Keynotes • March 9, 2018
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Neurosis, Your Inner Child, & Grief Work
David Tian, Ph.D.: The previous section ended on a kind of dour note.
I was warning you what not to do, what to avoid and what you can’t ignore. And in this section, it’s much more upbeat. It’s going to be the how-to on how to solve the issue and walk you through the solution. It will be the path to your freedom, that’s a trigger word for men. They like it. Freedom! I like freedom. The path to your masculine power, the path to riches, the women and all the good stuff that you want.
The more thorough solution is committing to a therapeutic process, and that means either getting psychotherapy or counseling; not psychiatry, not medicating but actually being there with the therapist and feeling through your issues.
But I’ll walk you through what’s supposed to happen in that process. And that’s a really important thing, especially for people like me who are intellectual, who uses intellectualizing as a coping strategy for dealing with emotions; that you need to at least put that aside and you can understand, and then trust the process so you can let go and go with it.
The first step is to leave home. And that first means for many – again, I’m in Singapore as we film this and that means literally leaving home, for the men here. And assuming that you’ve left home already, now speaking in terms of emotionally and psychologically leaving home.
What you need to do as you leave home is to be able to separate yourself from the anchors of the trauma, of the situation, of the environment and the context of the initial splitting off of yourselves and you’re able to then recover and make contact with the hurt and lonely inner child who was abandoned that long ago.
I’ve been using the metaphor of ‘blockage’, that there’s a blocked emotional energy in you, that is the actual strength of the thing that you’re looking for. So for many of the guys who found me over the years, they’re looking to get better with women.
I love that phrase. It’s sort of like a catch-all for everything that PUA guys can sell you, right? The ‘get better with women’ niche. Anyways, so getting better with women, if that’s your goal, the most thorough way to do that — Well, the way to be better with women is to realize that you already are better with women inside you. That there’s a part of you that’s incredibly charismatic, witty, funny, smart, spontaneous, sexual; it’s already in you.
The problem isn’t that you need to learn how to impose that from the outside, because that would create another false self and a split, but instead to unblock the emotional energies that are preventing that part of you from coming out. In fact, what that process is is rediscovering and empowering your true self, to take charge of all of this that’s happening.
I’ll be using the metaphor ‘blocked energy’ more often. Our childhoods cannot be ignored, they instead have to be grieved. And a lot of the popular self-help, and is focused, first of all, is driven by young people; young people in their 20s, early 30s, people like me I guess, who are still in it into their 40s. But usually once you have kids, you get this other set of priorities; the people who are driving self-help and the people who are looking to make more money.
Then they’re told when they go to Tony Robbins is that the reason they’re not making more money is because they’re not attending to these other psychological things and then they get on the right path. But for most people, it’s about money. And part of that whole self-help thing is the whole rejection of childhood issues.
I think this is caricatured in Freudian psychotherapy, of the patient lying down on the couch and exploring his childhood and all that. You think, “There’s no rigorous science in this. Where’s the proof for all of that?”
I understand the skepticism because I carried that skepticism in myself until about four years ago. That the secret to our success in life, lying in our childhood? That seems so kooky, right? That’s like, give me a break, let’s get real here; tell me about neuroscience.
I’m standing here telling you that all of that avoidance of going back to your childhood is probably a result of some part of you unconsciously trying to avoid having to revisit your inner child.
I have a lot of cool friends. I’ve got a lot of dude friends in their early 30s, late 20s, who’re running successful multi-million dollar businesses, and they’ve had really great dating lives, been married, many of them, or coupled-up and they’re leading great lives.
And when I talk to them about childhood issues as the reason to explain this problem that they’re chatting with me about over beers, the first answer is always going to be — First, they’ll be polite and then they’ll listen, but then when I really push at it, they’re like, “Aww, come on man. Get real.”
So I totally understand and I really want to address the skepticism around childhood issues. Hopefully, if you’ve been watching the previous videos in the series, you’ll have understood more deeply how the process of false and adaptive selves and their splitting off occurs, and what the adult consequences are of childhood shame and how easy it is to spot and how pervasive it is.
Hopefully you’ve understood that. My voice is cracking since the last video because we’re filming this in a Sunday after a big club night with our clients here. Actually, this is pretty good considering I smoked two big-ass cigars and stayed out until 6:00 AM, so this is not, but still, excuse the constant throat clearing.
Childhood, it’s there; it’s actually your childhood. I guess there’s nothing more to say besides what I’m about to share, except to say I understand your skepticism and I understand your desire to be cool.
You think it’s not cool to revisit your childhood. In fact this, isn’t a masculine bro thing, it’s not a bro science thing. Brenè Brown in her most watched TED talk, she’s had two that’s done more than 15 million views or something like that. Anyway, in her first TED talk she shared how she realized she needed to go to therapy so she went to the therapist.
She said to her, “I want you to help me but I don’t want to do any of this childhood shit.” And of course, what did they have to do? They had to go back to their childhood. It’s sort of like if you fucking grow up man, you’ll get there, you’ll see it. And if you don’t see it until you have kids and they’re grown up, then you’re messing up a whole other generation. I don’t know what else to say beyond that but, in case there’s any skepticism, I understand it. But I’m going to plow forward.
So instead of ignoring our childhood, the way forward to grow and heal, and I guess I got to put out a benefit to appeal to the craven, materialistic millenials out there who want to just fuck and get money. It is also the way to extreme power, all the best power, the best you. Not just be a better version of you, but the best you, that’s already in you, that you can discover. So fuck all of that other, like young guys, you know, like, the 25 year old life coach bullshit, “Be your better self.” Whatever, man.
Your true self. And you’ve experienced this, hopefully. At some point in your life, you’ve had the experience of effortless flow in conversation, interactions with people, and then women, with women, in women, and just being awesome.
But then it’s not there consistently and you don’t know how to tap into that. And those are all results of blocked emotional energy. Otherwise, that self — Where did that come from? It’s in you. And it was there in you when you were a child.
Gary Vee recommends you spend time with old people in retirement homes so you can learn what regret looks like. You should also spend time with young children, as long as the parents let you get close to them. They’d just be like, “Get out here, you pedophile!”
Spend some time with young children. I had the pleasure of helping to raise a little goddaughter and that was a life changing experience for me, seeing the child grow up, and the vulnerability, and the great creativity, and the fun, and the playfulness, and the joy and the abandon that is there in childhood that certain parenting styles in society will shame out of you.
You got to revisit that. That was there originally and it got pushed away, got pushed out, pushed down below your consciousness. The way to do it is through this process called Grief Work. Now, different therapists have different terms for this but this seems to be the most prevalent one, Grief Work.
In the next video, hopefully we’ll get to that today, there’s another process that’s complimentary to it, that is an integration of your parts but I believe that is more complex than Grief Work. Grief Work is a great way to begin, and it’s a necessary step.
Grief Work is revisiting your lost childhood or finding your lost childhood and visiting it, because our compulsive reactions to shame are the results of unresolved grief, and that is what creates the old blocked feelings. These are the old blocked feelings that are preventing our great creativity and power from coming out. Either we work these feelings out by re-experiencing them, and processing them, and resolving them or we act them out in our compulsive reactions.
Which are largely out of our understanding and out of our control, etc., like the average person in other words. And then because we don’t know why we do it, we blame other people for it, like, “You’re making me ADHD.” That sort of reasoning.
Grief Work is the feeling of the original pain; we experiencing the original pain but now as a mature adult. One step that’s important to put in there is the appreciation for the various selves that’s split off. Don’t hate on your false self. I’ve discovered that as I’ve been talking about false selves, more and more people are thinking that that’s a disgusting thing in them and they’re further compounding the problem with more shame.
Now, they’re shamed that they’re shamed, so let’s not do that. The false self was a good thing. It protected you, it’s called a coping strategy for a reason. It helped you cope. At that time, it helps you, it helped you get on in life; it helped you get approval and love and not get scolded, and not get beaten and so on; it protected you somehow, and it’s important to appreciate that about that self, that’s a part of you.
It’s not a part we’re just going to throw away either, because that’s a part of you. But it’s a part that you’re going to appreciate and then say “Hey, right now you need to rest, because you’ve been working too hard” and so on. And we’ll get to that in the integration of parts.
But that’s an important element of it. As you re-visit your childhood, you don’t just re-feel the pain — that’s probably the hardest part. But now you, as an adult, are able to bring in the mature perspective that it’s going to be okay. You bring to it all of the life that you’ve lived so far and now you strengthen that little child. You help your inner child grow.
One of the most damaging consequences of being shame-based is that we don’t know how depressed or how angry we really are. And all the guys that I’ve ever worked with who have trouble with women, who are not one of the 2 percent, or probably 1 percent of the guys who pick it up extra quick.
The vast majority of us who had to learn it externally, they’re all having trouble with unresolved grief; keeping it together, keeping it in, keeping their depression in, the anger in, the sadness in, and they think the problem is actually that they didn’t know the right thing to say to the girl.
When instead, it’s just about their unresolved grief. Our false selves and ego-defenses prevent us from experiencing the prime grief, the primordial grief, the original grief that we suppressed and then repressed into our unconscious. However, you don’t just go and feel it and then think you’re done, you need support.
You cannot grieve alone. You’ve already tried that and failed. Realize this: Without therapeutic support, without the support of another person — And I try to do this in my recorded courses. My recorded voice is your other support. That’s the best you can do in a recorded course, and I try to provide as much live element as I can as I scale myself in the recorded courses.
But ultimately, you can’t replace the feeling of having the support from another human being because you tried to grieve alone when you were a child and it was too difficult; it was too painful so you then split off.
So unless you get support, by which I mean another human being holding this space for you — Not your buddy at the bar, okay? And like, “Oh, I’ve got a friend. She’s my sister. She’ll listen to my problems.” I’m not talking about just listening to your fucking problems. I’m talking about somebody who holds the space while you fucking cry your fucking eyes out.
All of these manly men. I don’t know how it came about, the rise of the manly man, the gun-toting, wood-chopping, hunt-your-own-food guy, which I think is totally cool in certain contexts. But one of the things he seems to take pride in is shoving his emotions below awareness and treating himself as if he were a Navy SEAL in battle, when in fact, he’s in a very modern city with Starbucks and Frappuccinos.
And he doesn’t need to kill anybody, no one’s life is at stake per sè. Instead of handling it alone, the process of this is to actually free it up, to liberate, to have the courage, to feel those emotions of anger, and sadness and grief that will result through this process.
That is actually what takes a lot more courage than steel determination. Because we can all do that, man; just manning up. The superficial man up is easy. All of my achieving, successful friends have been doing that their whole fucking lives. If you look at their bodies as a testament to manning up, or if you look at their bank balance as a testament to manning up.
That’s the easy part, the superficial toughen up is easy, the discipline is easy, it’s easy to beat yourself. It’s easy to chop yourself. It’s easy. What’s the hard part? The vulnerability that you’re so fucking scared of. Why is it so hard for a soldier to walk up to cold approach a girl?
And I’ve seen this over and over. I don’t care how much weight you lift, you’re still a pussy when you went and talked to that girl. In teaching, in coaching I like to use fitness metaphors so it’s really helpful if you do work out, I can use those.
But just working out doesn’t make you great with women. I’ve seen so many muscle heads in the club just staring and they’re hoping the girls will just admire, like come up and feel the bicep, and then just take and suck his dick. Occasionally, this happens, but that’s because he’s really good looking.
The actual working out doesn’t in itself transfer to the emotional courage to be vulnerable. Again, I recommend Brenè Brown here. She’s probably the most well know vulnerability researcher. Shame and vulnerability, by the way, are two sides of the same coin.
In other words, you fix shame by being more vulnerable. The Grief Work is about having somebody to hold this space and support you as you go through vulnerability and feel these intense emotions. You could do this in a bar, I suppose, if you’re very used to being vulnerable but that’s tough. I mean, it’s hard enough already.
So you need support. Don’t try to do it alone in your closet. Grief Work is a re-experiencing process. It is possible to change your behavior without re-experiencing your childhood issues, and that’s called behavioral conditioning.
If for example you’re really depressed because you haven’t been eating well. Well, that makes sense. So, what’s one way of fixing this? You give them good food! You hire a chef. You don’t have to re-visit the childhood issues and you just force this person to eat good food.
By the way, that’s an example that’s more mundane, but you can take any example of how to make somebody do something they don’t want to do. You fucking force them. I don’t know. This whole talk about people who don’t know how to apply discipline, you’re all fucking pussies. None of my friends group has any trouble with applying discipline.
That’s easy. Making yourself do something is easy. You’re scared to talk to her? Go do it anyway. I don’t fucking care if you’re scared. That’s my upbringing. Those are my friends. You got to go and do this. I don’t care if you’re fucking crying. Stand the fuck up. I learned this lesson even as an adult from a friend of mine that you’ve met yesterday, for the guys who were at the club night. A big tall guy. By the way, I don’t know if you know how old he is. He’s 12 years older than me, we’re both dragons.
He used to date double dragons. So it’s like, “How old is she, double dragon?” You get it? Chinese Zodiac guys, you’re like, “What?” So anyway, motorcycle trip. I was told by another friend, the guy who organized it that, even though I’d never been on a motorcycle in my life and that I’ve never driven anything besides an automatic car that I will have no trouble riding though the mountains of Vietnam with no motorcycle experience at all.
Even though I found out just before I went, that Vietnam has the second highest motorcycle fatalities of the whole entire world after India. But hey, that’s okay. We’ll go on this closed dirt course. I did six hours on two separate days of going in figure eights and figuring out how to go into first gear into second gear and things like that.
So anyway, I’m like, okay. He thinks I can do it, I’ll do it! So I get on there, all the other guys have a lot of experience, I have none. I get on that bike, I can’t, my toes don’t even touch the fucking floor, all right? So they’re trying to figure out how to lower the bike, they can’t, we got to get going. In order to get down, I’m really balancing on one leg, just hop on it.
Anyways, I’m going through Hanoi, the traffic is scary as fuck. The light turns green, I go. This guy comes along, and he’s on a bike, but he’s got this beam, it’s a metal beam across the back. It goes across my helmet. I was just like, “Okay.” Anyways, we get far enough out into the highway, and I just go in one straight line. I just don’t want to look anywhere else.
I look at the light and the straight line, the guy in front me and I just try not to crash. We get out far enough that it’s just cows now and it’s one way, one lane each way and it’s a lot clearer.. So I’m thinking, “I got the hang of this, no problem!” And then we go through this really bumpy section where we go off-road.
This is the whole point of it, with these big off-road bikes. And we go vroom, vroom, vroom. And off-road is great, because you just go really fast. You just hang the fuck on. So if you’re slow through off-road, you’re going to die. But you go zoom, zoom and now you feel like god because you’re like vroom, vroom and you survive. And you make it, and you’re like woo!
But I thought, “I can do this.” And then we hit construction. And in Vietnam, they have these gigantic boulders this size. They were crushing them with this rolling thing, a big truck. They were doing the entire both lanes at the same time. . In other words, all the cars and the little scooters had to go over these huge cement boulders to get through.
And all the locals in these little scooters, they’re like, going one hand like boom, boom. We come in with these huge bikes like vroom, vroom, and it’s so hard and I just kept falling. And this bike is fucking heavy. Remember, I can’t stand on both feet on it. I got to lift it up and jump on the thing and then hope I can catch it on this end.
And it’s all happening on boulders this size, so I kept falling in. I got these big boots. Maybe the fifth time I fell through the stretch of a whole hour of construction work that we had to go through, I fell under a moving steam roller. Then they called me steam roller on this trip.
So the steam roller actually went over the front tire of the bike. I fell under it, and I’m like, “Holy shit!” And then the steam roller went vroom. And then all the other guys are like, “Stop!” And it went over the front tire and then we were all like, “Shit!”
So then he backed up, and then luckily the tire went vroom and came back up. They had to drag this thing out from under the steam roller. Even then, it wasn’t finished because we still had to make our way through this.
The hard part was, if I can just go really fast, it would be fine. But all the traffic got backed up, so there are all these little scooters in my way. I had to go really slow the way they’re going, but I’m on a huge bike so I kept falling. We all kept falling. But the other guys, they could reach the floor with both feet, so they could stabilize the thing. I kept falling over.
Eventually, this one time it just fell and I just couldn’t pick it up, I was just too tired, it was fucking hot. We had all the gear on. It was really hot and sweaty, couldn’t get it up. And I’m just like, fuck, so I kick the bike. The man that you saw yesterday, he’s just on his bike. That guy is like 6’4″ or something like 6’3″.
His feet are down like this on the bike. I can barely touch on one side. Anyway, he’s like, opens his visor, pick up the bike. I’m like, pick up the bike, you know “Get on it.” Okay, get on it. “Put it in first gear.” Okay. And then he’s just walking me through one step at a time what to do. And he’s like, “Okay, let’s go.”
There are times when you got to just pick it up and go. And sometimes, you want to cry, sometimes you want to give up. That was a time I wanted to give up and I wanted to cry. Basically, I was being a little cry boy, like crying boy.
And he’s like, “We got to get going so get up.” And then the next day, there’s more and more about this trip about how many times I was like going to break down like, “Forget it, I can’t do it.”
I got into a head-on collision, ripped the skin right off, you still see a mark here. I’m hoping to cover it with a tattoo. But again, it was always those guys, as they were patching me up with the first-aid kit. I was like, “I don’t know man, it’s the second day. I don’t think I can make it. It’s a seven-day trip. It’s nine hours of riding,” averaging seven hours of riding a day, and I did not ride before that.
They’re like, “Well…” And I’m like, “I think I just need to head back to town.” And he’s like, “Yeah, okay. Well, there’s a train station about an hour that way.” And we were going this way. “So, just keep going that way, you should hit it.” And I’m like, “Fuck, forget it. Alright, I’m going with you guys.” And it’s just like, dudes, man. Man up.
That’s why you guys with approach anxiety, I just want to like tell you, punch you in the fucking face. But there’s only so much you can do with behavioral conditioning. I did it. Something scary? That’s what you got to do.
So all of that other stuff you guys listen to, all of these other guys who tell you to just apply discipline, work really hard. There’s a point at which you just man the fuck up and do it. You just get used to it. I’m not very good at giving that kind of motivational advice because I think you’re a fucking pussy if you don’t. But the other thing is, I understand why you are a pussy.
Because underlying it is the deeper problem of your inner child not being attended to. It’s easy if you just want behavioral output, to apply discipline, and pressure, and punishment, and pain. Punishment and pain will move you towards the thing. You’ll be of course scarred and traumatized and all that, but you’ll get there, or you’ll die.
But if you want a life of fulfillment, and joy, and aliveness, and freedom, then we’re talking about something different especially if you want it to be natural and effortless. There is the possibility for you of the effortless life, without having to apply that discipline.
For example, if we’re sticking to the analogy of motorcycle riding, it would probably had been better for me to actually have gotten my license and all of the training. And halfway through the trip, they actually got a bike that fit me. So I could actually at least do this while seated on it. Suddenly, the world opened up. I wasn’t so scared to stop because every time I stopped, I basically had to fall over.
Or like, I’d put all the weight of the bike and everything I’m holding onto one leg. Anyway, Grief Work is a re-experiencing process and it liberates and integrates your lost inner boy. It liberates, it frees the creative energies in you and it frees you. That’s the original boy, the original self.
It integrates that lost inner boy. It all begins with the Grief Work, and the Grief Work will work in tandem with the next type of therapy that I’ll be talking about in the next video. Basically, through this process of Grief Work, what you do is you strengthen the little boy. You do this by telling it, by reinforcing a certain message. It’s a message like this, it’s a message that you were hoping that you would get from your primary caregivers, the ones that you look to for you love.
And it’s this: “It’s okay to wander and explore. It’s okay to leave me and separate, I won’t leave you.” This is the adult you speaking to the inner child you saying that things that your parents should have said. “It’s okay to test your limits, child, boy. It’s okay to be angry. It’s okay to have a tantrum. It’s okay to say no. It’s okay to have any desire you have and it’s okay to have any feeling you have. It’s okay for you to do it and do it your way. You don’t have to do it my way, and I’ll be here. You don’t have to hurry. You don’t have to be scared. I’ll give you all the time you need. It’s okay to practice holding on and then letting go. I won’t leave you.”
If you know anything about attachment styles, and it’s really ridiculous. I posted one of our Instagram clips of me talking about attachment styles in a Man Up episode and it’s one of these one-minute Instagram clips. I cross-posted that to Facebook, and somebody commented, “Hey, some so-and-so pick-up artist talked about guys who are anxious with women, is this what it is?” Oh my god, damn.
There’s a whole scientific field on this that people do multiple Ph.Ds on and you’re asking me if it’s some random blog post bullshit; some random club rat pick-up artist who talked about anxiousness. I’m not even in the same vicinity as that.
Anyway, so you can go Google it. You can start with Wikipedia. I mean, Wikipedia usually shows up as the first result anyway. Attachment styles, what you’re looking for is John Bowlby, he’s the pioneer, a researcher in attachment styles. B-O-W-L-B-Y, John Bowlby.
And if you haven’t learned this research, it’s about time that you did. It was about taking children as young as six months, and seeing how they react to being separated from the mother. And then there are different attachment styles as result. And there’ve been extensive studies on this.
Attachment styles is just straight up clinical psychology science. That’s what healthy attachment style should be like, that communication of, “It’s okay, I will be here for you, I won’t leave you. You can go and explore. You can go on make mistakes. You can feel whatever you’re feeling, frustrated, angry, sad. Everything is okay, it is how you’re feeling. There’s nothing that you needed to be ashamed about.”
That was the message that we needed to have as children in order to grow up to be secure, to have a secure attachment style. And a lot of problems in relationships are result of one or both parties not being in a secure attachment style. The research shows that around 50% of people that they’ve followed up with end up having secure attachment styles.
But I don’t think that is actually accurate, I think the bar was set far too low on whether somebody who is secure or not. Anyway, that’s my opinion. But I think most people aren’t secure in a romantic relationship. And then you might be secure at your job, like in most day-to-day life situations. But when you’re vulnerable, most people are not secure.
The research will set you on the right path. So why is it so important to leave home? When a caregiver avoids his shame, and by the way, that’s part of the process of growing up. You leave your mother and go and explore. You’re supposed to know that it’s okay. She’s going to be there. She’s not just going to abandon you just because you went and explored.
It goes even further than that, what you need to do to grow. When a caregiver avoids his own shame or her own shame by raging at you, by condemning you, by being judgmental or moralistic at you, the child takes on the shame that the parent is avoiding.
And while the parent avoids their shame, the child has to carry it. That’s how transference of shame occurs. This happens all the fucking time. When? All the fucking time.
In fact, if you open the newspaper here in Singapore. You will almost always be able to see on every fucking page an instance of shame being transferred. This is how society treats the parts of their society they don’t want others to know about.
While they avoid their shame, we take it on. And we will have to use anchors to undo this transference. This will be done for you through ongoing counseling or therapy. But it’s important for you to realize that you’re getting further shame transferred to you by associating with people who are living with their shame and don’t know it.
Because of abandonment trauma, shame-based people become adult children who form co-dependent relationships. This results in attachment issues, either enmeshment, which is over-attachment, or isolation, which is being under-attached. Then what’ll happen is you end up reenacting what the therapists call fantasy bond, or like the prime, the original relationship.
The fantasy bond is based on that first relationship with a primary caregiver whose love you craved. This is why the Tony Robbins question of, “Whose love did you crave the most when you were growing, your mother or your father?” is so foundational. Once the fantasy bond is created, you have only one relationship dynamic repeated over and over again.
And in the final section of this series which we filmed in Siem Reap, I’ll go into a lot more detail on that dynamic and how that plays out in a male-female, or actually in a romantic relationship, whether it’s male-female or not.
That relationship dynamic of the fantasy bond is repeated compulsively. This combines the worst of addiction, and repetition-compulsion, and shame, and inner child trauma. I’ve mentioned before how in the community of pick-up artist coaches, how over and over we kept seeing ourselves despite our best intentions, despite our best conditioning, finding ourselves repeating these relationship patterns.
And it’s just a matter of time. The first year usually you’re fine. You start to see it happen in the second year and third year, and then it really blows up after that. And we keep thinking, “It’s them, drama! It’s the girl, I picked the wrong one!”
They never turned the mirror and looked at themselves. The only way out of that cycle, the vicious cycle,
is through Grief Work, capital G, capital W, Grief Work of liberating and integrating your inner child, and re-experiencing the original pain and trauma, and supporting the inner child through that. So wake up guys, I saw three of you just doze off.
I know you don’t want to do this. I know you don’t want to feel sadness. I know this is the thing you’ve been avoiding your whole fucking life. This is also what’s causing your approach anxiety. It’s also what’s causing you not to be natural with women that you like. It’s also causing you to have cognitive blockages when you can’t think of anything to say; because you’re ashamed of the things you’re really thinking cause you don’t even know what the fuck you’re really thinking.
If you want to get to that energy, so now, I’m appealing to the materialistic millennial: Listen up. And to the more mature person, if you want freedom and fulfillment in life, it will have to come through Grief Work. This is the first step in the therapy. If you go to therapy — And the first time they’ll just get to know you, they got to get some context.
But if you just sit there and you refuse to go to the dark, vulnerable places and cry, nothing really will happen and a good therapist ought to end his relationship with you because nothing is happening and he’s just taking your money.
If you’re unwilling to get to the point that you’re actually crying in the first stages of therapy, you’re not actually doing anything. You might as well go to a life coach and get some new strategies for how to wake up earlier and clean out your inbox. That’s what people think therapists are, they’re supposed to help me make more money? No.
Therapy is like the end of Good Will Hunting. I love that scene. They don’t really do much else before that. The whole time, he’s just winning his trust, Robin Williams is winning Matt Damon’s character’s trust.
Then that breakthrough, the only breakthrough you get to see, and that would be the first breakthrough in therapy, so Matt Damon should go for a lot more therapy to do more of that. But it is the whole part where he’s you know, “It’s not your fault, Will. It’s not your fault.” “I know.” “It’s not your fault.”
It’s like, “Don’t fuck with me!” “Not you!” “It’s not your fault.” And then he just suddenly cries. And then Robin Williams is just like, fuck them. That is the breakthrough. That’s his Grief Work and you’ll need to do that times 10.
And if you’re unwilling to go there, you’re not doing anything. You’re wasting your money and time. I know you care more about the money. Sorry about that. Should I go into this?
What’ll happen is, in the relationship. You’ll be — and now I’m going to talk to your point now. You’re going to be attracted to the part of you that you’ve disowned. And unless you do the Grief Work, you won’t even know what part of you that is.
As a result of shame, we’re over-invested in power, which is why I keep plugging that one, because I know you’re invested in that, to get your attention, sort of baiting you in to the process. But you’re over-invested in how much you power have in life and however you cash that out, status, whatever; attraction, women, money, whatever that means to you, power.
Esteem. You’re over-invested in esteem; you’re over-invested in expectations and trying to meet them. The expectations you have for yourself that were foisted onto you in some time that you’ve forgotten already. You don’t even know why exactly you have to make that amount of money or get those types of women or whatever it is.
Or whatever it is that you think will finally give you the esteem that you want for yourself and the power that will finally allow you to rest. You’re over-invested in that. What’ll happen is, we project the disowned parts of ourselves that we had to disown in order to go after that power. We’ll be looking for that in the woman.
And in fact, all of this is happening unconsciously. We’re going to be attracted to her, and we’ll think she’s just hot, or there’s something special about her or whatever. And in fact, whole societies project their disowned parts onto Marilyn Monroe-type figures and other fantasy figures who probably aren’t what they’re depicting and what the public is actually falling in love with.
But it doesn’t matter, we fall in love with them because some part of us wants to have that in us. But we disowned it, so we’re not allowing ourselves to have it because it’s shameful to be that way. This is always why the leader is the one who is portraying those parts of you that you don’t feel like you can be. Some of you might think that’s because you just want to learn how to do that. Well, why is it difficult for you to do that if he’s already presented to you how exactly how to do that?
“Say this line, that’s all you need. Deliver it this way. Do this.” And like 1% or 3% that I’ve talked about are able to do it, but the vast majority are unable to but they look up to it. They keep, they think, stupidly, like, sort of like the people who think that success will come from cleaning out your inbox and learning a new hack for efficiency and productivity, they think that that’s the route to fulfillment, if I can get that behavioral outcome.
Instead of realizing that the reason you even look up to that at all, why do you think that that is something good that you want for yourself? Well, it’s a projection of your disowned selves, your disowned parts. And instead of learning from the woman in the relationship by integrating the disowned part, you end up becoming judgmental and angry about that part in the partner.
Here’s an example. A woman falls in love with a man because he is outspoken and the life of the party. He doesn’t give a fuck about what anyone else thinks in terms of changing his behavior but speaks his mind. He’s assertive and he has clear priorities and a clear purpose in life.
She falls in love with this guy and they get married. Two or three years into that relationship, what does she hate most about him? She hates how he always puts himself in the center of everything. She hates how he’s so self-centered, and always thinks about his purpose and never anybody else. She hates how he’s so loud all the time, and she hates how he takes over conversations, and she hates how all the attention is always on him. He’s always got to have the attention on him.
And that flip happens because that’s the way she can’t be herself because now we know who she is. When you know who the spouse is, you already know who the other one is. If you know the first spouse really well, you know the other because the other one will be a mirror opposite of that.
Not physically, not in terms of superficial shit like career, not in terms of height or whatever the fuck; in terms of psychology. So what type of person would be attracted to a man who is talkative, the life of the party, the center of attention, holds it down, speaks his mind, is assertive and doesn’t give a fuck? Just putting it out there, as I get a drink of water. Anyone?
AUDIENCE: Someone who is [INAUDIBLE 00:41:45].
David Tian, Ph.D.: Right, so what would she be instead? Oh, you think quiet and shy? Yeah, so that would make sense. This is why it’s so interesting.
AUDIENCE: Are you suggesting that [INAUDIBLE 00:41:54] can attract a [INAUDIBLE 00:41:57]?
David Tian, Ph.D: Yes, but if they perceive themselves as bimbos, that’s the thing but I’ll get to that. This woman, I’m talking about a real life case, was in fact an A-type personality. She was very controlled, tightly wound up. She’s very controlled about how she presented herself, how she could be.
She’s very tightly regimented. Everything had to be on time. She couldn’t let go.
She couldn’t let loose. She couldn’t be wild. She couldn’t take over the conversation of the party. She had to keep it together. She tied her hair up in a bun and was very controlled.
And then over time, she got annoyed that he wasn’t on the same schedule as her, that they weren’t on the same path. She wanted this A-type thing happening and he just was a wild child party guy who didn’t give a fuck, spoke his mind because she couldn’t be that. Her route to healing in this relationship, the relationship was her greatest therapeutic gift because the relationship taught her the part of herself that, she needed to attend to first for healing.
And what part was that? The part where she has to let her hair down and go wild sometimes. To not always be on time; that it’s okay not to be a high achiever. You’re also asking, would the intellectual be attracted to the bimbo? That’s an interesting question. In Robert Greene’s book, Art of Seduction, there are various seductive types and there are anti-seductive types..
There’s a section on special types and one of those special types was the professor. So I read this with great interest at the time I was a professor and it said, to seduce this type, this type of the professor spends all his life in his brain. And all you need to do is to appeal to his body. That would work if you were just purely physical.
And guess what? That is very true. What would he be most attracted to? He would not be most attracted to in terms of chemistry with an exact replica of him, but with boobs and a vagina.
He’d be most attracted to — You’ll see this one when finally the professors get some game. Which is rare. I’ve rarely seen this, and they could finally get what they really want. Because most of them basically just settle for what they can get.
Most nerds in school, you might have seen this, like the nerdy boy with the nerdy girl. They’re comfortable. There’s not really much passion there, but it’s like two good friends and now they have some companionship. That gets repeated into adulthood as well.
But what you’ll see is the 50-something professor going through a midlife crisis who divorces his wife and hooks up with a 20 something girl. Generally, they don’t have enough game to get strippers. But some young, wild girl who wears skirts and shows off her long legs, and then he buys a convertible. I’ve seen this. That’s what they want to do. They don’t have the how-to for it.
This is an important part and I go into much more detail on how the relationship is a reflection of your disowned self, and what to do about that and how to understand that more deeply because it’s not superficially true, it’s not like — So even more deep than this, just to preview the more detailed presentation, is that not only are you going to be attracted to the part of you that you’ve disowned, the part of you that you’ve disowned is also a reflection of who you could not be with your mother or father.
And in many ways, what you’re trying to do with that girlfriend or wife, or the girl you’re really attracted to and have chemistry with is to resolve the unfinished situation from your childhood with the other primary love interest which is your parents or your parent. It’s more important to understand that one relationship with your parent.
So the question, “Which one did you crave love from the most, your mother or your father?” So without going through the Grief Work, you’ll never get on the path to being able to detect these various selves and parts and to integrate them. In the relationship, if you haven’t done the Grief Work; if you haven’t embarked on this yet, rejection will really hurt you. You’ll see this in the Man Up group, always guys getting rejected. Over and over, like multiple times a day, we get posts on this.
Rejection in romance has the greatest potential in adult life for painful shame. So fantasy bonded people that is, almost all of us, the people who are re-living the cycle of their original failed bid for love will feel the rejection of that woman as triggering the hurt and lonely child who has never resolved the original grief from way back with the primary caregiver.
In order to not be a needy guy anymore, truly, not just a pretend not to be needy which is what all the other guys are doing, is just to like deal with the symptoms. Don’t text her every day. Don’t do these things every day. Don’t do this; do this. All of those things are just dealing with symptoms. You’re still needy as fuck. You’re just trying to mitigate the symptoms, trying to manage them.
In order to actually deal with the unfinished, unresolved situations, so that you can heal and actually fix the problem, you need to do the Grief Work. So another way to put this is: to live well is to grieve well. And it is actually a skill to be able to go to the painful place quickly.
This is something I learned over the course of all of my acting-coaching, my meditation-coaching, and I now apply it to everything else in my life especially if I’m on the clock. If I’m paying this guy on time, why am I wasting time with things like, “Hey, how’s your day?” Who gives a fuck? Let’s get to it. Get to the pain; get to the vulnerability.
So many of you guys waste your time with me. You know, you don’t give me the questions until I got to go, or I’m up here, like, I’m packing up and then you come with all of these questions.
Get to it right when you come in. Just get to it. Don’t be ashamed of it. Don’t think you need to warm up to it or anything. This is true when you get to therapy. It’s going to be really hard to just start crying. Now, there are exceptions. People who have very high EQ will be more easily able to go there; people who have done a lot of acting, probably much easier to get into that state.
But for stoic tough guys who are used to disciplining their lives, who wake up on time to get their shit done on time or whatever. You know, whatever. Generally, I’m not on time for anything but I’m a creative type. That’s my excuse. For most dudes, it’s going to be very difficult. And for most dudes who are needy with women or have trouble with women, the underlying problem is vulnerability.
When you’re in therapy, the thing you’re supposed to do most of all is to be vulnerable. Therapists are warned in their therapy training manuals, that this thing that the patient wants to avoid the most is the thing that you’re going to have to tell him he has to do the most.
Right? Because he comes to therapy to avoid this depression or sadness, and you’re telling him, “We got to go there.” The sadness is the obstacle which is the way. You got to feel it more, process it more, grieve more. Faster, get there faster. When I first started therapy and method, it took 40 minutes out of 50 at least. And maybe the first few times I did it, I couldn’t even get to the freaking emotion. It was so hard and painful. I could do the outside of it.
If you just wanted me to cry, I can cry, but it wasn’t the Grief Work. [INAUDIBLE 00:50:36] our acting-coach, my acting-coach here. People hire him to learn how to cry in acting. He’s like, that’s the easiest thing to teach, the hard part is to learning how to turn it off when they say cut, and being able to turn it back on again and off and not be totally neurotic every take.
Part of that lesson for me, I understood it at a deeper level of: It’s easy to have the semblance of fixing the symptoms. It’s easy to look like you’re fixing the symptoms and think you’re fixing the problem. It’s easy to just superficially cry, but it’s harder to feel the pain and to stay with it, that’s the Grief Work.
That’s the beginning of it. And then of course, all of the other things the therapist will lead you through as you talk to your inner child. And I have a whole process for this in Rock Solid Relationships. I’ve led a bunch of you guys through it live before, in Rock Solid, in the course, module three, we have a whole closed-eye guided meditation where I lead you to re-visit your inner child, and to support it, and to strengthen it, and you have a daily ritual that’s just going to take a couple seconds that will help you to grow this inner child, and strengthen and support it. Go to that if you want that.
And then of course, there’s also a whole process of letting go. And I have an inner guided meditation, closed-eye, really enjoyable meditation, where you learn to let go of all of this trauma and burden and all of the other things. It has to be one at a time. . One step at a time. It’s not like you do it once and all of your burdens are gone. It’s a 10 minute meditation, but every time you do it, you slough off one other layer and it’s an incredibly pleasurable and liberating experience and very freeing.
I recommend those to you if you want to move forward with that. And of course, find a good therapist, commit to the therapy, and the counseling and get to the Grief Work. Were there any questions? I noticed your questions in the break. I want to see if I addressed. I have time to address some here.
AUDIENCE: Is it necessary why in the therapist session — because I want to be sure, and I had the expectation that [INAUDIBLE 00:53:05]. And then he said, no, it’s not. It’s for some people, and some people, whatever [INAUDIBLE 00:53:15]. Is it possible to have an effective session without crying?
David Tian, Ph.D.: I disagree with that. The first session probably won’t be anything because he’s just trying to find out more about you. I think they can do a lot of that through giving you a survey, like I do, and then getting it back and then prepping with that.
But most of them don’t. Usually, the first session is free anyway. They’re just there to find out your problem, and to talk to about you, find out your history and all that other stuff. Maybe by the third session you’d be getting into the Grief Work. They need to earn your trust, unconscious trust, and unconscious comfort.
They need to start mirroring with you, and so you relax and can go there, be more vulnerable with them. But any professional will bridle that expectation. So if you come in there saying, “I expect this.” Their job should always be to say “No, that’s not it. Come in with an open mind.”
But if you were to say what you said there, which is, that some people never cry through therapy, then I think that’s a different type of therapy. I think that’s life coaching. And sometimes people think, people actually just need life coaching. At the first instance, when they come in and they say for instance — For example, they want to make more money and they don’t know why they’re not making more money.
They think this is a therapeutic issue when it’s really a life coaching issue. And it’s a therapeutic issue too but they’re unwilling to do the therapeutic work because that requires far too much vulnerability for that goal. They just want to basically learn how to behaviorally condition themselves.
So then, there are all this companies that teach you how to clean out your inbox and things like that. There’s certainly a use for those. If your only problem is your inbox, then, well, there you go. Jordan Peterson talked a bit about this, like some people who come into therapy don’t actually need therapy yet. What they just need to do is to eat something.
Like the example of the woman who complained of migraines and depression, and he found out that all she had was a half a bowl of rice every day. He’s like, “Well, how about you try eating something more!” And then a month later after she started getting a normal diet, she suddenly had so much energy and life was so much better!
Well, that wasn’t therapy, that was just, “Here are some things you can do to make your life better.” It’s called life coaching. You could have gotten it for a lot cheaper. There are also different types of therapy like cognitive behavioral. Cognitive behavioral is basically philosophy combined with behavioral conditioning.
Cognitive therapy comes straight out of Socrates. The Socratic method of Plato. I think the philosophers are the best cognitive therapists. Because a cognitive therapist is really just an amateur philosopher. They’re basically asking the why questions. You can’t outdo a philosopher in cognitive therapy; I’ve written a paper on this, actually.
It’s being published by Columbia University Press, I think. It’s coming out next year some time. It’s going to be right next to my paper or somewhere in the same volume as my paper on philosophy as psychopathy. Psychopaths make the best philosophers because they don’t have emotions to get in the way. By the way, psychopaths would make the best at most things you think you want to be.
They can outdo you in all of these things. I know a guy who got burned by a psychopath woman, and he’s basically trying to outdo her psychopathy. By basically cutting off his emotions and not believing in things like love. Well, great. You’re just becoming another monster yourself.
Anyway, sort of to your point, cognitive therapy is just intellectualizing. The behavioral thing is, “Now, go do things.” I think one of the best CBT therapists before CBT therapy occurred or was founded was Wang Yangming, my hero neo-Confucian philosopher.
Basically, he was all about the unity of knowledge and action, and how just knowing something without putting it into action means that you don’t really know it. He has this whole philosophy of true knowledge. Anyway, none of this is therapy, not really. That’s not the therapy that I’m talking about. That won’t heal your inner child. It would just help you change your behavior and the behavioral outcomes.
Because one way to prevent you from feeling sad anymore is if I just hit you. You won’t feel sad, you’ll just feel pain and then you’ll feel anger. One way to deal with sadness is to be angry. But you can only be so angry for so long and then you’d become sad again. So, one way of avoiding anger is to be sad. It’s really great, you can just go between both of them. It’s a really neurotic pattern. It’ll save you from feeling anything real.
Okay, cool, well, in the interest of time, we’re going to end it here. Oh yeah, one more question, yeah?
AUDIENCE: In my therapies, I’ve noticed two [INAUDIBLE 00:57:42]. The first behavior is the client is thinking [INAUDIBLE 00:57:49] combining, say, I want eight sessions. I’ll pay you [INAUDIBLE 00:57:53] session by session. And then the second behavior is when I talk [INAUDIBLE 00:58:03] 50 minutes is up and then, “Okay, 50 minutes is up.” So now, I have to summarize it up and —
David Tian, Ph.D.: How long is your session?
AUDIENCE: 50 minutes.
David Tian, Ph.D.: Five-zero?
AUDIENCE: Five-zero. So she’s very punctual to insist on the 50 minutes thing. So, with these two behaviors, is it normal? Because just like you said, getting trust with you, getting some trust —
David Tian, Ph.D.: Did you raise these issues with her?
AUDIENCE: No, I didn’t.
David Tian, Ph.D.: Okay. So, when did you think of them?
AUDIENCE: Because —
David Tian, Ph.D.: When?
AUDIENCE: During the session itself, the 50 minutes part.
David Tian, Ph.D.: Okay.
AUDIENCE: Because she was always shut on time there, it’s 50 minutes.
David Tian, Ph.D.: And you’ve noticed that in the session?
David Tian, Ph.D.: And you didn’t say it, right?
AUDIENCE: I didn’t say it.
David Tian, Ph.D.: So, we would prefer therapists to be mind readers. And I’m not saying this facetiously. I think we would prefer everyone we love to be mind readers. We want them to read our minds, but they can’t. I supposed they try their best, but they’re going to do things their way, and maybe she packed in a client on the hour every hour.
If you’re late, that means the other guy’s going to be late, and then it’s going to be like the dentist’s office. You get there at 4:00 PM and they are two hours behind. I don’t know if that’s just my dentist.
AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE 00:59:31] on the last session because mine is the 7:00PM and after 8:00PM she told me that she doesn’t have any clients.
David Tian, Ph.D.: Oh, okay. That’s important to know. So, she just wants to get the heck out of the office. Is she in Singapore?
David Tian, Ph.D.: Oh, okay. Look, if you want the most out of your therapy sessions, one way to guarantee that it fails is if you’re passive-aggressive. Well, I mean, it’s just a mild aggression to talk about her here with me and complain about her and ask if that’s a valid complaint. But the right thing to do as an assertive person is to bring it up there.
You’ll need support in bringing up criticism. So, I suppose just going to a therapist itself is a skill. The first time I saw a therapist was with my first marriage when we had couple’s counseling. And then after that, I went to see a therapist by myself. And then I had two therapists because it was so cheap. I’m like, why not? This is great.
This is when I was still a grad student, 15 years ago. Back then, it felt more like fighting. It felt like fighting with a therapist in a way, like, “I disagree with you.” All that stuff. And then because I thought I was so smart, and then breaking down. And then, I don’t know, I just don’t know.
Because he’ll ask me something, “Can you do this?” And I’m like, “I don’t know. I don’t think I can.” And he’s like, “Well, let me support you.” And then we worked as a team after that, but it was a bizarre sort of relationship. And as I got more mature, I was able to be more vulnerable and I was able to be more assertive. I know that’s an issue especially in Asian contexts. I know that when I work with my staff here in Southeast Asia that I should not expect them to voice negative things, like criticisms.
They feel like – like I’ve shown already, a function of shame is to prevent you from voicing criticism or disagreeing. I have to show them that I disagree with myself, or I have to talk about sort of like picking up chicks. You have to talk about the time when you want that model – give a story of the behavior that you want to see, right? That’s really indirect.
And then when I criticize, I have to point out things that they can improve on. I have to really take extra pains to say that this is, in no way, a reflection of my estimation of them overall but is just that it would be better if it were done this other way. I wouldn’t have to do any of that in Canada, generally. Especially to a philosopher, we’re paid to disagree. When you’re in a therapy session, you have to speak up everything.
It came up earlier in something else too in an Awakenings call. Like, “I didn’t like this thing about my therapist, and this other thing. What do you think, David?” Like, why the fuck didn’t you tell that to the therapist? How passive-aggressive to complain to somebody else?” That’d be like if you had a wife and you complained. I guess actually, you guys do that, don’t you?
You say, “Hey, my girlfriend’s a bitch. What do you think?” And I’m like, “You should’ve said that to your girlfriend. The fuck you complaining that shit to me for, you passive-aggressive guy?” So, what does this mean? It’s assertiveness. What is assertiveness? It’s a whole module. Module number 6 in Rock Solid Relationships and Masculine Mastery. It’s the same course.
Assertiveness is from shame. I mean, the problem of assertiveness is a problem of shame. The reason you can’t assert yourself is because you have so much toxic shame. That’s straight up. Let’s say for instance she wants to leave at the 50-minute mark, you say, “I noticed you always want to be very cognizant or be very aware of the time. Is there something that you have to rush to?”
And maybe she’s like, “Yeah, I got to go pick up my kids who is waiting for me at the hospital.” You don’t know so you got to get it out like a real adult. You got to talk about it. That’s what you got to say to David. “David, I think you’re a fucking dick. Why do you always say it like that?” Well, that’s why I need to hear instead of fucking you being fucking passive-aggressive and saying it out there like little pussies.
Say it to my fucking face. It’s like all of Singapore. They never say it to my fucking face. Pussies. Anyway, I’m not saying that you are. I’m saying that it’s very difficult to do that because that’s why you’re going to therapy, to work on your shame issues. So, it’s a bind, it’s a catch. It’s a catch-21. You can’t expect the patient to have the wherewithal to have the self-awareness to speak out.
But the therapist can’t read your mind, so this is part of the whole problem. That’s why there’s the trust to be built and all that. But you can do your best from your side, put out as much of your thoughts as you possibly can. So, the example in the Awakenings call was the guy went into his own head and he said that something she said triggered him into a trance, twice.
I’m like, “Why would you ever just zone out during therapy? There goes your money. You fucking zoned out on your own time.” You got to put it out there. Why would anybody zone out? Why would anybody hold it in? Shame. Why aren’t you saying what you think? It’s the same reason you don’t say what you think when you’re with a girl you like, or when you’re trying to open a girl, approach a girl. Same thing, you’re ashamed of what you really think and you don’t think it’s appropriate.
Say it. Put it out there. Let them deal with it. This is what I’m thinking. What’s your problem? What do you got to say about it? I say it like that to strengthen you, because I know it’ll be like that for you, to put it out there, to shit it out. It gets you constipated. It’s going to feel like diarrhea because you’re not used to being regular.
Alright, so then you got to get used to being regular. You got to poop it out. You got to put it out. Actually, I wanted to turn this into a quote card on Instagram but I couldn’t think of a way that wasn’t disgusting, but I thought it was a great analogy. Because actually, all of the shit that you hold onto, you either constipate it and hold it in and that’s bad — constipation is bad. It doesn’t go anywhere. It stays in your body.
Or you let it out like totally uncontrolled and it explodes. It’s diarrhea. What you want to do is to have regular movements. It’s such a great analogy, but it’s so disgusting. I don’t know. I don’t want to put my name next to that quote. “David said be regular.”
All right, so on that note, we’ll take a 10-minute break. Be back in 6. Thank you very much for watching. See you in the next video!