RATING: 7/10…READ: May 2, 2011
A book about becoming a MAN. It breaks down “nice guy” tendencies and how you can become the best MAN you ought to be. If you like Fight Club, you’ll appreciate this book.
Nice Guys are concerned about looking good and doing it “right.” They are happiest when they are making others happy. Nice Guys avoid conflict like the plague and will go to great lengths to avoid upsetting anyone. Nice Guys are especially concerned about pleasing women and being different from other men. They all believe that if they are “good” and do everything “right,” they will be loved, get their needs met, and have a problem-free life—–too good to be true.
Nice Guy behaviors—caretaking, giving to get, fixing, keeping the peace, avoiding conflict, seeking approval, hiding mistakes, repressing feelings, try to be different from their fathers, are more comfortable relating to women than men, have difficulty making their needs a priority, often make their partner their emotional center.
Nice Guys are:
– Dishonest: try to hid mistakes, avoid conflict, say what people think they want to hear, repress their feelings.
– Secretive: will hide anything that will upset anyone
-Compartmentalized: harmonize contradictory pieces of information about themselves by separating them into individual compartments in their minds.
-Manipulative: have a hard time making their needs a priority and have difficulty asking for what they want in clear and direct ways
-Controlling: keep the world smooth.
-Give to Get: Give with strings attached; want some sort of reciprocation
-Passive-Aggressive: express their frustration and resentment in indirect, roundabout, and not so nice ways. This includes being unavailable, forgetting, being late, not following through, not being able to get an erection, climaxing too quickly, and repeating the same annoying behaviors even when they have promised to never do them again.
-Full of Rage: a lifetime of frustration and resentment creates a pressure cooker of repressed rage deep inside these men.
-Addictive: keep so much bottled up inside—usual common addition is sexual compulsiveness.
-Difficulty setting Boundaries: Have a hard time saying “No.” Often feel like the victims and see the other person as the cause of the problems they are experiencing.
-Frequently Isolated: their behaviors actually make it difficult for people to get very close despite desiring to be liked and loved.
-Attracted to People and situations that need fixing: often a result of childhood conditioning, his need to look good, of his quest for approval.
-Problems in Intimate Relationships: terrible listeners—too busy trying to defend themselves or fix the other person’s problems / frequently dishonest and unable to work through a problem / get into relationships with “diamonds in the rough.”
-Issues with Sexuality: sexual dysfunction) can’t get or maintain an erection, climaxes too quickly), or has sexually acted out (through affairs, prostitution, pornography, compulsive masturbation, etc.)
-Only Relatively Successful: fail to live up to full potential
Nice Guys tend to be very black and white in their thinking. The only alternative they can see to being nice is becoming “bastards” or “jerks.”
The process of breaking free from ineffective Nice Guy patterns doesn’t involve becoming “not nice.” Rather, it means becoming “integrated.”
Being integrated means being able to accept all aspects of one’s self.
An integrated man is able to embrace everything that makes him unique: his power, his assertiveness, his courage, and his passion as well as his imperfections, his mistakes, and his dark side.
The Integrated Male:
-Has a strong sense of self. He likes himself just as he is.
-He takes responsibility for getting his own needs met.
-He is comfortable with his masculinity and his sexuality.
-He has integrity. He does what is right, not what is expedient.
-He is a leader. He is willing to provide for and protect those he cares about.
-He is clear, direct, and expressive of his feelings.
-He can be nurturing and giving without caretaking or problem-solving.
-He knows how to set boundaries and is not afraid to work through conflict.
The working paradigm of the Nice Guy: If I can hid my flaws and become what I think others want me to be then I will be loved, get my needs met, and have a problem free life.
Even when this paradigm is ineffective, Nice Guys only see one alternative: try harder.
Their inclination is to hang on to belief systems that have proven to be consistently unworkable, yet are so embedded in their unconscious mind that to challenge them is tantamount to heresy.
Becoming a Nice Guy is a way of coping with situations where it does not feel safe or acceptable for a boy or man to be just who he is.
Two main contributing factors: fear of abandonment and their ego-centeredness
-All children are born totally helpless
-A child’s greatest fear is abandonment
-All children are ego-centered
-All children have numerous abandonment experiences when their needs are not met in a timely, judicious manner.
-When a child has an abandonment experience, he always believes that he is the cause.
-The naïve misinterpretation creates toxic-shame—a belief that he is “bad.”
-Children develop survival mechanisms to cope with their abandonment experiences, to prevent the experience from happening again, and to hide their “badness” from themselves and others.
-These childhood survival mechanisms reflect the child’s inherent powerlessness and naïve view of himself and the world.
“Bad” Nice Guy: tries to hide “badness,” / “I’m so Good Nice Guy”: tries to do everything right, can’t live life with flaws.
How did we get here? Contributing factors from the Baby Boom Generation:
-The transition from an agrarian to an industrial economy (use to work with fathers “in the fields” to addictions to work, TV, and alcohol taking time away from sons)
-The movement of families from rural areas to urban areas
-The absence of fathers from the home
-The increase in divorce, single parent homes, and homes headed by women
-An educational system dominated by women (learning to please [female] teachers at an early age)
-The Vietnam War (resulted in breed of males focused on love, peace, and avoiding conflict)
-The Sexual Revolution (radical feminism making men feel guilty for being men, ie. “men are pigs,” “all men are rapists,” etc.)
“Soft males” / “New Age Guys” / “Nice Guys” – Life preserving but not life giving
Learn to Please Yourself: Nice Guys have to practice being themselves. Pay attention when trying to impress or get approval. Nice Guys can begin to look inward for approval instead of outward asking, “What do I want,” What feels right to me,” What would make me happy?”
-Make a list of approval seeking behaviors
-Take good care of yourself: exercise, eat healthy food, go out with buddies, get enough sleep, get a massage, buy a new pair of shoes, etc.
-Use positive affirmations about self
-Take trips alone where no one knows you—a chance for reflection and not seeking approval from people who don’t know you.
-Find a “safe person” – a person you can discuss these matters with
Make Your needs a Priority: Nice Guys generally focus their attention on meeting everyone else’s needs while trying to be “low maintenance” kinds of guys themselves. Make covert contracts to get their needs met—I will do this for you if you do this for me. —also A fixing mentality:
-Since Nice Guys learned to sacrifice themselves in order to survive, recovery must center on learning to put themselves first and making their needs a priority.
-Do things for yourself for your own reasons; going to the gym, hanging out with friends, going somewhere and asking people to join you if they want
Reclaim Your Personal Power: Nice Guys are wimps / feel like the victim in situations—see others as causing the problems in their life.
In an attempt to cope with the uncertainty of their chaotic childhood, Nice Guys developed a belief system that if they could just do everything right, then everything would go right in their lives.
-Personal power is the result of feeling fear, but not giving in to the fear.
-Reclaiming Personal Power includes: surrendering, dwelling in reality, expressing feelings, facing fears, developing integrity, setting boundaries.
-Surrender allows recovering Nice Guys to see each life experience as a “gift” from the universe to stimulate groth, healing, and learning.
-Instead of asking, “Why is this happening to me” the recovering Nice Guy can respond to life’s challenges by pondering, “What do I need to learn from this situation?”
-The goal of teaching Nice Guys to embrace their feelings is not to make them soft and “touchy feely.” Men who are in touch with their feelings are powerful, assertive, and energized.
-For expressing feelings:
Don’t focus on the other person “You are making me mad” –take responsibility for what you are feeling “I am feeling angry.”
Don’t use feeling words to describe what you are thinking, instead pay attention to what you are feeling in your body.
In general try to begin feeling statements with “I” rather than “You.”
-List one fear that has been controlling your life. Once you decide to confront the fear, begin repeating to yourself, “I can handle it.”
-Boundary setting isn’t about getting other people to be different, but about getting themselves to be different. If someone is crossing their boundary, it isn’t the other person’s problem, it is theirs.
-Do you say “yes” when you would rather say “no?”
Reclaim Your Masculinity: Contrary to the prevailing sentiments of the last few decades, it is OK to be a guy.
I define masculinity as that part of a man that equips him to survive as an individual, clan, and species.
As Nice Guys try to avoid the dark side of their masculinity (aggressiveness, destruction), they also repress other aspects of the male energy force—as a result they often lose their sexual assertiveness, competitiveness, creativity, ego, thirst for experience, boisterousness, exhibitionism, and power.
Nice Guys tend to be monogamous to their mothers. Most Nice Guys do not report having had close a relationship with their father in childhood.
Nice Guys tend to seek approval of women.
-Reclaiming one’s masculinity involves: connecting with other men, getting strong, finding healthy male role models, reexamining one’s relationship with one’s father.
-Connecting with men: joining a team, going to sporting events, joining a discussing group, doing volunteer work, going for a run, hanging out
-“The best thing you can do for your relationship with your girlfriend or wife is to have male friends.”
-Develop role models from people you know personally or even part of movies or TV –could form role models by committee looking to a specific person for specific traits.
-Find a way to view fathers more accurately. Often Nice Guys make a caricature out of their fathers.
-As Nice Guys embrace their masculinity, they can other boys and their sons what it means to be male.
Get the Love You Want (success strategies for intimate relationships): Intimacy by its nature, would require the Nice Guy to look into the abyss of his most inner self and allow others to peer into these same places. It would require the Nice Guy to let someone get close enough to see all the nooks and crannies of his soul. This terrifies Nice Guys, because being known means being found out.
Intimacy for Nice Guys either plays out in two ways: (1) becoming overly involved in an intimate relationship at the expense of one’s self and other outside interest. (2) being emotionally unavailable to a primary partner while playing the Nice Guy role outside of the relationship.
Nice Guys create adult relationships that mirror the dynamics of their dysfunctional childhood relationships.
-We tend to be attracted to people who have some of the worst traits of both of our parents. Instead of blaming your partner for your unconscious choice, identify the ways in which she helps you recreate familiar relationship patterns from your childhood.
-List some of the ways you try to please your partner. What changes would you make if you did not have to worry about making her happy?
-Women will test your boundaries to see if she can trust you and if your boundaries are for real.
-Second Date Rule: If this behavior had occurred on the second date, would there have been a third?
-“How would a healthy male handle this situation?”
-Focus on the relationship and not just the partner
-The next time you find yourself feeling frustrated, resentful, or rageful at your partner, ask yourself these questions:
“why have I invited this person into my life?” / “What do I need to learn from this situation?” / “How would my view of this situation change if I saw it as a gift?”
-Every time a Nice Guy responds to or pays attention to a behavior he would like to eliminate, he is actually reinforcing that very behavior. (Pavlov dog experiment)
-A fixer-upper may be a fun challenge when it comes to restoring a car, but it’s a terrible way to choose a partner.
-List the traits you want in a relationship (keeping in mind nobody is perfect) –Nice Guys must give themselves to accurately evaluate the traits by staying out of bed with a person until they really get to know her.
-Once sex begins in relationships, the learning stops.
Get the Sex You Want (Success strategies for satisfying sex): The difficulty Nice Guys have with sex can be directly linked to two issues: shame and fear about being sexual and being sexual beings.
Common Nice Guy behavior: flirting without fucking or Vagiphobia
Nice guys pride themselves on being a good lover by focusing on the arousal and pleasure of their partner to hide their own toxic shame, feelings of inadequacy, or fear of being smothered. —all the while neglecting own sexual needs/wants
Nice Guys think that being nice will attract females and hold on to this belief even though it continues to prove not to work. (Approval seeking)
-The recovering Nice Guy must expose every aspect of his sexual self to safe, supportive people.
-Until a Nice Guy can be sexual with himself without shame, he won’t be able to be sexual with another person without shame.
-Until a Nice Guy is comfortable giving pleasure to himself, he won’t be able to receive pleasure from someone else.
-Until a Nice Guy can take responsibility for his own arousal and pleasure when he is by himself, he won’t be able to take responsibility for his own arousal and pleasure when is with someone else.
-Until a Nice Guy can be sexual with himself without using pornography or fantasy to distract himself, he won’t be able to have sex with someone else without needing similar things to distract him.
-Practice healthy masturbation: letting the energy unfold / no goal or direction / no porn / no fantasizing / –all about paying attention to what feels good.
+Pornography builds up unrealistic expectations / fantasizing is a form of disassociation—the process of separating one’s body from one’s mind.
-Don’t settle for bad sex: “You have to be willing to let go of what you’ve got to get what you want.”
-Good sex consists of two people taking full responsibility for meeting their own needs. It has no goal. It is free of agendas and expectations. Rather than being a performance, it is an unfolding of sexual energy.
-In nature, the alpha male and the Bull Moose don’t sit around trying to figure out what will make the girls like them. They are just themselves: fierce, strong, competitive, and sexually proud. Because they are what they are and do what they do, prospective mates are attracted.
Get the life you want (discover your passion and purpose in life, work, and career): If there were no limits on your life:
Where would you live?
What would you be doing in your leisure time?
What kind of work would you be engaged in?
What would your home and surroundings look like?
As you look at the reality of your life, ask yourself two questions: First, are you creating the life you want? Second, if not, why not?
Fears of success: found out to be a fraud / won’t be able to live up to people’s expectations / will be criticized / won’t be able to handle the increased expectations / will lose control over their lives / will do something to mess up everything.
Striving for perfection keeps Nice Guys focused on their imperfections
Nice Guys are typically jack-of-all-trades, but masters of none
Nice Guys are attracted to careers and work situations that allow them to re-create the dysfunctional roles, relationships, and rules of their childhood
What’s the difference between those who move beyond being a Nice Guy:
-A conscious decision to face fears
-A conscious decision to not settle for mediocrity
-A conscious decision to make my own rules.
“What one man can do, another man can do.”
What do you really want in life? What prevents you from making it happen? Write three things you want to make happen in your life—then write a personal affirmation that will take you where you want to go.
Don’t just go at it alone, ask who can help me?
Accept “good enough” rather than perfect
If you do what you have always done, you will get what you have always got
Remove yourself from a bad situation instead of waiting for the situation to change.
If it frightens you, do it.
Have fun. If you are not having fun, something is wrong.
If one man can make a million dollars, why can’t you?
If one man can start the business of his dreams, why can’t you?
If one man can quit a crummy job and find a better one, why can’t you?