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Reader Letters #1, Part 4

INTRO

This is part 4 in a series. Here are the links to Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. You need to read all three parts before proceeding, because I am going to repeatedly refer to concepts from those first three parts. If you don’t read them beforehand you’ll end up lost.

One of the things Bill asked me about in his original set of emails was about whether the world of pickup artists like Neil Strauss and Mystery were a solution to his problems.

Here are the relevant portions of his emails:

On a total side-note, I would also like to ask your opinion of the PUA community as discussed in the book The Game by Neil Strauss. And made famous by the peacocking Mystery…

I also meant to ask about the validity of NLP neuro linguistic programming. And it’s uses by the PUA community. In specific I’d like more information about the ‘forbidden patterns’ I have done some reading about the October Man Sequence, and have also read it. I do believe it could work, my real concern is the possible effects these tools could have on someone.

This installment took me way longer than I originally planned because the more research I did to answer this aspect of Bill’s question, the more interesting meaty stuff I found to analyze. I just kept finding more and more information on the web and on Youtube and I got fascinated by how deep the dynamics going on were.

I originally read the book The Game years ago. I found it to have interesting observations and it was also a great read just on a story level. The trainwreck quality was enjoyable, plus I was already big into psychology and evolutionary psychology, so I viewed pickup as another good source of information to throw into the mix to make my human nature research more well-rounded. I’ve read some pickup books, but I wasn’t that crazy about them. I much preferred to read relationship books like those by Tariq Nasheed, Mode One by Alan Roger Currie and Manhood 101′s e-book. I sampled a lot of blogs about game to see what insights I could get, but I ended up settling on blogs by Roosh and VK as the ones I still like to read, because they’re funny and come off in their writing like relatable guys you’d want to have a drink with.

I never really liked the hardcore pickup though. That stuff that directly descended from Neil Strauss and Mystery. I felt Mystery’s book was great for dumbing down basics in evolutionary psychology, but I was g turned off by the ways he would use it to rationalize things he shouldn’t be rationalizing, so I returned to reading real evolutionary psychology books instead. The main thing that turned me off from those books is that they didn’t talk about guiding principles and empowering mindsets, just loads and loads of tactics.

When I talk about good game, I mean strong principles and good mindframes with a sprinkling of tactics. I hate talking about pickup though, which to me means some weak or shady principles and faulty mindframes and a huge concentration on tactics to the exclusion of almost everything else. I’m not against game as defined in the classic sense. I’m against it as defined specifically by PUAs, where one focuses more on tactics and being outcome-dependent over core principles and focusing on self-respect.

However I get a lot of emails asking for advice. And it really ramped up after I actively solicited emails asking for advice recently. And a large chunk of those emails has fallen into three categories of codependent guys: (1) those writing to me asking  Bill’s question about whether they should try to become pickup artists, (2) those writing me to tell me they’ve already tried to become pickup artists and feel psychologically worse for doing so and wonder if that means they’re even more defective and bigger failures than they originally thought, or (3) those who are currently pickup artists and writing me to ask a million, neurotic tactical questions about if a woman does A, should I do B, C, or D, and if a woman does E, should I do F, G, or H. Even though to me my blog is pretty well-rounded, it seems like pickup has become enough of a recurring theme over the past few years in the comments and emails I receive that I figured it was time to clarify my position.

In preparation for this post, I decided to do a quick refresher reread of The Game, then go online and try to read as much dirt on the participants of the book as possible. So I read up on what happened to Neil Strauss since the book was published, I read up on the life of Mystery, Neil Strauss’s wingman and one of the main characters of the book, and I looked up the blogs of many prominent PUAs who had personal, firsthand experience with the events of the book or personally knew the big-name PUAs from the book.

Putting it altogether, I think I got a pretty good psychological picture of what was going on, which I wrote up here. The problem is, it ended up becoming so psychologically meaty it ballooned into over 20,000 words. Yes, I’m fully aware that that’s insane for a blog post and no one likes blog posts that long. Feel free to enter “tl; dr” in the comments section to your heart’s content, although I won’t publish those comments. Yes, I know that’s like the size of a novella. Tough break. It’s not like you’re paying for this service. So while I could have broken it up into smaller installments, fuck it. It’s a worthwhile read, so I’ll leave it as one installment. To make it easier to read, you can click here or at the top of the post to get the printable view. You may even want to print out the printable view as a hard copy and read it that way if that makes it easier for you. I’ve also included this as a PDF so you can read it on a tablet like Ipad if that more your speed (click here for the PDF link).

Now that that’s out of the way, I want to write about the reasons why I think PUA is a bad idea for codependent men, and explain the type of men I think PUA can be helpful to.

 

I.

CODEPENDENTS AND PICKUP

What I want to stress is that this post is specifically for codependent men who are looking to the pickup artist world as a life solution. For codependent men, the PUA world is the worst solution they can fathom for fixing their issues. If you are a fairly self-actualized person without a lot of codependency issues and a solid self-esteem, you can possibly read about pickup artists, pick out the information and tips that work, and discard the majority of stuff that’s damaging. However, self-actualized guys tend to already have a lot of dating success and are the last people who would look into that stuff. So the people who would be damaged the least by PUA principles won’t gravitate toward it, while the people who would be damaged the most, codependents, gravitate to it the hardest. Quite the paradox.

I think about 10-20% of what’s discussed in the PUA philosophy is useful, but most of it is damaging and puts you in a horrible mental frame. I think if you’re not in the right mindframe and don’t know how to separate the good advice from the bad, the seduction community will do you more harm than good, which is why I don’t recommend those books to a lot of people. I’m not saying they’re worthless and don’t have occasional good information, just that they have so much bad information and principles in the mix that unless you’re wise enough to recognize and extract the good and throw out the bad, you’re better off avoiding it altogether.

A major problem with the PUA stuff is that it attacks the symptoms of one’s disease and not the actual disease itself. Most of the solutions are surface solutions. So you feel better in the short run and get some quick results, but ultimately you do worse in the long run. Here’s an analogy: say you have a pneumonia. It makes you cough, feel tired, you sneeze, your nose is stuffed. Say your solution is to just attack the symptoms. You take a medicine that makes you stop coughing and sneezing, you take caffeine and energy drinks and ginseng to stop feeling tired, and you use a nasal spray to unstuff your nose. Even though you can’t feel the symptoms anymore, that doesn’t mean you’re not sick anymore and that the sickness isn’t tearing you apart and killing you anymore. The sickness is still working on you underneath the surface.

In fact, not feeling the symptoms can make you worse because now you can no longer feel how sick you are, which then makes you think you’re healthier than you really are. Because you can’t feel just how sick you are anymore, you aren’t resting, you aren’t drinking liquids, you aren’t doing the things that will cure your disease, which is the true source of your problems. This gives your pneumonia free reign to keep growing worse and worse below your conscious level of awareness. Eventually the sickness grows to the point where even treating the symptoms isn’t enough anymore and the old tactics like cold medicine, caffeine, energy drinks, ginseng and nasal spray stop working.

At this point you hit a crucial point. You hit a wall with the old symptom-treating medicines and tactics. Now what? You can either use this wakeup call to finally getting around to treating the source of your problems, the disease, or you can commit harder to your dysfunctional strategy by looking for more powerful symptom-treating medicines and tactics.

If you succeed and manage to find better symptom-treating medicines and tactics, you will feel better for a while until your sickness grows to the point where even those no longer work, at which point you hit that same crucial point again, where you have to choose between long-term and short-term solutions. Some people can live their whole lives stuck in this cycle without ever attacking their disease, the source of their problems.

In this case the pneumonia represents low self-esteem and people-pleasing and insecurity and unresolved childhood isses that people develop while growing up. The symptoms include the inability to hook up with girls and get laid, the inability to assert oneself, the inability to have happy relationships, shyness, hypersensitivity, social anxiety, bad nerves, and other bad behaviors. PUA stuff gets you obsessed with fixing the symptoms (superficial behavioral tics) and not attacking the real sickness (low self-esteem, unresolved core issues from childhood traumas, faulty thinking patterns inherited from authority figures, etc.). The pickup artist prescription feels good at first, but it doesn’t attack the real self-esteem and insecurity issues and allows them to keep growing underneath the surface, so the moment you get some form of ego bruising or a setback, all the old feelings of low self-esteem and ego-bruising come rushing back to the forefront of your awareness.

Another major problem is that even when pickup does recommend inner core work, which it terms “inner game,” it recommends it filtered through an outcome-dependent external validation mindframe, which causes the advice to undermine itself. I’ll go more into this later in the section on David DeAngelo, but the shorthand version is that it recommends for you to do all this inner work, but trains you to do it primarily for the outcome of getting validation from women.

I’m not 100% against the PUA stuff, as I think it does have some very good insight, just like I’m not against taking cold medicine that treats symptoms either. I just don’t support it as the main method of self-improvement at the expense of the harder self-work of attacking the roots of your specific low self-worth.

The Game actually gives examples of how PUA stuff doesn’t attack the root of problems. Look at how Mystery despite all his success still had a mental meltdown and almost attempted suicide in the book. That’s because he never fixed his core emotional problems, he just superficially covered them up with fake external behaviors and the  short-term rush that comes from sexual conquests. So when he felt a profound rejection, all those deep emotional wounds and profound feelings of inadequacy came rushing back to the surface and he almost died as a result.

II.

FROM CODEPENDENT TO NARCISSIST

In the first installment of this advice column series, I described codependents and narcissists. In part 2 of the series, I described how codependents develop. In part 3 of the series, I described how and why codependents and narcissists tend to generate intense chemistry, and the ways in which they’re similar and different. Codependents and narcissists both have a lot of self-loathing issues, but there is a key difference. Codependents keep their self-loathing closer to their conscious level of awareness. Their strategy for dealing with their low self-worth is to surrender to it. The act of surrender causes them to form an armor of people pleasing. Narcissists on the other hand deeply repress their self-loathing using a bunch of defense mechanisms like denial, projection, intellectualization and rationalization. Their strategy for dealing with their low self-worth is to overcompensate against it. This overcompensation causes them to form an armor of grandiosity.

Narcissists, without their armor of grandiosity, will fall apart. They reach a point where their armor is the only thing holding them together. Narcissists become what I like to call “grandiosity sharks.” Have you heard how a shark has to keep moving through water to breathe by pumping, and if the shark stops moving, he sinks to the bottom and dies? This is because sharks can’t pump water across their gills on their own like other fish  can, so they have to constantly swim through water to externally move the water across their gills. If they stop swimming, sharks not only stop breathing, they sink to the bottom and die.

Well grandiosity sharks are people who have to keep swimming through a sea of external validation in order to breathe and stay afloat, because much like the shark can’t breathe internally, they can’t generate validation and self-esteem internally. If they stop moving through the sea of validation for a given amount of time, or their swimming is temporarily disrupted due to a blow to their ego, they figuratively suffocate, sink to the bottom and die.

As I’ve said in the previous installments, I believe the codependent is actually better off than the narcissist. Because codependents are more in touch with their feelings of self-worth, they have a better idea of what’s wrong with them. Also, because they are more aware that they have low self-worth issues, you don’t have to waste a lot of time convincing them they have low self-worth issues. They’re often the first people to admit they have low self-worth!

This gives codependents more self-awareness than the narcissist. The narcissist has blocked access to his own feelings of low self-worth thanks to the layers upon layers of defense mechanisms that make up his armor of grandiosity. You have to break down this grandiosity in order to get him to even admit to himself how low his self-worth is, and the worst narcissists would rather die than admit to themselves that they loathe themselves. And how can you go about fixing your problem when you can’t even admit to yourself much less others that you have a problem to begin with? This desperation to avoid accessing their own feelings of self-hatred helps explain why narcissists always blame others for everything but never themselves.

That’s why codependency is widely considered curable by mental health professionals but narcissism isn’t. To a narcissist, the payoff of remaining a narcissist is the ability to continue to lie to himself about how much he hates himself deep down. According to the narcissist’s warped logic, this ability to continue to lie to himself about the extent of his self-loathing is a better payoff than any potential benefit he would derivefrom curing his narcissism, because a cure would require him to access his feelings of self-loathing in order to deal with them. That’s why narcissists often have to hit rockbottom before they can seek help, because it’s only at rockbottom that their self-loathing becomes so bad the old defense mechanisms no longer work and they can’t suppress the self-loathing anymore or deny to themselves the true extent of their self-hatred. It’s only at rockbottom that their old strategy for dealing with ego setbacks, which was to replace old defense mechanisms with new, improved stronger defense mechanisms, no longer works.

Codependents and narcissists are often drawn to each other because they complement each other in a dysfunctional way, as I explained in the previous installments. Codependents always blame themselves for things that go wrong and narcissists always blame others. Codependents love to give without talking, narcissists love to take without giving. Codependents feel they don’t have a right to say what they feel, while narcissists feel entitled to say whatever they feel whenever they want. Codependents have to much of a conscience and are always thinking of others in a relationship, while narcissists have no conscience and are always thinking of themselves in a relationships.

Codependents often become that way because they had one or two narcissistic parents. These narcissistic parents trained the codependent from childhood to put their own feelings and needs on the backburner and focus on the needs of the parents first and foremost. This caused them to grow up believing that their job in relationships is to please others at their own expense. Codependents tend to have extreme chemistry with narcissist lovers because these narcissistic, hard-to-please lovers subconsciously remind them of their narcissistic, hard-to-please parents, and often push the same emotional hot buttons. They view these narcissistic lovers as a second chance to get their childhood right.

Some examples of the types of guys who get drawn to learning pickup are guys with the following problems: white knights with caretaker values; codependents; guys who chronically put women on pedestals; guys who had emotional incest and enmeshment issues with their mothers (mama’s boys); guys with fathers who were weak, distant or narcissistic; guys who grew up as parentified children. What all these guys have in common are that they have feelings of low self-worth and inferiority and they deal with these feelings through the faulty coping strategy of surrendering to them, meaning they unquestioningly accept them as true.

The right thing for these guys to do would be to deal with these core issues of low self-worth feelings and their inferiority feelings so that they can fix them once and for all. What pickup teaches them to do however is not to fix feelings but instead to switch from their current faulty coping strategy, which is surrender, to another faulty coping strategy of overcompensation. Using overcompensation, they repress these unwanted feelings with defense mechanisms so that they end up blocking themselves from consciously accessing this self-hatred. They learn to rationalize away and deny their feelings of low self-worth. They learn to  project away their feelings of inferiority and self-hatred onto others. (Ever wonder why pickup artists develop this fanatical hatred of beta males? It’s their hatred of the beta traits they fear still exist within themselves, so they try to destroy these unwanted traits by first projecting them onto other male targets and then destroying those other targets.)  They also learn to use another defense mechanism of intellectualization to cope with these low self-worth feelings, which is where all the mental masturbation and books on evolutionary psychology, animal behavior, persuasion, sales, New Age thinking and success literature like Tony Robbins comes in (not that there’s anything inherently wrong with any of this literature but rather in the way they are being used in this speak instance as a way to avoid fixing core issues).

Remember what I said before. Codependents are people who have surrendered to their low self-worth feeling and have constant conscious access to them. Narcissists are people who have overcompensated and rebelled against their low self-worth feelings and constantly block their conscious access to these feelings using defense mechanisms like rationalization, denial, projection and intellectualization. These are the very same tools that pickup artistry encourages a codependent to use in order to deal with his low self-worth. Do you see the issue now? Pickup artistry does not fix the codependent; it just changes him from a codependent into a narcissist by ignoring the core issues and instead training him to switch from the faulty coping strategy of surrender to the preferred faulty coping strategy of the narcissist, which is overcompensation. It’s just trading one toxic personality dysfunction for a worse, harder-to-cure toxic personality dysfunction.

In part 2 I talked about false, idealized selves, the unattainable image of perfection one believes they have to become in order to be worthy of being loved by others. The codependent’s false, idealized self is that of the white knight, the nice guy, the person so good and giving that people will have no choice but to love him. This is a dysfunctional way to live of course, and just attracts the wrong people and opens him up to being used. The correct solution is peel away his false self and to find out who his true self is, and strive to be true to that instead of  striving to live up to his false, idealized self. This will give him true self-esteem.

What the PUA philosophy does, however, is replace the codependent’s old false, idealized self with a new false, idealized self that’s just as dysfunctional and unattainable: that of the unflappable mythical alpha male, the ultimate man, the paragon of masculinity that always has a cocky and funny answer to anything, the guy with the cocky swagger, that leader of men that makes women swoon with  just a gaze and is the life of the party. Trading one false self with another is not progress; it’s just a more socially acceptable form of the same problem: intense self-loathing.

Part of the reason why it’s so easy for codependents to turn into narcissists with the right incentive and for narcissists to turn into codependents with enough ego-crushing life setbacks is because there is a little bit of a narcissist in every codependent and a little bit of a codependent in every narcissist. Think about it, if you are a codependent you believe that you have the power to fix some of the most chronically fucked up people known to man with your self-sacrificing nice guy act, despite the fact this person has been fucked up for decades and many before you have tried to fix them and failed. You assume for some reason that you have some type of power or insight this person’s family, friends, and past lovers all lacked that will allow you to make everything in their life right. If you think about it, that’s kind of narcissistic, right?

And the narcissist, for all his insufferable arrogance and grandiosity, despite his claims of superiority, withers and dies without attention from others, doesn’t he? For all his supposed superiority, he still has an uncontrollable need to seek approval from everyone around him, even though they’re supposedly inferior. Isn’t that a type of codependency? Even the worst narcissists will suddenly beg and cajole and plead and promise to change if their codependent partners finally get fed up and grow backbones and threaten to leave. Of course once the codependent decides to stay, narcissists go right back to their old disgusting, evil selves, but the point is, for those moments in time you can see that bit of needy codependence in them, can’t you?

The collection of defense mechanisms the formerly codependent/newly narcissistic pickup artist uses to overcompensate and rebel against his self-loathing create an armor of grandiosity that he now uses to interact with the world. But remember what I said about narcissists and grandiosity: grandiosity becomes the glue holding the narcissist together, and without it the narcissist utterly falls apart. They now become grandiosity sharks, and the sea of validation they choose to swim in is female sexual conquests.

If you don’t believe me, remember certain parts of The Game: When Mystery lost his stripper girlfriend to another pickup artist, he totally had a meltdown and attempted suicide. Another example is how messed up Neil Strauss became when he couldn’t get that final girl Lisa using his pickup tricks. He talks about how suddenly all his old feelings of inadequacy and low self-worth rushed back into his conscious awareness. Both of them faced setbacks that caused lapses in their grandiosity, and since their grandiosity was the only thing holding them together they fell apart and regressed to codependent thoughts and behavior.

Dances between wounded souls tend to take place between codependents and emotional vampires like narcissists and borderlines. PUA, instead of teaching you how to opt out of the dance of wounded souls by no longer being a wounded soul, instead teaches you how to continue to participate in the dance between wounded souls, except now as an emotional vampire instead of as a codependent.

I bet if you gave most pickup artists a test for codependency before they became pickup artists, their codependency levels would be off the chart. I bet if you tested most pickup artists for narcissistic personality disorder after becoming PUAs, I bet they would now be off the charts for that. This is hardly healthy progress.

III.

PURE NARCISSISTS VS. COMPENSATORY NARCISSISTS

At this point it’s important to clarify that there are two different types of narcissists. There is the pure narcissist (or pure vampire) and the compensatory narcissist (or compensatory vampire). The pure narcissist is the narcissist who has grown up as a narcissist, and is well-versed in using the defense mechanisms necessary to maintain the grandiosity holding him together. He has spent his whole life overcompensating and blocking conscious access to his feelings of self-worth and acting grandiose and feeling entitled. He probably grew up spoiled or without proper limits set for him. Narcissism is his natural state. If narcissism was a sport, he’d be at the NBA All-Star level. His grandiosity armor is battle-tested and is one of the best models on the market.

The compensatory narcissist is someone who didn’t grow up as a narcissist and is newer to it. He was formerly a codependent and grew up very much in touch with his feelings of low self-worth. He used to surrender to his feelings of low self-worth and is relatively new to using the faulty coping strategy of overcompensation. Like all narcissists, he blocks these feelings of self-loathing and acts grandiose and feels entitled, but he does none of these as strongly and consistently as the pure narcissism, and despite the fact that there is a bit of a codependent in every narcissist, it’s much closer to the surface of the compensatory narcissist than the pure narcissist. The compensatory narcissist is playing at the high school or NCAA level, or if he gets good enough to play at the NBA level it’s because he’s had to work extra hard at it like Jeremy Lin, not because he’s a natural like a Kobe. His grandiosity armor isn’t as battle-tested yet and is a lower-end model.

Here’s one way of looking at it: In the movie “Blade” with Wesley Snipes, there were two classes of vampires. There was the “pureblood” class who were born vampires as a result of two vampires mating, and there was the “turned” vampire class, meaning they were living a human existence until a bite from a vampire made them into vampires also. The purebloods considered themselves higher status than the turned vampires, and were always trying to dominate the turned vampires by making them into lackeys and lieutenants. The pureblood vampires were more powerful than the turned vampires. Also, although it was extremely difficult to do so, turned vampires could be reverted back to humans. Purebloods, however, could not be turned into humans because they were more powerful and were never were human to begin with.

Think of pure narcissists as the “pureblood” vampires from “Blade” and the compensatory narcissists as the “turned” vampires from the same movie. Pure narcissists have stronger vampire energy, they were vampires from birth and no one can remember a time when they weren’t vampires, they consider compensatory narcissists as their inferiors, and while all narcissists are extremely difficult to treat, pure narcissists are more likely to be deemed incurable.

The PUA lifestyle turns a codependent man into a compensatory narcissist. He continues engaging in dances of wounded souls, except as a narcissist now rather than as a codependent. I mentioned earlier that all narcissists have a bit of codependency in them. However compensatory narcissists have far more codependency in them than pure narcissists, due to their former lives as codependents. You see, compensatory narcissism is more like a blend of narcissism and codependency. You can think of it either as a more transparent, less sophisticated form of narcissism or a less transparent, more sophisticated form of codependency.

When the compensatory narcissist was just a codependent, he was drawn to all types of narcissists, from compensatory up to pure. This is because a codependent can only feel chemistry with people more narcissistic than he is, and for a codependent that includes almost anyone with narcissistic traits.

Now that he’s a compensatory narcissist and has a blend of both narcissism and codependency to deal with, the  two types of partners he’s currently drawn to are now codependents, because they now appeal to his newly found sense of  narcissism, and pure narcissists, because he still has a strong, leftover codependent need to feel chemistry with someone more narcissistic than himself, and pure narcissists are now the only types of people left who are more narcissistic than him.

If you reread the book The Game, you will notice that every girl the PUAs get involved with is either a codependent or a pure narcissist. Like all narcissists, they enjoy codependents because they are the easiest source of narcissistic supply. They also hate and disdain the codependents for a complex variety of reasons. First, because they used to be codependent and now recognize and hate that side of themselves thanks to what they learned in the seduction community, they see another codependent as a great opportunity for projection. By mistreating her and hurting a codependent woman, they can feel like they are further killing that weakness in themselves they no longer want to consciously access. By using and crushing a codependent, it affirms to them they are no longer codependent themselves. They must therefore be strong. They are now on the winning team. Another reason they hate codependents is because even though they pride themselves on being superior to the codependent, they still need this supposedly weak’s person’s attentions and validation to feel good about themselves. If this person is weak, yet the compensatory narcissist still depends on this weak person to prop up his own self-esteem, how strong can the compensatory narcissist really be? His strength must actually be a farce. On some level the compensatory narcissist realizes this contradiction and how it pokes a hole in his false, idealized self, so over time the codependent will be resented for being a constant, unwitting reminder of this flaw in their false, idealized self.

However because the PUA still have a lot of codependent traits (after all, until recently they were full-blown codependents themselves and they still have recent memories of their self-loathing) and they still never resolved their core issues and primary inferiorities from growing up, they can only have really intense chemistry with people more narcissistic than themselves. Remember, codependents grew up trying to please someone more narcissistic than themselves, usually their parents, and were trained to put the needs of others before themselves. Codependents are people pleasers, and when they find hard-to-please, demanding people with perfectionistic standards, they are reminded of their childhood dynamic with their parents and this creates a feeling of intense chemistry in them because they feel the same emotional buttons being pushed from childhood and they feel this is a second chance to get it right and win that affection from their parents they failed to get the first time around.

They need someone more narcissistic and selfish and emotionally manipulative than themselves in order to generate intense chemistry thanks to their childhood issues with their parents. When they were codependents it was especially easy to find people more selfish than themselves, so they could find chemistry all levels of narcissists, from the midly narcissistic to the pure narcissists. However now that they are compensatory narcissists and higher up the narcissistic ladder  themselves, the only people who can now generate chemistry for them are pure narcissists.

The problem is, compensatory narcissists are rookies and pure narcissists are vicious professionals. The pure narcissist will eat the compensatory narcissist alive, bones and all.  The compensatory narcissist is no match for the pure narcissist, as he soon finds out. So the pattern a PUA seems to go through seems consistent: Alternate between finding a string of codependents to be the narcissist to until you get tired of and disgusted by their codependency or suck them dry of narcissistic supply, and finding the occasional pure narcissists to be the codependent to, until the pure narcissist gets tired of them and disgusted by their codependency or sucks them dry of narcissistic supply. I defy you to read the book and still deny that this pattern is not repeated throughout it.

Recall what I said in part 2 about the core issues caused by primary inferiorities, final, fictional goals, and how failing at these final, fictional goals bring about secondary inferiorities that not only cause new pain and narcissistic injury but also reopen old emotional wounds and cause us to feel all our old core issues and primary inferiorities from childhood in full as well. When the compensatory narcissist in the form of the PUA meets the pure narcissist (or pure borderline or pure histrionic, etc.), he has the new secondary inferiority feeling that comes from failing at his current final, fictional goal of becoming the ultimate alpha male and master of all women. This secondary inferiority feeling in turn reactivates all the previous secondary inferiority feelings that caused him to become a PUA in the first place, including all the old failed relationships, all the rejections by women he had crushes on, all the mistreatments and all the infidelities that were inflicted on him. Reliving those previous secondary inferiority feelings in turn reactivate his primary inferiority, the one that is the parent of his core issues and all the secondary inferiorities he’s suffered: his emotional rejection by his parental figures.

So the PUA, who thought he finally figured it all out and had finally found the final fictional goal that would wipe out all his past failures and most importantly his fix his core issues and reverse his primary inferiority feeling now realizes that at his core, nothing really changed. Suddenly he loses his grandiosity, and like I said, for a narcissist, even a compensatory one, grandiosity is all that holds him together. The new defense mechanisms he developed to create this grandiosity now start to fail him and he can’t project, can’t rationalize, can’t intellectualize and can’t deny, which causes him to re-access all those feelings of self-loathing he had been religiously blocking since he became a compensatory narcissist. He starts to feel his newest secondary inferiority feeling of failing as a PUA, then he starts to re-feel all his previous secondary inferiority feelings that drove him to become a PUA in the first place, then ultimately he re-feels the original primary inferiority that caused his deepest core issues to begin with.

Picture all these inferiority feelings rushing at you at once. Is it any wonder why Mystery turned suicidal and totally lost it when his stripper girlfriend chose another PUA over him (many strippers are narcissistic Cluster B emotional vampires)? Is it any wonder why Neil Strauss became obsessed with that woman Lisa once he realized his pickup tricks didn’t work on her? I have no proof and it’s pure speculation, but reading how he described their courtship I think it’s very possible she may have been a pure narcissist.

(By the way, I want to point out that stripping and sex work in general are profession that attracts a HUGELY disproprortionate amount of narcissists and borderline personality disorder sufferers, which lends credence to my theory that becoming a PUA often just makes one into a sophisticated form of codependent, because why else would these guys keep being drawn to strippers and pornstars, who can be some of the most severely personality-disordered people out there?)

I want to take this opportunity to point out an article from the website Gettinbetter.com called “Haven’t We Met Before: The Borderline/Narcissist Couple.” Even though it’s supposed to be about borderlines and narcissists, I think it actually works very well for describing relationships between pure narcissists and compensatory narcissists. If you read key sections of this piece and replace the word “borderline” with “pure narcissist” and think of that as high-maintenance drama queens the PUAs usually get broken by, then replace the word “narcissist” with “compensatory narcissist” and think of that as the PUA,  you’ll see what I mean. Below I take excerpts from the article and perform that substitution:

It’s critical to understand that both [compensatory narcissist PUAs] and [pure narcissist drama queens] incurred similar types of wounds to their developing sense of Self, and isn’t it simply natural to be drawn to someone with whom you have things in common, or who echoes personality aspects in yourself? Well, this attraction is a lot like that–it feels as if you’ve found your ‘soul mate.’ There’s a similar vibration/frequency you two share, due to childhood abandonment issues. While the nature of those early difficulties were alike, they’ve played out in different ways for each of you–but the scars from that time remain, unless there’s been some serious core-focused intervention.

[Compensatory narcissist PUAs] are frequently ‘super-givers,’ but authentic intimacy/closeness is often avoided, given their engulfment fears. Caregiver types can be drawn to [pure narcissist drama queens] who match their own attachment issues, so that ‘safe’ emotional proximity becomes a non-issue.

Do not presume that a [compensatory narcissist PUA] and [pure narcissist drama queen] can construct a successful marriage. If they haven’t resolved their respective childhood traumas, they’ll continually trample on each other’s emotional land mines, and trigger highly explosive episodes, while remaining hopelessly enmeshed.

In truth, the [compensatory narcissist PUA] is no match for the [pure narcissist drama queen]. It doesn’t matter how smart or powerful he is, she’ll turn his world upside-down to where he could lose his entire fortune, acquire a serious disease, and become a shadow of his former self. The [compensatory narcissist PUA's] grandiosity works against him in this type of coupling, because he has an unquenchable need to win, due to self-worth issues. He won’t let himself be one-upped by anyone, but the [pure narcissist drama queen] is always better at this game than he is. As he cannot tolerate this loss of control, he’ll literally fight to the death to maintain it–never realizing what he’s losing/giving up, while highly focused on surmounting this challenge.

A [compensatory narcissist PUA] relentlessly tries to ‘crack the code’ with his [pure narcissist drama queen] lover, due to long-standing, faulty assumptions about himself he adopted as a boy, when his parents required him to be the perfect child. If he succeeded, he might have received praise. If he failed, their disappointment was palpable, which triggered feelings of shame. This child enters adulthood shaming himself, if ever he senses that he’s performed less than perfectly! But what constitutes “perfection,” and isn’t it always a subjective state of mind?

A [compensatory narcissist PUA] perfectionist believes; “If I feel bad in a relationship, it must be my fault.” The [pure narcissist drama queen] believes; “If I feel bad in a relationship, it has to be your fault.” This sets up an endless cycle, within which the [pure narcissist drama queen] rages or retreats–and the [compensatory narcissist PUA] attempts to fix it by cajoling, pursuing, rescuing, etc., to flee his (childhood) shame of feeling unlovable/neglected…

Both [pure narcissist drama queens] and [compensatory narcissist PUAs] associate love with painful longing. This is the crux of all those come here/go away (push/pull) cycles with this couple, and a whole lotta country western songs! Love equals pain, and vice-versa.

When their intense craving for love is met, painful sensations they’ve come to interpret as loving feelings, evaporate. At this point, the [pure narcissist drama queen] feels bored or annoyed, and pushes away. With healthy/whole partners who need continuity of loving feelings, the [pure narcissist drama queen] feels emotional claustrophobia, which compels her to disrupt episodes of authentic intimacy between them. The [compensatory narcissist PUA] responds to his need for distance and autonomy, by selecting unavailable [pure narcissist drama queen] lovers who won’t trigger his engulfment fears.

When closeness or engulfment fears become heightened, both [compensatory narcissist PUA] and [pure narcissist drama queen] partners can experience anxiety, which prompts their need to draw back. The distance between them eases tension, but a [compensatory narcissist PUA] perfectionist makes it his fault, and experiences shame. This catalyzes his frantic efforts to win-her-over again. It isn’t that he’s needing her–he’s needing reprieve from his toxic sense of unlovability/unworthiness (shameful remnants from boyhood)…

Early wounds to one’s narcissism, [can] breed [compensatory narcissistic PUA] adults. If a child had to shut down his needs and difficult feelings in order to survive the rigors of his painful childhood experiences, he may have acquired a sense of invincibility, and assumed he could handle anything that came up. This was his defense against feeling vulnerable or fragile. These ‘weaker’ sensations can often lay dormant for many years, until he joins with a [pure narcissist drama queen] who reawakens the excruciating anguish he learned to put aside or adjust to as a little kid.

The core shame that’s invoked in him during these times, is monumental. He remembers how powerful, in-control and popular he was before he started up with the [pure narcissist drama queen] and his world began to collapse. He cannot reconcile his current (despicable) frailty with the entrenched Superman persona he erected in [the seduction community]–and it causes him a deep sense of despair, embarrassment and frustration. Self-worth repair within core trauma work can help him, but it’s like ‘boot camp’ for the soul. Few will make the effort to heal and grow…

[Compensatory narcissist PUAs] are frequently People Pleasers [remember, in every narcissist there s a little codependent, and compensatory narcissists especially have a lot more codependent in them than other purer types of narcissists - T.], which means they’re passive-aggressive. They’re more comfortable giving rather than receiving in relationships, which is part of a control issue they adopted during childhood, in response to parental neglect. In couplings, the one who needs the least, is always the one in power–and the [pure narcissist drama queen's] needs usually far outweigh those of her partner. The [pure narcissist drama queen] is like a little child when it comes to impulse control and asserting wants/needs, so she’s the active partner in this dynamic. The [compensatory narcissist PUA] has never really felt worthy of having needs, so he suppresses them; he’s the passive partner. Somebody must be willing to carry the emotions for this relationship, so that typically falls to the active partner–or the [pure narcissist drama queen]. She’ll keep pushing the envelope until she gets a rise out of her partner. She literally thrives on drama and chaos, but rebels like a three year old, when he takes a stand–even though she requires the containment and comfort that boundaries and limits provide…

When a [pure narcissist drama queen] encounters a successful, charismatic [compensatory narcissist PUA], she sees power in him, and security/comfort for herself. Since she has never really felt protected in her world, this male is perceived as her ticket to safety. He may never have felt especially attractive or worthy of attention from a girl who’s a real ‘traffic stopper’–so he’s flattered out of his pants by the [pure narcissist drama queen's] seductive pursuit. His grandiose false-self has craved this type of attention his whole life–even though he’s never felt deserving of it. Thus begins their dance, which replicates an intoxicating pattern that neither can resist.

Based on a [pure narcissist drama queen's] level of emotional desperation, she may not choose men who’ve attained significant acclaim, stability or success. Abandonment fears always influence partner selection, and are key to these attractions. Essentially, the greater your need is for this female (sexually, emotionally, psychologically or financially), the more easily she can keep the upper-hand and control you–and it’s always about control for the [pure narcissist drama queen]…

The narcissistically injured [PUA] continually seeks females who can perfectly mirror his attributes and qualities–and whom in some manner, need him. He then gets to assuage his abandonment concerns–but the flip-side of being needed, is being engulfed. The [pure narcissist drama queen] can initially smother/suffocate her prey with attention that causes him to retreat or distance, because while it’s flattering, and mitigates his abandonment fears–it triggers vaguely familiar sensations of engulfment he had to endure in boyhood, with Mother.

IV.

THE NARCISSISTIC SIDE OF THE PUA

Here is a definition of narcissism as described on Wikipedia:

A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:

  1. Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)
  2. Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
  3. Believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)
  4. Requires excessive admiration
  5. Has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations
  6. Is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
  7. Lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others
  8. Is often envious of others or believes others are envious of him or her
  9. Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes

When you read the book The Game, Strauss and his PUA friends totally fall into these traps. The exploits and accomplishments he describes and the superpowers he claims these PUAs have definitely fall into “exaggerating achievements and talents.” In the book, Strauss is presenting himself as an expert and teaching bootcamps to strangers for money before ever even getting laid! And apparently it’s very common for guys who barely get laid to teach bootcamps. Isn’t that an example of “expecting to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements?”

Strauss discusses how pickup artists after a while always tend to distance themselves from or even dump their old friends who don’t follow PUA. Soon most of their friends are PUAs, because they believe those are the only people left that are worthy enough of associating with. They form organizations called “lairs,” rent houses and apartments and give them names like “Project Hollywood” and fill it with other PUAs as roommates. Isn’t this a perfect example of “believing he is ‘special’ and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special high-status people?”

Part of giving up their old non-PUA friends is that they believe they are holding them back because they won’t become PUAs too. The PUA has “swallowed the red pill” and his friends are now haters who can’t appreciate his success and his self-improvement. Now that he is improving, they can’t be happy and even start appearing envious to him. Strauss discusses similar dynamics in his book. Isn’t this an example of “believes others are envious of him?”

One big thing with narcissists is that they always blame others for things that go wrong in their relationships and fail to fully appreciate how their own “arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes” as described in the above definition of narcissism actually create these behaviors from others they are interpreting as envy or “hating.”  I suspect reaction to their bad behavior and attitudes is actually what causing much of this friction with their old friends and ends up making them tolerable only to codependents and other narcissists.

There are plenty of stories, both within the book The Game and in lots of internet gossip surrounding the setting of the game, “Project Hollywood,” about the guys all trying to cockblock each other. One guy would be hitting on a girl, then the next guy would try to hit on the same girl behind his back, etc. They would call it “stealing sets.”  At one point the PUA Herbal stole the girlfriend of Mystery from him, which caused Mystery to have a total mental breakdown. Doesn’t that describe a lack of empathy, an  inability to “recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others?”

As for the rest of the elements of the narcissism definition like being preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited power, brilliance, success, beauty or ideal love, needing excessive admiration, having a sense of entitlement and being interpersonally exploitative, I believe when you read the book and read gossip from other sources regarding the people and events described in the book, all those aspects of narcissism are described in numerous, obvious examples, too many to recite here in this blog post.

V.

THE CODEPENDENT SIDE OF THE PUA

Now you may notice there are parts of the article that describe the compensatory narcissist PUA as a people pleaser. To many people that may sound a bit off. How can a PUA be a people pleaser? Isn’t a PUA the opposite? Isn’t pickup about not being codependent? And my answer is…it’s complicated.

Like I said, compensatory narcissism can either be seen as a conscious, more transparent, less sophisticated version of pure narcissism or as an unconscious, less obvious, more sophisticated form of codependency. I described in the previous section the way PUAs are consciously narcissistic. In this section, I’ll show you how the world of pickup can be unconsciously codependent.

For this section, let’s begin with an overview of a definition of codependency, straight from the website of Codependents Anonymous:

Denial Patterns:

I have difficulty identifying what I am feeling.
I minimize, alter, or deny how I truly feel.
I perceive myself as completely unselfish and dedicated to the well-being of others.
I lack empathy for the feelings and needs of others.
I label others with my negative traits.
I can take care of myself without any help from others.
I mask my pain in various ways such as anger, humor, or isolation.
I express negativity or aggression in indirect and passive ways.
I do not recognize the unavailability of those people to whom I am attracted.

Low Self Esteem Patterns: 

I have difficulty making decisions.
I judge what I think, say, or do harshly, as never good enough.
I am embarrassed to receive recognition, praise, or gifts.
I value others’ approval of my thinking, feelings, and behavior over my own.
I do not perceive myself as a lovable or worthwhile person.
I constantly seek recognition that I think I deserve.
I have difficulty admitting that I made a mistake.
I need to appear to be right in the eyes of others and will even lie to look good.
I am unable to ask others to meet my needs or desires.
I perceive myself as superior to others.
I look to others to provide my sense of safety.
I have difficulty getting started, meeting deadlines, and completing projects.
I have trouble setting healthy priorities.

Compliance Patterns: 

I am extremely loyal, remaining in harmful situations too long.
I compromise my own values and integrity to avoid rejection or anger.
I put aside my own interests in order to do what others want.
I am hypervigilant regarding the feelings of others and take on those feelings.
I am afraid to express my beliefs, opinions, and feelings when they differ from those of others.
I accept sexual attention when I want love.
I make decisions without regard to the consequences.
I give up my truth to gain the approval of others or to avoid change.

Control Patterns:

I believe most people are incapable of taking care of themselves.
I attempt to convince others what to think, do, or feel.
I freely offer advice and direction to others without being asked.
I become resentful when others decline my help or reject my advice.
I lavish gifts and favors on those I want to influence.
I use sexual attention to gain approval and acceptance.
I have to be needed in order to have a relationship with others.
I demand that my needs be met by others.
I use charm and charisma to convince others of my capacity to be caring and compassionate.
I use blame and shame to emotionally exploit others.
I refuse to cooperate, compromise, or negotiate.
I adopt an attitude of indifference, helplessness, authority, or rage to manipulate outcomes.
I use terms of recovery in an attempt to control the behavior of others.
I pretend to agree with others to get what I want.

Avoidance Patterns:

I act in ways that invite others to reject, shame, or express anger toward me.
I judge harshly what others think, say, or do.
I avoid emotional, physical, or sexual intimacy as a means of maintaining distance.
I allow my addictions to people, places, and things to distract me from achieving intimacy in relationships.
I use indirect and evasive communication to avoid conflict or confrontation.
I diminish my capacity to have healthy relationships by declining to use all the tools of recovery.
I suppress my feelings or needs to avoid feeling vulnerable.
I pull people toward me, but when they get close, I push them away.
I refuse to give up my self-will to avoid surrendering to a power that is greater than myself.
I believe displays of emotion are a sign of weakness.
I withhold expressions of appreciation.

I admit it’s not a perfect fit, but you can see many codependent patterns in the pickup artist’s mindset, many are more obvious but many others are masked thanks to the grandiosity armor provided by the PUA’s compensatory narcissism. After reading the rest of this article, I suggest you reread these patterns to see if any of them that didn’t seem to apply to the PUA before suddenly apply to the PUA now.

One of the first things that struck me when I read the book The Game was a concept called “Fool’s Mate.” Fool’s mate is described on a PUA glossary site as follows:

Quick Definition:

An easy [sexual conquest] that happens without really gaming the [woman].

Full Definition:

In chess, a fool’s mate is when one places an opponent in checkmate in just 2 moves. The fool’s mate is thus named aptly because it only occurs if the opponent plays extraordinarily weakly. In chess, this rarely happens, even amongst beginners.

In pickup, it is possible to obtain a fool’s mate via drunk targets who are alone, horny and desperate girls, etc. However the community does not consider this real game. A lay is a lay, but sleeping with a girl because of fool’s mate will not improve a PUA’s skill level. Also, the girl will likely be mad, or embarrassed at her own bad decision making. This guarantees that the sexual relationship does not last for more than 1 night. Masters are in this for the long run, or aim to develop multiple long term sexual and intimate relationships.

Fool’s mate is what typical AFCs refer to as “getting lucky”.

In The Game, Neil Strauss mentions fool’s game as follows:

Waiting seven hours or more is what Mystery calls solid game. But occasionally a woman either goes out with the specific intention of taking someone home, or can be easily led to sex in a shorter amount of time. Mystery calls this fool’s mate.

This about this dynamic for a second…if a woman likes you too soon, something must be wrong with her. For a woman to be worth it, there has to be a certain amount of difficulty involved. If she likes you too much, surely there must be something defective about her. She must be drunk. She must have low self-esteem. She must be a slut who sleeps with everyone if she sleeps with me that easily. It brings to mind the old Groucho Marx quote “I wouldn’t want to be part of any club that would have me as a member.”

This is codependent thinking. A partner doesn’t excite you unless she makes you jump through enough hoops. You have to spend a lot of time figuring out what will piss her off and won’t piss her off and walk on eggshells. You’re just walking on different eggshells. A regular codependent thinks “I must not say anything that isn’t nice or supplicating or it might displease her and she’ll reject me.” A PUA, which is sophisticated codependent/compensatory narcissist, thinks “I must not say anything that isn’t super-alpha or it might displease her off and she’ll reject me.”

PUA intellectualizes and rationalizes away bad behavior by women using evolutionary psychology. Women have the right to act like bitches, because evolution makes them that way. They have more to lose by getting pregnant, and they have more people approaching them than guys do, so they have to act like bitches when they reject you. Women need a protector, so they have to “shit test” you, that is, to test you by giving you an inordinate amount of childish, shitty treatment to see if you’re “good enough” to be with them. It basically sells you on the idea that women have a genetic basis for being shitty, bratty entitled cunts and it’s your job to work around this evolutionarily created reality. Shitty behavior becomes just a fact of life, and it’s up to you to overcome it.

You have to “plow through” when a woman is giving you shit while you’re hitting on her. Or you have to act unfazed and be “unreactive” when a girl tries to insult you. You have to act like you’re not taking their shit when they misbehave and occasionally turn your back on them, not because you really plan to leave and don’t care, but because you want to turn her on by seeming alpha and get her approval. You’re pretending to punish her to turn her on, but it’s not really a punishment if it’s being done to  turn her on, is it? It’s giving her what she wants. You’re rewarding bad behavior. You’re being just alpha enough to sexually turn her on, while simultaneously acting codependent enough on a subtle level to satisfy the nasty Cluster B vampire in her. What you don’t get is no matter how many times you “punish” her, the moment you try to close the deal by getting laid by her, you’ve given her the ultimate reward, which is flattering sexual attention. She may at that point give you the sex or she may withhold it, but either way the attention whore drama queen wins.

Sure a lot of women’s shitty behavior is stuff they’re evolutionarily predisposed to. I’m not saying evolutionary psychology is wrong about that. But there are tons of things evolution makes us predisposed to, yet we don’t condone it in society, do we? There are evolutionary explanations for the male drive to rape, cheat, commit murder, beat up people who mistreat us, etc., but we have several thousand years of something called civilization that has trained us to restrain all of these evolutionary compulsions. These same women the PUA is making excuses for somehow manage to go to work, hold steady employment, and postpone pregnancies, don’t they? So obviously when they have to because the stakes are high enough, they are perfectly capable of restraining their negative impulses, whether the impulses have an evolutionary basis or not.

If women are going to be feminists and expect to be considered equal, they need to be held accountable for curbing their evolutionary impulses and conforming to civilized behavior. After all, these same women whose shitty behavior the PUA is excusing using evolutionary psychology likely won’t give their boyfriend or husband a pass for cheating, even though the male urge to cheat has a strong evolutionary component to it also, right? If she expects men to curb their evolutionary impulses in order to act how she wants, men have the right to expect the same from her.

The answer isn’t finding workarounds for the evolutionary impulses you don’t like. The answer is to demand that people act like adults and curb their evolutionary impulses that will needlessly hurt others. The answer isn’t finding ways to pass shit tests. The purpose of recognizing shit tests should be so that you can walk away from them. Not walk away disingenuously with the hope she’ll chase after you and with the intent of getting into her pants via reverse psychology. That defeats the purpose. It’s not to pretend you don’t care in order to get sexual affection. Because that means you actually do care and it means you are seeking approval in the form of her vagina. No, the point is to really not care. If she comes around, fine; if she doesn’t, you’re better off because you haven’t wasted your time.

Passing shit-tests is another form of codependent behavior. Click this link for an example of what shit tests are. Taking tests of any kind equals seeking approval. The very act of taking a test and attempting to pass it confers authority on the test giver. Think about it, if you were walking down the street and some dirty, tweaked out homeless methhead approached you and started saying prove to me how smart you are and arrogantly started testing you with academic questions, would you stop and respond? What if he said, if you answer my questions and prove yourself smart enough, I’ll allow you to give me money. You’d be like “fuck you, who are you to test me?” You don’t recognize any authority that person has over you. You feel in that interaction that you are the prize. He should be begging you for change, not asking you to beg for the chance to give change.

Now picture you are going to school and the teacher gives you a pop quiz. You are ambitious and want to get an A. You want to go a great college and be very successful. Would you tell the teacher “Who the fuck are you to test me?” No, you’d shut up and take the test and pray you scored well on it. Because you recognize the teacher’s authority over you. Agreeing to take the test and doing your best to excel at the test is an affirmation of that authority. Of course the teacher wants you to do great on the test because it reflects well on him. And he may as a result give you extra good treatment if you’re a good student. But most students aren’t delusional enough to believe that these gold stars and teacher’s pet perks mean that he has a position of authority over the teacher. The student won’t turn around and say “I’m ‘gaming’ the teacher.” The teacher is the one really holding all the card.

Agreeing to take tests is an implicit admission of the testgiver’s authority over you, regardless of whether you pass or fail them. Cluster B personality disordered vampires love to give tests. It’s one of the big signs of a narcissist, borderline, or histrionic. They are power hungry and controlling, and testing people is a way for them to exercise those traits and establish superiority over people. Pursuing the school analogy, a teacher likes when students are obedient and work hard to study for and pass their tests, but they will get frustrated if the students keep failing the tests. There is an ego boost from getting people to recognize your authority by agreeing to your tests, but there’s an even bigger ego boosts from having students who excel at getting an A on your tests. It makes you feel like a great teacher, you feel like you are grooming them to give you the answers you want, you are being surrounded with people who excel at parroting your beliefs back at you and are being properly socialized into your worldview. Getting an “A” isn’t a sign that the student is “beating” the teacher, it’s a sign of success to the teacher. Similarly, since PUA trains you to pass shit-tests, you are just becoming an A-student to dysfunctional shitty women’s curriculum.

Now what happens to be the best students in a school? The ones who excel the most at passing tests? They get the privileged of joining the “honors program.” They get the right to get more challenging curriculums, to get taught by the most advanced expert teachers, and to compete against the best of the best fellow students. By making you an expert at passing narcissistic, spoiled women’s tests, PUA puts you in the “narcissistic, spoiled women honors program” where you get to compete against other sophisticated codependents/compensatory narcissists who have also mastered taking their tests. And your classes are now taught by the best of the best of personality-disordered women: the pure narcissists. Now you get the anorexic models, the strippers, the “hired guns” from nightclubs and bars, the party girls, the socialites, the rich, pampered princesses, the daddy’s girls, the porn stars, and the high powered lawyers (law in my experience seems to attract a lot of status hungry personality disordered control freaks of both genders in my experience).

When you give a shitty manipulative woman countermanipulation to get her approval, you are not “gaming” her any more than a student is gaming the teacher by giving the teacher the correct test answer. You’re just showing that you are the ideal codependent. Just like a teacher gets sick of students always failing her tests, even if they are obedient and well-behaved and eager to please, a narcissistic woman gets sick of codependent men always failing her tests, even if she gets minor ego-boosts from the codependent’s eagerness to please. Such ego boosts are not enough to keep her happy. Like the teacher who’d rather obedient, well-performing students who also excel at giving her the responses she wants, the narcissistic woman wants a man acts self-confident enough so that she can feel she can bask in some of his reflected glory, but still codependent enough that her dysfunctional, narcissistic needs still get met. These are the traits she’s testing for. If you fail these tests, you’re a codependent. If you pass these tests, you’re a compensatory narcissist who may or may not get laid by a damaged, waste of time woman who’s not worth the headache. And if you refuse to take these tests at all because you value your time and dignity to validate such women with attention or defer to their authority, congratulation. You are now a renaissance man.

Think about the types of students your average teacher hates. They hate incompetent students who won’t behave and conform. They are disruptive, refuse to accept her authority, refuse to study, refuse to take the curriculum seriously, skip classes altogether and display that they have no desire to conform to the system. But they also hate the other extreme, the student who is so together that he doesn’t take school for the opposite reason. Maybe his family is rich and he has a strong independent streak and he feels he’s set in life no matter how he performs in school. He just has to inherit his family’s business. Maybe he’s so smart and ahead of future trends that he realizes school has absolutely nothing important to teach him, and that it’s for suckers and the risk-averse. Instead he focuses on being an entrepreneur and getting rich in the real world. Think of the pro athletes that skip college and go straight to the NBA and all the hand-wringing they caused when the trend started. How dare they not take the tests and junp through the hoops society demands? Think of the Bill Gates of the world who drop out of college and become among the world’s richest men? How many teachers are secure enough and mature enough to promote this path of focusing on real world success over testtaking success for a student? After all, if enough people undertake this path, it undermines their own authority and the validity of their belief system.

So what does this tell you? The average teacher wants someone driven and talented enough to excel at the curriculum and testtaking system, but not so talented and driven that they totally transcend the curriculum and testtaking system. The person who gives up on the testtaking system either because he deems it not worth the effort and gives up on trying to be a winner in the eyes of society, or the person who gives up on the testtaking system because he finds a way to transcend the socially accepted route to greatness  both totally crushes the testtaker’s ego by making them feel like their authority is not being deferred to and their expertise is not needed and it ruins their belief system because it undermines the worldview they’ve committed so much time and effort to. All this makes them feel threatened by this. A good, worthwhile teacher would encourage you to find the best path to success even if doing so doesn’t make you beholden to them and their tests. These are the types of people you need in your life.

In the mating market, you can see these equivalent of the “bad students” in the dating market. On the low end, think of the Japanese herbivore men who refuse to play the dating game at all and instead would rather just play video games all day because they think modern women are too narcissistic and selfish and just not worth it. Think of the “man up” movement led by pundits like Kay Hymowitz revolving around the supposed crisis in America about men who aren’t willing to rush out there and commit to the current crop of spoiled, entitled bratty North American women, and how desperate they are to shame these men into getting with society’s prescribed program. They’re refusing to conform to the shitty woman curriculum, and the school board AKA First World society, is getting alarmed.

Consider the mating market equivalent of the Bill Gates student: the rich, supersuccessful man who refuses to settle down with a Western woman. He either just keeps dating whoever he wants and offers commitments to none of them, and if they crowd him he just gives them the boot. Think how obsessive Western women were with George Clooney and his insistence on remaining a bachelor and not getting married or even engaged. How dare he! How can he amass all that fortune and fame and status and not turn around and give it to a woman for the privilege of her approval and a monogamous relationship to her? He was refusing to conform to the curriculum. He was not deferring to its authority and passing its tests. Look at how society heaps vitriol at that Russian billionaire who’d rather use his vast fortune to bang prostitutes until the end of time rather than jump through hoops and get married and fuck one woman for the rest of his life and have a family. Men like these threaten the curriculum of First World society by refusing to recognize its authority and take its tests. Just like school administrators and teachers don’t want a lot of students going the Bill Gates route because such students are harder to control and make them and their jobs irrelevant, the administrators of First World society don’t like super successful men who refuse to use their vast resources to pander to Western women and their approval. That’s why on the red carpet of the Oscar’s this year the E! commentators couldn’t stop gushing about George Clooney’s girlfriend Stacy Kiebler. They’re rooting for her to tackle and tie down an alpha who’s gone rogue from the system.

Do you think George Clooney goes around acting aloof and like he doesn’t care because he wants to pass the tests of women and get their approval? No, he doesn’t even take the tests. That’s why anyone who tells you to act like George Clooney to get laid is outcome-driven and totally misses the point.

This is why reality seems to keep confirming the worst of PUA’s beliefs about women. They grew up codependent because of their childhood and as a result have been bred to seek out narcissists, put up with their testing and bad behavior and try to work around them. However, they failed miserably at passing these tests and got bitter and frustrated. Having been burned enough times, instead of fixing their core issues and learn how to deal with non-damaged women, they instead learned to become compensatory narcissists. As a result of being more sophisticated codependents, they end up becoming A-students in the school of damaged, spoiled women and got good enough for the “honors program,” attracting the attention of even bigger, more sophisticated A-grade pure narcissists. This is why the better a man gets at game, the worse his beliefs about women  get. It doesn’t help that he’s also gotten better at screening out healthy women thanks to some of his new habits and beliefs, like fool’s mate, plowing through rejection, and shit-test passing.

Your ultimate goal should be your dignity and self-respect, not passing the tests of damaged women, which is a redundant phrase anyway because only damaged women test that excessively anyway. If she’s doing bitch-shields and consistently shit-testing, she is by definition damaged anyway. When you pass the tests and jump through the hoops and it gets you laid, you may feel okay with it, but when you don’t get the sex, you’ll totally hate yourself for compromising your integrity and dignity for nothing. I think that’s another reason why PUAs seem to take rejection in Strauss’s book so much harder than normal guys do. Selling out your dignity and integrity for superficial goals in soul-crushing in general, even when it works, but when you sell out yourself and still fail, it’s downright traumatizing because you crushed your own soul for nothing.

VI.

SOCIETY DOESN’T CARE IF YOU PASS OR FAIL WOMEN’S TESTS, JUST THAT YOU AGREE THAT IT’S YOUR DUTY TO TAKE THEM

As I’ve said in previous installments, what sexual affection conquests are to a man, flattering attention and ego boosts are to woman. Society teaches women this from very young, and as a result women realize early the power they wield by strategically denying and granting men access to their vaginas, or even just the potential for access to their vaginas. Society however doesn’t teach men about the fact that flattering attention and ego boosts to a woman are as important as sexual conquests are to men, and that the best weapon men have against women and their way of leveling the playing field is to strategically deny and grant women access to their flattering attention, or even just the potential for access to their flattering attention. Women are told to respect themselves and their bodies, but men aren’t similarly taught to respect themselves and their time.

Why doesn’t society teach this? Because capitalist society runs and thrives on men who remain ignorant of this dynamic! Do you ever realize how many times a day our society takes advantage of a man’s need for sexual affection conquests and his willingness to give away his flattering attention to a woman for absolutely nothing in return? Just look at the advertising industry if you want proof. Capitalist society gets absolutely no benefit from the reverse situation of women surrendering sexual affection willy-nilly the way men currently give away their flattering attention, and it gets no benefit from the reverse situation of men strategically hoarding and rationing their flattering attention in the same way women currently strategically hoard and ration out sexual affection.

Notice I use the term “sexual affection conquests” rather than “pussy” or just “sex.” This is very deliberate. People think men are driven by pussy, and they’re just chasing sex. They aren’t. Sex matters to men less than the validation they get from sexual combined with conquests and affection (by affection I mean just any type of friendly, warm approving treatment). If it was really about sex in a vacuum rather than the ego validation that comes from the combination of sex, conquest and affection, most men would be happy with prostitutes and find them interchangeable with one night stands they meet in clubs. However they don’t. So it’s not really about the sex. It’s about knowing that they somehow earned a woman’s approval and affection along with the sex. She found them worthy. They like the sex not just because of how good it feels but because of what it stands for: female approval and affection. That is what guys really are driven by, not sex by itself.

Think about it, if men could live under the bridge in a cardboard box and still get sexual conquests and sexual affection, how could you sell them anything? If men became stingy with flattering attention, how could you sell them anything?  Think of how much marketing and moneymaking revolves around the implicit promise to men “Do this and you will get sexual conquests.” Think of how much marketing and moneymaking revolves around the implicit requirement of men “It’s your job to provide flattering attention to women and seek their approval.” Think of how much government control revolves around making sure society revolves around those same principles. It prevents anarchy and keeps men under control in their eyes. That’s why it’s important to keep prostitution stigmatized and illegal. Otherwise, men may start finding sex without the added ego validation of conquest and affection to be almost as worthwhile as the socially accepted practice of jumping through hoops for so-called “free” sex, and at that point the social dynamic that is the engine of capitalism and civilization is fucked up.

If you look at this image below, it’s a perfect example of the warped mindset of the simp who manages to get laid by jumping through hoops for sexual affection validation:

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Basically, access to a woman’s pussy is so valuable, it’s worth you putting up with all the stuff written on that woman’s shirt. And as long as she has a pussy and gives you access to it, her good behavior is irrelevant, she can dominate, control and destroy your finances, mental health, self-esteem and any hope for your happiness. To him, somehow getting sex from this type of woman is less demeaning than paying for a prostitute. I’m not promoting prostitution for people, but I’m just trying to point out that if you think exchanging sex for money and going your separate ways is somehow less demeaning than trying to game damaged, destructive chicks just because they gave you pussy for “free,” you’re insane. Because it wasn’t free at all. You sacrificed everything written on the  back of her shirt for it, which to me is way more expensive than whatever the prostitute was charging. The fact that most guys would rather bang the bitch in the shirt for “free” and brag about that but would be ashamed to admit paying for a prostitute proves that most guys actually value the ego validation of female affection more than the physical enjoyment from sex, to the point they’d pay with their very soul for the former.

Which brings us back to why pickup is sophisticated codependency. Pickup tells a man if he pays for sex, he’s a total beta. Never mind the fact that there are many high status men who use prostitutes. The only way sex is acceptable for a PUA is if it comes with the ego-boosting approval of a female attached to it.

That’s why PUAs are not sex addicts. Sex addicts just want sex, period. They are addicted more to the act of sex, and it doesn’t matter if the sex comes from a wife, a girlfriend or a hooker. PUAs however are female approval addicts. A PUA will respect a man who got phone numbers and dates and makeouts with no sex over a man who got sex without working to get female approval in the form of numbers, dates and makeouts beforehand.

Now some may argue that PUA doesn’t teach you to reward the bad behavior of bitches like the one in the t-shirt above. They may claim that pickup instead teaches you to pump and dump, which actually punishes a bitch. It teaches you to outmanipulate her by not jumping through her hoops. And so on and so on. And all of this is part of the solution in the mating market rather than part of the problem. I disagree.

First off, let’s define pump and dump. It’s when you have sex with a woman who wants and expects it will lead to a relationship, then proceed to disappoint her by dumping her after sex. If both parties agree to a sex without strings beforehand with no expectations of a relationship, then having sex and moving on afterward doesn’t count as a pump and dump. It’s just a one night stand. No harm, no foul. Remember, for a pump and dump, there has to be an expectation of a relationship from the dumped party.

Here’s the problem: emotionally unregulated drama queens, manipulators, stimulation seekers, and attention whores are rewarded and validated simply with drama and ego-boosting attention, regardless of whether you pump and dump them or give them a relationship. Their goal is just drama and attention, hence what I described in the means-end paradox. The only real way to punish a Cluster B is to ignore her and opt out of the game.   Why do you think so many damaged women get pumped and dumped by alpha males, yet still never take it as a lesson to become better people? Instead, once they get old enough, they just marry a beta male provider, yet remain damaged people. They never actually become better people from the pumping and dumping.

It’s because to a damaged drama queen, pumping and dumping isn’t the punishment people think it is, even if she goes psycho, melts down, cries in the fetal position, or whatever. Her goals are intense emotions, drama and dysfunction, and she got that. The pumping and dumping was a reward, not a punishment, so that’s why she doesn’t change. Instead her bad personality gets reinforced.

The only women who view pumping and dumping as a true punishment are decent, trusting women who got sucked in by manipulation. Because to these women the pumping and dumping is an actual punishment, these women actually do change, from it but for the worse. They become less trusting, more manipulative, and more narcissistic. They’ve been bitten by an [emotional] vampire and start to turn into one too.

Remember, rewards reinforce behavior and punishements change behavior. Since a pump and dump is a reward to a damaged woman, doing it to her encourages her to remain damaged. Since a pump and dump is a punishment to a trusting, nonmanipulative woman, it encourages her to change. So pumping and dumping encourages damaged women to remain damaged and manipulative and encourages good, trusting women to change into damaged and manipulative women. So even if the individual PUA wins, society is filled with more and more damaged women.

It’s a fucked up sexual tragedy of the commons that infects all of society. It’s like learning to navigate a broken system instead of fixing it, or rearranging the chairs on the deck of the Titanic while it’s sinking. If you want to knowingly be a free rider and profit from the overall decline of the dating pool, that’s fine so long as you’re aware of what you’re doing and know the truth. I don’t judge. I just want the people who mistakenly think they’re helping the dating pool somehow with pumping and dumping to be set straight and do what they do with full awareness.

Besides, pickup doesn’t even really guarantee you sex with the damaged bitch in the t-shirt shown above. All it guarantees you is a loner audition and more hoops to jump through. The guy without PUA game may get dissed by the super-Cluster B hottie within minutes after he fails his first test, because he’s not sophisticated enough a codependent to figure out how to pass her tests. The guy with PUA game responds to test after test with “amused mastery” and “cocky, funny banter” and “backturns” and all the other stuff Neil Strauss and Mystery recommend and he gets phone numbers, makeouts, dates, conversations, and at the end he still often gets no sex, because she was more interested in gameplaying even down to the wire. At this point, Neil Strauss’s advice according to his book is to use his “anti-slut defense” tactics, which are just passive aggressive as hell and require even more hoop-jumping and time-wasting., and still may lead to no sex He put up with all this bad conversation and mental masturbating and overthinking and hoop jumping just to get no sex. At least the so-called beta got no sex after just investing 5 minutes rather than day, weeks or months. It’s a lesson every man needs to learn, value access to your time, flattering attention and ego boosts you dole out as much as women or more than value access to their vaginas.

Oftentimes the interest you observe when passing brutal shit tests isn’t sexual interest. It’s the interest of a cat that likes playing with her food before killing it. A damaged narcissistic woman sees your ability to pass her shit tests as evidence that you may be more fun to fuck with for her own amusement over the long run than a codependent, who offers much less challenge and drama. As soon as she feels she’s drawn the last drop of narcissistic supply and emotional stimulation from you, she’ll move on to the next source of narcissistic supply. Sometimes it will be before you get to have sex with her, and you wasted your time. Other times she will bail after you had sex with her, and guess what? You still wasted your time. The point of passing a test should be to earn something that improved your life from before you took the test. What did you get from passing her shit tests? The right to east time taking more shit tests, and if you’re “lucky,” having sex with a damaged girl.

Another problem with pickup is the concept of the DHV, or what is called “displaying higher value.” In The Game, Strauss describes it as

a routine in which the pickup artist displays a skill or attribute that raises his worth or appeal in the estimation of a woman or group; it is intended to make him stand out from the other, less interesting men in the club.

So you walk in with the assumption that a woman is automatically of higher value than you and that you have to proactively prove your higher value by saying or doing something impressive before you know anything about her? Do you even know if she’s bringing anything to the table that makes her even worth impressing? The DHV comes down to bragging and humblebragging, and once you do either you give the other person authority over you because you are affirming that they are worth impressing and auditioning for, before they’ve even done anything to demonstrate they bring anything of value themselves. It’s another form of taking a test, except you’re volunteering on your own for a test that hasn’t even been offered yet!

Another problem with pickup that makes it sophisticated codependency  is the damaging belief that the outcome is always in your control when you’re a true alpha. It takes the codependent’s natural urge to blame himself and masks it as positive traits, like accountability, persistence, and social intelligence. See, everything that goes wrong with a woman is the man’s fault. He wasn’t alpha enough. He was too reactive. He didn’t give the right response. He didn’t stand at a 45 degree angle. He didn’t peacock enough. He didn’t “neg” her at the right level. He held his drink at his waist. He showed too much enthusiasm. He passed her first two shit tests, but caved at her third one. He didn’t properly build comfort before going for sex. He didn’t do the right things to create attraction. And so on and so on.

Meanwhile thanks to evolutionary psychology rationalizing, less things than ever are the woman’s fault. The PUA actually blames women for less of their crappy behavior than a normal codependent. She’s now not just badly socialized, she’s genetically incapable of not behaving crappy unless she’s gamed by an alpha. When her problems are now genetically determined, it’s a lot harder to hold them accountable even in your own mind. Their social shortcomings become now viewed as evolutionary strengths.

A trait of codependents is that they are very loathe to declare a woman damaged goods and move on. With the sophisticated codependency of PUAs, they are even more loathe to declare a woman damaged goods and move on, because now the woman is just following her genetics and protecting herself and to declare her damaged goods and move on is to declare yourself a non-man genetically unfit to even reproduce by evolutionary standards. Alpha men don’t quit, and non alpha men lose in life, right? If you lose at picking up this woman, you lose at having the right to even call yourself a man.

I would go as far as to say that PUAs actually blame themselves for what goes wrong in social interactions far more than regular guys and even regular codependents. Every bad occurrence comes down to the problem of not living up to their idealized, false self, that mythical super-alpha male. Remember what I said in previous installments, codependents tend to blame themselves for the problems in their relationships while narcissists love to blame others for  the problems in their relationships, and I said this is why narcissists are attracted to codependents so much. Since PUAs blame themselves to a much higher degree by being social control freaks that believe every outcome in a social interaction should be under their control and good interactions are solely the responsibility of the man, they attract super drama queens who have zero accountability and believe no outcomes in a social interaction are their fault and that good interactions are solely the responsibility of the man. To put it another way, by becoming a guy who blames himself even more than your average codependent, the PUA attracts the type of woman who blames others more than your average narcissist and has even less accountability: the pure narcissist.

I want to take this time to address one more question Bill asked about: NLP, also known as Neurolinguistic Programming, a form of conversational hypnosis, and whether it was the answer for him. There is an old Sufi proverb that says “The sage tries to control his own ego. The fool tries to control the egos of others.” That pretty much sums up my attitude about trying to use NLP to seduce people and make them behave as you want as a way to fix your life.

This is the problem with any of that stuff, and why it shouldn’t be a priority for you: Right now you can’t control your ego and your own emotions, as shown by your jealousy. If you can’t control yourself and your own reactions yet, why would you focus on controlling other people, which is even harder and more unpredictable a challenge? It’s just another form of attacking symptoms instead of the actual sickness. How people are reacting to you is a symptom of a deeper problem, not the actual cause of the problem.

Which brings me to another dangerous aspect of pickup: control freakery. You become obsessed with imagining, predicting and controlling every last outcome. You imagine hypnotizing people. You imagine having a perfect answer ready for every possible question. You imagine having some kind of hypnotic pattern you can run that will lead the interaction wherever you want. You imagine working out the angle at which to stand, the proper amount to tilt your head, a long, complicated system to follow where even your contingency plans have contingency plan and so on. Or you decide to learn as many manipulation techniques as humanly possible by reading a ton of strategy books like those of Machiavelli, Sun Tzu and Robert Greene. What this all boils down to is one thing: fear of rejection and trying to protect one’s ego by mastering the outcome in your head beforehand.

This is why there’s so much mental masturbation going on. Everyone’s afraid to get hurt and wants to minimize the risk to their ego. This is especially true for guys whose think their egos are too weak to withstand the amount of rejections that come from playing a numbers game. They gravitate toward the control freakery of hypermanipulation because they think with enough tactics, blueprints, and algorithms they’ll crack the code to human interaction so well that they won’t need to do a numbers game. They’ll just get the system down so pat that on their first ever approach they’ll get a girlfriend and boom! game over. They win and they never even had to get a rejection.

I wrote  post last year about why men fear a numbers game, and it got some heated responses. And I can guarantee you that the biggest opponents to that post are also some of the most overthinking hyperintellectual living-in-their-heads rejection-fearing mental masturbators you can find. They prefer the neat, ego-saving fantasy of perfect control over the mess, ego-brutalizing reality of the real world.

Becoming a manipulation-obsessed control freak in social situations is sort of like having Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder except with living, breathing people and social interactions rather than inanimate objects:

Obsessive–compulsive personality disorder (OCPD) is a personality disorder characterized by a pervasive pattern of preoccupation with orderliness, perfectionism, and mental and interpersonal control at the expense of flexibility, openness, and efficiency...

The primary symptoms of OCPD can include preoccupation with remembering and paying attention to minute details and facts, following rules and regulations, compulsion to make lists and schedules, as well as rigidity/inflexibility of beliefs and/or exhibition of perfectionism that interferes with task-completion. Symptoms may cause extreme distress and interfere with a person’s occupational and social functioning.

Hypermanipulation is what I like to call an offense mechanism rather than a defense mechanism. A defense mechanism is something you do in response to a psychic threat, in order to protect your ego. It’s reactive. An offense mechanism is something you do proactively in order to control the situation and prevent a ego-threatening psychic occurrence from coming about in the first place. It’s the psychological equivalent of the old saying, “The best defense is a good offense.”

Remember, one of the control patterns listed above in the list of Codependency traits is “I attempt to convince others what to think, do, or feel.” This is why NLP hypnotic patterns, tightly scripted routines and excessive steps and contingency plans that PUAs like Neil Strauss and Mystery do so much of are even more signs of codependent thinking.

You learn filter out sane, whole, emotionally healthy people with enthusiasm for you in exchange for learning how to better filter in the worst women, the ones you have to strategically game to death. You have to pass the tests of bitchy girls who need to be gamed and have their “attraction switches flipped” in order to bang hot women, and ignore or devalue the women who are naturally attracted to you and willing to validate you without being gamed. And you have to assume from the beginning they have higher value than you do and make it your mission to display your value to her by bragging and humblebragging. And if after all that you still don’t get the girl, it’s all your fault because if you were a true alpha that met her unconscious evolutionary womanly needs, you’d have made her attracted to you and had sex with her. Thus you obsess over doing whatever you have to do to control what others think, do or feel at all times to save your ego from more bruising. You may want to reread that list of codependency patterns again right about now.

VII.

MYSTERY

By equating a partner’s worth with their level of difficulty and their requirements for excessive hoop-jumping, you are screening for entitled, demanding people, especially Cluster B vampires. Why does this idea appeal to so many pickup artists? It ties into a dynamic I described in earlier installments in this series about codependents with caretaker values. Remember how I described that people who grow up in families where they have to cater to their parents’ needs instead of the other way around become codependents? And how the have to dedicate a lot of time figuring out their parents needs and moods and catering to them in order to avoid their rages or to get their attention? And how as a result, they can only feel chemistry with people who reactivate that dynamic in them? How even though they consciously know it’s dysfunctional, it feels comfortable on a deep level because it’s how they grew up and what they’re used to and it’s firmly imprinted on their psyche?

Well, observe how Neil Strauss describes an interaction with Mystery:

“I don’t like it when someone tells m what to do. My dad used to tell me what to do. And I hate him.”

“Well, I’m not your dad,” I said.

“Thank God for that. He ruined my life and my mom’s life.” He pulled his hat up. Tears lay over his eyes like contact lenses, unable to escape on their own. “I used to lie in bed at night, thinking of ways to kill my dad. When I got really depressed, I’d imagine going to his bedroom with a shovel, smashing his head in, and then killing myself.”

He paused and wiped his eyes with the back of his gloved hand. “When I think of my father, I think of violence,” he continued. “I remember seeing him punch people in the face when I was really young. When we had to kill our dog, he took a gun out and blew his head off right in front of me.”…

His father, he said, was an alcoholic German immigrant who verbally and physically abused him. His brother, who was fourteen years older than him, was gay. And his mother blamed herself for smothering his brother with love to make up for her husband’s abuse. So, to compensate, she was emotionally distant from Mystery. When he was still a virgin at age twenty-one, he began to worry that maybe he was gay. So, in a bout of depression, he began formulating what would become the Mystery Method, dedicating his life to pursuing the love he never received from his parents.

Think about how this exchange relates to all I’ve described in this series. His dad was probably a Cluster B vampire or worse. He had a narcissistic family structure. He grew up having to become hypervigilant about catering to his parents’ moods and needs. His dad was physically and verbally abusive, so he probably spent a large amount of time analyzing him every second to figure out what things made him mad and what things made him happy, so that he could behave accordingly. Using a child’s logic, he probably thought he was responsible for his father’s moods and rages, and thought his father was acting out in response to things he did wrong.

In his mind his mom is a victim, which create caretaker values in him. Even now, he claims that his dad ruined his mom’s life, when in reality she was a willing co-conspirator in ruining her own life. This is why I say there is a big codependent element in compensatory narcissism, underneath the surface. He still in a way puts his mother on a pedestal, even though she’s almost as guilty of neglecting his needs and contributing to his abuse as his dad, by remaining with his dad, not adequately protecting him from his dad’s physical abuse, for not making efforts to let Mystery know that he was not at all responsible for his dad’s abuse, and for becoming emotionally distant from him during the years he was being abused by his dad, for fear of smothering him and turning him gay.

So what can we say about Mystery? He probably became super obsessed with deconstructing people because he felt if he could “crack the code” with his father, he could avoid abuse. If he could say and do the right thing, he imagined he could avoid abuse. Of course he couldn’t predictably predict his father’s mood, so sometimes it would work and sometimes it wouldn’t, creating what behaviorists call a random reinforcement situation which made him even more addicted to the decoding process. He probably also got a strange form of Stockholm Syndrome, where he became was forced to develop a form of warped attachment to his abuser. Children are approval-seeking machines, and even when abused by a parent, there is always a part of them that wants to seek that abusive parent’s approval. However he had lots of fantasies of doing violence to his dad if he just gained enough power to do it. Of course he couldn’t do it because he was a child and in a physically weak and emotionally dependent position, but he still fantasized about being able to do it if only he had the means. Thus he had to walk on eggshells and analyze his dad in order to placate him, but if he felt he had the means he would definitely extract revenge on him, which created a weird mix of approval-seeking combined with revenge-seeking.

Meanwhile he has caretaker codependent values because he wants to rescue his mother from his father. Yet even if he can’t fully access it consciously, he probably hates his mother to a degree because on some level he realizes that she let him down and chose his abusive father over her abused child by staying with him and distancing himself from her. So he wants to rescue her yet he also resents her and blames her for helping to make him weak and powerless.

So he relives this dynamic in his adult life. He tries to find adult Cluster B vampire women who represent to his subconscious his Cluster B vampire father. He tries to crack the code of these narcissists, borderlines, histrionics and sociopaths in the form of strippers and party girls all day and all night because he wants a second chance at figuring out and winning over his dad. He specifically needs to win over these types or the victory doesn’t count. That’s why he disdains fool’s mates and people who will approve of him readily. His parents were never like this, and it’s analogues of his parents that he needs to conquer. Because his upbringing trained him to think of himself as inherently unlovable for his true self, he thinks he needs a false, idealized self.

Although he wants a second chance to seek approval from his dad, he also had dreams of getting revenge on his dad if only he was strong enough. So now that he thinks he is equipped with the tools to level the playing field in the form of pickup, and he has the illusion of superiority that comes with being a compensatory narcissist rather than the feeling of total weakness that comes with being purely codependent, he feels he’s now also in a place where he can finally wreak that revenge rather than just fantasize about it.

He has a white knight, rescuer compulsion due to his “victim” mom, yet he also has unresolved resentment toward her because he realizes on some level she’s not as innocent a victim as he’s rationalized her consciously to be, so he simultaneously wants to rescue women, yet he also hates women for being a contributing source of his emasculation, just like his mom was. (This is why some “nice guys” with either smothering or distant codependent moms can have a surprising amount of misogyny in them beneath the surface, even though their moms never overtly abused them).

He needs to win approval from women who are personality-disordered and/or emotionally distant women like his dad and mom were, yet he also has resentment and revenge issues involving those exact same kinds of women because he grew up dreaming of punishing his dad and subconsciously resented his mother. Thus, whenever he’s in a position of weakness that brings him back to childhood, he responds by regressing to childhood weakness and breaks down and becomes a blubbering baby with revenge fantasies. When he’s in a position of power in a relationship dynamic, he tries to emotionally live out the revenge fantasies he had from childhood that he was never in a powerful enough position to act on back then. Bouncing between all these conflicting emotions , beliefs, and mental states and trying to reconcile all that cognitive dissonance is what causes his behavior to be so erratic and is probably why he got diagnosed as bipolar.

His older brother turning out gay and the doubts that gave him about his own sexuality probably contribute to the excessive amount of pussy he feels he needs. He feels he has to keep banging women to affirm his heterosexuality as well. His mother didn’t want him to be gay, and by banging all these women he’s “pleasing” a mental image of his mother by showing her he’s not.

Now you can see why I say PUA just treats symptoms, not the disease. This man needs intense therapy to fix all his simultaneous narcissistic and codependent issues. Instead he just treats the symptoms and gets the illusion of improvement which just gives the disease free reign to run rampant beneath the surface until it reaches the point where his old methods of treating the symptoms no longer works for him. The psychological treatment he received in the past unfortunately didn’t help because it too focused on treating his symptoms. It diagnosed him as bipolar and prescribed him drugs for treating his bipolar behavior instead of treating the emotional core issues and primary inferiority feelings that was causing him to act in a bipolar way.

In part 3 of this series, I described how codependents feel the most chemistry when they find narcissistic people who remind them of their parents and the childhood traumas they had with them. Consider this: Mystery falls incredibly hard for a stripper named Katya and has so much chemistry with her that he wants to marry her after only 3 weeks. She’s an alcoholic, immigrant, Cluster B vampire who is abusive to Mystery, just like his alcoholic, immigrant, Cluster B vampire father was to him as a kid. When people scoff that Mystery nearly killed himself “just because” a girl rejected him, they miss the point and trivialize what happened. Katya wasn’t just some girl. She was his abusive dad he hated yet desperately wanted to please, back from the grave to kick his ass and emotionally annihilate him one last time. This reawakened his secondary and primary inferiorities, making him relive all the abuse from his past along with whatever new pain he was undergoing.

Pickup can’t fix core issues like that.

VIII.

NEIL STRAUSS

Neil Strauss is an interesting case. One thing that struck me about The Game was that he showed a lot of signs of compensatory narcissism in the way it was written. Very narcissistic and grandiose at some times, countered by the codependent tactic of some calculated self-deprecation and admissions of self-loathing to win cool points at other times.

One thing I realized is that no matter how bad he would make himself look, he always made sure to make everyone else look worse. He shit-talked his friends as well as his enemies almost equally. I mean, he basically backhanded compliments or outright insults everyone in the book from front to back. Mystery was his best friend and he says things like:

Our destination was the Hollywood Mental Health Center on Vine Street. It was an ugly slab of concrete surrounded day and night by homeless men who screamed at lampposts, transvestites who lived out of shopping carts, and other remaindered human beings who set up camp where free social services could be found. Mystery, I realized, was one of them. He just happened to have charisma and talent, which drew others to him and prevented him from ever being left alone in the world. He possessed two traits I’d noticed in nearly every rock star I’d ever interviewed: a crazy, driven gleam in his eyes and an absolute inability to do anything for himself.

and

He was clearly more of a geek than I had ever been. His greatest illusion was transforming himself into a good-looking player every night he went out.

He also has these gems:

Tyler and Papa were merely the New York Dolls: They were brash, they were loud, and everyone thought they were gay.

And he just goes on and on backhand compliments or outright dissing various PUAs throughout the book, especially Papa and Tyler Durden.

The more of this I saw in the book, and the more I read between the lines, I started realizing that maybe his descriptions of Mystery and a narcissist and Tyler as a sociopath were just him projecting and recognizing his traits onto others. That is not to say he was wrong in his assessments of them, but rather than even if they were truly those things, one thing narcissists and sociopaths hate in others is when those others reflect their faulty traits back at them and remind them of everything they hate about themselves.

This puts excerpts like the following in different light. Re: Mystery’s narcissism:

The guy was a narcissist. He was a flower that bloomed with attention—be it positive or negative—and wilted when ignored. Peacock theory wasn’t just to attract girls. It existed first and foremost to attract attention. Even picking a fight with me was just another plea for attention, because I’d been ignoring him for the past hundred miles

You are needy and like a black hole sucking in attention. You can’t handle not being the center of attention for even one minute.

Re: Tyler Durden (too much bashing to list exhaustively):

After an hour of blather, I started to understand Tyler Durden. Human interaction to him was a program. Behavior was determined by frames and congruence and state and validation and other big-chunk psychological principles. And he wanted to be the Wizard of Oz: the little guy behind the

curtain, pulling the strings that made everyone around him think he was a big and powerful master of the realm.

I thought about how Tyler Durden had constantly pestered Vision for routines and material. Now I understood why Vision had kicked him out of the house. He didn’t seem to see the humanity in us. He didn’t care about what we did for work; where we were from; or what our thoughts on culture, politics, and the world were.

There was a distinction he didn’t seem to understand: We weren’t just PUAs. We were people.”

Tyler Durden did like to eliminate competition. But not before he’d squeezed every piece of useful

information out of them.

I watched Tyler Durden as he spoke. For all his talk about women, I rarely saw him in the company of one.

That’s when I realized that Tyler Durden wasn’t in the community to get laid. He wasn’t motivated by sex. He was motivated by power.

I hadn’t trusted either Papa or Tyler Durden when I’d first met them. I found Papa spoiled and robotic, and Tyler Durden soulless and manipulative.

He spends a lot of time assigning Cluster B traits to all these people, yet the more you read between the lines, the more you wonder how much of his accusations apply to him. After all, one thing Cluster Bs love to do is projection and smear campaigns, especially of traits about themselves they want to deny having.

I don’t know if Neil Strauss is a narcissist or sociopath. I don’t know the man personally. All I’m saying is that based on the activities he does in the book, as well as research I’ve done about him for this piece about his life before and after this book, I definitely wouldn’t rule it out.

First off, in my Google research I found a disturbing amount of PUAs hate the guy and criticize him mercilessly. And they often accuse him of being robotic, narcissistic and a manipulative sociopath user, which are the same accusations Strauss levies against Mystery, Papa, Tyler and others.

You can find two examples of these accusations below, but trust me there were lots more:

  • Some site written by a guy who claims to know Neil Strauss and was his student
  • This blog post by another professional pickup artist called Sinn, that has a video describing Neil trying and failing at a cockblock technique where he tries to steal a girl Sinn and Mystery are fighting over. When Sinn calls him out on it, Style uses the excuse that he was just trying to game her to teach his friends a lesson to his friends that she was a “whore” and wasn’t really interested in either of them. If you know anything about personality disorders, that type of weaselly response is such textbook manuever for a narcissist. If you watch all of Sinn’s anti-Strauss videos, they describe textbook narcissism and sociopathy.

So I thought maybe this is all just baseless hearsay. I mean these guys are competitors and maybe have a personal beef against him as well. However then I saw the following video when doing my research:

In it, Strauss basically verifies Sinn’s story! He uses almost word for word the exact same example of how to cockblock that Sinn described was used on him. I thought maybe Sinn saw this video first and used it to fabricate the story about Neil, but when checking the dates Sinn’s video was uploaded April 11 and Strauss’s was uploaded April 29, more than 2 weeks later. It does lend a lot more credibility to Sinn’s story. Also, when you look at the body language and facial expressions going on when he describes the technique, he’s subtly smirking and snickering, even as he claims to advise not to use the technique and calling it bad.

Also in the book The Game Neil complains about Tyler Durden coining a term called Stylemogging, which is basically accuses Neil of always looking to passively assert dominance and raise status in conversations by using backhanded compliments and assuming a frame of passing judgment on others. This is a textbook narcissistic manuever as well. Almost every narcissist I know is great at this manuever. I call it “top-down compliment” as opposed to a “bottom-up.” It basically comes off like a compliment, but from a superior, judging frame, like “I, the ultimate authority, from my lofty perch, casually deem you acceptable. If you keep at it, one day you may end up as good as me.” as opposed to a compliment from a lower-status frame that says “Wow, you are awesome. I wish I could be like you.”  It’s a compliment that is disguised as an attempt to be nice to the recipient, but in actuality raises the status of the compliment giver over the status of the compliment receiver.

In the book this really seemed to piss Strauss off. It seemed like a sore point for him. And one thing about narcissists is that they are thin-skinned about criticism, but they are especially thin-skinned about criticism that hits the mark. I think being called out for this narcissistic behavior by Durden may have caused him to become especially obsessed about projecting worse narcissistic and sociopathic behavior onto Tyler Durden.

But again, maybe Strauss was justified in being so pissed off because the accusation was untrue. But over and over in my online research I found pickup artists who verified this subtly undermining passive aggressive behavior of Strauss’s. Google “Stylemogging” and you’ll see what I mean.

But then I found a truly incredible document from 1998. It was called “The Rock Critical List” and you can find a description of it here and  you can find the actual manifesto here. It was an infamous anonymous manifesto that caused a lot of buzz in the rock criticism industry and  offered scathing criticism of rock critics. One section of it described the top ten worst rock critics and listed Neil Strauss as the #1 worst rock critic in the whole industry and described him thusly:

…Strauss once got over on enthusiasm and pluckiness…But these virtues only get you so far, so your ol’ pal Neil decided to develop some vices–namely a taste for schmoozy self-mythology, including dumb wigs, a stand-up comedy “act,” and an open flaunting of his female “friends,” (which [sic] he wasn’t really fucking, but hey, who can be sure?) His writing quickly abandoned any pretense to reporting or insight, turning to the more pressing question of how the artist really felt about NEIL! Was Neil bright, cute or witty? Had the artist heard about the rare vinyl that Neil just discovered on the press junket to [fill in the city]? Did the artist know Neil breakdances? But trying to snicker under your breath 24 hours a day is a grueling job…

Ok, so he was accused of snickering under his breath 24 hours a day, a  lesser form of Stylemogging, even back in 1998, from people outside the PUA industry. And the rest of the description of him also fits into textbook narcissism, from constructing false selves to impress people to flaunting the right associates in order to impress others to making everything about him.

Like I said, still hearsay, but the evidence is mounting.

Finally there’s this video:

Neil Strauss appears on Dutch TV and is asked to demonstrate his pickup technique on the female TV host. He gets super nervous, can’t do it, and he crashes and burns, explaining he can’t perform his pickup routine on her because she’s too nice and he spent time talking to her beforehand during the interview and likes her too much.

Think about this for a second: he can’t do his routine on women if they’re nice and he likes them? So what does that mean? That he specifically approaches women he dislikes on some level? That he can’t perform and gets nervous when he likes the girl and if he can somehow humanize her? That he needs to have no empathy for them in order to perform his pickup, which seems to depend primarily on insulting her first? Think about what this says given all I’ve explained about codependents and narcissists and how they interact with each other. When he doesn’t like the girl and he doesn’t have any connection with her, he can do his pickup routine, which revolves around devaluing and manipulating her the way a narcissist devalues and manipulates a codependent. And when he does like her and feels any connection or empathy toward her, he regresses back into codependent behavior because he now feels he’s not in a position of power. This blend of switching erratically back and forth between narcissistic and codependent behavior depending on context is very indicative of compensatory narcissism.

UPDATE ADDENDUM: When I was first doing this installment, I did lots of research on the internet and in the book The Game to try to make a psychological profile. One thing I found interesting though was how little of Neil Strauss’s background, particularly his childhood and upbringing, was discussed, as opposed to Mystery’s, which was described in excruciating detail.

I tried a bunch of Google searches and looked at his Wikipedia and it was incredibly vague about his childhood, so I had to end up doing the piece without that info and worked around it.

However I found some updated information that confirms a lot of my theories about Neil Strauss and his issues, so I am adding this update. I recently was made aware of an interview he did in March 2011 called “Regrets of a Pickup Artist” where he actually discusses his childhood, and it confirms a lot of the psychological elements I’ve discussed in this series.

The whole thing is short and interesting, so I recommend following the link and reading the whole thing, but here’s the part that jumped out at me:

Growing up, I was watched by my parents and strongly critiqued. Instead of saying they loved me or showing physical attention, they would joke that I had a Roman nose – that it was roamin’ all over my face. Teasing was their way of showing love, but then you are young, sometimes you can’t tell the difference.

As a teenager I was a guy who was trying to belong, yet never belonged. I was scrawny and wanted a nose job. Each night, at 15, I would go to bed and wish that I would live long enough to have sex.

My first crush was on a girl called Jessica when I was in sixth grade, but I was made fun of for following her wherever she went in school. Years later, at a school reunion, the first thing she did was make fun of my hairline.

High school was equally barren. My friends and I called ourselves the “V Club” because we were all virgins – it was like a bad teen movie. We would sacrifice any amount of dignity to lose our virginity and yet it never happened. The girl I took to the prom ended up leaving with another guy.

The main reason I went to Vassar College was because it had recently gone from a women’s school to co-ed, and I figured I had a good chance of having sex. That didn’t materialise, but in between transferring from Vassar to Columbia University I met a girl and, at 21, finally had sex. Because I didn’t know when it would happen again, I dated her for a couple of years.

He briefly discusses Lisa Leveridge:

While living this lifestyle I met Lisa Leveridge, the guitarist for Courtney Love’s all-girl band, the Chelsea. Lisa was like no other woman I’d met. When she walked into the room, it was like the seas parted. There was something about her that was just more complete than other women. After The Game was published in 2005, we lived together for a while. It was perfect, but after two years the relationship had run its course.

I found this pretty interesting, given the dynamic I described in part 3 about what creates chemistry in a codependent:

Here is what I think chemistry is. Some people think we get attracted to partners who represent our opposite-sex parent. Women supposedly marry their fathers and men supposedly marry their mothers. This is not necessarily true. In relationships, we feel intense chemistry with partners who remind us of aspects of our parents we have the most unresolved, open issues with. And in relationships, we become those aspects of our parents we most identified with.

Someone with codependent caretaker values, they have unresolved issues with hard to please parents and never getting their emotional needs met from them. Therefore when they have a lot of chemistry with someone, it tends to be with someone who has the same issues as their parents as far as being hard to please and being inconsiderate of the codependent’s emotional needs. That intense chemistry they feel, that familiarity, it comes from unconsciously recognizing the most influential dynamic of their lives: the dynamic they had with their parents.

When reading The Game, it seemed to me that Leveridge was giving off lots of mixed signals, thereby hooking Strauss with intermittent rewards, and was also withholding validation from him like a carrot on a stick much in the way his parents used to. Then after driving him craz with those techniques, she then hit him with a narcissistic technique known as “idealization” where she hit him with a ton of flattery and ego boosting. (All people with narcissistic tendencies idealize and then devalue later on.) Then he possibly rationalized it into being something much more noble than it actually was. I want to stress, I’m not saying Leveridge is a full-blown clinical narcissist or any other type of pathological emotional vampire, because I don’t know enough about her to say that for sure. I am saying, however, that she does seem to have some narcissistic traits based on how the book describes her. Strauss even admits that modesty was never her strong suit.

Because his parents didn’t seem to be all-out emotional vampires, but rather seemed more like relatively decent people who had a few unfortunate vampire tendencies, the girl that produced intense chemistry for him was a lot more normal than the extremely damaged girl who produced intense chemistry for Mystery, whose dad was an all-out vampire. But when skimming the book for this series of posts, I did notice that a lot of her “push-pull” techniques and withholding of praise seemed to be what hooked him the hardest. It seems like the negative aspects of his parents that Leveridge had in her are exactly what drew him to her.

IX.

TRUE SELF AND FALSE, IDEALIZED SELF

To review, pickup does give some good advice, but it still ends up damaging because it reinforces a very subtle codependent frame. It’s even worse than the average codependent frame, which is much easier to snap someone out of, because this new one is much more subtle, insidious, and sophisticated, and on the surface even looks and feels like the opposite of codependency, and that hinders your ability to be self-aware.

An example of the right mindframe is what I advocated last year when I outlined “The Laws of Enlightened Superiority” versus the “Laws of Ego-Driven superiority.” I decided to rename the laws, for the purposes of this article, and maybe permanently (I haven’t decided yet), to “The Laws of the True Self” and “The Laws of the False, Idealized Self.” If you are taking any of the advice, no matter how good it seems, but applying it from the ego-driven frame of the false, idealized self, you have just fallen into the ego trap. And doing good advice with the wrong frame, which is the external validation seeking ego-driven frame, is much harder to fix because it appears to be an enlightened goal and the self-deception involved is much more sophisticated.

The Laws of the False, Idealized Self (or Ego-Driven Superiority) are as follows (it’s grown from the original list):

  1. The False Self is more concerned about appearing superior than actually being superior. 
  2. The False Self specifically wants to be better than other people, rather than pursue excellence and greatness for their own sake.
  3. The False Self not only wants everyone else to be inferior and remain inferior, and will do whatever it takes to keep them from improving themselves significantly.
  4. The False Self not only needs to appear better than other people, it needs the world to know about the apparent superiority and acknowledge it.
  5. The False Self not only needs the world to know about the superiority and acknowledge it, but it also needs people to be envious.
  6. The False Self wants to convert people and make them  followers, but never let them become independent of, equal to or greater than the master.
  7. The False Self is always looking for individual and collective “others” to label enemies, so that it can raise its own status by devaluing and  attacking these others.
  8. The False Self is always looking for individual and collective “similars” to label as allies so that it can raise its own status through praising these others and proving them superior thereby basking in the reflected glory.
  9. The False Self is always looking for acolytes and true believers who will buy into the image the false self is trying to convey and treat it like it was the real self.
  10. The False Self is always looking for other false selves to idealize, look up to and hero worship 

The Laws of the True Self (or Enlightened Superiority) are as follows (it too has grown from the original list}:

  1. The True Self is more concerned with doing its best than simply appearing superior.
  2. The True Self is more concerned with pursuing greatness for its own sake rather than pursuing images of greatness primarily to ensure others are inferior.
  3. The True Self  doesn’t mind sharing its creative tools with others and giving them the means to improve themselves in similar ways.
  4. The True Self doesn’t mind having others know about and acknowledge its accomplishments, but is perfectly fine if such acknowledgment is never received. Such people generate their own validation internally rather than relying on external validation for their self-esteem.
  5. The True Self has no desire to inspire envy and jealousy in others.
  6. The True Self, even if it converts others and makes them followers, ultimately aims to help them become their own gurus in time, and is secure enough to even encourages them to someday surpass the master.
  7. The True Self realizes that it can’t and shouldn’t attempt to raise its own status simply by labeling individual and collective “others” as enemies and then devaluing and attacking these others.
  8. The True Self derive its self-worth from its personal attributes and accomplishments rather than by basking in the reflected glory of similar individuals, cultures or organizations.
  9. The True Self is always looking for others who are mature enough to appreciate and prefer the true self  as it is rather than encourage and buy into the image of the  false self for what it pretends to be.
  10. The True Self is always looking for other true selves to take on as gurus and learn from.

For example, take a product that I found when researching for this piece. It’s called David DeAngelo’s 77 Laws for Success With Women and Dating. Mind you, I haven’t listened to this product, so I don’t know what it teaches in detail. I found it because I was looking to see if there were some PUAs specializing in laws and principles over tactics, and thereby avoiding the “hypertacticality” trap. This came close, but it totally falls into the ego trap I mentioned earlier of being in some ways even more dangerous than the usual PUA bad advice on account of the bad mindframe being more subtle.

See, if it was just called 77 Laws for Self-Respect or 77 Laws for Self-Esteem or 77 Laws for Self-Actualization or 77 Laws for Inner Peace I’d have been happy with it, as it would be congruent with the true self mindframe. But by adding “for success with women and dating” to the title, now all 77 laws become framed as a tool for external validation and as a result now fall into tools for reinforcing your false, idealized self rather of promoting your true self. Your goal becomes getting better at receiving validation rather than learning to become independent of any need for validation.

That means some of the potentially good advice in this product like “work on yourself,” “evict your inner wussy,” “know your purpose,” and stop apologizing” now carries a subtext that turns it into “work on yourself so you can get external validation from women,” “evict your inner wussy so that you can get external validation from women,” and “stop apologizing so that you can get external validation from women.” This puts it in alignment with the laws of the false self. A better frame would be “work on yourself to gain self-respect, because doing so is its own reward in and of itself,” “evict your inner wussy to gain self-respect, because doing so is its own reward in an of itself,” and “stop apologizing to gain self-respect, because doing so is its own reward in and of itself.” This frame, which is regrettably absent, would put the advice in alignment with the laws of the true self.

All you’ve done is ditch the wuss behavior but keep the wuss core. In fact, you’ve made the wuss core harder to fix because you disguised it under a alpha male Halloween costume and script.

Also, thanks to the damaging frame, a lot of the advice in this product ends up being downright contradictory. For example, the advice “stop seeking approval,” “stop idealizing women,” and “stop trying to impress” becomes “stop seeking approval so that you can get external validation from women,” (if you’re doing this course for external validation from women, how can you claim you’re not seeking approval?) “stop idealizing women so that you can get external validation from women,” (if you’re doing this course to get external validation from women, how can you say you’re not idealizing them?) and “stop trying to impress women so that you can get external validation from women.” (if you’re doing this course to get external validation from women, how can you claim you’ve stopped trying to impress them?) The explicit advice is inherently unreconcilable with the implicit frame.

Now if you are a guy who is enlightened enough and has done enough inner work to internalize the Laws of the True Self (or Enlightened Superiority), you could go through the list of laws DeAngelo has listed, picking out the good ones and reinterpreting them into the right frame, or eliminating the bad ones because they’re incapable of being put into the right frame, and moving on like that.

So that’s why I say PUA advice isn’t totally useless with the right mindframe. However codependents don’t have the right mindframe, so they are better off not touching the PUA stuff until they do get the right mindframe. And getting the right mindframe consists of finding a path that will help them shed any false, idealized self they have and get them in touch with their true self. It’s up to them to choose what path works before them in this goal, whether it’s Buddhism, psychoanalysis, Christianity, Kabbalah, hypnosis, whatever.

Some people think embracing your true self means resolving yourself to betahood. This isn’t true and is a false choice. The choice is not between either embracing the false, idealized self of the alpha male versus your true self of a beta male, because if you think your true self is a contemptible beta male, you will always feel like an impostor and wracked with self-hatred, because the real you is supposedly a loser, and the winner you pretend to be is false. The choice is not about replacing your old true self of beta male with a new true self of alpha male. This is because it is literally impossible to make the idealized, false self into a true self. Idealized, false selves represent perfection, and by definition perfection doesn’t exist and is not achievable. Even the greatest supposed alphas of history had moments of chumphood. Read the histories of Caesar and Marc Anthony and how they died due to getting strung over Cleopatra  if you don’t believe me.

The key is realizing that the idea that your beta male codependent identity is just as much a false, idealized self as your alpha male compensatory narcissist identity was. Your mistake was that you spent all this time thinking your only options were two false, idealized selves: one false self that told you that you were only worthy of love if you were a white knight, a problem fixer, a “nice guy” who puts the needs of others over himself and another false self that is a mythical alpha male superman with an aloof, unreactive, the prize, but who still secretly had a lot of the leftover validation-seeking pathologies of the white knight. That’s the crisis that underlies the whole PUA movement, and you can see it in The Game over and over.

Next is part 5, the finale. Advice to Bill of where to go from here.

73 Responses to “Reader Letters #1, Part 4”


  1. Wow. Just wow. Phenomenally written.


  2. Epic… Incisive and personally relevant. I was waiting for this and look forward to part 5.


  3. Good piece T. I am glad you didn’t “break it up” into smaller pieces. It is better as a single read even if it a little long.

    A couple of questions:

    1) You wrote: “This is why some “nice guys” with either smothering or distant codependent moms can have a surprising amount of misogyny in them beneath the surface, even though their moms never overtly abused them.” This part was unclear to me. Could you please expand on this a bit more.

    2) I think you did a great break down of Strauss’ character. Unlike Mystery I always found him to be very unlikable. You mentioned that in your research you found evidence that led you to believe that his ex girlfriend was probably a pure vampire narcissist. What led you to believe this?


  4. I may do a post more in depth on it later on, but short version of it is that I think a lot of “nice guys” had distant or domineering fathers. Or the fathers were weak and nonentities. They ended up getting psychologically enmeshed with their mothers for several reasons. One is because their dad was weak and their mothers dominating so they were taught their moms were the dominant parent and that’s how love relationships should be. Or because the father was distant or abusive they were forced to bond to their mother extra strongly, either because they wanted to protect her, because they were lonely or because the mother smothered them and turned them into surrogate emotional husbands, which is how many of them learn the emotional tampon template they apply to their own later relationships.

    When they’re young many of these nice guys have a lot of closet misogyny issues with women. First they start out idealizing women because they put them on pedestals, like they did with their moms. So they start hating women for not living up to their moms, especially if they were smothered by these moms. What really kickstarts the misogyny is when they realize that women aren’t the angels their moms told them they were and that their moms gave them bad advice. It feels like a betrayal, like they were lied to their whole lives. Also as they get older and can understand the sophisticated nature of relationships, they start understanding even if only on a subconscious level that their mom wasn’t blameless either. She didnt protect them from the dad as well as he could have. She chose the big lug in the first place. If the dad was weak, they realize she browbeat him a lot. She never divorced him or divorced him too late and kept the nice guy in a toxic environment for longer than she should have. She made him weak by smothering him and always trying to emasculate him and he didn’t have a strong supportive masculine figure to fight her emasculating influence, so he starts to resent her for his weaknesses especially now that he’s starting to suffer the consequences for these weaknesses in his love relationships as women are walking all over his “niceness.” For all these reasons, as he gets older, he realizes that not only are other women not the angels he thought his mother was, even his own mother wasnt the angel he thought his mother was. He realizes she gave him bad love advice, he realizes her own contributions to his abusive childhood even if it was just passiveness, and he realizes the emasculating effect of her smothering.

    For a combination of these reasons, a lot of nice guys develop a consuming misogyny to them. But because their idealized false self is that of a nice guy, and because they feel guilty for feeling bad thoughts about their mothers, they can’t allow themselves to fully access these feelings and often keep them in their subconscious but it leaks out often in passive aggressive ways. A good example of this type of character was Berger in Sex and the City.

    When these guys turn from codependent to compensatory narcissist they not only repress and block conscious access to their low self-esteem to a degree but they also unblock all this latent misogyny that they built up from what they perceive as a life of “betrayals” from women and become more overt misogynists as a result. Of course they still have a lot of leftover pedestalizing tendencies from their nice guy codependent days but now they’re more sophisticated and disguised.


  5. Nas, I forgot to address your Leveredge question. I don’t know much about her, so I really can’t say if she’s an emotional vampire or not. However from the description of their courtship it seemed to me she was toying with him a lot to get narcissistic supply. But my evidence is flimsy on that front, it’s just a hunch.


  6. Thanks T. Your post has been quite helpful and has a lot of personal relevance for me. I have tried to understand my somewhat dysfunctional (sometimes misogynistic) attitude towards women. Conventional wisdom led me to believe that “it must have something to do with my mother” but I dismissed such notions out of hand because my mother was just so nice (and smothering). You know you are scary right about the part about the father. You are also right about how I would blame my mother for even being with “that big lug” and then I would feel guilty about actually blaming the victim.

    Thanks again and I hope you get to do a longer post on this subject sometime.


  7. do you think everybody has some underlying issue cause by their upbringing and is there anyway a parent could avoid giving these issues to their children. I mean even in healthy environment, there’s gonna be some mistakes made along the way that might cause something to trigger in a child.

  8. B. Larsen (@strongironbunny) on March 2nd, 2012 at 12:52 AM

    Excellent post. While you were on hiatus I thought about starting my own blog to fill the void (awww, I missed you), but you do it better than I can. /buttkissing.

    This is a little long…

    1)”I much preferred to read relationship books like those by Tariq Nasheed, Mode One by Alan Roger Currie and Manhood 101?s e-book. I sampled a lot of blogs about game to see what insights I could get, but I ended up settling on blogs by Roosh and VK as the ones I still like to read, because they’re funny and come off in their writing like relatable guys you’d want to have a drink with.”

    I found the Manhood 101 ebook about a year ago before I was ready to read it. Before I “swallowed the red pill” so you speak. I have some problems with it , but for the most part I’m digging it.

    Re: Roosh. Like you, I find Roosh entertaining and relatable. However, my dear Roosh is full of contradictions just like your description of Style. I first noticed it in the middle of last year on a post about Buddhism. http://www.rooshv.com/mans-res.....ment-43678

    “Roosh, you puzzle me. I read this post and I’ve read ur summary of that Buddhism book. I cannot resolve how u can subscribe to Buddhist philosophy, yet at the same time having such a low regard for women. I dig ur blog, subscribe on Twitter, I’m a fan…but u seen very conflicted”

    One day he is saying how he prefers to bang “whores” and “sluts” and then 2 weeks later he’s talking about how he has no time for women that he can’t connect with on some level.

    But this is why I like Roosh. All human beings are full of contradictory thoughts and feelings; that he shares all of this makes him more likable to me, as opposed to say a blog like “Danger & Play” where I got accused of white knighting in the comment section and instead of rebutting or engaging he wholesale edits my comment to make me look foolish, all the while “keeping frame” (LOL) as SUPER ALPHA BADASS. I don’t read that blog anymore. Which leads me into…

    2)”They learn to project away their feelings of inferiority and self-hatred onto others. (Ever wonder why pickup artists develop this fanatical hatred of beta males? It’s their hatred of the beta traits they fear still exist within themselves, so they try to destroy these unwanted traits by first projecting them onto other male targets and then destroying those other targets.) ”

    PUAs, MGTOW, they’ve all seemingly adopted female tactics(primarily b/c the internet lends itself to this type of behavior). Insults , shaming language, getting emotional instead of using logic, group think, consulting the herd (“Is this beta?”)

    I wonder if I am the only one that sees the obvious contridiction between blaming feminism for “ruining” America, and the style of communication they use. Lots of manosphere stuff is just feminist crap with the genders switched. Which leads me into…

    3)You ever notice that the most strident voices about “The decline of Western civilization” and supporters of the “Send their asses back to the kitchen” type of rhetoric are mainly white males between the ages of 30-50? Roissy, Ferdinand Bardamu, GL Piggy just to name a few.

    As a black man anytime I hear things about how women should know their place, or that society is being ruined by women taking an active role in society, you know what I do? Take the word “women” out and insert “blacks”, or nowadays in SoCal where I live “Mexicans”. See where I’m going? They talk about the “good old days”. What good old days? Good for who? White men between 30 and 50? Why would I be interested in going back to the 50s? Or 30′s? Or mid 1800s? Who does that benefit? Which leads me to…

    4)There is FAR too much anger in PUA/manosphere writings. Not MGTOW stuff where some crazy bitch ruined some dude’s life, that’s justifiable. Pining for a return to the past, complaining about how women don’t do what you want/expect of them, calling them bitches/whores, not regarding them as human beings but as living masturbation dolls. Why all the anger? After going through the archive of The Last Psychiatrist I’m with you 100% on the narcissist classification.

  9. B. Larsen (@strongironbunny) on March 2nd, 2012 at 1:08 AM

    Forgot to add this… re: your quote

    “”They learn to project away their feelings of inferiority and self-hatred onto others. (Ever wonder why pickup artists develop this fanatical hatred of beta males? It’s their hatred of the beta traits they fear still exist within themselves, so they try to destroy these unwanted traits by first projecting them onto other male targets and then destroying those other targets.) ””

    The obsession with betas is only slightly ahead of the obsession of being “alpha”. I read comments about being “alpha” and I laugh because IDK if you heard black people saying this growing up, “I come from Kings and Queens in Africa!” Ok, if you came from Kings and Queens, who did the work? Royalty sits on their ass and gives orders. That quote is as ludicrous as some Brit living on a council estate who somehow makes it over to the States proclaiming, “I come from Kings and Queens in England!” No, you live in a country where there is a King and a Queen, but you’re common.

    Alpha is not common. Alpha is not some routine or some attitude you adopt. Alpha is a position of authority that comes with responsibility, and the attitudes and actions necessary to defend that position are what people like to call “alpha.” Acting like an alpha won’t make you one just like acting like royalty won’t make you one.

    The feeling I get from a lot of guys who write in forums and blogs is that they just want to belong. They talk about how they used to be beta but are either now or aspire to be alpha. It reminds me of kids who join gangs. They see older kids and young men with power, money, women, and they don’t have any legitimate means of getting any of this without joining the gang. I see the same dynamic here in the PUA community. Their own special language and code words (alpha, beta, frame, shit test), initiation rites (go out and open 100 women), hierarchy (“master” PUAs, bootcamp teachers), methods of dealing out rewards and punishments.

    I’m getting sleepy and can’t connect my thoughts, maybe I’ll come back and try and make it coherent later on…


  10. I loved your post and I’d like to do a more thought out reply. But I wanted to touch on one thing.

    “Some people think embracing your true self means resolving yourself to betahood.”

    The cold harsh unrelenting reality of genetics is that most men are beta males. That is their real self. That’s what was determined by their genetics before they were born.

    Preaching self improvement has its limits. A scrawny guy can work out and get stronger, but he will still be pretty scrawny. An untalented guy can try hard to succeed, but he probably isn’t getting rich. A man can make marginal improvements, but hypergamy means that success is distributed exponentially. Telling a 4 to work hard on becoming a 6 is great and all, but he’s going to be an AFC at 4 or 6.

    Monogomy isn’t natural. It’s “one man one vagina” socialism. It may have been a very good social construct (depending on your opinion), but its not natural. What’s natural is only about 40% of men passing on their genes, with the ones at the top doing the most passing. That means that for the bottom 60% of men being your true self is being a dead end.


  11. This is fantastic. You break down perfectly as to why i did not like the game/pua sites, why they seemed phony and creepy. Why they seemed to me more about putting on an act to trick girls into having sex with you. It seemed like cargo-cult alpha male stuff. Insecure guys, putting up an alpha male veneer, but you could tell at the core they were still the insecure people they were before.


  12. Very enlightening and well written.

    In some future post it would be interesting if you could draw out further the notion that capitalism requires—engenders?—striving in males by meeting the attention needs/neediness in women. Perhaps a contrast with tribal, socialist, communist, etc. societies would help clarify. Evo psych/natural behaviors and all modern civilizations are in tension with one another. Is capitalism a particularly damaging social structure?

    Also, prostitution gives access to sex, but almost certainly not to reproduction. So you stay omega, especially if that is the *only* sex you get. “Free” sex still indicates an ability to mate, though with birth control (a very recent technology) it only amounts to a simulacrum of the higher status proof necessary to mate. That might be a distinction still driving the different perceived rewards and helping to rationalize away the psychological problems inherent with stripper hookups. As boyfriends or willing mates, they still have a mating capability, in theory, no matter how dysfunctional.


  13. Wow, I wish I had written this. Beautifully insightful. I’ve touched on a lot of this stuff on my site before, but never so comprehensively and never with so much detail.

    Also Ricky, re: your ideas about PUA’s with weak father figures. I worked as a PUA coach for a few years (used to go by Entropy), and I ran a survey on my readers… a full 80% of them self-reported having either absent father figures, or poor relationships with their father growing up. My experience coaching guys has been similar. In fact, you can often draw a direct line between how lacking their relationship with their father was, and how desperate they were for validation.


  14. You just listed everything I dislike about PUA, and revealed a lot more.

    I was codependent before Game and fell in the trap. I never went PUA, I went “ubermale” but the principle was similar. Easy pussy and affection = cheap, because they adored the false self. I was working hard to make that false self real but… I knew they wouldnt have loved the “old me”, which still happened to be resentful and locked down somewhere.

    After a while I was surrounded by a lot of codependent / mild narcissist women, who were OK with the share of approval and the ego boost of being associated with a top male. Then I found a true narcissist, some charismatic and independent girl who was able to see the real me. Oh boy… brother, all that chemistry! how good it felt to receive her attention! and when we kissed. It´s incredible. Literally:

    I FELT IT WAS MY CHANCE TO FIX MY CORE ISSUES.

    I moved from ubermale and went into a relationship where emotional abuse and boundaries crossing and lack of intimacy were part of the diet… pretty much from the start, but I felt that I had to fix something… and all the contrast from my previous “power” and that new dark state just made it stronger… you described it beautifully.

    Actually I found your blog while looking for stuff that was happening in the relationship. Which I ended not long ago.

    Anyway. I can see how some stuff I was doing turned me into a vampire (exchanging false self for goods), and why I had to land a true vampire. I wish I had knew this stuff before. Or… whatever. At least I know now.

    Thanks so much.


  15. Incredible. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything in the past several years concerning this topic that has impacted me so hard.

    This describes me so well. I’m a mama’s boy only child with a distant father (and after knowing my mother better as an adult I understand why). I had a string of highly codependent relationships, each more tumultuous than the next, until I married a terrifying BPD woman three years older than me. We had a sexless marriage until I decided it might be time to leave . . . and she got upset and tried to murder me.

    That screwed me up, but I discovered “Game” and Roissy and the assorted characters soon thereafter and I thought it was great. I began to transform myself from a sexless loser into a player. Along the way I started to accumulate the wildest assortment of girlfriends and insanely dramatic relationships – a 19 year old stripper/meth addict, a 19 year old Ecuadorian heiress addicted to plastic surgery, a single mother with Huntington’s Disease, a former Guantanamo interrogator with PTSD, an honors student/hooker, a 19 year old BDSM queen, the list goes on. I got STDs. I gave STDs. I got two girls pregnant in the same week. I took one for an abortion, and the other one was beaten by her boyfriend so hard she miscarried. I slept with a married woman and her best friend the night I met them, and am sitting on an airline ticket booked the weekend her husband is going to the Final Four. And I liked screwing her because I identified with her husband and I hate what he represents in me. No, I loved screwing her – it was the best sex of my life, for that very reason.

    These things don’t really make me feel any better. I’ve had 5 ex girlfriends that have spent time in mental institutions. I’ve quadrupled my premarital notch count but still get upset if I go to a party and can’t find a girl in tune with my brand of fucked-upped-ness. I got pushed out of my PhD program because I spent all my time dealing with a girl in rehab or chasing tail. I got kicked out of my house because I broke too much furniture screwing on it and kept the landlord up with late-night sex sessions with whatever newest girl I had “incredible chemistry” with. I became unemployed. But hey, it was okay because I was with this amazing new Brazilian girl, let me show you a picture of her . . .

    I basically let my life go to shit because I thought I was making progress. I will tell you, I at least got over borderline women by turning into a compensatory narcissist myself. Unfortunately, being broke and unemployed meant I had to move back in with the original narcissist in my life, my mother, and that just made everything worse.

    It’s only been in the past three months that I’ve been able to see there’s been something amiss. To get a job, move out, start rebuilding my career, exercising, and taking care of myself. About a week ago I realized there was something very wrong with me . . . I’m a 29 year old guy with considerable talents, +3 sigma intelligence, I’ve traveled to 30+ countries, worked in various scientific and artistic disciplines, learned a dozen instruments, etc., . . . and the only thing that I can talk about in public or that I am proud of are the women that I’ve screwed.

    I realized that last week and have been searching for answers the past seven days . . . I happened upon your article via Krauser’s blog. It’s good timing. I was at least able to make steps to cut off the very worst women currently in my life. Now it’s time to actually fix what drove me here in the first place. Thank you.


  16. excellent excellent excellent

    definitely need to print it out, read it several times, and take notes.

    yohami sent me the link. he knows me well. i have tons of issues, i really like the “true self” vs “false self” concepts, and i just think my problem is that i am fascinated by beauty and by girls and by sex and i frankly don’t care that these beautiful girls are fake and egotistical and narcissistic and plastic and phony — i just want to fuck them all.

    i have a deep need for external validation from beautiful girls, cause i feel ugly and i feel deprived. i didn’t have sex until i was 21, and i was *so* horny from such a young age, it was honestly like a fucking decade before i finally got the pussy i was so desperately needing. girls had so much power over me for so long — i needed the pussy, but was desperately afraid of rejection and felt humiliated on a daily basis because i couldn’t conquer my fears of rejection, and couldn’t be a real man and get pussy — i really think it fucked with my head.

    so now i have this deep need for sexual validation, emotional validation — what you call the “sexual affection conquest” — a term i really like — so i have all these external validation needs from beautiful girls — and yet i have a real hatred of girls, a real deep resentment, cause i am so angry at all the “suffering” they have caused me for so long.

    so i need what i hate, which makes me hate myself even more.

    and when i can’t get the girls that i want — the really beautiful ones — it makes me hate myself even more, cause obviously i am not “good enough” or “good looking enough” or tall enough or rich enough or muscular enough to deserve them.

    so it’s a downward spiral of hate and more hate.

    loathing and self loathing.

    i am still pretty much there. i was married for a while, but even that wasn’t enough. i needed tons of pussy. i needed tons of validation. i am insatiable. i have a big fat fucking whole in my soul, and right now i am getting no pussy, but i know no matter how much pussy i got, it wouldn’t be enough.

    i am focusing on working on my art, my craft, and forgetting about chasing girls, chasing pussy, and chasing external validation. except my craft is photography, very much related to beauty, girls, and aesthetics — and validation.

    so right now i am slightly drifting from side to side. but your essay was EXCELLENT and i learned a lot from it, and i am going to read it again and learn more.

    thanks,
    rivelino


  17. I love this post and it has inspired me to seek the help I need in treating my caretaking codependent nature. However, I want to know what books you recommend for treating this behavior. I really appreciate all your time and effort and like I said it has given me the necessary confidence to work on myself. Any book recommendations on dealing with codependency would be great. Thanks in advance.


  18. do you think everybody has some underlying issue cause by their upbringing and is there anyway a parent could avoid giving these issues to their children. I mean even in healthy environment, there’s gonna be some mistakes made along the way that might cause something to trigger in a child.

    I fear I may have given an overly pessimistic view of parenting that will have everyone thinking they’re doomed to give their kids major issues growing up.

    I may go into it deeper in a future post, but the main thing to take away is you don’t have to be a perfect parent, just a “good enough parent.” It’s a term psychologist DW Winnicott used in his work, and you can google his name and the words “good enough parent” to read some links about the concept. This article is a good start:

    http://www.ivillage.com/what-g.....6-a-127880

    Good enough parenting has a lot to do with respecting a child’s individuality and uniqueness from you and not treating the child as an extension or reincarnation of yourself, but not to the point where you set no limits and are distant and leave the child to emotionally fend for itself. It also has to do with being attuned to the child’s emotional needs and being more worried about being responsible for the child’s emotional needs and moods rather than making the child responsible for your own needs and moods. But you don’t want to go to this extreme to the point where you’re smothering or a helicopter parent or you spoil the child.

    Reading the literature on “good enough” parenting will give you an idea of what I mean.


  19. B. Larsen, I agree with a lot of your points and observations. And I agree with what you said about all the racism, contradictions, and the mooning over the traditional utopia they never even lived through and likely never even existed in reality.

    asdf – I’ll try to address your points in part 5 of this series.


  20. Mark, Bassoon, Yohami, Rivelino – thanks for the feedback and sharing your stories. It’s good to get real-world evidence supporting things I’ve noticed in my own observations.

    Josh – I shared some resources in earlier installments in the “Recommended Reading” sections. The articles at http://www.shrink4men.com and http://www.Gettinbetter.com are a good start. But in part 5 I will recommend a ton of books and websites, along with links, and I’m going to update my “Recommended Reading” list in the sidebar this month with a section on “Codependency.” I’ll make a post announcing when I overhaul the recommended reading section in the sidebar.


  21. Very good.

    What is troubling though is the amount of cognitive dissonance guys allow themselves – for instance, Roosh exemplifies most of the negative attitudes you describe to a tee, yet guys will come on here and say they love this post but are followers of roosh, not noticing that the two are completely contradictory.

    Thats why it never really means all that much when you explain how game is terrible and messes you up and guys agree with you 100% – much of the time this agreement is not worth the breath it took to utter it.

    Yohami, for instance, runs a blog that denies PUA but essentially promotes many of the attitudes you describe here, without being aware of what he is doing. I have challenged him in the past, and he will agree with every critique of game I make, but will then revert to promoting PUA attitudes while denying that they are really PUA attitudes. The emotional pull of game is too strong.

    I find this kind of cognitive dissonance is a major issue in the game world – if you give a detailed and thorough account of why game messes you up, they will enthusiastically agree with you, only to turn around and promote PUA mentalities and attitudes.

    It is like they have two identifies which they bring and out of play depending on the context – or like they have an emotional dependence on the PUA mentality which they are not willing to let go, but their rational minds recognize the insanity of PUA attitudes, so they are essentially in conflict with themselves. Its quite interesting but also quite troubling – how do you reach someone who will agree with you completely while really remaining completely unaffected but what you say, and claim he is implementing your insights while an examination shows that he continues to act completely contrary to what he just agreed was a fantastic insight?

    This peculiar quality of mind, I find, it endemic among guys who embrace PUA – more than that, it is perhaps essential to embracing PUA. The guy who can claim he does not *supplicate* to women but who then tries to *prove* his worth to women through PUA tactics is someone who has a mind that is essentially comfortable with contradiction and has a high tolerance for cognitive dissonance.

    Unfortunately, such a persons comfort with contradiction will hamper his ability to move away from game – he will see your point when you criticize game, and will agree with you, but his emotional needs are met through PUA attitudes, so he will just live a contradiction. He will enthusiastically agree with you on every point, but will go on promoting attitudes that are essentially game attitudes.


  22. This was an astounding series of articles. I’ve never given much credence to the psycho-analysis branch of psychology, but these posts have definitely opened my mind and given me a lot to think about.

    What perplexes me, and also reinforces my doubts about the complete attribution of the parental role as cause of codependency issues, is that I definitely grew up with VERY strong codependent behaviors and beliefs (though I feel I’ve worked past a good many of them), but my parents definitely fall into the “good enough” parenting category.

    There’s so much I go on about, but I am exceedingly curious about one thing most of all:

    Do you believe that the Mystery & Style methodology (and all derivatives) of pickup is inherently different from the rest of the seduction community? The reason I ask – this is the first article on your site that I’ve read, and most of the popular archives on the site (almost all from 2009) are written in such a way that seems like you very strongly agree with most of the seduction community mindsets.

    OR, was that there some point between then and now that you had a falling out with ‘the community?’


  23. George -

    Thats why it never really means all that much when you explain how game is terrible and messes you up and guys agree with you 100% – much of the time this agreement is not worth the breath it took to utter it.

    Maybe, maybe not. A guy (actually a bunch of guys, I just picked one letter as representative of the bunch) asked my opinion about the PUA world, and I shared it. Either guys will take heed or they won’t. I’m not on some missionary quest to sway people to my way of thinking. I just made my best case, and if it doesn’t stick it doesn’t stick.

    I will say though, don’t always sell people short. When you believe in something heavily, you don’t always switch out of it overnight and there’s always a chance you’ll backslide. It doesn’t always mean they’re not moving in the right direction overall. Also, people don’t just change by intellectually grasping something. They have to emotionally feel the truth, not just intellectually grasp it. That’s why I tried to write this post in a way that would hit you in the gut and knock the emotional wind out of you. As a result I think it has a lot of emotional impact and might spur someone onto the right path.

    If not, I’ve done my part and it’s not my job to pressure people further.

    Pellaeon:

    What perplexes me, and also reinforces my doubts about the complete attribution of the parental role as cause of codependency issues, is that I definitely grew up with VERY strong codependent behaviors and beliefs (though I feel I’ve worked past a good many of them), but my parents definitely fall into the “good enough” parenting category.

    The source of it may not be apparent to you, but you had to learn the codependency from somewhere. This comments section isn’t really the place to go into it in-depth but at some point in your childhood some experiences trained you to develop very strong codependent beliefs and behaviors, even if you can’t put your finger on exactly what it was. Just like PUA is sophisticated codependency disguised as the opposite, there are some childhoods that have sophisticated dysfunctions disguised as the opposite.

    It’s not always obvious and it doesn’t have to stem from any meanspiritedness or overt selfishness or bad intentions from the parents.

    Do you believe that the Mystery & Style methodology (and all derivatives) of pickup is inherently different from the rest of the seduction community? The reason I ask – this is the first article on your site that I’ve read, and most of the popular archives on the site (almost all from 2009) are written in such a way that seems like you very strongly agree with most of the seduction community mindsets.

    I’ve always been a believer in game, particularly of the old school variety like what Tariq Nasheed, Bossmack Topsoil (search him on Youtube) and Allen Roger Currie preach. It’s the seduction community in particular I had reservations about. I at first thought they were preaching the same stuff I believed in, but were just breaking it down into flowcharts and equations for guys who don’t learn things intuitively or need to learn things in a hyperintellectual way. Plus I thought some of their jargon was useful for explaining concepts. But the more I took a hard look at the concepts and the people who were being drawn to it and badly burned by it (particularly people who were writing me for advice), I had second thoughts.

    That’s when the codependent angle started becoming clearer to me. I previously thought it was just a harmless alternative method of explaining the stuff I already believed in via Tariq Nasheed, old school player wisdom and evolutionary psychology, in a more scientific way. But I realized that what it did was take a lot of good advice, blend it together, sometimes misinterpret and misapply it, then apply it with a very bad codependent frame that automatically ruined any good parts of the advice. I can’t give you a clear-cut date as to when that happened though.

    I’m curious, what are the articles in 2009 you say show that I strongly agree with most of the mindsets? I ask because even though I definitely wasn’t as far along in formulating my critiques back then as I am today, I thought the seeds were there back then even. That was when I started trying to get guys to get out of the mindset of aspiring to be this mythical “alpha male” by trying to create a more reasonable model of manhood called a Renaissance Man. And 2009, I think, was when I did my Madonna/Whore series, which was the early prototype for many of the ideas that eventually were refined into the codependent and compensatory narcissist framework you see in this series.

    The Myth of the Middle Class Alpha Male was my next attempt to be a little more explicit about why I thought chasing the Alpha Male persona was a fool’s mission and last year was when I really started kicking it up a notch by laying the framework down about narcissism and other personality disorders, along with the Enlightened Superiority and Theaters of Operation posts.

    The seeds of this were there for years, but I found that being subtle and nuanced weren’t working so I increasingly became more overt with it. But you’re also right in that my feelings on the matter did get increasingly stronger with time as well.


  24. Fantastic article!

    SeductionMyth com is a website dedicated entirely to debunking the seduction community – you are all invited : )

    I particularly enjoyed the part about the concept of a Fool’s mate. The Marx quote in the end is beautiful. It sums up so well PUA mindset.

    But I can’t agree with you on this important issue:

    “Now if you are a guy who is enlightened enough and has done enough inner work to internalize the Laws of the True Self (or Enlightened Superiority), you could go through the list of laws DeAngelo has listed, picking out the good ones and reinterpreting them into the right frame, or eliminating the bad ones because they’re incapable of being put into the right frame, and moving on like that.
    So that’s why I say PUA advice isn’t totally useless with the right mindframe.”

    PUA advice is indeed totally useless. Using PUAry to pick up women is like using magic to cause a chemical reaction!

    [I had to edit down the remainder of your comment because although it made very good points, it would take the comments on a tangent about what truly does or doesn't attract women, genetics versus behavior, etc., and all that stuff is not what I wanted to focus on. My point for this piece is that for a certain group of guys, codependents, focusing on chasing women in general, whether successfully or unsuccessfully, with sound science or pseudoscience, is besides the point. These guys need to focus on their self work and core issues and stopping their tendencies to seek self-worth through external approval. That needs to be worked on before they spend time getting mired in arguments about what is or isn't the right way to attract women. However anyone who really wants to pursue such debates is more than welcome to follow the link to your website and engage in them there. - T.]


  25. Thanks again.

    I’ll say that this dynamic explains a lot of really sour relationships that I’ve had *that I’ve always felt resonated with my failed romances but were not romantic in any sense*. I could never figure out why my PhD advisor and my ex-wife had so many of the same behaviors, and I had so many of the same responses, but the narcissist/codependency framework explains so much more for me. Whenever I felt like I couldn’t please one I’d work harder on pleasing the other, and things just spiraled out of control. Egads.

    I’d never thought about my emotional relationship with my parents, but the only time I ever heard them say they were proud of me was when I brought home straight A’s (mom) or won scholarship money (dad). They both think I’m failure for having debt (not my words) and my entire reason for going to grad school was because my mother didn’t think my career path out of undergrad was something she could brag about (her words, now forgotten).

    So looking at it, there are a lot of things here that I have always been uneasy about but never been able to connect to my seemingly random string of high drama relationships.

    In parallel to Mystery, I’ll also mention that a psychologist wanted me to consider that I was bipolar – which made more sense at the time than nothing, but was completely the wrong answer. After three rounds of “therapy” in undergrad and grad school I’m amazed at how far off the mark they are, and how happy they are to shunt people over to shrinks for instant medication. I went through a year of therapy while I was supposedly clinically depressed and somehow my therapist couldn’t identify that I was depressed because my then-wife wasn’t having sex with me. Slightly humorous now.

    Anyway, I await part 5. What changes went from 4 to 4.1?


  26. Bassoon – I revised part 4 with some extra paragraphs about Neil Strauss based on recent info I just learned about him. However I didn’t want to make people who already read part 4 go through the whole article again just to find a few new paragraphs, so I made a separate post for people who already read part 4 and just need to read the new paragraphs.

    Basically, everything I added to part 4 since writing it is there in part 4.1. If you already read part 4 previously, you only have to read part 4.1 to see all the new changes.

    Hopefully that made things clearer.

    On a side note, what race are your parents? Are they immigrants?


  27. Not immigrants, Anglo with a splash of injun, but both parents grew up very poor and managed a fairly upper middle class upbringing for me. I’m an only child. Both parents have four siblings.


  28. Gotcha. I was asking because your story about your parents and your grades reminded me of stories my Asian, East Indian, and Nigerian friends describe.


  29. This is really a good article As I am studying psychotherapy myself and a pick up coach, I really can say you’re on to something.

    Neil Strauss innerpsychology and Mystery’s are spot on.

    I also think Ross Jeffries has gotten into the same process.

    There’s also another thing that’s fucking coaches up. Some people tend to think you’re a god. You’re not of course. You’re just an imperfect man (the reason why you’re a perfect human, if you would be perfect you would be something of an alien).And there’s also the image what’s making you money. Something what makes also a lot of famous people totally mad. You start losing yourself, especially if you also start taking all the drugs that are laying around.

    Cheerio,

    Pim


  30. Eagerly awaiting part 5.

    Starting on the Renaissance man stuff.

    Eagerly awaiting part 5.

    Need to check out the Madonna/Whore series

    Eagerly awaiting part 5.

    Need to check out The Myth of the Middle Class Alpha Male stuff

    Eagerly awaiting part 5.

    Mental note, check out Enlightened Superiority and Theaters of Operation posts.

    Eagerly awaiting part 5.

    Seriously, thanks. You’ve helped me more than my therapist has (he may end up hating you, but I am thankful as all hell).


  31. Anonynerd, thanks for the feedback. Bummer to hear that your therapist missed so many of these issues though. Is this the norm I wonder?


  32. I think it could be the norm. The part about Mystery supposedly being bipolar rang true with me – my therapist a year ago really tried to convince me that I was bipolar. Though I do technically fit the description (in term of up and down periods) they are all linked to women, pursuit of affection, and other attributable causes. What drew me to all those crazy women was an open question that was never resolved, though I must admit therapy got slightly pointless when I realized I was getting her aroused with my picaresque tales and just tried to shock her every week.

    I’d had two previous therapists and they felt nothing concrete was wrong with me, just that I was a perfectionist and needed better time management skills. I was never completely frank with them about the extent of my suicidal ideation because they were university-provided shrinks and I didn’t want to trip any alarms. Alas.

    I have a good friend finishing up her clinical psych PhD and I ran a lot of this past her. She thinks it explains the situation better than anything else she’s heard, and she’s been witness to it for 13 years now.

    I shudder at the thought that I might have accepted medication for manic depression that I did not have. How many did?


  33. Bassoon – since I started this series I’ve been shocked at how many people have written to tell me therapy horror stories of indequate therapy. But to be fair, people who had or have great therapists are maybe less drawn to posts like these than others.


  34. Mainly it was the first post in the ’31 days of game’ series where there was a direct copy and paste from the fast seduction website talking about the eye contact experiment. Other than that, just some of the comments felt like they were using some of the same language. I must admit that I had not read the articles in depth yet.

    I’d never heard of Nasheed, Topsoil, or Currie. I will definitely look into them and see where they depart from the seduction community in their advice. Thanks for the recommendation.


  35. Oh yes, the eye contact one. That I actually agreed with that one. I quoted an linked to a guide i saw by some guy named Jeans Joe who in turn i believe got it from some online posts Like I said, I like some of the advice, the eye contact one being a good example. It’s mostly the mindframes surrounding even the good advice that bothers me. A lot of it can work in a non codependent frame but is disastrous when a person does have such a frame. Some of it can only be applied from a codependent frame, like frowning on fool’s mate and learning to pass shit tests. The eye contact one I thought was an example of good advice even for a codependent person. All men should learn to feel comfortable holding eye contact with anyone, male or female.

    Some of my old advice looking back admittedly was horrible though. For example my emotional roller coaster one from 31 days of game, TERRIBLE. Probably my single worst piece of advice on this blog. I’m eventually rewriting or removing that one.

    As for the lingo, I actually think some of it is good and I totally give credit where it’s due. That’s what I think the best contribution is. Some of this stuff didnt have a name and they gave it one, like “shit test” and AMOG. Those are great ones. Now ppl have a common name for describing a specific phenomenon. Some of the terms are ones actually be created by psychology and social science, like framing (pioneered by erving goffman) and social proof (Robert cialdini).


  36. Hi. That is a very interesting read.

    I am a bit confused on co-dependency/narcissism. It seems like I am both. My ex seemed like both too. We both were aware something was up and knew of co-dependency and narcissism but not to this extent.

    Felt like relationship was somewhat dysfunctional but at the same time we were are and helped each other out through this.

    I been gradually becoming more aware of my co-dependency tendencies, yet I can see some narcissism traits I have too. I think I am more co-dependency though.

    What happens if you grow up with both? Is this possible?


  37. Wow! Fantastic stuff. Mind blowing read. Thank you for this :)


  38. This article is amazing and brilliant. Long but the break down is one of the best I’ve ever read.

    3 years ago I would have called you a “Hater” but reading this confirms and validates everything I’ve experienced, felt etc. I myself got into the game because of issues you speak of Low self-esteem, wanting to get validation from the types of women I was having sex with (and if she wasn’t hot I’d get depressed) I mean geeze you hit the nail to a head.

    The biggest thing that currently bugs me about this community how everyone is “Alpha”. You got guys braggin how alpha they are on twitter/forums/blogs and it just comes of try hard and lame. B Larsen posts above are spot on and as a fellow brother I co-sign this. Raw I might quote you for a future blog, if that’s cool.


  39. Feel free to quote away Solo.


  40. Good writing sir. I think it’s good for men to have a heads up about what they’re doing with their lives. For some, this kind of post may tip them off to some of the pitfalls they may encounter, or to the enormous hole they’re in. The extremes that some go to, and the psychological blinders they have on to what they’re truly doing and seeking, can be devastating for themselves and those around them.

    Know thyself, that’s the starting place, no matter where you are on your journey.


  41. Thank you. Amazing stuff.


  42. “If you want to knowingly be a free rider and profit from the overall decline of the dating pool, that’s fine so long as you’re aware of what you’re doing and know the truth. I don’t judge.”

    Shouldn’t you judge? Why is that fine? I got stuck on that comment because it disgusted me.


  43. While I await part 5, I’m getting copies of some of the other stuff you mention/recommend. I noticed that Tariq Nasheed and Alan Roger Currie are both black men. I mention it because I think black culture is generally better at raising men that are unapologetically masculine than white culture is. Since I’m a nerdy white boy trained to avoid being masculine at all costs, I envy that (and I do realize that there are disadvantages of being black, and I totally lucked out on those).

    As I’m working my way through this stuff, is there anything I need to keep in mind, or are there prerequisites or recommendation for white guys/victims of white culture?

    “Black guys – Help the white guys” –Russell Zizkey, Stripes


  44. BTW Your Tariq Nasheed link is broken.


  45. I’m not trying to be a dick but you’ve wasted a lot of time writing about outdated PUA tech that even the current PUA community barely follows. The game has evolved. If you’re going to break something down this thorough, you should really be looking at modern pickup, not the fuzzy hat days. You wouldn’t do an article about flight using only the Wright Brother’s writing, would you?

    Most of the modern community has headed toward exactly the conclusions you discover up above. Yes, openers don’t fix your internals. Yes, changing your body language changes your externals and is just fixing the symptom not the problem. Yes, it is dumb to judge your worth based on the notches on your belt. Yes, it actually holds you back to be outcome-dependent. Yes, it’s good to focus on your goals and mission in life to be congruent as a man.

    We know all this already. Because we aren’t studying from Neil’s book. Because it was written almost 10 years ago.

    Do me a favor:

    1) Watch a bunch of RSD (Tyler Durden’s company) videos from http://www.rsdnation.com/articles/all

    There you’ll find videos like:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ylYGcVjsJGk – Don’t have outcome-dependence, act through your own intentions, be authentic, talk about what you want to, do what you feel like doing, expressing yourself with enthusiasm draws other people in.

    http://http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bAySGkxoHXw – Don’t define yourself by women’s opinion of you, don’t be a frame-control junkie, how The Game’s teachings were abused and exaggerated, why it’s important to fix your internals but also go out and fix your externals

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGyTYxf_ajQ – Why it’s creepier to NOT learn to meet girls, why getting laid won’t make you ultimately happy, how being trapped in a value-conveying mindset fucks your relationships up

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FjQ4dt3yFHk – Narcissism

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZaGn284aE4 – Creating then killing your new “selves” (the pussy beta, the overcompensating alpha, etc.), and how learning pickup forces you to confront these things and fix them and how over time the changes you make become who you ARE and not a false identity.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fbfFLt1a8Dk – If you’re actually interested in how his mindset has evolved over time since pre-The Game, this is a rough look lessons he’s learned over the last 10 years, year by year.

    2) Watch the Blueprint by Tyler Durden. Go torrent it if you have to. Here are some snippets:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ap7X045WmOE – Why the old PUA tech from The Game’s time (the stuff that you’re using as representative of current PUA tech) worked but ultimately came from the wrong place for fixing yourself

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQ-sHtZ_XZQ – Giving yourself permission to escape social conditioning, “women can like me just for me”, not relying on external things (openers, money, etc.)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EK7qZkUcZT0 – Living up to your own standards, defining your own identity, giving yourself permission to have standards, embracing who you are and your own values

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=boXH-YhJp_s – Better/healthier mindsets to adapt while learning pickup, plus some external stuff because RSD does cover that stuff too but they try to simplify it and explain why it works through internal concepts (ie – eye contact isn’t a magic technique, it works because she’s seeing if you’re congruent, nervous, etc.)

    Give all that a watch and then see if you still hold the same beliefs about PUAs and how unhealthy this stuff is.

    Just helping you find “some PUAs specializing in laws and principles over tactics, and thereby avoiding the “hypertacticality” trap”. I’m not an RSD fanboy, but RSD is the currently at the forefront of pickup tech right now. Most other companies are running a little behind, and a few communities like the Manosphere blogs are still way behind and looking at The Game to form opinions.

    P.S. Manhood 101′s free book is excellent.


  46. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ylYGcVjsJGk – Don’t have outcome-dependence, act through your own intentions, be authentic, talk about what you want to, do what you feel like doing, expressing yourself with enthusiasm draws other people in.

    I specifically spoke about the Mystery and Style stuff because that’s what the letter writer asked about.

    However even though people don’t literally do the same things tactically anymore, much of the overall mindset is still there, particularly the whole “It’s always your fault” mindset, the shit test passing mindset, the mindset of replacing the old beta persona with a new alpha persona.

    In the first video you posted (I didn’t look at the following ones yet), the title is “How to Cultivate Self-Interest and Project Your Reality Onto The Girl.” Do you see the subtle problem there? How to cultivate self-interest…so that you can make the girl buy into it. So is it true self-interest or is it about catering to the girl’s interest? That was my problem with the David DeAngelo stuff I mentioned. Some of it is really good advice except filtered through a very subtle, negative frame of doing it to impress a woman. As I made my way through the video you posted I’dhear some good advice, and even some great talk about not being outcome dependent, and then he’d throw in “and she’ll be hooked” or “and she’ll like you more” which pretty much undermines a lot of the positive message.

    To me the subtlety of the new, more sophisticated pickup I see is actually more dangerous than the Mystery and Style stuff because at least the latter is much more transparent in its fakeness. The RSD stuff you posted is more dangerous because it co-opts a lot of good self-actualization concepts and language but then applies them with the same woman-impressing frame that the Mystery and Style stuff has, and that negative frame is much harder to spot when couched in such enlightened language, as opposed to when it’s couched in Mystery/Style language and tactics.

    I saw another video where Tyler discusses New Earth and Power of Now and becoming more authentic in order to get women. if you are reading and applying Power of Now and New Earth to impress women, you’ve missed the larger, more important aspect of the book. If Mystery and Style is sophisticated codependency, then using Power of Now, New Earth, and self-actualization literature to impress women is hypersophisticated codependency.


  47. “Do you see the subtle problem there? How to cultivate self-interest…so that you can make the girl buy into it.”

    Do you mean the part where in the start of the video where he says “It’s just getting into that zone where you’re just enjoying it for you. You let go of the outcome. You’re enjoying taking action, you’re enjoying acting through your intention REGARDLESS OF HOW SHE REACTS TO IT. That’s what you should be enjoying, not the fact that it’s “oh I’m getting a makeout” or “ohh I’m getting a good reaction”.”?

    “The RSD stuff you posted is more dangerous because it co-opts a lot of the self-actualization concepts and applies them with a woman-impressing frame”

    I’ll re-link this for you:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bAySGkxoHXw – the importance of working on yourself AND going out. You can climb a dozen mountains and run a Fortune 500 company and you can be surrounded by girls, but you still won’t get them if you don’t learn to interact with them. Thus all the rich good-looking guys who can’t get a girlfriend…you can see them every week, standing on Death Row at the bar with a drink up at their chest wondering why their love-lives suck when they have so much else going for them.

    You seem to believe that the way to get girls is to do anything that doesn’t involve trying to get girls. Why are you so ashamed of wanting to improve a part of your life? Do you negatively judge people who go to a gym to lift weights to get in shape instead of just building a house and letting it naturally happen over a combination of a some random duration of time and complete luck? Do you negatively judge people who go to job interviews to earn themselves well-paying careers?

    Why is it different when it involves girls? Do you think celebrities who take courses to learn how to deal with the press are damaging themselves as well? Do you think politicians who learn how to project confidence and learn to speak clearly and give inspiring speeches are damaging themselves? Is everyone running a Toastmasters club a horrible damaged person teaching codependent blah blah vampires blah blah to be fake blah blah?

    If those things don’t bother you, then why is it different when it involves girls? Have you considered the possibility that you have some sort of hangups about sex deep-down?

    “if you are reading and applying Power of Now and New Earth to impress women, you’ve missed the larger, more important aspect of the book.”

    Ya, Tyler agrees with you, that’s why most of his videos where he brings up something like that he makes sure to state that if you’re doing this as a TECHNIQUE, it won’t work. If you’re reaction-seeking, or doing it like “Now to use the Power of Tolle technique”, it’s not coming from the right place. You should be expressing yourself and your own emotions authentically, to everyone, at all times…an observation is simply that attraction will be a result from that if you do it around girls the way you do it around anyone else.

    If you’d just watch the videos instead of sitting around coming up with hyperelaborate “hypersophisticated codependency” labels your views might not be so completely off-base. I don’t have a problem with you or anything, I’ve never seen your blog before today and I’m sure from your frame of mind you’re well-intentioned, I’m just trying to show you that you didn’t do the sort of research you should probably have done and because of that, you are perpetuating an ignorant view to your readers who probably haven’t done much research themselves and are looking to you to summarize that research for them.


  48. Ricky,

    There is a certain rich get richer effect here. The more notches you get, the easier it is to be outcome independent and self driven (because you are confident). But to get notches, you often have to be the kind of guy that already has notches.

    Roosh posted how after about 25 notches, your confident on who you are as a man and you have the right frame. If you read his stuff now, you slowly see him coming around to the stuff you talk about here.

    I think getting notches is like the lower end of Maslow’s hierarchy. You just need to do some of that before you can move up the hierarchy. Its a catch 22 that fulfilling those lower order needs is much easier for those that have already fulfilled them.

    I think the problem with guys like Mystery is they became addicted to notches. They never moved on from it.


  49. Do you mean the part where in the start of the video where he says “It’s just getting into that zone where you’re just enjoying it for you. You let go of the outcome. You’re enjoying taking action, you’re enjoying acting through your intention REGARDLESS OF HOW SHE REACTS TO IT. That’s what you should be enjoying, not the fact that it’s “oh I’m getting a makeout” or “ohh I’m getting a good reaction”.”?

    Read my last comment again. I explicitly said he uses some great self-actualization language and discusses some good concepts. I admit that. But sooner or later they keep returning back to the message of “and this will help you with women.”

    I’ll re-link this for you:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bAySGkxoHXw – the importance of working on yourself AND going out.

    I watched that. To give a perfect example of what I mean, he takes A New Earth and a Power of Now, both of which I think are powerful, incredible books. A New Earth along with Alfred Adler were huge influences on the recent development of this blog. What does Tyler do? He derisively throws out the “new age stuff,” the parts about “a new earth” and a high collective consciousness and cherry picks, reducing the insights about the ego and pain-body stuff into some cognitive tricks to remain in the optimum state for attracting women.

    I just think if you’re going to talk about powerful books like Tolle’s, you can expand the scope so much wider and deeper than that.

    You can climb a dozen mountains and run a Fortune 500 company and you can be surrounded by girls, but you still won’t get them if you don’t learn to interact with them. Thus all the rich good-looking guys who can’t get a girlfriend…you can see them every week, standing on Death Row at the bar with a drink up at their chest wondering why their love-lives suck when they have so much else going for them.

    If you can climb a dozen mountains and run a Fortune 500 company and be surrounded by women, but you are frozen and clueless when it comes to interacting with them, that’s an interesting problem. So I’d say one of two things is the problem. The guy is a very driven guy and very mentally together, but just has horrible social skills for some reason, maybe because he was too busy to work on them. In that case, since the guy is mostly a together guy emotionally and mentally, I think some simple training in flirting skills and giving him some game on human nature and sexual politics would be all he needs. A guy like that already has a mostly good relationship with himself, so focusing now on his relationships to others is good.

    If on the other hand the Fortune 500 mountain climber’s problem with women stems from some deep-seated repressed emotional traumas originating from his childhood, I would dump the game tips altogether and have him focus on getting himself mentally together, doing the deep inner core work he needs to have a good relationship with himself first. Getting notches or relationships shouldn’t be his priority right now. The women will always be around once he gets a better relationship with himself, and he’ll be less at risk of having his hangups triggered when he meets certain women who make him recall his childhood traumas.

    You seem to believe that the way to get girls is to do anything that doesn’t involve trying to get girls.

    No, that’s NOT what I’m saying. I’m not saying the only way to get girls is to do anything that doesn’t involve trying to get girls. I’m not giving the guy advice on getting girls at all!

    That’s my whole point, that when you have deeper issues, girls should not be a priority for you, personal development should be. I’m not saying to do things not involving girls as some roundabout way to get girls. I’m not saying ignore women as a way to attract them. I’m saying to do all that stuff for YOURSELF, and then when you get succeed in that personal growth the women and everything else will still be there.

    What I’m saying is, you can’t make peace with yourself by trying to get girls. And when you make the decision to focus on doing your core work and making peace with your childhood issues and getting a good, positive relationship with yourself, the last thing you need to think about at the same time, even in the back of your mind, is women.

    Why are you so ashamed of wanting to improve a part of your life?

    Please, where do I ever say I’m ashamed of wanting to improve a part of one’s life?

    Do you negatively judge people who go to a gym to lift weights to get in shape instead of just building a house and letting it naturally happen over a combination of a some random duration of time and complete luck?

    It depends: do they bodybuild like a compulsive, addictive activity because they are narcissistically obsessed with their aesthetics and the attention and approval it gets them from others? Is it all about abs, size, primping in front of the mirror, overcompensating for inner inferiority feelings, wanting to intimidate and impress others for the cheap feelings of power and narcissistic supply it gives them? Is it an activity they do primarily because it gets them women and turns heads and makes other men jealous? Are they so obsessed with achieving certain looks that they will actually put their health at risk and become less functional and less coordinated just to achieve those looks?

    Or do they do it because they enjoy being healthy? Because they like the feeling of getting functionally stronger and more powerful than they did last week? Because it provides them great stress release? Because it makes them feel better from the inside out and makes them actually healthier? Do they enjoy the aesthetic benefits and the attention it gets them, but treat those like little bonuses
    and not the main reason for why they’re in the gym?

    Do you negatively judge people who go to job interviews to earn themselves well-paying careers?

    It depends. Is it a soulless job they have absolutely no passion for and that they hate and that not only makes them miserable but turns them into a crappy person, but they’re chasing this well-paying career simply because it impresses others and it’s a job that society values? Have they never in their whole life ever asked themselves what they really value and what their true interests are because since birth they focused on picking a lifestyle that would please their parents and give their parents bragging rights?

    Or are they chasing this job and this career because they enjoy it, or at the very least because it doesn’t conflict with their core values and doesn’t make them miserable?

    Why is it different when it involves girls?

    My philosophy is not different at all when it comes to women. Just like with the weightlifting and career choices, if you are chasing women to fill a core deficiency in you that you’re repressing and neglecting and to have a trophy to validate you in the eyes of others, it’s as bad as the person in the gym strictly to look like a primadonna or the guy chasing careers just for what others will think.

    Do you think celebrities who take courses to learn how to deal with the press are damaging themselves as well? Do you think politicians who learn how to project confidence and learn to speak clearly and give inspiring speeches are damaging themselves? Is everyone running a Toastmasters club a horrible damaged person teaching codependent blah blah vampires blah blah to be fake blah blah?

    If those things don’t bother you, then why is it different when it involves girls? Have you considered the possibility that you have some sort of hangups about sex deep-down?

    If the politican is learning ways to speak and act and project confidence as a way to cover up and ignore his deep, pervasive character issues and to get elected at any costs even if it betrays his core values, then yes. If he’s working on both his exterior behaviors and his core, personal issues that’s different. Look at how much of politics focuses on just saying and acting the right way, and not on debating the actual issues and expressing true opinions. People hate politics now because it’s all Q ratings, PR consultants, stylists, speech writers, marketing, empty words and image image image. Campaigning nowadays is not about issues at all, it’s about improving superficials as much as you can so that you can win a popularity contest.

    So no, none of the examples you give are things that I have a double standard about. My philosophy regarding men and women applies equally to the weightlifter, the politician, the job hunter and the celebrity.

    It’s not a hangup regarding sex. I totally think it’s fine to do self-development and I think it’s totally fine to chase women. I just don’t think you should do self-development with the ulterior motive of how it will help you with women, and I don’t think you should chase women with the notion that it will help you with self-development. That’s my problem with the RSD stuff. It conflates the two areas too much. If you want to do hardcore spiritual self development, focus on that and throw out the pick up stuff. If you want to chase women, do that. It’s healthy. But don’t rationalize it as a form of spiritual self-improvement.


  50. There is a certain rich get richer effect here. The more notches you get, the easier it is to be outcome independent and self driven (because you are confident). But to get notches, you often have to be the kind of guy that already has notches.

    The only way something makes you less outcome dependent is if the more you get it, the less you want it and need it. That’s how you can tell if something is a healthy desires versus whether it’s an addiction. For example, the more someone uses drugs, instead of getting their fill, the more drugs they want.

    I’m not saying notches don’t have the potential to build your confidence, but if something is missing inside you racking up the notches become like pouring water in a glass with a hole in it. The moment you stop pouring, the water (the confidence) drains out and the glass is empty again.


  51. lol. Make that a post.


  52. Roissy is a very toxic one, by the way. Very, very toxic. I wish there were more people saying that. I turned into a bastard, ignored my own family, and pushed away the only woman that really mattered to me, just because I took his “advice”.


  53. @Paul

    Sounds like you could have used Athol’s advice.

    http://www.marriedmansexlife.com

    He literally has a MAP (Male Action Plan) designed to save your marriage. Advice works excellently for single men or men in relationships as well. View it as a counter-weight to ‘dark game’ that’s somewhat more prevalent in the manosphere.


  54. Your blog posts are absolutely brutal to read. I’m a 21 year old student from England and have all the usual self obsessed/ self discovery thought processes that come with that and really trying to strike the balance with ‘manosphere’ blogs over what’s useful genuine self improvement and what is pushing ultimately destructive patterns to and i’m glad you lay it down ‘raw’ even thought I’m trying not to blindly agree with everything you write.

    Hard hitting but i feel like I’m falling for a cold read of barnham statements reading through both the rules of the false idealised and the true self section.


  55. Thanks Jake.

    As far as the worry about the laws of the false self and true self feeling as if you’re “falling” for a cold read of Barnum statements, don’t worry about it. Barnum statements are a scam because they are general, universal principles of human behavior that someone is pretending are specifically tailored for you and describe traits unique to you. The laws of the true self and the false, idealized self however are general, universal principles of human behavior that don’t pretend to be anything but that. They’re specifically supposed to apply to most people.


  56. Cheers for the response, do you have any advice then on avoiding falling into the trap of feeding my codependent/narcissistic side?

    Since i’ve noticed when I’m out on the pull, when I’m feeling particularly narcissistic, that’s when I find it easier to approach since I’m just too full of myself to give a fuck about anyone else (but I do get more girls pissed off, which when i’m in that zone i find amusing and can carry on until I find someone who is down) and you can see how this would lead to a sort of feedback loop. So, what’s the better path to follow? Play the same numbers game(cos that’s sort of what it is) without the shield of that arrogance to protect my ego and just take it?


  57. Jake, if youre enjoying yourself and like the interactions you’re having and aren’t using this stuff as a quick fix to prop up an incredibly low self-esteem, then I wouldn’t over think it. This advice is specifically for those who are trying to use female approval as a way to fix deeper issues. You seem like you’re just enjoying being single in a healthy way like a young man should. A little bit of cockiness and swagger is fine, it doesn’t necessarily make you a raging narcissist. If you are feeling kind of empty and bad whenever you’re not out picking up chicks then I’d tell you to analyze deeper.


  58. Bravo. Thank you for such a well written and thought provoking piece. It really hit the nail on the head in terms of addressing a lot of issues I’ve had with the seduction community. I also wanted to share my personal situation with you as I think it’s a bit unique and much of it aligns with everything you’ve been writing about.

    First off, I really don’t have any of the “issues” you so aptly brought to light and this has been something that has always been a source of conflict for me as I learned about Game. When I first started, I never was concerned about my “inner game,” questioned my own value, felt that I was unworthy of a quality woman, etc. My relationships have all been stable, healthy, drama free and were all ended by my own choosing. I got laid quite often but it was usually within my own social circle or if a girl approached me at a bar or club. You’re probably thinking “Well if you were getting laid often and felt secure with yourself then why were you even looking into Game?” It’s because my personality is introverted and I tend to be shy, not just around gorgeous women but around 70 year old men as well, so I never felt like I could just walk up to the hot girl on the street or at the club and introduce myself. I felt that I was at the mercy of chance meetings rather than having the power to go out and get the number of the attractive girl I happened to see walking on the street. So really, I was looking for ways to get my foot in the door, to be more extroverted, and I thought Game would be the answer. This is where my focus was. The part about “inner game” never even really crossed my mind.

    To sum up my thought process at the time, it was something like “Ok, what do I say or how do I act in a way that advertises myself in the best light so I can get laid with this girl who doesn’t know me at all? I don’t know anything about her but she’s hot and that’s good enough for my purposes for now.” I never felt like this was a matter of questioning my own self worth but rather coming up with the right advertising campaign and personality to “sell myself” in these specific situations to get laid quickly and effortlessly. So I studied Game.

    And then a funny thing happened and it was EXACTLY like you said. Despite a lot of the valid tactical advice in Game that I definitely found useful, I couldn’t shake the feeling that it was all coming from a “if she doesn’t like me I did something wrong” frame, something that didn’t match up with where I was internally. Whereas before I had more of a “some hot girls like me, some hot girls don’t, that’s just life” mentality, I started to overanalyze and blame myself for every interaction that didn’t end up successfully, placing all the control in the girl’s hands. It actually made me more Beta!

    Another thing Game doesn’t really address is that a lot of my interaction or mannerisms with girls might be ostensibly labeled as beta but really they’re just preprogrammed manners and don’t have any further significance than that. Just because I paid for your coffee or texted you back right away doesn’t mean I want you as a gf badly or I’m eager to please you, or I’m not banging some smoking hot girl on the side. I would have done that for the 70 yr old man. On the inside, I wasn’t needy, but Game started recalibrating me to always be concerned about telegraphing this in very obvious ways to the girl, and looking for feedback that she was aware of me thumping my chest.

    I wish I could write as well as you as I reread this as I’ve done a bad job at organizing my thoughts, but hopefully you get the point. Coming from a healthy place right from the beginning, some of the paths game led me down felt especially unnatural and jarring and I think this is a great case study for how you said that too much of game is focused on the “symptoms” and not the actual root of the problem. My root was fine and all the analyzing I spent on the externals started to make me question and damage my root. Very interesting stuff.


  59. “T” Writes: “Self-worth repair within core trauma work can help him…”

    What is it specifically that repairs self-worth, and what is “core trauma” work?

    Are these things one works on with a therapist or psychiatrist?

    For example, if a man’s self-worth comes from women finding him attractive/having sex with many partners, how does he overcome that without continuing to “fill the hole” with more women?


  60. Oh my god. Wow. I kind of stumbled on to this post, I haven’t read your blog before… but I am extremely impressed.

    I was recently dating a man who I really liked at times but there was something weirdly empty about many of our interactions and he seemed to have a weird, warped view of relationships. I soon found out that he was a former PUA, “getting out of the game”. I tried to give him a chance because we had similar interests and I found him physically attractive, but I found his weird robotic approach to a relationship to be too much of a turn off.

    Anyway, I came to a lot of similar conclusions about the screwed up and self-contradictory mindset of the PUAs… but the way you have deconstructed it here is brilliant. It definitely clarified my understanding of the PUA mindset and has reinforced my assessment that dating this guy was more trouble than it’s worth and could perhaps be a bad influence on me.

    Oh and btw, he was a virgin until later in life and kind of a geek and had strange, neglectful parents. Everything you said here fits in perfectly with him.

    So thank you for the insights and I will definitely be checking out the rest of your blog!


  61. So many words and you didn’t really say anything. Plus your writing style is grating.


  62. I haven’t finished reading all of this yet, but I do have a comment with regards to “game,” which is that “tactical” stuff can correlate with self-esteem in a perfectly normal and healthy way. If you don’t know the rules of baseball and have never practiced, then you SHOULD be afraid if someone hands you a bat and tells you to go try and hit a home run. You don’t know how to swing, where to stand, or where to run even if you do hit the ball, and if you screw it up not only will you embarrass yourself and hurt your team, but you might actually hurt yourself and get beaned in the head by a pitch or something.

    You look around you and see all the other kids playing baseball like it’s a completely natural thing to do and you think there must be something deeply wrong with you. But really all that happened is that you never learned how to play. You might be a great soccer player but the only game anyone around here is playing is baseball.


  63. Lad, if the guy knows as little as baseball as you describe, then what you’re describing him learning aren’t tactics, it’s basic fundamentals and strategy.


  64. That was a hell of a post. Great work, man. My issues with the PUA community make a lot more sense now – I can see where they’re coming from.


  65. Wow. This is a complete deconstruction of game. I always knew there was something off with it. It never seemed right to me, but I was never able to express it as clearly as this. Thanks for this. I appreciate all your work.


  66. This True Self seems deluded in believing that it is real.


  67. The real story isn’t the PUA community, but the public’s reaction to it. When you say things like “I became aware of the community when I read The Game,” you are really saying that you let the media tell you which information is important, since this has been around since the 1990s. I was part of the original PUA “Class of 1998,” and watching this whole thing evolve has been a fascinating study in human nature.

    First off, most men have no idea what to do with women. I’m not in that group, because, after being rejected by “Kate,” my “designated soulmate,” at eighteen, at college, I spent a heartbroken summer in a post-mortem, analyzing what went wrong, since it was clear that this was just a GAME to me, and because I was developing the persona of an aspiring world chess champion, thanks in large part to Kate’s reaction to my chessplaying (this paid off huge). Thirteen years, and two long-term “bootcamps” with world-class wingmen later, and I dropped my first and second books, from which much of the modern theory has been derived.

    Without getting into too much detail, the primary dynamics here work as follows:

    1. The status to which the media-branded gurus have been elevated is ridiculous. Someone being on TV doesn’t make them 1000 times smarter than me, but will make them 1000 times more money. That people entrust their love lives to their own media worship is just another manifestation of the same ignorance that left them unable to figure out women.

    2. When people react to the media, choose a guru who is “famous,” and then don’t get the results they thought they’d get, they attack ALL coaches, as if no one could possibly teach them. It’ws not MY fault if YOU made the wrong decision, to follow the wrong advice, because of your mistaken belief that media cred translates into teaching cred.

    3. The concept of teaching men how to become more skilled with women is valid. That doesn’t mean everyone who calls himself a teacher is good. On the internet, however, the noise is so loud, and the public so stupid, that success as a guru comes down to marketing, distribution, and media exposure, not competence. How can someone who knows nothing about women possibly judge who the best teachers are anyway?

    4. The oversimplified tactics that the media has made popular are not the entire universe of PUA theory. Again, just because the typical audience member is fixated on the media, that doesn’t mean quality advice is not out there. Of course, when someone who isn’t on television tries to help men by offering a superior alternative, all he’ll hear is that he’s just a copycat, useless, etc. Do you really think you’re teaching me a lesson by destroying your own love life by ignoring what works? That you acn’t wrap your head around the truth about who really knows what they are doing is not my problem, nor the problem of the women you could be attracting.

    Bottom line is most people are fractions: they know how to earn a living with a few job-related skills, and know how to keep a home and manage their daily lives, but beyond that they know very little about anything, let alone how to attract the hottest women on earth, women who have been exposed to the richest, most powerful, most brilliant, most interesting men on earth. Like most who are ignorant, they are unaware of their own ignorance, and get loud and angry if it’s pointed out to them. Then, in the presence of hot women, they become subservient, put their “nice” face forward, yet because they lack any true skill, get nowhere, and feel cheated,” even if they brought this on themselevs.

    It’ws not MY fault if YOU don’t think my ideas will get you the women of your dreams. That you get off on not “enriching” me by not purcashing my material (a lot of it is free, and most of it is inexpensive) means nothing. There’s a thousand ways to earn money on this planet. Fact is, I took a lifetime of success with women, condensed it into an effficent teaching mechnism, and leave it there for those who are smart enough to find it. Indeed, many of the tactics people use originated with ME, yet their media-brainwashing causes them to credit others.

    The pivot? Mine. (29 Reasons Not To Be A Nice Guy, 1999)
    Psychic gimmicks? Mine. (Outfoxing The Foxes, 1998)

    Plus about a dozen other tactics now credited to others.

    Oh and don’t get me started on censorship. People think they can make the truth go away by deleting posts and banning users. Then they wonder why that hot chick blows them off. Give me a break.

    Most men are stupid, selfish, entitled pieces of human garbage whose own behavior is the reason they don’t get the women they want. Don’t blame me for being the smartest guy in the room, hate on me all you want, but I still played a large role in building this movemeent.

    Guess what? I have new ideas, new game, and teach that as well, again for men smart enough to use it. My best student is a college guy who went form having difficulty getting 7s with the “community” tactics to now turning down 9s on a regular basis, and almost never making a mistake. He took the time to digest and implement my methods correctly, and is now probably one of the best PUAs in the world.

    This verbal masturbation may make for a nice blog, but don’t confuse it with reality. One reason I’ve gone back to betting horses for my money is that I don’t haev to sell anyone else on the superiority of my ideas. When I’m right and others are wrong, I just place my bets and take their money, while they whine. In the community the internet marketres have dominated the message so convincingly that what they sell has become conventional wisdom.

    Maybe you think mindlessly following marketing hype is the way to get the sexiest women on earth, but I think the way I did it was a little better.

    I really don’t care who believes me or reads my books, because it’s a fascinating study in human nature, and how “consumer narcissism” leads men to act against their own interest, worshipping con artists, and taunting those who actually have the answers they seek.

    Articles like this only show that no one really worships the most popular gurus. They worship a media that TOLD them who to worship, and this explains a lot. Incredibly beautiful women don’t like mindless sheep.

    Ray Gordon, Author
    Bettor Off Single: Why Commitment Is A Bad Gamble For Men


  68. I’ve just started reading you Mr. Raw – nothing earth shattering to say yet but I just want to point out that Marc Antony did indeed finally get his ass killed over Cleopatra, but Julius Caesar handled her like a champ; and Julius met her when she was younger, hotter, and tighter. JC was murdered by a group of patricians who feared that he was about to declare himself King, a political institution to which the Romans were profoundly allergic.

    Key dates:

    48 BC — 21-year-old Cleopatra meets 52-year old Julius Caesar during his stay in Egypt, and they become lovers. At this point Cleopatra is struggling to claim the throne of Egypt.

    47 BC — Caesar decides to back Cleopatra’s claim (instead of annexing Egypt outright), and goes to war to prove the point. He defeats the opposition and Cleopatra becomes the ruler of Egypt.

    46 BC — A son, Caesarion, is born to Cleopatra and Julius. Cleopatra wants Caesar to name the boy as his principal heir, but Caesar refuses and chooses his nephew Octavian instead. The mother and child accompany Caesar to Rome for a visit, which causes a scandal since Caesar is already married, but Caesar ignores all the fuss.

    44 BC — Caesar has by now succeeded in pissing off too many influential people and is assassinated in Rome.

    41 BC — The married, 42-year-old Marc Antony, one of the three co-rulers of Rome after Caesar’s death, summons Cleopatra (now 28) to a meeting to gain her political support. He falls in love with her, and they begin an affair which will eventually produce three children. In the meantime, Antony’s first wife dies and he marries Octavian’s sister.

    Later, Antony abandons his Roman wife to live year-round with Cleopatra in Egypt.

    31 BC — By this time Octavian has mostly taken over, but Antony is alive and well and still extremely powerful and influential. The final showdown begins. All during the preceding years, Antony has managed his political career rather badly; among other things, he has alienated himself from much of Rome by absenting himself to enjoy Egypt with his royal lover, who, at 38, still captivates him utterly.

    30 BC — Octavian defeats the combined forces of Antony and Cleopatra in the naval Battle of Actium; the lovers commit suicide.

    On the whole I’d say that Antony was as alpha as they come — but perhaps more of a hedonist and a soldier than a gifted politician. He didn’t throw it all away for a moment’s pleasure; on the contrary. He was at, or near the top of the Roman world for ten years, and he did exactly as he pleased, winning most of his battles, and living with the woman HE wanted to live with, instead of the unloved wife ROME wanted him to live with. Elite Romans did not bend and crouch to stretch out their lives as long as possible; they gave it their all for what they valued, and if they lost everything, they typically killed themselves.


  69. Actually I am rewriting this Caesar/Antony/Cleo thing, a few things have struck me. Look for it in a day or 2


  70. Here are my (reconsidered) comments about Julius Caesar, Mark Antony, and Cleopatra:

    First let us consider Julius Caesar. At 52, the absolute leader of the Roman world, he is long used to getting much of what he wants — either through purchase, command, warfare, or simple request. Beautiful young women are simply toys to him after a lifetime of easy access. Such a man probably develops an appreciation for women who are not only beautiful but intelligent, challenging, charismatic, and exciting in addition to their physical charms.

    So he meets such a woman — one of the most alluring women in all history. He comes to her famous, venerable, but politically fractured nation with the simple ambition of quickly conquering it, eliminating its governing class, and annexing it to Rome as a new province. But soon after meeting the 21-year old Cleopatra, one of the contenders for the Egyptian throne, he completely changes his mind. Not only does he give up his idea of annexing the country, he goes to war to support Cleopatra’s claim, wins, puts her on the throne as Queen of Egypt, fathers a son with her, and takes her and the boy back to Rome for a state visit.

    (A famous Cleopatran stunt that helped win Julius over: While he is commandeering the Egyptian palace and deciding what to do with the country, the politically outlawed Cleopatra has herself smuggled in for a surprise meeting with Caesar by hiding in a rolled-up carpet, which is carried in as a gift. If this plot is betrayed, she risks being captured and killed by her enemies. The carpet is unrolled and out pops the plucky princess, no doubt seductively dressed — wotta girl!)

    But this is by no means a case of Oneitis. Nobody, but nobody, can dominate Caesar’s will. He causes a scandal by bringing this non-Roman mistress back to Rome, where he already has a Roman wife, and blithely ignores all the grumbling — but he also ignores the pressure from Cleopatra to make their love-child his heir. Instead he chooses his nephew, Octavian. The Queen of Egypt and her son are to remain nothing more than mistress and offspring to the head of the Roman Republic.

    The final straw, as far as Caesar’s enemies are concerned, has nothing to do with Cleopatra. One afternoon, Julius gives indications that he is toying with the notion of having himself crowned King, a political institution to which the Romans are profoundly allergic. A group of men decide that Caesar must die for the sake of saving what is left of ancient Roman liberties, and within days he is assassinated (44 BC).

    A few years later, after the civil wars and disorders resulting from the assassination, Rome is being run by a triumvirate of powerful men: Octavian, Caesar’s former second-in-command and co-consul Mark Antony, and one Lepidus. Lepidus is gradually sidelined, leaving the other two in uneasily shared supremacy.

    41 BC — The married, 42-year-old Marc Antony summons Cleopatra (now 28) to a meeting to gain her political support. Like all of the topmost Roman elite, he has had easy access to the most beautiful women in the world all his life, but he’s never met one as bewitching as Cleopatra. He falls in love with her, and they begin an affair which will eventually produce three children. In the meantime, Antony’s first wife dies and he marries Octavian’s sister, for the sake of peace with Octavian.

    Soon afterwards, Antony abandons his Roman wife to live year-round with Cleopatra in Egypt.

    31 BC — By this time Octavian has the upper hand, but Antony is still extremely powerful and influential, and is most unwilling to see Rome fall into the hands of a single ruler. The final showdown begins. All during the preceding years, Antony has managed his political career rather badly; among other things, he has alienated himself from much of Rome by absenting himself to enjoy Egypt with his royal lover, who, at 38, still captivates him utterly.

    30 BC — Octavian defeats the combined forces of Antony and Cleopatra in the naval Battle of Actium; the lovers commit suicide.

    On the whole I’d say that Antony was as alpha as they come — but perhaps more of a hedonist and a soldier than a gifted politician. He didn’t throw it all away in a moment for the sake of a woman; on the contrary. He was at, or near the top of the Roman world for much of his adult life, and he did exactly as he pleased, winning most of his battles, and living with the woman HE wanted to live with, instead of the unloved wife ROME wanted him to live with. Elite Romans did not bend and crouch to stretch out their lives as long as possible; they gave it their all for what they valued, and if they lost everything, they typically killed themselves. Mark Antony died at 53, and for 52 of those years he had as much of the world at his feet as he cared to fight for, and for 10 of those years he had the most desirable woman in the world. Octavian (who became Augustus Caesar, the first Roman Emperor) was a superior politician, and Cleopatra could have jumped ship at any time to abandon Antony for an obvious star in the ascendant, but her hypergamous choice rested on Antony until the day they died.

    So: What are we to say when great Alphas, completely at the top of their game, become completely enraptured by exceptional women? If I have learned anything from you, it is that the type of women who are so capable of enrapturing them must correspond to their individual psychological states. To compare small things with great, Mystery, with his unfortunate family background, gets completely bent round the finger of a Cluster B stripper and nearly dies from demoralization, all in the space of a few months; whereas Antony indulges himself with Cleopatra, alienates much of the Roman elite, but still manages to retain his position near the top of the Roman world for a decade. What kind of woman could hold the affections of two such astonishing men as Mark Antony and Julius Caesar?

    In the end, of course, Antony lost it all — but not in a petty, needy, degraded, Mystery-style way; rather, in a titanic clash with the other most powerful man in the Roman world. There is nothing the least bit beta about the life and choices of Mark Antony, unless you find the cold fish Octavian more admirable; Cleopatra certainly didn’t.


  71. Ciaran Healy,one of the pinnackle of the PUA community…

    …realised

    ALL of the stuff we are now talking about ….5 years ago(today he’s a poor guy selling “enlightment” for 500$ btw,but thats not important )
    Its really a pity ,such a great mind could have done amazing things for humandkind….

    Ciaran : “90 percent of the people wont get better with womans…and who does will end up worse than before”


  72. Heh, yeah, I get you: Psychology is the cure for what ails ya, not game.

    You know what, though: Game gives men real value, and it’s free. Psychology gives them nothing, adds nothing, fixes nothing, blames them for the failure, and charges endlessly. Some psychiatric meds have proven value, but talk therapy is pure scam. “Capitalist society”, eh? You should talk. I understand why you hate game so much. I understand why you spew this clueless pua-hate bullshit about how getting the upper hand with women means they’re magically “controlling” you in some joke-ass imaginary way.

    But you’re not going to stop game, because objectively, it works. I don’t give a shit about palm-reading routines. The bottom line is, women and men need each other, and when men act like men, the two can actually get along pretty well. And that improves the quality of their lives in a way that psychologists have never even dreamed of.

    Nobody needs you. You’re a con artist, running a cruel scam.


  73. Amazing post.