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.


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.


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.


…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.


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 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?