? Who did you have to be for that person? [32:52.3]
Then the third question is, who could you not be? For a lot of nice guys, who you could not be for that person that you craved love from the most was you couldn’t be sexual. You couldn’t be dangerous. You couldn’t be a risk-taker. You couldn’t cut class. You couldn’t do drugs. You couldn’t smoke. You couldn’t drink. You couldn’t stay out late. You couldn’t talk back.
You couldn’t be, in other words, a bad boy in the making, or you couldn’t get a tattoo. You couldn’t dye your hair. You couldn’t wear clothes that were too sexual and you couldn’t hang out with other kids who were like that, very likely, but maybe it’s different for you, different permutations of nice guys.
All right, that’s generally speaking how it worked out and it’s important to ask those questions and there are many more in the sequence. I’ll just give you those three in the interest of time. Whose love did you crave the most growing up? First gut reaction. Then, who did you have to be for that person? Who could you not be for that person? [33:58.7]
You’ll notice, if you give an honest, sincere answer to those questions, you’ll see the pattern of your relationships or the failure of your relationships. They’re spelled out and that’s why this is what’s called family of origin in psychotherapy. If you can understand your upbringing, when your very literal physical brain was forming neural pathways and patterns were being set and what’s being triggered.
When you have a trigger, it’s like putting your car on the highway versus having your car and figuring out how to get to this other place for the very first time and you’re going through local roads and watching, looking at the map the whole time. It’s slow and it stops and starts all the way through. That’s when you’re first learning something, it feels like that. You’re still navigating your way there for the first time.
When you get on the highway, it’s something that you’ve done a lot of times and it’s fast, and that’s what a trigger is like. When you get triggered, they go back into a really old pattern and it goes really fast and it’s already set. These patterns, your highways of your brain, have been set since you were a child, when your literal brain was forming. [35:08.7]
These are the earliest foundations of the infrastructure, so to speak, of your brain. That’s why they’re so powerful, right? You’ve already laid out all of the road work there and now you’re coming pretty late into the game there, into the life of this city, so to speak, of the brain and you were trying to create new roads, but there are all these other roads that have already been laid and it’s hard. That’s why it’s harder to learn new things and very hard to unlearn new things. It would be like demolishing a highway. That’s how hard it is to unlearn something that was set early on.
Okay, so it’s important to know where these highways are and what these pathways are in your brain, and it goes back to your family of origin. This is why it’s so powerful that even if consciously, logically, you know why something is happening and you wish that you could stop it from happening, and it’s like literally watching an accident happening without your being able to control it and it’s happening in slow motion, and you’re like, Fuck, I don’t want to do it this way. Argh, why am I doing this? and you end up doing it like an addiction almost. It’s the same kind of pathway. [36:13.3]
That’s because their conscious mind cannot control this. What’s happening is kind of a trigger of this decades-old pattern, so the healing and the unburdening happens by going back to the root and then unburdening from there, because you’ve got to discover where those things are and most of them are happening between birth to 36 months.
Those are the three key questions, key codes.
- Again, whose love did you crave the most growing up, your mother or your father?
- Who did you have to be for that person?
- Who could you not be for that person?
- I’ll throw in a bonus question. What were the consequences or the negative consequences of being how you could not be? You might see this in one of your siblings and he or she took that route of being the rebel or the dangerous one or the one who acted out, and you must have seen that person get punished in some way. What were the negative consequences of that? And you’ll notice that a lot of you might have parts in you that are reacting to all of that. [37:16.7]
Okay, hopefully you’re starting to see the underlying infrastructure in your brain and maybe this will turn you on to the power of therapy and therapeutic processes.
Now, my courses are all about getting to the unconscious, that deeper level of the emotions and the unconscious, and getting to the root of the matter, these therapeutic processes. If this particular issue, being the nice guy, becoming good and attracting women by being good is really important to you, my courses “Rock Solid Relationships”, for sure. There’s that five-module sequence on toxic shame. That’s super powerful and life-changing.
Then there is also “Invincible”. If you’re more focused on casual dating first, you can do that one as well. That’s got a lot of psychotherapeutic elements in it and will help you uncover your value system and so on. That will also help you in this. [38:08.0]
All of these, these are all connected. The easiest thing to do is just get “Platinum Partnership” and then you get access to all of them.
Okay, the final point, so there were four points and the final point is that very likely it’s not just that, as a nice guy, you suffering from an enmeshed childhood or parentified childhood and that your boundaries were violated growing up, but also that you have sexual shame, and what comes along with sexual shame is moralistic judgment. There are entire societies where the majority of people and kind of ingrained in the society itself, societal practices and beliefs, is this toxic sexual shame.
As long as you have sexual shame, it’s going to be difficult to attract women sexually, to be sexually attractive to women. It’s also normal that maybe you’ve adopted the nice guy approach because you didn’t know any other way to do it, because it wasn’t available to you, this option of being a sexy or sexually-attractive person. You could only be a nice person because that was what was rewarded and that was the one thing that you saw modeled as you grew up or that was a taboo. [39:17.0]
So, there’s this other factor of sexual shame that needs to be addressed to help the nice guy come out of that kind of transactional emotional-blackmail approach to trying to get sexual attraction. There’s a lot more to say there as well. I’m going to be doing that later on in the next couple of episodes, but I just wanted to put that out there that there’s this other component of sexual shame.
Just as a recap of those four points I started with –
- The first point being, just trying to tracing the origins of the nice guy, the psychotherapeutic or psychological origins of the nice guy, and laying out the three major strategies of the pleaser, the recluse and the rebel.
- Then just identifying or locating the nice guy strategy under the subcategory of pleaser, and how that came about was through a parentified childhood and the result of enmeshment and boundaries that were violated, resulting in toxic shame. [40:11.2]
- Then I gave the kind of cheat codes of those three questions. Whose love did you crave the most growing up?
- Then, finally, not just toxic shame, but also a very specific type of toxic shame, which is sexual shame, is a big component in the nice guy’s psychological architecture.
Okay, those are the four points I wanted to lay out to explain why nice guys are in this position in the first place. It’s really important to understand the problem to properly diagnose the problem at the beginning.
Then we get into the solutions. That’s what I’ll be getting into the next episodes, but it’s really important to just notice, to pause and notice the problem, because if you skip the problem and you just go right to the solutions, very often, you won’t persist with applying the solutions and you’ll apply the solutions as if there were another tool in the toolkit of the nice guy to try to manipulate other people, to get reciprocation, so he can get his needs met, because we’re not like blaming the nice guy. Most nice guys are doing this because this is the only strategy they know. [41:13.5]
I just want to point out that this isn’t the only strategy out there and that there are ethical ways of generating sexual attraction that don’t require compromising or sabotaging your own moral principles. You don’t have to become an arrogant, shallow airhead in order to be sexually attractive to women.
I learned all of these points the hard way myself. I started off as a pleaser for most of my life and a pleaser-achiever for most of my life, and a big part of that was being a fixer. I took responsibility for the emotions of whoever the girls I was dating or whoever I was in a relationship with, so I know firsthand how powerful these underlying strategies are that they’re not even at a conscious level anymore.
By the time you’re an adult, you’re just doing this like a knee-jerk thing. In fact, you have to go into a kind of recovery and swing the other way in order to balance things out because it’s almost like you can’t trust your own judgment now, so you’ve got to err on the side of the other direction. [42:16.7]
If you’re normally a fixer and you guys break up, even if she cheated on you and she did all of these, she lied and with a lot of the blame. She’s more blameworthy, let’s say, in that breakup in the relationship. Even then, the nice guy will still feel, Oh, I’ve got to make sure she’s okay, and this is so common. I keep seeing this over and over. She cheats on him and he’s wondering, Yeah, but is she going to be okay?
This is another symptom of being a nice guy and how persistent the fixer strategy is. I learned all of this the hard way, so I’m going to be devoting the next couple of episodes to really getting into the details of how to address this. You do not want to get into this position where you think you’re not a nice guy, but you are. [43:01.3]
Even if you suspect maybe you are, you really ought to pay attention to this, and maybe you know somebody else who is who fits this description and helping them unearth this will maybe be of value to you because you’re going to save that person from going to the brink of suicide, because that’s how painful it is, because this is the pattern that the nice guy knows for it is learned and probably the only one that he thinks is available to him for getting love in his life. When you think you can’t get love anymore in your life, you feel the truth of how important love is and it’s almost like there’s no point to life if there’s no love in it. All you are is a pleasure-getting machine and pleasure is not satiating in the long-term. It’s just short-term gratification, just more sex.
Now, for young guys in their early-twenties, they don’t even get this. You might be a nice guy in your early-twenties and you still think, if you just bang enough checks, then you’ll feel happy and fulfilled. You’re not my audience, okay? I’m just going to put it out there.
I’m talking to guys who have already required quite a level of maturity, even just to sense or to agree, or just to follow what I’m covering here in my podcast here. In a way, I’m saying it also to remind myself because I do get lots of messages from really young, much younger guys. [44:15.4]
This is for those guys who’ve already seen or noticed or recognized how maladaptive their nice-guy strategy is that it’s not working to generate attraction or it’s not working in a relationship in the long-term, in case they’ve adopted on the outside, on the surface, the kind of bad-boy persona. On the inside, they’re still nice guys, just trying to get love. They unconsciously believe that the way to get love is by pleasing the other person or taking care of them, but fixing them, taking responsibility for their emotions.
If they persist at this, they will either be unfulfilled their whole lives, because the women that they get involved with will just keep dumping them, or they maybe have outer kind of value, so the woman’s logical mind, so to speak, is going to keep her in that relationship for other than emotional reasons, but there will be no passion and no real feelings of love in that relationship. [45:15.3]
This will lead that man to feel like giving up, to feel like what’s the point of life, and that is the worst psychological position to be in and that’s the definition of psychological pain, when it’s just so painful that you want it to just end. Don’t go there. This podcast is a way to head that off. It’s part of why I’m doing this.
In the next episode, I’m going to be getting into the solution, how to become a good man or how to generate sexual attraction the ethical way while still being good, not just nice, but good. Come back to the next episode for that. [45:57.0]
If you liked this episode, if you liked this podcast, please share it with anyone you think would benefit from it. Go into Apple Podcasts and rate it. That also really helps get our exposure. I appreciate all the feedback so far and engagement. Thank you so much.
I’ll see you in the next episode. David Tian, signing out.
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