Jonathan Karmel's Reviews > No More Mr. Nice Guy

No More Mr. Nice Guy by Robert A. Glover
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it was amazing

Characteristics: According to this book, “Nice Guys” have a set of personality traits that they need to change in order to improve their lives. They think of themselves as doing everything “right,” giving to other people, taking care of other people and trying to help other people by fixing other people’s problems. But underneath the surface, they actually are desperately seeking approval from others, especially women. A Nice Guy’s life revolves around trying to please a woman and make her happy. Nice Guys are more comfortable relating to women than men. They are trying to avoid conflict, trying to hide their own flaws and mistakes and repressing their feelings. They have difficulty making their own needs a priority, and they make their partners their emotional center. They act like helpless, whiny, wimpy, needy victims, instead of taking control of their lives.

Causes: Nice Guys tend to have had absent fathers, and they try to be the opposite of their fathers. The problem is that they tend to be the opposite extreme, which is just a different kind of craziness. Nice Guys are monogamous to their mothers – they don’t become independent from their mothers after puberty. Nice Guys have feelings of abandonment from childhood that they have never let go of. This leads to toxic shame, the belief that there is something wrong with them, and the only way to get approval from others is to hide aspects of themselves that they think are bad. People who try to be perfect children grow up to be Nice Guys. Nice Guy syndrome started when boys started to grow up without men in an educational system dominated by women, and when certain anti-male attitudes became widespread (men are pigs, men are rapists, a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle).

Covert contracts: Nice Guys believe they are giving, but they are only giving in order to get something in return. Nice Guys think: if I can hide my flaws and become what I think others want me to be, then I will be loved, get my needs met, and have a problem-free life. When this doesn’t work, Nice Guys try harder, instead of doing the opposite. They think that if they are mostly good, they build up credit so that they will get a pass when they screw up. They try to be low maintenance, but they have a “covert contract.” If I’m nice to her, she’ll owe me, and she’ll do nice things for me. “I will do X for you, so that you will do X for me. We will both act as if we have no awareness of this contract.” Rather than just being nice with no strings attached, and directly asking for what they want, Nice Guys hide what they need and what they want. Caretaking means focusing on someone else’s needs in order to feel valuable, rather than trying to get your own needs met. Healthy people are caring but focus on getting their own needs met.

Compartmentalization: Nice Guys believe themselves to be honest, but they are actually dishonest and secretive. They compartmentalize their secret lives from the persona they try to project. They are not integrated, because they don’t accept both the good and bad aspects of themselves. They are isolated, passive-aggressive, full of rage and addictive. When they feel ashamed, they try to deflect the shame onto others by becoming defensive and pointing out the other person’s flaws. They build up walls (addictions, sarcasm, isolation), instead of letting it all hang out. They don’t realize that people are not drawn to perfection. People are drawn to shared interests, shared problems, and an individual’s life energy.

Co-creating dysfunctional relationships: Nice Guys have difficulty with intimacy, because they are attracted to people with problems who need fixing. They give in to their partners’ dysfunction by also being dysfunctional themselves. They become enmeshed in the relationship at the expense of doing the things that make them happy.

Copulation: Nice Guys are dissatisfied with their sex lives. Nice Guys think that sex is a pill that will take away loneliness, cure boredom, alleviate feelings of worthlessness, smooth over conflict, create feelings of being loved, relieve stress and generally solve all personal problems.

Careers: Nice Guys are only relatively successful, because they are underachievers, afraid to leave jobs even when they aspire to do something else.

Stop being a Nice Guy. Do the opposite:
Nice Guys should stop seeking the approval of others and make their own needs a priority. They should be giving with no strings attached. They should develop integrity and be honest. They should stop trying to hide their flaws and just allow themselves to be human. They should express their feelings. When they screw up, they should not defend, explain, excuse and rationalize (DEER); they should just admit they screwed up. They should ask for help when they need help. They should stop expecting life to be smooth and free of conflict.

A Nice Guy needs to believe that it’s okay to be a guy. He should hang out with other guys. He should be masculine. He should be comfortable around other guys. He should believe that other guys are not jerks. He should have male friends. He should build meaningful relationships with other men, not disassociate with other men. He should not be a loner. Men have strength, discipline, courage, passion, persistence and integrity. They can also be aggressive, destructive and brutal. Nice Guys should not repress the fact that they possess these traits.

If a Nice Guy’s wife is depressed, angry all the time and has no interest in sex, and if he feels like he’s constantly walking on eggshells trying to make sure he doesn’t do anything to upset her, he should “surrender.” That means he should accept what he cannot change and realize that everything will be okay even if the relationship fails to be what he wants it to be. He should think of this life experience as a “gift” that gives him the opportunity for self-improvement. In general, a Nice Guy should accept reality, instead of trying to change what he cannot control. He should act as if the thing that’s bothering him is a gift that will spur him to learn from his mistakes. Other things the author advocates: Masturbate without using any fantasy or pornography. Say no to bad sex; don’t be a “bottom feeder.” Consider going on a sexual moratorium for up to six months. Stop trying to please your wife in order to get more sex.

The author’s specific advice: Find safe people who can give you support, and then reveal yourself to the safe people, including your secrets, your dark side, the things you’re ashamed of. Stop hiding things. Figure out what happened during childhood that made you feel not OK. Don’t act pleasant, unselfish, gentlemanly, sober, healthy, nice, respectful, inoffensive and good in order to get approval from others – these are attachments. Act like you don’t care whether others approve of you, and stop hiding your imperfections. Act like people would still love you even if they saw your imperfections. Act as you would if you were not trying to please other people. Stop trying to be good in order to get validation from others. Do something for yourself. Tell yourself positive affirmations, such as “people love and accept me just as I am.” Take a vacation by yourself to a place where no one knows you, and be yourself. Spend a weekend putting your own needs first. Act like people want to help you get what you need. Stop entering into covert contracts. Stop caretaking, and start caring (giving with no strings attached). Be aware of “victim pukes” from the frustration of the other person not fulfilling their obligations in a covert contract: cutting remarks, embarrassing the other person in public, being critical, withdrawing, letting frustration build up until you blow up. Stop trying to do things right, play it safe, fix problems, not rocking the boat, stop being charming and helpful, stop being low maintenance, stop being controlling and manipulating, withholding information, repressing feelings, avoiding problems and difficult situations. Tell people how you feel, but not in a way that is critical of the other person; no one else is to blame for the way you feel. Confront your fears that prevent you from acting with integrity and convince yourself that you can handle it. Set boundaries regarding when you’re going to not put up with something and learn how to say “no.” Don’t tolerate intolerable behavior just to avoid conflict. Hang out with other guys, and stop seeking the approval of women. Stop neglecting your body; take care of yourself. Imitate healthy, masculine guys and visualize being one. Develop a realistic picture of what your father was like; how he failed to act as a male role model. Act as a role model yourself by doing guy stuff with your sons or other boys in your life. Reinforce good behavior from your partner and stop rewarding bad behavior, just like you would with your child. Don’t settle for bad sex; bad sex is worse than no sex. Realize that you have to meet your own needs; no one was put into this world to meet your needs but you. Don’t stay in a boring, unfulfilling job. Do what you want to do. Don’t settle for mediocrity. If there’s something you want to do, but you are afraid to fail, go ahead and do it anyway as if you knew you would succeed.

Well, I'm definitely not the archetypal "Nice Guy," but I can see what he's talking about. Good book. I think a book like this shows the limitations of the DSM. I bet this author has helped a lot of people, but obviously being a "Nice Guy" is not on the list of mental disorders.
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Reading Progress

November 3, 2015 – Started Reading
November 3, 2015 – Shelved
November 3, 2015 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

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Greg This is the best book review.


message 2: by Fabrice (new)

Fabrice Gt Yes... at such point It’s like you don’t need to read the book anymore 😉


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