The Daily Man-Up

June 27, 2017 | No Comments » | Topics: Man-Up

They all believe that if they are “good” and do everything “right,” they will be loved, get their needs met, and have a problem-free life. This attempt to be good typically involves trying to eliminate or hide certain things about themselves (their mistakes, needs, emotions) and become what they believe others want them to be (generous, helpful, peaceful, etc.). I call these men Nice Guys. Up to now we haven’t paid much attention to the Nice Guy, but he is everywhere. He is the relative who lets his wife run the show. He is the buddy who will do anything for anybody, but whose own life seems to be in shambles. He is the guy who frustrates his wife or girlfriend because he is so afraid of conflict that nothing ever gets resolved. He is the boss who tells one person what they want to hear, then reverses himself to please someone else. He is the man who lets people walk all over him because he doesn’t want to rock the boat. He is the dependable guy at church or the club who will never say “no,” but would never tell anyone if they were imposing on him. He is the man whose life seems so under control, until BOOM, one day he does something to destroy it all.

Every Nice Guy is unique, but all have a cluster of similar characteristics. These traits are the result of a script, often formed in childhood, that guides their lives. While other men may have one or two of these traits, Nice Guys seem to possess a significant number.

Nice Guys are givers. Nice Guys frequently state that it makes them feel good to give to others. These men believe their generosity is a sign of how good they are and will make other people love and appreciate them.

Nice Guys fix and caretake. If a person has a problem, has a need, is angry, depressed or sad, Nice Guys will frequently attempt to solve or fix the situation (usually without being asked).

Nice Guys seek approval from others. A universal trait of the Nice Guy Syndrome is the seeking of validation from others. Everything a Nice Guy does or says is at some level calculated to gain someone’s approval or avoid disapproval. This is especially true in their relationships with women.

Nice Guys avoid conflict. Nice Guys seek to keep their world smooth. To do this, they avoid doing things that might rock the boat or upset anyone.

Nice Guys believe they must hide their perceived flaws and mistakes. These men are afraid that others will get mad at them, shame them, or leave them if some mistake or shortcoming is exposed.

Nice Guys seek the “right” way to do things. Nice Guys believe there is a key to having a happy, problem-free life. They are convinced that if they can only figure out the right way to do everything, nothing should ever go wrong.

Nice Guys repress their feelings. Nice Guys tend to analyze rather than feel. They may see feelings as a waste of time and energy. They frequently try to keep their feelings on an even keel.

Nice Guys often try to be different from their fathers. Many Nice Guys report having unavailable, absent, passive, angry, philandering, or alcoholic fathers. It is not unusual for these men to make a decision at some point in their lives to try to be 180 degrees different from Dad.

Nice Guys are often more comfortable relating to women than to men. Due to their childhood conditioning, many Nice Guys have few male friends. Nice Guys frequently seek the approval of women and convince themselves they are different from other men. They like to believe that they are not selfish, angry, or abusive — traits they link to “other” men.

Nice Guys have difficulty making their needs a priority. These men often feel that it is selfish to put their needs first. They believe it is a virtue to put others’ needs ahead of their own.

Nice Guys often make their partner their emotional center. Many Nice Guys report that they are only happy if their partner is happy. Therefore they will often focus tremendous energy on their intimate relationships.

What’s Wrong With Being A Nice Guy?

We might be tempted to minimize the problem of the Nice Guy Syndrome. After all, how can being nice be such a bad thing? We might even chuckle at the Marvin Milquetoast behaviors of these men as portrayed in comic strips and television sitcoms. Since men already represent an easy target in our culture, the caricature of a sensitive guy might be an object of amusement rather than concern.

Nice Guys themselves frequently have a difficult time grasping the depth and seriousness of their beliefs and behaviors. When I begin working with these passively pleasing men, almost without exception, they all ask, “What is wrong with being a Nice Guy?” Having picked up this book and puzzled over the title, you may be wondering the same thing.

By giving these men the label Nice Guy, I’m not so much referring to their actual behavior, but to their core belief system about themselves and the world around them. These men have been conditioned to believe that if they are “nice,” they will be loved, get their needs met, and have a smooth life.

The term Nice Guy is actually a misnomer because Nice Guys are often anything but nice. Here are some Not-So-Nice Traits of Nice Guys:

Nice Guys are dishonest. These men hide their mistakes, avoid conflict, say what they think people want to hear, and repress their feelings. These traits make Nice Guys fundamentally dishonest.

Nice Guys are secretive. Because they are so driven to seek approval, Nice Guys will hide anything that they believe might upset anyone. The Nice Guy motto is, “If at first you don’t succeed, hide the evidence.”

Nice Guys are compartmentalized. Nice Guys are adept at harmonizing contradictory pieces of information about themselves by separating them into individual compartments in their minds. Therefore, a married man can create his own definition of fidelity which allows him to deny that he had an affair with his secretary (or intern) because he never put his penis in her vagina.

Nice Guys are manipulative. Nice Guys tend to have a hard time making their needs a priority and have difficulty asking for what they want in clear and direct ways. This creates a sense of powerlessness. Therefore, they frequently resort to manipulation when trying to get their needs met.

Nice Guys are controlling. A major priority for Nice Guys is keeping their world smooth. This creates a constant need to try to control the people and things around them.

Nice Guys give to get. Though Nice Guys tend to be generous givers, their giving often has unconscious and unspoken strings attached. They want to be appreciated, they want some kind of reciprocation, they want someone to stop being angry at them, etc. Nice Guys often report feeling frustrated or resentful as a result of giving so much while seemingly getting so little in return.

Nice Guys are passive-aggressive. Nice Guys tend to express their frustration and resentment in indirect, roundabout, and not so nice ways. This includes being unavailable, forgetting, being late, not following through, not being able to get an erection, climaxing too quickly, and repeating the same annoying behaviors even when they have promised to never do them again.

Nice Guys are full of rage. Though Nice Guys frequently deny ever getting angry, a lifetime of frustration and resentment creates a pressure cooker of repressed rage deep inside these men. This rage tends to erupt at some of the most unexpected and seemingly inappropriate times.

Nice Guys are addictive. Addictive behavior serves the purpose of relieving stress, altering moods, or medicating pain. Since Nice Guys tend to keep so much bottled up inside, it has to come out somewhere. One of the most common addictive behaviors for Nice Guys is sexual compulsiveness.

Nice Guys have difficulty setting boundaries. Many Nice Guys have a hard time saying “no,” “stop,” or “I’m going to.” They often feel like helpless victims and see the other person as the cause of the problems they are experiencing.

Nice Guys are frequently isolated. Though Nice Guys desire to be liked and loved, their behaviors actually make it difficult for people to get very close to them.

Nice Guys are often attracted to people and situations that need fixing. This behavior is often the result of the Nice Guy’s childhood conditioning, his need to look good, or his quest for approval. Unfortunately, this tendency pretty much guarantees that Nice Guys will spend most of their time putting out fires and managing crises.

 

No More Mr. Nice Guy by Robert Glover

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