Caretaker Values & Game

from an article by The Rawness — part one, part two, part three, part four

[ ]  At some point you developed what are called “caretaker values.” This means you feel responsible for other people and their emotions. You pride yourself on being a giver. The problem is, such a mindset makes you the perfect mark for people who are takers, or emotional vampires. Emotional vampires are the type of people who make other people responsible for their feelings and emotions and never take responsibility for anything. They always blame, accuse, whine, etc. Examples include narcissists (egotists), borderlines (Jekyll-and-Hydes), histrionics (drama queens), sociopaths and more.

For someone who blames everyone else and takes no responsibility, a person who always blames himself and feels responsible for others and their feelings is a dream come true. No one with a healthy sense of boundaries and self-esteem would put up with them, so they don’t like to let such a person go easily once they find them.

[ ] Primary inferiority is the type of inferiority feeling that defined your childhood. You can also refer to it as your core issues. Everyone as a child unavoidably has some feeling of inferiority, because all children are weak, helpless and dependent. However some children develop a more exaggerated feeling of inferiority growing up than others, sometimes due to perhaps neglectful, abusive or over-pampering parents, sometimes due to comparisons to siblings and other children, or sometimes due to other trauma like physical defects, harsh environments, mental limitations or socioeconomic limitations.

Most people learn deal with this primary inferiority feeling by using one or more of the following three faulty coping strategies as defined by Jeffrey Young, developer of Schema Therapy: surrender (freeze), overcompensation (fight), or avoidance (flight). For example, say my parents intentionally or accidentally, through neglect, bullying or pampering, made me feel growing up that my job is to self-sacrifice and be responsible for their emotions. I may surrender to this feeling and decide to accept these self-sacrificing values, and become a caretaker who seeks out dysfunctional people to fix, and I always emotionally and physically give without ever asking for much in return, hoping one day it will be my turn to receive. This is the codependent’s solution. Or I may overcompensate by rebelling against the idea that I should self-sacrifice, instead choosing to give as little as possible while taking as much as I can. This is the emotional vampire’s solution, particularly Cluster Bs. Or I may choose avoidance (flight) of all situations that involve giving or taking altogether. This is the solution of the paranoid and the recluse.

People often create adult goals when they get older that are based on their primary inferiority feelings and the particular faulty coping strategies they’ve chosen to follow. Adler called these goals that guide our adult quests our final fictional goals. People believe on some level that these final fictional goals will fix whatever primary inferiorities they developed as kids. The codependent wants to erase his feelings of worthlessness by finding someone to please, impress or fix in the way he could never please, impress or fix his parent. The narcissist wants to erase his feelings of worthlessness by always appearing perfect, being a superachiever, demanding things from others and making others serve his emotional needs. And the paranoid or recluse wants to avoid people and the feelings of worthlessness they bring about in him because as a child avoiding his parents wasn’t an option.

Other examples of final fictional goals can include a certain high-status career, sleeping with a certain amount of women, finding a rich man to fulfill one’s Cinderella fantasy, having a certain type of family, living in a certain type of house in a certain neighborhood, having a lot of political power, being a famous celebrity, living a high-profile jetset life, being a celebrated author, or being a spiritual leader. The options are endless.

Whoever you feel you have to become in order to fulfill your final fictional goals is your false, idealized self. This is the mythical person, the symbol of perfection, that you imagine you have to be in order to be found worthy and to overcome the childhood traumas created by your primary inferiorities and eradicate your self-loathing. Many psychologists like Karen Horney and D.W. Winnicott discuss false, idealized selves. Freud also touched on the idea, but called it the “ego ideal.” Dealing with the false self plays a big role in Buddhism as well.

Another important concept is narcissistic injury. This is a very complex concept but for the purpose of this article I’ve going to oversimplify it a lot and say that narcissistic injury is anything that bruises our ego and has the potential to expose our false, idealized self as a fraud either to ourselves or to others. Don’t be fooled by the name, you don’t have to be a full-blown clinical narcissist to suffer a narcissistic injury. We all have an ego or idealized, false self to some degree, and therefore are all capable of suffering narcissistic injury as a result, although the bigger your ego or idealized, false self is, the worse the damage you suffer when the narcissistic injury happens to you.

Secondary inferiority is the pain we feel whenever we suffer narcissistic injury from failing at these adult goals we created for ourselves and feel unable to live up to our false selves. Not only do we end up feeling the current failure, the second inferiority, but we end up having our childhood buttons pressed as well, and all the childhood pain from the narcissistic injuries associated our primary inferiority gets reactivated and comes rushing back into awareness as well. We end up reliving our primary inferiority feelings and childhood feelings of self-loathing that we forgot about. This is especially true the more the dynamics of your secondary inferiority mirror the specific dynamics of your primary inferiority.

For example, say your current girlfriend rejects and abandons you. This creates a secondary inferiority. You end up not only feeling that current pain, but suddenly you feel that primary inferiority from your past that lies at your very core and that you worked so hard to repress: the same crushing feeling of worthlessness that your parents used to create in you when they used to emotionally reject and abandon you by offering conditional acceptance.

Repetition compulsion is an idea introduced by psychoanalysis and expanded upon by many mental health professionals that can be summed up by the folk saying “what you don’t complete, you will repeat.” This means that the situations and dynamics we had growing up, whether functional or dysfunctional, are what are the most comfortable to us, and we will feel compelled throughout our lives to seek out and repeat similar situations and dynamics in our adult relationships, often even when we believe we’re setting out to find the exact opposite of our childhood experiences.

Repetition compulsions are especially pervasive when you’ve built up a lot of defense mechanisms over your life to avoid dealing with your core issues head-on. It can be one of the most pervasive and counterintuitive self-sabotaging strategies we have to deal with in our lives.

[ ]  In narcissistic families, the needs and emotions of the parents take precedence over the emotional needs of the kids. In healthy families, the children’s emotional needs are put first.

[ ]  In this way, the children’s emotional needs go unattended and they are deprived of the opportunity to experience gradual independence and learn about themselves. Instead, they learn to wait to see what their parents expect and then react, negatively or positively, to those expectations.

[ ]  The consequence of this parenting style is that the children become a reflection of their parents’ expectations and are deprived of the opportunity to be unique. Furthermore, the children learn to ignore their feelings or become completely detached from them altogether. As a result of having no emotions on which to direct their actions, the children become dependent upon others for guidance. This is the process of becoming what the authors term a reactive and reflective individual.

The tendency towards reacting and reflecting will follow children of narcissistic families into adulthood. Eventually they are likely to become distressed by their own pervasive need to please others, chronic need to seek external validation, and difficulty identifying their own feelings wants and needs. They tend to suffer from a myriad of emotional stressors including anger that lies just below the surface, depression, chronic dissatisfaction, and poor self-confidence. Many also struggle with indecisiveness as they have learned to make decisions on the basis of other’s needs and expectations. Interpersonally, they tend to share a history of failed romances and have difficulty trusting in others.

[ ]  Using terms from therapist Jeffrey Young’s Schema Therapy model, I’d say your primary inferiorities revolve around feelings of emotional deprivation, abandonment, mistrust, enmeshment, self-sacrifice, approval and recognition seeking. You’ve mostly chosen surrender to these primary inferiority feelings as your primary coping strategy. Additionally, there is a little bit of secret, covert narcissism in the codependent as well. There is a part of the codependent that overcompensates or rebels against the feelings of low self worth by quietly developing a grandiose self-image and magical thinking when it comes to his own powers to heal and fix faulty people and situations.

Through this blend of surrendering and overcompensating , you created a certain idealized, false self that you thought would redeeem and conquer your primary inferiorities from childhood: The guy who doesn’t express or burden others with his emotional needs. The “good guy” who sacrifices and doesn’t hurt people. The “fixer” who helps people and attends to their emotional needs. The guy who derives value from what he can do for others and how perfect he is rather than from simply existing as who he is, imperfections and all.

However because of your repetition compulsion, you are drawn to people who are unable to meet your emotional needs in the exact same way your parents were unable to meet your emotional need. You link loving relationships to the sensations that come with trying to please someone who is hard to please, being emotionally nurturing to someone who can’t reciprocation emotion, and being self-sacrificing. Because these are the types of people you “failed” to win over when your primary inferiorities were created, these are the exact same types of people you are driven to succeed with when making your adult goals. Winning over such people as an adult is a proxy for winning over your parents in childhood. If you win over someone who isn’t emotionally distant or hard to please, then it feels like a hollow victory because you don’t feel like you’ve finally symbolically won over your parents. Winning over people like your parents is a way to prove to yourself once and for all you are no longer that lonely, alienated child and you have finally conquered your primary inferiority by become your idealized, false self at long last.

You’re determined to repeatedly refight the same battle from your childhood until you finally win it. However you keep using the same tactics that didn’t work the first time, while expecting different results.

[ ] The unfortunate Catch-22 of this however is that you need to find and win over people as emotionally unavailable and conditional with their approval as your parents, or it feels like a hollow victory and your primary inferiorities remain. However, it’s precisely because they are as emotionally unavailable and conditional with their approval as your parents that you’re as doomed to eventually fail with them as an adult as you did with your parents as a kid.

These adult failures create a secondary inferiority, which in turn reactivates the primary inferiority that lies at your very core, and it all comes crashing down and you feel as hurt as a wounded child.

[ ] 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.

[ ] People focus on the wrong questions when it comes to chemistry. It’s not about whether chemistry is not inherently good or bad. It’s about your relationship with your primary inferiorities, your core issues. If you haven’t done the inner work on your core issues, if you haven’t made peace with or aren’t even aware of your primary inferiorities, then for you chemistry is bad. You can’t trust chemistry until you have done the hard work on yourself needed to heal your primary inferiorities. 

When someone with a healthy emotional core feels chemistry, it’s often a good sign. When someone with profoundly damaged core damage feels chemistry, it’s usually a danger sign. Only when you fix your own emotional core will you be able to experience chemistry with healthy people, because that’s when you’ll feel that at your core you have something in common with them. Right now at your core you can only relate to damaged people, because subconsciously that’s what you feel comfortable with. In addition, if someone is too healthy, you unconsciously feel they won’t want anything to do with you if they got past your false self and saw the real you. Groucho Marx had a famous saying, “I don’t care to belong to any club that would have me as a member.” That’s the state you’re in now. That’s why you look for “bargains,” people who are “fixer-uppers.”

These tendencies are why people with caregiver codependency issues are encouraged not to enter serious, long-term relationships until they do the serious  inner work they need to fix their core issues.

[ ] The reason they seem so different on the surface comes from their respective coping strategies. The codependent primarily chooses the faulty coping strategy of surrender to deal with his low-self-esteem while the narcissist/borderline chooses overcompensation through grandiosity to deal with his low self-esteem. It’s a case of two different external reactions, giving in versus rebelling, to the same internal issue, low self-worth.

Here is the good news if you are a codependent caregiver though. You are curable. For you there is hope. The narcissist/borderline is not curable. Even those who feel the narcissist/borderline can be cured (and they are an extreme minority among mental health professionals) admit that it is very rare and requires an extreme amount of self work, at a level most narcissists simply aren’t equipped to do.

See, the major key to fixing oneself is awareness. One must own all one’s problems and deficiencies along with all of one’s strengths and talents in a brutally, unflinchingly honest manner, and without shame or self-judgment. Most if not all major schools of thought regarding personal growth at some point preach this. You must own all your faults and weaknesses and all your virtues and  strengths.  But you must especially own the faults and weaknesses, because you can’t truly fix something until you know exactly what’s wrong.

Because the codependent caregiver’s main faulty coping strategy is surrender, he is much more in touch with his faults and weaknesses. In his case, it’s not hard to get him to own his main problem, which is low self-esteem. He’s likely already very aware of it. His low self-esteem is much closer to the surface. The narcissist/borderline on the other hand has chosen the primary coping strategy of overcompensation. This overcompensation is maintained by defense mechanisms like projection, denial, intellectualization, splitting, repression, dissociation and others, all of which are aimed at maintaining obnoxious grandiosity and keeping the narcissist/borderline from discovering the truth about himself: that he or she is racked with self-loathing. They have erected so many psychic defenses against accessing their feelings of self-loathing that they can never develop the awareness needed to own their weaknesses and faults.

[ ] So for those reasons, be happy that if you had to have a problem caused by low self-esteem, you had the problem of caregiving codependency rather than being an emotional vampire. Because at least you have the capacity for empathy. At least you have the capacity for self-awareness when it comes to your faults. And through that self-awareness, you have the capacity for amazing spiritual growth and amazing inner strength. If you are willing to face some painful truths about yourself and do the hard personal work to move past them, you can and will be healthy and filled with true self-worth.

I will go into what it takes to fix these problems more in-depth later, but for now I’ll say this: you need self-awareness without self-judgment. You need to be aware of all the details of your primary inferiority, your core issues, the depth of your self-loathing, the childhood roots of it all, the faulty coping strategy you’ve developed to deal with this primary inferiority, the final fictional goal you’ve created for your adult life that you feel will redeem this primary inferiority, the idealized, false self you’ve aspired to become in order to carry out this final fictional goal, and then you need to make peace with all of it. You need to say “Yes, this was me, and it may be me for a while longer, but it doesn’t have to be this way, and with hard work and continued self-honesty, it won’t be that way.”

The key is to stop trying to fix your primary inferiorities and core wounds through new forms of external validation and final, fictional goals and instead realize this: you can’t “redeem” those childhood needs and wounds through adult gratification and adult goals. Those childhood needs can only be met as a child. The time for getting that unconditional love and approval of our true selves we needed from our parents is in childhood. Trying to find that unconditional love and approval and validation that a child needs from external sources in the adult world like money, career, sex, and relationships is a fool’s game.  Look at how tortuous Michael Jackson’s adult life was because he never learned that lesson.

What you have to do is make peace with and mourn the external validation and emotional nurturance you didn’t get as a child. Grieve it, then move past it. Don’t keep trying to make up for what you missed in your childhood as an adult. And now that you’re becoming aware of what you missed in your childhood, don’t wallow in it and make it into your identity now either. It’s just something that happened to you, not something you are.

[ ]  don’t let these realizations about yourself cause you increased shame and self-judgment. The caregiver values you developed, the catering to others emotional needs, the pleasing, etc., these were emotional survival strategies that got you through childhood. You needed them. They were absolutely necessary. They helped you come out of childhood whole, and you should be proud of yourself for coming out as good as you did.

The problem is, as an adult you no longer need these faulty survival strategies. You’re only holding on to them out of habit, and now as an adult the same strategies that served you so well in childhood are not only no longer needed, but they’re now backfiring. You need to become aware of those bad emotional habits, unlearn them, and learn new, more functional ones. And an important habit to start with is enforcing your emotional boundaries.

[ ]  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.

[ ]  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.

[ ]  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).

[ ]  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.

[ ]  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.

[ ]  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.

[ ]  (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?)

[ ]  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.

[ ]  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).

[ ]  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.

[ ]  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.

[ ]  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.

[ ]  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.

[ ] 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.

[ ]  You learn [to] 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.

[ ] 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.

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