Phase Four of the MAP is Semi-Random and Can’t be Faked

Something that has become increasingly real to me is that Phase Four is a sudden energy state switch. It’s akin to a religious conversion. There’s a moment where everything suddenly hinges and the relationship changes direction.

I know that sounds horribly woo-woo, but bear with me.

I’ve now seen hundreds to thousands of people really running their MAPs and doing well at it. Getting through the phases and generally doing well. They get fit, they get the money together, the house is cleaner, they dress better… but whatever they are doing has still not worked to create the change in their partner that they want.

There’s always some sort of blockage there and I know to break that blockage, they need at a minimum to get to a Phase Four moment and really state their intentions super firmly and directly. They may need to go beyond Phase Four of course, but you have to go through it to get there.

But no matter how you beg, plead, encourage, push, frown, or whatever… they get to what I call Phase Three Point Nine and stall out. They say they understand they need to get to Phase Four. They talk the talk. They really do get it. I know they get it, but it’s like they are scared of heights and trying to jump out a plane. Can’t do it. Want to do it, but can’t. They get right to the edge of flipping the switch and then turn into emotional rodeo clowns diving for cover.

It used to be really frustrating watching this. It’s still a little frustrating, but not overly so nowadays.

I’ve seen people sit on Phase Three Point Nine for over a year. Some two years. I could say I’m talking to their hamster the whole time, and that would be true, but I get it. It’s really hard. There’s no perfect assurance if you stand up for yourself and demand to be treated right, that your partner will do it. We can try and stack the deck in your favor running the MAP, but that only increases the odds. There’s no magic dice. There’s no “I win” button to push. It feels like upgrading to Windows 8.1, the damn install option pops up at you and in theory it’s meant to be better, but that’s what they said about Windows 8. So, hmmm…

On the other hand, there’s some people in Phase Two or just getting into Phase Three, who still have lots of work to do improving their attractiveness before I’d even suggest a Phase Four. We’re still trying to see if the earlier Phases get through to their partner. Lots more time to go yet…

…and I get the call or email and they went to Phase Four already.

“Hi Athol, well it’s been a weird week. First X happened and it was fine, and I did just what you said, and she did Y and it was okay. Then on Thursday she did [completely screwed up thing for the 23rd time] and I just flipped out at her, but it was this really strange anger where I was [really controlled angry / like I was watching myself in a movie / completely exploded], and I said [super intense statement of what exactly sucked about my partner and how they needed to fix it, or get the hell out].”

This is where I think to myself “Ahhhhh shit, we weren’t ready for this yet.”

Instead I say in my least facepalming voice possible. “So what happened then?”

Most times they say some variant on,”She started bawling her eyes out and saying she was sorry.”

Phew! Well, alright then.

Then at some random point in the future, I’ll hear back from a Phase Three Point Nine person.  About half the time their still orbiting right there where I left them, the other half it seems to be a Phase Four hit at some semi random time. After I all but gave up on them, they moved to Phase Four.

So in some ways you can’t plan for it, because it seems to hit at random, but more likely it’s triggered by something the partner does to set off the emotional cascade that is a real Phase Four moment. But like I said at the start of the post, there’s an energy switch. So you can plan for it in a sense because it seems to require baseline of a sense of positive energy and emotional strength to do it.

Going back to the Four Outcome Matrix, where a relationship in a bad place can only have four outcomes, (1) Toleration, (2) Cheating, (3) Divorce or (4) Improved Relationship. Phase Four is in very real sense, the exact moment you take Toleration off the table. Not just in an intellectual sense, but in an emotional snapping sense, where Toleration of whatever nonsense you have been tolerating, is absolutely no longer an option.

Which is also why it can’t be faked. It has to be real. It has to have that emotional snapping where Toleration is dealt a deathblow. But you can’t get into the mindset where it can happen, until you get your MAP up to speed.

 

Options Are Limited When Dealing With Domestic Violence

Question on Violence, Deep Emotion and Rational Talk.

Tyler:  An earlier commenter touched on this, but I want to expand it into a real question: how does a man deal with a woman using the Violence strategy? Outside Force (aka cops) isn’t as easily used by a man as by a woman:

1. As you say, female violence is more frequent/less intense, thus less likely to leave evidence. A solution to this would be in-home surveillance, but that also is a bit drastic (and perhaps costly).

2. In absence of incontrovertible evidence, it becomes he said/she said, allowing the woman to turn the Outside Force against the man, such as with a false accusation. This presumes a bias in law enforcement toward believing the female account, and I do believe such a bias exists.

Much respect for your work.

Athol: In the case of very minor incidents of violence, you have to see that as a testing the waters event. I’m talking about that first thing where they cross the line into the “that was a bit much” category. That you have to immediately call out as being unacceptable and whatever it was they wanted from that incident, you ensure they don’t get it.

So… Jennifer slaps me on the forearm in response to me saying something teasing to her… that’s not a problem. (I actually kind of enjoy it when she does that.)

But… Jennifer slaps me on the face, saying “Go get the #$%^ing groceries from the car!”… well that’s crossing the line. That I’d very firmly verbally bump back on, and the groceries would rot inside her car before I’d do anything about them. The message being a very clear “The Violence Strategy will not get you what you want” statement.

And for the record, no, there’s no hitting at the Kay Place. We do have periodic drama like every couple does, but we’re both major introverts so… huh… I guess we do self-imposed Time Outs in a double withdrawal strategy. Anyway, I digress…

Unfortunately though, most people don’t do that for the first incident of crossing the line, so it continues. In the case of continuing violence, the options are rather limited, unpleasant and somewhat depressing.

If someone is prepared to be violent in a relationship, they will continue to be violent in the relationship because it is a winning strategy to get what they want from you. Yes it’s wrong, but it does work, so they use it. It’s like the bullies as school shaking you down for your lunch money. They will keep hitting you, and you will keep handing over your lunch money until something breaks the cycle. The bully however will not one day have an epiphany that making you their personal piñata is wrong, because no one gives up a winning strategy.

So you have to accept that once someone starts being willing to use Violence against you, it will continue until something breaks the cycle.

There are four possible outcomes…

(1) You do nothing, she keeps smacking you when you’re insolent. You learn to be whatever she decides is “good” and figure out ways to apologize for things that are her fault, lose all sense of a personal identity, clean up the messes she makes and generally turn yourself into a human shield if she ever looks sideways at the children.

(2) You respond with greater Violence and hit her back harder than she hits you. Well… this might work briefly, but honestly the more predictable outcome is simply an escalation of both of you playing the Violence strategy toward the full colonoscopy of emergency services and interventions. There’s not really a winner here.

(3) You quit the relationship. Actually this may not be a bad option. If there are no kids involved and no particular reason to stay, you really may as well bail on someone who displays this level of poor judgment. I’m betting she’s not exactly a peach in the other areas of her life either.

(4) You get Outside Force involved. This is the only possible route if you want to try and address the situation and also keep the relationship intact. The trick here is that you have to make this as defensively clear that you are not the abuser as you can. Video or audio of her acting violent and/or verbally aggressive, while you are clearly not doing anything other than defensively trying to block and dodge may be helpful. If you are injured and she isn’t, head to the Emergency Room and say what happened, which will then trigger a police visit to follow up on your defensive injuries. Most likely though, the best way forward is simply making a police report by calling the non-emergency number for your local police department. I have seen a number of times that simply making a police report goes a long way to stopping violence happening.

In addition, you can also make calls to Domestic Abuse Helpline for Men and Women and the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

My feeling is that that if you’re a man worried about being automatically framed as the abuser when you are the one being abused, you’re probably going to have to end up in some contact with the authorities at some point whether you like it or not. So you’re probably better off making an early approach to reporting, using the system of reporting that is in place and for lack of a better term… playing the role of the victim.

What is unhelpful is hedging your bets because of your fear you’ll get painted as the abuser, and letting things escalate further and further. That’s when you have the situations where things get completely out of hand, you’re forced to physically defend yourself more than blocking and dodging and when the police arrive on scene they find a confusing and complicated situation to make decisions about. That’s when defaulting to the idea that the larger male was the aggressor comes into play and statistically speaking, once the incidents are at the level requiring police invention, that’s a good bet for them to make.

So yeah. Options are limited and none of them are any fun to choose.

But once someone can hit you and get away with it, they don’t stop hitting you.

Athol Kay on the Art of Charm Podcast

Check out me on The Art of Charm podcast #239 with Jordan Harbinger.

 

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-images-beautiful-young-caucasian-woman-portrait-image30556944What you’ll learn….

Why Alpha and Beta are different traits.

Why Beta doesn’t count unless you’re Alpha.

Why the Three Love Systems are important.

Why I worry about a great relationship dropping down into just a good relationship, rather than terribly relationship moving up to being just a bad relationship.

Why you have to stop whining.

Why you have to know the difference between a Fitness Test and a Loyalty Test.

Why you have to take “I love you, but I’m not in love with you” really, really seriously.

Why you have to lead in your relationship and how to do it so she doesn’t think you’re being a jerk about it.

 

Was a fun show to do. Let me know what you think about it!

Violence, Deep Emotion and Rational Talk

Okay, let’s start out by sounding completely ignorant.

Violence is an amazing tool to get people to do what you want. It’s quick, easy to do and super effective. In a straight up violence vs. violence lizard brain match up, whoever is the best at it, gets to be in charge of the relationship. Men tend to be bigger, stronger, faster and thus significantly more effective at violence than women are, so that’s a major reason why on a biological level men are in charge of their relationships and women tend to be the followers.

Or put more plainly, I’m a foot taller than Jennifer and outweigh her by 40%. In an ass kicking competition I win easily. I don’t even have to act outwardly aggressive in the slightest, and there’s still going to be part of Jennifer’s lizard brain quietly ticking over in the background aware of the fact that I’m significantly more physically powerful than her.

Of course men these days get a crap ton of education explaining why smacking women around is plain wrong, and that education and social shaming often results in a huge reluctance to ever use violence as a problem solving tool. We’re at a point now where many men are so adverse to using violence, that some women have a sense of impunity if they are violent with their men. Overall the situation seems about even now between men and women, men doing it less frequently but typically with greater damage, women doing it more frequently with less damage.

But the basic rule still stands. If someone is prepared to use violence in their relationship, they are in charge of the relationship. You can attempt to use Rational Talk to them all you like trying to get them to change, but it’s completely ineffective because they can just thump you if you keep talking to them about something they don’t want to hear.

The only way to trump Violence is to use Outside Force, i.e. greater capacity for violence to force the issue. The police, courts and prisons being “outside force”, all backed up by the capacity to Taser you, slap you in physical restraints and drag you into a jail cell kicking and screaming and lock the door behind you.

So…

Violence beats Rational Talk. Outside Force beats Violence.

Now let’s get to emotional drama and tears.

Men are more physically powerful than women and for a huge period of our time on the planet, “outside force” pretty much amounted to another thug or at less something vastly less organized than modern law and order. Thus women have had to adapt and learn other coping skills to advance their interested.

Hello Emotional Psychodrama and Confusion.

Just like the violent people, highly emotionally sensitive people are quite cooperative and delightful when you’re giving them what they want. But if they aren’t getting what they want and especially if they are losing a debate with you, that’s when the entire frame of the debate changes into a maelstrom of emotion, accusations, gunnysacking, DARVO and all-purpose accusations of your inappropriate behavior and abuse.

Women are far more verbally adept and have a stronger ability to channel their emotions into an argument, so most men have terrible trouble in dealing with highly emotional women. Added to that, the modern male faced with a smaller, insulting, toxic person not doing what they want, typically loses about 79.3% of his brain capacity to the task of overriding normal lizard brain functioning and NOT slapping her. Which to the woman looks like he’s having a small stroke and is generally spun as an example of exactly what she’s been complaining about, i.e. his complete inability to have an emotional connection and pay attention to her.

There’s also the thing where excessive emotion can hint at, or directly imply future debates will become violent. This is what smashing or throwing things is all about. It starts with door slamming, then breaking things, then throwing things against a wall, then throwing things near you, then throwing stuff at you, or hitting you. It’s a gradual escalation of threatened violence to get you to comply with what they want.

So here’s another rule.

Deep Emotion beats Rational Talk.

Think about that for a minute because it’s a core complaint many men have. “Why does she become so irrational when we talk about the relationship. Why can’t she just talk about something normally?”

The answer is simple, because as long as the Rational Talk gets her what she wants, she uses Rational Talk. But when it doesn’t, that’s when she goes to Deep Emotion to win the argument.

In those cases, Deep Emotional just looks irrational, in fact it’s an incredibly rational strategy that totally, totally works. In fact it would be irrational of her not to be so irrational. Two wrongs make her right.

Men just aren’t typically as good as women are at the Deep Emotion strategy, so they typically don’t try it out much. In fact, if you see two men having a serious disagreement, it tends to stay in the Rational Talk phase for an extended period of time and if it all goes to a bad place, it tends to skip Deep Emotion and head directly to Violence. Incidentally this is why when a cheated on husband seeks out the other man for a “discussion”, the other man is typically scared witless and backs off quickly. Cheated on husbands tend not to spend much time on the Rational Talk or Deep Emotion phases… it just skips to Violence and the husband typically is significantly better motivated to fight.

This is also why when you have a serious woman vs. woman disagreement, it can descend into a mutually assured destruction approach of emotional nuke after emotional nuke as each attempts to carry the day with the Deep Emotion strategy.

If it’s two drag queens having a serious disagreement, it goes to the Deep Emotion strategy pretty quickly, until someone pulls a wig off and then it gets Violent.

So lets recap…

(1) Outside Force beats Violence.

(2) Violence beats Rational Talk. Violence also beats Deep Emotion.

(3) Deep Emotion beats Rational Talk.

(4) Rational Talk is a winning strategy for getting what you want, when neither party is going to use Deep Emotion, Violence or Outside Force. Ultimately it’s often seen as a form of weakness in that you’re displaying how effective the Violence and/or Deep Emotion strategies are with you because you can’t use them yourself.

So the too long didn’t read…

Rational Talk is completely useless in getting what you want from people prepared to use Violence or Deep Emotion.

So…

What the heck can you do about all that is the question.

The first thing you do when someone starts using the Violence or Deep Emotion strategies, is you stop trying to use Rational Talk with them. You stop because you already know it’s a losing strategy against them. The more you try and use Rational Talk, the more Violence or Deep Emotion is effective against you. So you just stop using it.

Both Violence and Deep Emotion are based on creating a sense of fear, trying to get you to give up your personal power in the relationship, so your partner gets what they want from you. So the second thing you do is start using actions that aren’t based on a position of being fearful. You use Fearless Actions.

In the case of Violence, your Fearless Action is to make a direct appeal to Outside Force. Very frequently escalation toward the use of greater Violence stops, the minute someone starts making a police report. I’ve seen very large, threatening, powerfully built, psych patients routinely become instantly co-operative the minute the police arrived. (Those that didn’t of course… well nurses don’t carry Tasers… so good thing we called the police.)

In short, you prove by your actions, that you will make the use of Violence a losing strategy by calling in Outside Force. Which is why my psych patients usually became more generally co-operative after that first police visit.

If they use Deep Emotion though, your Fearless Action is to also make it a losing strategy, by refusing to have a Display of Low Value in response, and not acting the way their emotional state is demanding you respond. If you’re facing a teenage daughter having an screaming meltdown about wanting a horse for example, you don’t act frightened that you’ll be deeply hurt by the loss of her love, should you fail to produce a horse for her. You simply say, “No pony.” and move on with your day. The key is not play into their emotional state, quitting the conversation completely if you must, and pointedly fail to give them what they want. You make the Deep Emotion approach a losing strategy.

If you can make Violence and Deep Emotion losing strategies, people will stop using them against you. This will force them into trying the only remaining strategy available to them…

…Rational Talk.

 

 

Dread Game vs. Reality Game

 @Isthereastar:   So something I have been wondering about is whether there is a form of dread that women can use on men when they are in tough spot in their relationship (AKA lazy bear husbands/long term boyfriends) Clearly dread works on women, but can it go the other way?

Athol: Well lets define Dread Game first.

Dread Game: To purposely set out to create an appearance that you would or could cheat on and/or dump your partner, unless they comply with your demands. You underline the replaceability of your partner. Some examples of this are creating dating profiles, going out without your partner to bars and clubs, sending flowers to yourself “from an admirer”, purposely seeking to pull Indicators of Interest from the opposite sex in front of your partner and so on. Basically anything you purposely do to make your partner feel a sinking sensation in the pit of their stomach that the relationship is heading to a very bad place, very soon, unless they comply with your demands.

So to answer your question… women using dread on men is about as equally effective and ineffective as it is when men use it on women.

It’s unquestionably an attention getter. It creates a huge impulse for your partner to behave the way you want them to. However, it’s a very risky move. What it does is sacrifice a lot of Relationship Comfort (Beta), in order to create an impression of you having a much Higher Value (Alpha) than they do. Which is fine if you were running a standard Nice Guy / Nice Girl, low Alpha and high Beta frame. Dread Game can create a quick correction of that. However, if your partner ever figures out your Dread Game moves are simply designed to purposely panic them / are in any way deceptively created / you don’t have the guts to follow through on them anyway, then you lose all the Alpha credit the Dread Game created and you’ve also lost a great deal of Relationship Comfort for nothing.

In other words, Dread Game can be effective and it can also blow up in your face leaving you with a disgusted partner who thinks you’re playing games with them.

Ultimately my biggest concern with Dread Game is that it’s a shortcut and I suspect at some point, you’re going to have that catch up with you somehow. This is especially true for a marriage situation. It’s much easier to snow a short-term girlfriend or boyfriend, than the husband or wife you’ve had for 15+ years.

It’s also very easily a negative approach in that it can gain a “well fuck you for ignoring me” element and it’s a very short pathway to getting off on the infliction of pain on your partner. Purposely inflicting Dread on a partner is a stock-in-trade move of Borderline Personality Disorder, or Narcissistic Personality Disorder spouses for example. Dread Game and Emotional Abuse are at times simply a matter of perspective.

The question then, is what to do when you need to gain your partner’s attention.

The approach that I’m seeing as most effective is slightly slower to work, but less risky. It’s called Reality.

There’s a fairly big overlap in what Dread and Reality look like, but with some subtle differences. The most important of which is the change in frame from consciously doing something to try and evoke a positive change in them, to that of making a positive change in yourself, thus creating natural consequences your partner will have no option but to be affected by.

This is the difference between going out and seeking to pull attention from the opposite sex in front of your partner (Dread), and simply having the opposite sex respond to you in front front of your partner because you’ve improved your Sex Rank (Reality).

The Reality is you’re just hotter now.

The Reality is the opposite sex responds to you better.

The Reality is you’re hotter than your partner.

The Reality is they aren’t holding up their end of the relationship.

The really good news with playing this as Reality Game, is that when Reality is discovered by your partner, it only becomes more effective rather than backfiring on you. You’ve not been doing anything wrong, you’ve kept the moral high ground, you’ve been self-improving but not been trying to destroy the relationship.

What you’ve been doing is pouring a more positive energy into yourself. So if you’re heading toward an ultimatum, it’s only because the Reality of the situation is that you’re moving toward where your partner is forced to either join you in a more positive energy place, or be increasingly determined to try and drag you back into a negative one. A standard Reality Game Phase Four statement is something akin to…

“The reality is that if you don’t allow us to have a win-win relationship, I can’t sustain a win-lose one. So the reality is I’m going to have to find what I need to get for me.”

Or perhaps put more bluntly, something like…

“If you keep drinking, I can’t stay.”

“Go to the doctor, or I’m going to a lawyer.”

“How much longer do you realistically think I’m going to stay and put up with this?”

So eventually, Reality becomes more effective and safer as a strategy than trying to use Dread. There’s just one catch though…

Reality Game can’t be faked. It has to be real, because that’s what Reality means.

The Leadership Moment Quota

Captain and First OfficerSomething I’m seeing a whole lot of these days is what I’m calling the Leadership Moment Quota. Which means, the wife needs to experience some minimum weekly amount of moments of leadership from her husband, for her to act right feel happy about the relationship.

If she gets these Leadership Moments, everything goes pretty smoothly. She likes her husband. She’s agreeable. Sweet. Doting. Charming. Horizontal.

If she doesn’t get enough Leadership Moments… she has to create them by Fitness Testing her husband to try and force them out of him. This annoys her somewhat even if you pass the Fitness Test and really annoys her if you don’t.

So, what’s a Leadership Moment?

It’s any time you (1) create a default choice for something to do, (2) make a decision for her, or (3) ask her to do something for you. Let’s walk through them.

Create a default choice for something to do.

“Let’s get Chinese food and watch Battlestar Galactica on Netflix.”

“Let’s go to the beach on Saturday.”

“I’ll come grocery shopping with you, but we should hit Panera for lunch first.”

“I’ll get the wine, you get the lingerie.”

This works because rather than being some hardass command from above, it creates a default course of action. If she wants to suggest something else to do, she can, but it’s going to require a lot more mental effort coming up with something else to do and justifying why it’s better than your idea. Most times, she’ll just take the path of least resistance and say, “okay”. Which nets you a +1 for a leadership moment. She doesn’t care what happens, she just wants you to create some basic direction she can go along with.

Make a decision for her.

Jennifer: “The red or the blue?”

Athol: “Blue.”

Jennifer: “Peach or cherry?”

Athol: “Well I’ve had your cherry… so peach.”

Jennifer: “We can have leftover chicken and make soup, or I could go get fish and do it on the grill.”

Athol: “Do the fish. Whatever looks good at the store is fine.”

That all seem stupidly easy, because honestly it kind of is stupidly easy. Unfortunately most husbands just see these questions as pointless and annoying. We don’t care if it’s red or blue, we don’t care if it’s peach or cherry, we don’t care if it’s soup or fish. She probably doesn’t care either, that’s why she’s asking. All she’s looking for is for you to make a pointless, trivial, token decision because it makes her feel attracted to you when you make decisions like a boss. Just pick one.

Ask her to do something for you.

This is one mildly harder than the others, but still fairly simple. You just ask her to do something for you.

“Hey can you roast a chicken for dinner? We haven’t had that for a while.”

“I need new shirts, can you shop and find me a couple please. Something like the purple one I have, and anything else that you like is fine.”

“In case we lose power, can you please check on batteries, food and water. I’ll do the propane tank refilling.”

“Can you take this to the post office please.”

As long as the task is easy enough to do, and there’s no reason not to do it, she’ll very likely just go do it and enjoy it as you creating a Leadership Moment. The key is that these are reasonable requests in a reasonable tone of voice. You’re just asking her to do them because you can use her assistance… which frames her as your assistant… which makes her see you as the leader.  Thus generating more attraction to you.

The point is that these are all dominance moves, but they are essentially an understated dominance. There’s no threat behind them or harsh tones. It’s simply setting a direction, asking for what you want, asking for her assistance. You’re just assuming her submissive instinct is going to kick in and she’s going to enjoy the direction. Because after all, female submission doesn’t need to be forced, simply evoked.

Displays of High Value Need to be Tangible Displays (Behold the Wall of Smart)

I keep coming across this thing where genuinely high value people… don’t display their value tangibly. By tangible I mean that in the movie version of your life, the director could just do a 20-30 second pan across your stuff  in the opening credits and we’d have a pretty good head start on your character development. Look at all the awesome stuff about this guy, the opening credits stop… aaaaaaaand… then the reveal shot of our story’s hero. Boom! We already like this guy, don’t we? Yes we do.

Instead…

…I see a lot of Nice Guy faux humility where supposedly material stuff doesn’t matter. I get there’s some obvious concerns about not appearing to be bragging or displaying a bunch of faked high value. That sort of thing is always found out eventually. But I’m talking about guys who take their hard earned value and then bury it so no one can see it. So in the movie version of their life, that 20-30 second pan shot covers a bunch of non-descript crap. Then cue up the narration about how the wife is great, loyal, pleasant and has a horribly low libido.

See how that works?

Look, if you don’t actually display your genuine high value, she’s not going to react to it the same way as she would if it was displayed effectively. You don’t make the opposite sex get horny for you via logic. You have to offer tangible displays of high value. Here’s what I mean…

You have $20,000 cash in your checking account. Logically that’s more than $2000 in cash, but take a roll of twenty $100 bills out of your pocket and it’s far more tangible and real. The cash will have a greater pull on the emotions of everyone around you. The cash is far more tangible.

You have a college degree. That’s nice. But where is the actual degree itself? I mean it’s all nice written on a resume, but why isn’t it framed on the wall somewhere so everyone can see it? Why aren’t you displaying your degree?

You own your own business and can easily afford a nice suit, but instead you dress semi-casual. You’re telegraphing that business isn’t going that great by the clothes you wear. Everyone responds better or worse based on your clothes. Put on a suit and suddenly everyone thinks you’re doing fabulous.

You’ve worked out hard in the gym and your body is finally in the best shape it’s been in for the longest time. But you still wear baggy clothes that hide your body. Where’s the clothing upgrade?

In terms of myself…

One of the things I worked out about a year ago is that Jennifer is attracted to smart guys. Money is nice, hard body is nice, power is nice, dangerous is unwanted and smart is really important to her. So I’ve somewhat unwittingly been Displaying High Value the entire time I’ve been writing MMSL It’s a giant display of smart guy as I’ve written three books and endless blog posts and the forum and coaching yada yada yada.

But unless she’s actually looking at the books, or reading the blog or forum, it’s not really in her face enough to be truly tangible. Which is why I slapped together one of those Ikea cube bookshelves and artistically arranged my books as a pride of place display. It’s got my books, a few other framed things and enough other books to make it look like a functional bookcase, which it is. It’s now very tangible. I call it my “Wall of Smart”.

So in the movie version of my life, when the camera pans over the Wall of Smart, you’d know I was an author several times over, what I wrote about and read, you’d know I was married to Jennifer and get the sense that I was a kind of a deep thinking person. Even better, I’ve placed the Wall of Smart behind my desk, so that on coaching calls on Skype or Google Hangouts, my clients get to see me sitting in front of it. Thus Displaying High Value to them as well.

More importantly, it covered up the horrible 1970′s wood paneling I had been sitting in front of previously.

But even more importantly than that, I just feel so good looking at it and knowing it’s there. I’m displaying higher value and it makes me feel higher value. Which then makes everyone else react to me better because feelings are infectious. I feel better about me, so you feel better about me.

So enough of me. What about you?

In the movie version of your life, what would be in your 20-30 second opening pan shot? What would it tell us about you?

What’s your version of the Wall of Smart?

When You Don’t Think You’re Allowed to Win, You Find a Way to Lose

If I had a dollar for everyone I talk to that has a completed university degree… except for one or two credits of work… I’d have an extra four dollars this week.

What’s maddening to the outside observer is that the missing credit is often not even a hard course, it’s something like Finding The Library 101, or Embarrassed to Be White 203. You literally just have to show up with a pulse to get a B+ and then you have your degree.

Then the obvious question is “Why didn’t you finish?” “Why don’t you just go back and finish it now?”

Then they give the speech their White House Press Secretary Hamster has prepared for exactly those questions. You know, the one that spins a thick whitewash over everything, implying that circumstances beyond their immediate control has resulted in a sub-optimal outcome, only when considered from a stereotypical measurement of immediate success. That the entire exercise was in fact extremely valuable and will unquestionably provide an expanded viewpoint upon which to better engage in an upward career momentum and thus cannot be framed as a failure when the objectives have in fact been met. Which is not to preclude the possibility of revisiting the location of elevated instruction at some later chronological point in the narrative, but for now more important tasks must take precedence.

Yeah right.

Let me tell you what really happened.

You got that close to the end of the degree and then suddenly everything just turned into this Alice in Blunderland experience where suddenly all your mental ability turned into mush, you lost motivation, something distracting happened and you focused on that, then suddenly something was due and you just hit this wall of critical personal failure that you can neither explain or wish to dare to happen again. It’s like one of those Epic Fail videos where someone is winning a race by a country mile and then they trip and slam into the ground like a fat guy having a stroke.

Okay, fast forward to now…

You’ve worked your ass off to be successful. Hours of work every week. Money down, risk up.

Everything is in place for success.

Well…

More like 99% of success is in place.

You just have to do the billing.

Doesn’t take all that long really…

One second.

Dammit the moderately important thing just broke down and it’s really important you have to fix it. Right now.

Then your mom calls.

Dammit mom, why call now? I really have to do the billing.

Then the grass on the lawn looks really a bit long and it really should be mowed.

Then…

Then eventually you’ll end up somehow failing. I know how familiar this feels to you.

The core of the problem is that you’re experiencing a low energy state and lack feeling entitled to succeed, to win, or to simply have things go right. So you sabotage yourself to align your level of success, love and happiness to the same level of your current energy set. This is why you can’t have nice things.

Knowing that, you do two things…

(1) DON’T WORRY ABOUT WHY YOU HAVE THIS MENTAL BLOCKAGE. I really can’t emphasize that enough. You’re not going to have some great moment of understanding and insight and then suddenly have the clouds part on your life and all be suddenly wonderful. In fact, the more you try and think about it this way, the less progress you’ll make on fixing the problem.

(2) JUST GO COMPLETE THE TASK YOUR STRUGGLING TO COMPLETE. Seriously, just force yourself to sit down and grind out that last credit for the degree, just grind out the billing, just go and ask her out. That’s it. That’s all you have to do. Just go do it, no matter how task avoidant you feel.

Then as you complete the task and gain that extra bit of success, happiness and positive energy, it makes you feel more entitled to have achieved success. Having finished those major tasks you’ve left undone will change the way you feel about yourself. You’ll stand taller, feel stronger and most importantly be at peace with yourself.

So what’s your blockage to success? What’s your unfinished task?

Outcome Independence

Outcome Independence (OI) is usually thought of as making a move for sex on a woman and not caring about the outcome. Free of need for her to say yes, she’s impressed by your confidence and her panties fall off automatically.

What that means in practical reality is you ask for sex, she says no and you walk away trying not to act like Ralph Wiggim.

It’s a good thing to learn, but the true Outcome Independence needed to run a successful MAP is a lot harder than that. Eventually it may come to a place where you aren’t just gambling on a single night, but on the relationship as a whole. That’s all your chips on the table and a single roll of the dice.

This is why I see a lot of guys getting themselves to Phase Three Point Nine Nine and never quite making the jump to Phase Four. Everything is easy and safe in Phase One, Two and Three… but Phase Four and beyond… well that’s starting to get really risky.

But even not pushing to Phase Four is risky after a while, because a long term Phase Three with you being unhappy and not getting what you want…

… is really called Phase One.

The MAP is a bit of a roller coaster some times. Ups and Downs, but you can’t get off halfway if you don’t like it.

Anyway…  from the forum…

 @AlphaBelle talking to one of the guys:  It IS hard, but that’s what outcome independence really is. Not the whole “I didn’t whine when she turned me down for sex” thing it always gets trotted out for.

True outcome independence is saying, “I have no frickin idea how this is going to turn out. Is she going to come around and be a good wife? Am I going to have to go all the way to phase 6? Are we going to divorce? Am I going to push her over the psycho edge by not enabling her anymore? I DONT KNOW.  But I am going to keep moving forward in my MAP and become the best, kindest, strongest, wisest, most productive version of me I can be, and not let the unknown outcome of it all paralyze me or set me off course.”

Emotionally Independent of the outcome, I am MAPing.

Athol:  And frankly it’s no different for the women either. 95% of men and women come to MMSL with the same basic problem – they put up with too much for too long. Eventually you have to push back, stand up for yourself and grow a harder edge to yourself.

Kind by nature, cold by requirement.

And for @AlphaBelle, who is in the middle of her I don’t know…

Yellow Alert and Red Alert

One of the most damaging things I’m seeing in relationships are fights about nothing.

Until a while ago I’d been thinking that most of these fights about nothing, were in fact fights about continuing to establish who was in charge of the relationship. The basic principle being that if you can win a bunch of little fights about things you don’t care about, you’re better staged to win the big fight about something you do care about. You can tell these fights are happening when the point of contention is usually about control. I.e. “Don’t tell me what to do”, “You aren’t in charge of me,” and so on. The fight isn’t really about the correct way to stack the dishwasher, it’s about control, the dishwasher is just a backdrop to the conflict where one person demands compliance from the other. I.e. “Stack it my way, not your way.”

But there’s also another way to have a fight about nothing.

It’s when someone is cranky.

When you’re cranky, even normal requests can become grating demands you no longer want to have to deal with. These can even be reasonable requests in a reasonable tone of voice and it would be very reasonable to agree to them…

…except right now you feel very unreasonable.

So you react badly to them.

Then when you react badly to someone making a reasonable request in a reasonable tone of voice, it’s quite reasonable of them to think you’re being unreasonable, rude and disrespectful. After all, you’re basically reacting exactly the same way you would if you were Fitness Testing them.

So they bump back on you.

Which pisses you off.

So then you Bump back on them.

Which pisses them off.

So they BUMP back on you.

Oh hell no. They did NOT just do that.

Dirty Bump Back right back at you screechtard.

Rrrrrrrrwwwwwwwaaaarrkkkkkk!!!!!!

And then as they say, it’s all on. All because someone was cranky.

One of the things I’ve always loved about Jennifer is that she doesn’t really PMS all that much. Even then, when she does PMS, she just announces it in about the same tone of voice one might announce that the mailman came. No anger vented at me, no grumpy pouting and too hard closing the cupboards in the kitchen as she makes dinner. Just a simple, “I’m cranky.”

Those two words are my cue to try and cut her workload down as much as possible. Send her out of the house to relax. Go to the library. Go sip some chai tea in Panera and eat a bagel or something. Whatever it is I don’t care, I just want to move the hand grenade to a safe location. She calms down, de-stresses and comes back. Usually to find basically everything done that needs to be done that evening.

It works because I know she’s not abusing my good nature because she doesn’t fake it. If she’s cranky, she’s genuinely not feeling herself. It also works because instead of things turning into a stroppy evening butting heads together, she takes space and comes back happier and we still usually manage a fun bedtime together. But if I missed her little tell of “I’m cranky”, that would be a bad thing.

My suggestion for clearly communicating you’re reaching the limit of demands on you before you start losing your temper, is a code phrase of “Yellow Alert”. I.e. Yellow Alert =” I’m about to start losing my shit, please give me some space and allow/help me recover and come out of this mood.”

Which brings us to “Red Alert” obviously. That’s when you really have lost your shit and it’s a very dark place to be in. It’s a roiling wave of emotion that overwhelms your ability to “just snap out of it”. It lasts until it’s over. For some people that’s an hour, for some it’s half a day, or a day, or three days, or even longer. When you’re in that place of defensive rage you can say and do some pretty nasty things about and to the people you actually love.

My strong advice is that when you’re in that dark place, simply say nothing other than to announce it and go seek whatever private space you can find, and/or do whatever you can do to get yourself out of it.

Seriously. Just say nothing. Nothing you say will be kind, constructive or helpful. Even worse, what you say might be the Dolorous Stroke that maims your marriage for years to come.

So if Red Alert is an emotional black hole that sucks you in, Yellow Alert is the warning that the event horizon of the Red Alert gravity well is approaching. Take action at Yellow Alert and the Red Alert never hits. It’s vastly easier to take space for an afternoon than walk on eggshells for a couple of days.

Clearly signaling to each other when you are in distress and giving each other space or comfort rather than descending into a fight about nothing is a vital relationship skill. One stupid fight about nothing because someone was tired can wipe out a couple of weeks of positive relationship gains. It’s something I think I’ve gone over with nearly all my couple coaching clients at some point.

Sometimes y’all just need a nap.

In full disclosure, I suffer far more from the risk of falling into the Red Alert realm than Jennifer does. She’s the calm stable one, I’m the passionate intense one. Maybe I’ll talk more about that sometime.