Man Up | Ep. 217 • October 24, 2017
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or over a decade, David Tian, Ph.D., has coached tens of thousands of people from over 87 countries to achieve happiness and success in their dating and love lives.
Once a nerdy, skinny professor of Asian philosophy who couldn’t hold a conversation to save his life, David is now director of Aura Transformation Corp., and a world renowned therapeutic coach. Dr. Tian has been featured in international media, including AXN, Cosmopolitan, Psychology Today, as well as co-hosting a radio show on national radio and a weekly dating advice column in a national newspaper in Singapore. Formerly a professor at the National University of Singapore, Dr. Tian is actively researching, speaking, and publishing in the areas of philosophy and psychology.
The show, “Man Up: Masculinity for the Intelligent Man,” is David’s way of helping as many people as possible enjoy empowering and fulfilling lives, while contributing to the global understanding of masculinity in modern times. In the show, he takes your questions posed in The Man Up private Facebook group and answers based on his experience Coaching tens of thousands of students around the world for over a decade.
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Boom! Stop. I’m David Tian, PhD, and in this video, I answer the question: What to tell your therapist to fix your relationships? Welcome to the Man Up show.
Masculinity for the Intelligent Man. I’m David Tian, PhD., and this is Man Up!
Hi. I’m David Tian, PhD., and this is Episode 217 of Man Up. For over the past 10 years, I have been helping hundreds of thousands of people in over 87 countries attain success, happiness and fulfillment in life and love, Welcome to Man Up something. You’ll see the number somewhere on the title. I am in my favorite movie theater, our favorite one here in Bangkok. We arrived early, and there’s a lounge. It’s a free lounge, the buffet, free drinks, the whole 9 yards. There’s a smaller lounge here which is a little quieter. We’re filming it here.
I found a corner of bookshelves, so I’m ensconced amidst these bookshelves. Actually, I want to show you the hallway so you can see the main lounge. That’s pretty cool. This is in my favorite mall in Bangkok, Central Embassy. You can see behind me, or that way, the main lounge. Pretty cool. All the way down is the bar, which is really fancy. A nice champagne bar. I like it here a lot. So we’re here shooting a Man Up episode. I’m going to walk backwards back to that little bookshelf area. You can hear movies going off in the background. They have amazing seats. You get these beds with a mini bar next to your bed. Everything in the mini bar is free, included in your ticket. It’s awesome. Literally, it’s a bed full of pillows. Anyway, let’s get to the question.
You didn’t think we would be showing off candles and this bookshelf in a show called Man Up, did you? But I’m secure of my masculinity, so we’re doing that. Alright, I got a question here from the Man Up private Facebook group from Jacob. Jacob asks:
“I’ve seen many of the videos here, and they help me a lot.” Well, you’re welcome. “David often says that if you find yourself in an unhealthy relationship with a lot of drama and feel attracted to women who have a lot of red flags in general, drug addicted, wild girls, nights out, not being honest from time to time, girls who have a lot/create a lot of drama in their lives, etc, you should find a reason behind that. The reasons why you feel attracted to these kinds of girl instead of the more secure, more stable ones, reasons could be that you are a fixer in general.” Yup, I’ve done an entire episode on that. If you YouTube search or Google search “David Tian fixer nice guy syndrome/white knight syndrome”, you’ll see it.
“Reasons could be that you have low self-esteem and try to compensate for it by achieving a lot, getting validated from the outside instead of the inside.” Yeah, it’s very true. “Or that you are actually boring/uptight and feel attracted to the wild side of these girls. In some of his videos, David says if you are uncertain about yourself and find yourself being attracted to these kinds of women, you might need therapy. Yeah. Well, good therapy – there’s a lot of bad therapy. There’s good fitness trainers or bad fitness trainers. You got to be careful about that, but good therapy will definitely help you with that.
I also find myself being attracted to exactly this kind of woman instead of the more secure, normal, and stable women. My question now is: What should I tell my therapist exactly where we should work on?”
Great. I love questions that are very direct and specific. This is one I can definitely answer. Instead of diving into another one hour lecture, I can do it in a shorter period of time for a Man Up episode. “Which parts of me make me feel attracted to these kinds of women, and what should the focus of the therapy look like to make progress in this area? The biggest problem of myself is self-acceptance and self-worth issues.” Yeah, so is everybody’s, right? “Does anybody have any thoughts?”
Great, he’s asking, “What should I tell my therapist where we should work?”
First of all, there are various levels to this. At the most basic level, the reason why a guy would be attracted – or the psychological reasons for why you’re attracted to a certain personality type. In your case, drug-addicted, wild girls, nights out type of girls, girls who lie and are not honest from time to time, girls who have a lot or create a lot of drama in their lives. What you’re attracted to in the opposite sex that you have chemistry with is a part of you – actually, is reflecting a part of yourself that you’ve disowned when you were a child.
When you were a little baby or up to 3 years old, and maybe into 6, 7, and right up to puberty, there are options of the way your personality could’ve been. You guys who are shy, turn out to be shy, that was a choice that you made early on, an unconscious choice to cope with the environment that you are in and the conditions and stress that you were given. You’re not born shy, you’re made shy.
If you are a nice guy, if you are a fixer as Jacob seems to think he is, that would match the dynamic there with a wild girl. I’ll take the exact example, make it easier, and give you a specific example. If you’re attracted to a wild guy, who is like a party girl, who is a risk-taker, adventurous and spontaneous, that’s because a part of you, when you were a child, couldn’t be that way anymore. You missed that. You’ve disowned that subpersonality early on.
When you see it in other people reflected back at you, it’s a part of you that you’ve disowned and that’s attractive to you because you want to get it back. I’ll get into that at the deeper level. But at the surface level, it’s just simply a part of you that you’ve disowned. She will also be attracted to you, if there’s chemistry, if she is attracted to you, it’ll be a part of herself that she’s disowned. The wild girl will be attracted to the nice guy who gets all his homework done, because that’s a part of herself that she’s disowned. That’s actually in her if she chose to be that way. That’s why there’s chemistry.
Later on in the relationship, you’ll tire of each other and start to be really annoyed by that part of her. If you get in a relationship with a wild girl, eventually, you’ll start to get frustrated, insecure, and all the other stuff because why can’t you just be responsible? Why can’t you just be mature? Why do you have to party all the time? Why do you have to keep doing drugs? Can’t you just get a job and hold down? The thing that drew you to her in the first place is the very thing that will really piss you off later on. That’s because you disowned it in your past.
When you disown it, you continue to disown it. That’s the dynamic that will guarantee those relationships will always fail. I’ve already talked about this in a particular example in the manic fairy dream girl video that I did. I think it’s 190-something. Anyway, you Google or YouTube search ‘David Tian manic fairy dream girl’ you’ll find that video. It’s like a 40-minute video where I go into depth on that particular dynamic, of the nice guy with a manic, pixie, wild child dream girl.
And you’re describing a similar type of dynamic here, although it’s a little more edgy and stripper kind of edginess than the typical manic fairy dream girl. But it’s the same sort of thing. Part of you, Jacob, wants to be spontaneous, adventurous, badass and badboy, party it up, live in the now, and be independent and just fun. But for most of your life, you’ve had to be a different way. When you see that in a girl, it attracts you. But further down the road, because it’s a part of you that you’ve disowned, that whole dynamic of you disowning that will come back into play because that’s the part of you – because the energy you’re residing in right now is one which you disowned that sub-personality.
The only way that you will finally be attracted to somebody who is mature is if you integrate that wild child that you’ve disowned back into your life. Now, it’s part of you so you’re not creating chemistry with people that are dangerous for you in the long run. The only way that could happen – the second question you asked was, “What will it look like when you do make progress?” So, what should the focus of the therapy look like to make progress in this area?
What it will look like is, you’re going to be grieving because you’re going to go back to re-experience, remember, recall, and process – that’s the deeper level – the unfinished business of your childhood when you made that decision unconsciously and you made it repeatedly. There’s probably one major time that you made that decision, but it was reinforced over and over in your childhood. You believed that you couldn’t be that way that you disowned. In your case, you can’t be that wild child, because you, as a child, disowned that. There must have been some incidents, some traumatic incidents in your childhood, where you had to make that choice of being a responsible, mature, nice guy who is shy or whatever it is in order to keep the love of your primary care giver, or whoever – what’s causing that, like usually your father and mother. You had to be a different way.
Re-experiencing those initial traumatic events, and then feeling them, staying there with those feelings, feeling them, processing them, and solving the problem because there’s a problem there, that you can’t be a certain way. As an adult, unconsciously you still believe that. That’s why you’re attracted to people who are bad for you in the long run, because it was a part of you that wants to be that way, too. That’s very attractive.
It’s unfinished business. This is a term from Gestalt therapy, because that’s a part of you in your childhood that you didn’t resolve, that you haven’t solved yet. The only way you will integrate that, grow, and then become mature enough to be attracted to people who are actually mature, stable, and secure, but who also have integrated their fun and wild side, is if you do that first. You have to be able to do that first, otherwise you’re always going to be just reacting.
Most of the world is reacting, because most of the world – most people in the world, almost everybody. Everybody, I should say, everybody in the world had to make unconscious decisions based on their conditions as a child to be one way and not another. There are various decisions you make that you keep splitting off. Eventually, that creates your adult personality. Of course, other traumatic events in your teens, or if you went to war, those traumatic events will also force you to make unconscious decisions about how you need to be.
We’ve all had traumatic events. That’s the thing. Even in childhood, the very nature of childhood is traumatic. Where we split off into deciding who we are. The fact of the matter is, what you’re attracted to can teach you a lot about yourself. In therapy, that’s important data because that’s where you need to go. You need to recall, for Jacob for instance, in a specific example here, when was it in your childhood when you believed that you couldn’t be that way? You couldn’t be fun, wild, or spontaneous.
A great way of priming this question, starting it off, is – whose love did you create the most when you were a child, as far back as you can remember? Who did you have to be for that person, and who could you not be for that person? Why do you think that? Can you think of a specific memory where you had to be a certain way or not a certain way? That’s the path that you need to go down to get that healing and that integration. You can have an integrated self and have an integrated relationship that’s actually mature and will have a chance of succeeding in the long run.
Most people will not succeed in their relationships because they haven’t done this problem solving of their unfinished business in their past. They’re just reacting unconcsiously and out of control to these unconscious emotions and drives. They keep going through these cycles of trauma, basically. It’s also what psychologists call repetition compulsion. You are compelled, almost like an addict, to seek out that part of yourselves that you’ve disowned. There’s an unconscious part of you, who wants you to go there, to heal, to integrate, to solve that problem, to finish the business there. That’s repetition compulsion. That’s the process, that’s what’s going to happen now.
You shouldn’t need to go to your therapist to tell him, “I want to do whatever, like, Gestalt therapy or whatever”, right? You should find a therapist who has skills, experience in all kinds of therapy, dozens of kinds of therapy, everything. You go there and just talk about yourself. Let him or her lead the questions, and then just answer as truthfully as you can. Hopefully, within the first few sessions getting into the emotional work, because that’s the only work that really counts, where you’re processing emotionally the trauma in the past, so you can get back to the unfinished business and solve those issues.
That’s how it works and that’s why you’d be attracted to somebody who is bad for you in the long run, because it’s a part of you that you’ve disowned in your childhood.
Alright, I’ve answered that one for you. Thank you for the question, Jacob. I’m going to get some food before we go to the lounge. I’ll get some food before we watch the movie. Alright, so join the private Facebook group. I’ll see you inside the group. Until then, David Tian, signing out. Man Up!