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For 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 philosophical psychology who couldn’t hold a conversation to save his life, David is now director of Aura Transformation Corp., and a world renowned dating and life coach using therapeutic methods. 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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Are Bad Boys Needy Too?
In this Man Up episode, David Tian Ph.D. delves into the situation of a “bad boy”.
David Tian Ph.D. gives relationship and dating advice to a man who previously went to jail.
David Tian Ph.D. explains how healing and getting over trauma can be done.
Boom! Stop. I’m David Tian, PhD. And in this video, I answer the question: Are bad boys needy too? 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. For over the past 10 years, I’ve been helping hundreds of thousands of people in over 87 countries attain success, happiness, and fulfillment in life and love. Welcome to the Man Up show. I have a question here from the private Man Up Facebook group, and it’s a very instructive question. A lot of this video will be reading out the question and analyzing the situation. The answer to his particular question, his specific question, is pretty straightforward. What’s really instructive and interesting for our readers or our viewers, and the guys in the Man Up group, is actually understanding what is happening here, and the fact that it’s such a great example of a lot of the themes in previous videos.
But before I do that, I just want to show you I’m in Bangkok overlooking this beautiful river here that runs through the middle of Bangkok. Let me see if I can show you some of the sunset behind me and the tricky part will be whether you’ll be able to see it – oh, it’s just white now. Let’s see if I just do the little focusing here, and – or if during the shooting, if I were to bring that down. Oh, yeah. There you go. You get to see more of what it actually looks like.
Behind me with the colors, which is gorgeous over my shoulder. It’s a beautiful sky. This is over the river. This river bisects Bangkok. This is right at sunset, so I’m just changing the light so you can see better back in the room here. Alright, sit down. I got a big tripod. Okay, the question comes from Philip from the Man Up Facebook group.
Okay, Philip, “I’m a fan of what you’re doing for us men as you are doing us a great service with your teachings, and I agree that we are not here to be better gamers but ultimately to be the best version of ourselves. I’ve been following for almost two years now, and to this day, I wouldn’t want to seek psychology advice elsewhere unless I wanted to pay a professional. Although ironically, one of my best friends is a psychologist.”
Okay. Anyways, this is quite a long question. A lot of this video will be me reading the question, analyzing it as we go along. It’s quite instructive. Also, it’s quite a unique situation. So, I thought I would pull this out as an example for you.
Okay, so basically, let me just summarize what I’ve read. I wanted to get the sunset, so I didn’t get to reread it, but I remember that he has done some jail time. He’s actually still in house arrest, I believe. He has a criminal record, but not in like – so I asked him about what the crime was, and it wasn’t that sexy of a crime. It’s not like he was a drug dealer, and you might imagine the way he’s coming off as a bad boy, but he’s actually perceived by this girl that he was writing to while he was in jail as a bad boy. That started this whole dynamic that he doesn’t understand now.
Let’s get into the question. “I’ve missed quite a lot since being in jail.” There’s a post when we were talking about relationship red flags. “I was falling for this girl hard. We first met on online dating, and I thought it wasn’t going to work out due to the distance.” She is in New York City and he is in jail. “As we talked and talked from text, to voice messages, to actually talking on the phone, it seemed that my intent of using her as conversation practice was falling apart. I was falling for her quite madly, added to the fact she looks gorgeous in her photos.”
“The boys in jail always made fun of me, saying how I could commit my heart to a woman that I haven’t even met, nor even video chatted yet. Believe me, I tried so many instances where I wanted to video chat, but some excuse of hers always came up. Our phone conversations were comfortable that I have heard her snore on the phone many times. In fact, this trend continued even when I was in jail, calling her every day and hearing her snore from time to time. Granted, due to my limited phone privileges, I was only able to call her during a certain time.” He would basically be able to only call 20 minute phone calls due to jail rules.
“Although near the date of her birthday, she was picking up less and less. When I asked her if I was calling her too much, she simply tells me, “The times I don’t pick up your call, I document it in my journal.” She actually likes to journal every day since high school. She’s 26, I’m 32. It was one of those dynamics that I couldn’t ignore. Believe me, sometimes, I wanted to move on but there was something about her that I couldn’t let go. I even said things like, “You know, despite all the pictures you sent me, if you got off that plane and you are who aren’t I thought you were, I’m buying you a plane ticket right back.”
“Of course, it was harsh and honest at the same time, but I mean during that time she’ll be mad but we would still continue our dynamic, saying cutesy things like “I miss you” and she misses me too. I would jokingly say I’m saving our first sex after marriage due to the fact that she thought sex was a chore from her previous relationship.”
I like how he goes into so much detail. It’s very educational for us. Normally, when a guy writes a really long post, it takes a while for me to get to it. Same here, but in this case, it was worth the wait. “Hell, I even went as far as writing her a poem for Valentine’s Day. She said it was the sweetest thing that any guy has done for her and will promise to make it up to me. It never happened. Hell, I even wrote a blog post.”
“Let’s fast forward to what I want Dr. Tian to answer: if I was immature or I did the right thing. Basically, two weeks before her birthday on July 30th, I was calling at my usual time but she stopped picking up.” Let’s just get clear on what’s happening here. Philip fell in love with this girl, and it started as finding her somewhere online. I forgot to ask the platform that he found her on. It went from texting, to eventually calling. And then he uses his 20 minutes of jail calling time to call this girl and she was picking up. They were calling so much, all his calls that he’s allowed to have he’s calling her.
Let me see if I can get that number. It’s 25 – 30 of those calls for 3 months. In a period of three months, they called about 25 to 30 times. He said he’s going to go in as conversation practice, but of course, he ended up falling hard for her. Now, as they got closer to her actual birthday, she stopped picking up his calls as much. Now, here we are.
Two weeks before her birthday on July 30th, I was calling at my usual time but she stopped picking up. “This was normal as I was recording her records for not picking up, which was 10 days straight, by the way. Even if she did, I never once ever did accuse of her, “Hey, where the fuck were you?” But instead, I was like, “Hey, I bet you miss me more than I do with you, winky face.” I think he’s pointing out that he was controlled and didn’t show her that he was hurt. Instead, he played some game with her to show her, “Hey, I’m a cool guy.” I think that’s what you’re trying to say there.
“I always played the flirty card because I knew there was no point of accusing, or perhaps it was a way to protect myself. On the 14th day on her birthday, what does that mean? On the 14th day after her birthday? She didn’t pick up. That’s when I lost my shit. I think he meant 14th day before her birthday. My inmates told me so. My friends told me so. Everyone told me so. The newly written poem I had for her birthday is sitting in his shoe box. He wrote poems for her as well. From that day on, I never called her again. After being released from jail, I noticed we’ve been playing teenage games by peeking at each other’s Snapchats.
Let me reiterate. She’s 26, and he’s 32. They’re in America. The day he was released from jail, he noticed they’ve been playing teenage games by peeking at each other’s Snapchats but never saying a word to each other. “I refuse to say anything because she was the one that hurt me,” he says. “I like to believe it is her loss at the end. Now lately, I don’t even click on her Snapchats anymore, but she still clicks on mine. So David, did I do the right thing by ignoring her?”
If he’s asking this question, he is saying, “Yeah, I’m being cool. I never look at her shit. Did I do the right thing by ignoring her?” If he’s asking this question, he’s head over heels, still freaking needy and attached to her. “This is probably our second major fight.” They have a phone conversation relationship while he was in jail, and he’s never met her in person, never even video chatted her yet. Okay, “This is probably our second major fight, even though we were never an official couple to begin with, lol. That’s the first time it took over 3 months for her to contact me again.”
Alright, so he sees the humor in this. By the way, it looks like you have been released from jail, so good for you. Well, he’s in house arrest. “Time to move on, right? It’s a shame, really. It is. I’ve reserved my heart for her for far too long. I appreciate you taking the time to read my essay.” Well, thank you for writing it. You’re welcome for reading it.
I asked him about his situation, how he ended up in jail. It’s actually quite instructive. I said, “Hey, it’s up to you how much you want to reveal, obviously.” And he’s chosen to reveal – it actually puts him in a good light, so I’m going to read it out so you know more about Philip’s background and why he’s actually not a hardened criminal, and the typical sexy bad boy who has a criminal record. Instead, this is how he ended up in jail:
“It was like any other day, until I heard my front door was knocking. When I opened it, I saw my mom there in tears. I asked her, “What’s wrong?” And she goes, “Me and your brother had a big fight over the restaurant, now I need your help.” “Of course, mom. Wait, how did you get all the way over here from the East Coast? Oh, you drove for over 50 hours to come here? On God’s earth, why? Oh, you want me to help you smuggle marijuana across the country? Are you in that desperation for money? Wait, what if I don’t help you? Are you going to do it alone? Okay. I mean, the one time can’t hurt, can it? Just one drive and make the quick cash and mom will be happy.”
Okay, he’s now got to smuggle marijuana across the country for his mom. “I remember waking up to sirens as the van stopped. I woke up to my mom yelling, “Hurry, quick! It’s the cops!” And being all sleepy and confused to what was happening or why we were pulled over, I knew things turned to the worst.” Fast forward three years later, “After flying back and forth for court and my mother passing away,” that’s sad, “due to me being a passenger in the van, I had no rights to say, “Hey, you can’t search my mom’s vehicle.” But because my mom is dead now and cannot testify against the court, I was at default.”
Anyway, he has to go to court. “At the wrong place at the wrong time,” he says. “Granted, due to the amount of marijuana I had at the time, the court should’ve given me two years. But due to the unique circumstances at hand, my sentence was only a year. As I type this, I’m still serving my sentence in a halfway house. I hope to apply for early release within a week.”
“So, how I met Alice.” Here it is. He was doing his usual online dating at Okcupid. What could happen at Okcupid? Once she clicked on me, I clicked on who viewed my profile, and I saw that she was very cute looking. I’m a sucker for happas.” I guess this is a mixed Asian woman. “But very disappointed that she lived in New York as I was living near Toronto.” He’s in Canada and she’s in the US.
“I simply texted back, “Such a shame –”” Okay, so, “My impression of Alice is that she has experienced all the things that a typical New York City girl has done before. The extravagant parties –” This is important. First of all, pay attention to how he ended up in jail, being the nice guy white knight syndrome with his mother, and his mother clearly having boundary issues. Clearly, very irresponsible of herself, then roping her son into doing this, this is very toxic parenting as you can imagine. I think there’s no argument. That’s quite obvious about that.
But then a toxic parent will produce a shame-based son who is suffering very deeply from co-dependency and will exhibit a lot of the white knight syndrome. He ended up in jail as a result of that. Now, she, while he’s in Okcupid messaging back and forth with her, finds out he’s in jail. That’s the context for what he’s about to say about her. “The extravagant parties, the typical New York City girl has done before. The hardcore drinking, the casual sex, the attention whoring on social media. And maybe, just maybe, she was past all that,” he was hoping, “and was ready for something real.”
I screenshot this. I’m trying to figure out where we are. Okay. He was hoping that she was ready for something real and ready to settle down as if she were the typical Asian-influenced girl that has to get married before she was 30. Hopefully, Philip will watch the episode. I’ve done a whole episode on this dynamic, and it’s called The Reality of Women According to Science. You can YouTube search that. But in addition, I’ve done an episode that’s actually getting posted right now that is on the dynamic of western women, liberal women. It shouldn’t be western anymore, just liberal women, because a lot of Asia is liberalized now, and how they want to have their cake and eat it too. Anyway, that’s coming out.
I think it has to do with promiscuous women, on promiscuity. Okay, “We first exchanged numbers on Valentine’s day of 2015. She promised me that she will make it up to me, promising to write to me a letter in jail, to the Skype dates we were supposed to have but that never happened. In fact, when I got mad at her after July 30th, my first instinct was to ignore her completely until she finds means to contact me. Whether it was via snail mail, email, or whatever. She knew eventually I would move to a halfway house where I am now, and yet to this day, besides peeking at each other’s Snaps, I’ve been feeling that she might pull the same shit like last New Year’s.”
I’m not sure what that is, but clearly, what would she pull if you’ve already broken off contact? What more are we getting at here? Oh, actually, “Basically, after my mother passed away, I was going through rough times and we had an argument because I simply told her that my friend had tried to set me up with a date with her sister. There was a time when I asked her, “Hey, would it disturb you if I kissed a random girl at a bar?””
Philip, as naive as he is, he’s sort of like this character who comes from toxic parents, doesn’t really know what bad boy – the whole dynamic is. But he’s read a bunch of pick-up artist stuff and is blurting it out, and just happenstance with this family situation, he ends up having quite a lot of believability around being a bad boy. Like, they believe he’s a bad boy. So when he says stuff like, “Hey, would it disturb you if I kissed a random girl at a bar?” She’s thinking, “Player.” Her player alert goes off. Her bad boy alert goes off and she’s into that.
Of course, women who are into that won’t say they’re into it because it makes them sound like sluts or whores, right? So, she’s never going to admit, “Yeah, hit me harder.” That’s what she’s into. That is going to attract her, that dynamic, because she’s damaged. Of course, these damaged individuals, which is most of the world, attract each other through their damagedness. Anyway, he’s like, “Hey, would it disturb you if I kissed a random girl at the bar?”
She says, “Yeah, I’d be a bit upset despite both of us never being official.” “When she got mad that I didn’t tell her about the set-up date two weeks after, I lost my shit on her, saying things like, “You were on vacation and I was still mourning. Why the fact would I want to disrupt you visiting China with your family?” She’s like, “Why didn’t you tell me you went on this date with this girl?” Granted, she never saw me swear at her like that ever and thought, “Okay, you know what? I thought things were different when you told me about your court case, and knew that we really were connected on a whole new level. I didn’t expect you to share that with me, but this is too much. Let’s just be friends.”
Of course then, he becomes needy cry boy. “Of course, I panicked and became needy. Trying to apologize and such, but damage was done. I was ultimately depressed at this point.” This is a very interesting dynamic. Basically, here’s this party girl looking for a bad boy, and she, of course, a part of her wants to find the good. She wants to settle down. He’s giving two different messages, which are very attractive. One is that he’s in love with her. She said, “I thought things would be different. I thought I was connected to you on a whole new level.” They’re looking for an emotional connection which is very artificial, out of nowhere, because they don’t get it in their normal lives. We don’t know that much about her, but he says the typical New York City party girl: casual sex, drugs, alcohol.
She’s looking for a connection now because she’s coming up to 30, he thinks. But anyway, for him, we know that’s the case that he’s not really a bad boy, not truly, like not like Iceberg Slim pimp bad boy, but he’s playing bad boy. His playing bad boy triggers her attraction for him, “Ooh, he’s got a criminal record. Ooh, he’s messaging me from jail, from inside jail and calling me from inside jail. That’s pretty badass.” It was legit. He was really in jail. You got a real story there. A lot of dudes who understand the bad boy dynamic, brag about that, “Oh, yeah. I have a criminal record.” And it just turns out to be all fake and shit, but he’s really in jail. Calling her from jail.
But he’s this nice guy, which is a really attractive thing. You’ve got the two dynamics, right? The seduction is at work. The same with her: She’s attracting him because she’s this sexy wild girl who wants to settle down. Seeing this dynamic? They are matching each other on their neurosis right now. Of course, neither of them are mature enough to know any of this. She’s like, “I thought we had a connection, but oh, okay. I guess we were different because you wanted to go out on this date and you didn’t tell me.”
And then he blows up at her and she’s like, “Okay, no. You know what? Forget it.” And then he becomes not the tough guy anymore, which he was never really a tough guy. She just thought he was because he was calling her from jail. And he was saying PUA lines like, “Hey, would it piss you off if I kissed a girl at the bar?” So, wait – how’d you get to the bar if you’re in jail? I guess that was before he went to jail. Okay, “My older brother who kind of came in and saved the day told me to ignore her for a bit, and you know, enjoy the finer things in life.” Okay, fast forward.
“One of my biggest weaknesses in life is that people say I’m too honest and too open with everyone.” Basically, you’re a pushover it’s what you are. But yes, you’re a good guy at heart because you don’t know boundaries, you don’t understand, you don’t have self-awareness. “When the girl and I connected again after New Year’s, I told her everything. Hell, sometimes, I tell her so much I wonder why she’s still here. She knew I had sex toys. She knew I masturbated about her. She knew I had particular type of disease and yet she’s still here.” Yeah, this is the rescuer. You’re triggering her fixer mindset, which is – understand this.
There’s the covert, co-dependent narcissist. There’s the compensatory narcissist. It’s basically a narcissist, but it’s like a natured narcissist, and it could just be a pure narcissist, who, on the other side, is a deep, deeply insecure, wounded, human being. Two sides of the same coin. So, of course, she’s like, you’re telling her all this shit about you, she’s like, “Oh, okay, victim.” Right? But he’s a bad boy who’s got a soft side, right? That’s very seductive, and part of the reason it’s so seductive, especially to a girl like her, is that it triggers her rescuer, fixer mentality. She’s got her own white knight problems. The white knight also applies to women who keep getting attracted to bad boys, and get beaten up, and all this shit, but they keep going back to them. You ever wonder why that happens? It’s the same dynamic, the same reason why nice guys keep going and getting hurt over and over, because they try to rescue these girls. It’s the same dynamic.
You’re both triggering it. She’s like a bad girl, you’re like the bad boy. I think she’s more bad girl than you are bad boy. But of course, the flip side of the bad boy and bad girl is a rescuer, a fixer who feels inadequate and insecure. In order to make up for their insecurity, they need to go and rescue people because that’s the way that they got love before. They made mom and dad happy. They had to fix mom and dad’s emotions and to care take other people to feel like they’re going to get love. This is the same situation. They’re just triggering each other in a loop.
“Perhaps this is why it was so hard for me to move on because every crazy truth I tell her that I thought was a deal breaker ended up not being one.” Okay. “I hate how to this day, I haven’t connected with any girl as deep as I did with Alice.” Of course, she triggered every single one of your neurosis, right? “All the times I paid for sex or had chances to have flings did me no good. My mind is just somewhere else.” This is because you’re psychologically triggered by her and you’re psychologically attached to her. It’s not a physical thing. In fact, you’ve never even met her physically and I don’t think you’ve even video called her, right?
Okay, “I really don’t want to wait until New Year’s again for this to happen again.” She’s like, “I kissed some guy at New Year’s just so I can say that I did it.” I’m like, “What the fuck? That’s so immature, and now you come talking to me because that guy you kissed turned out to be a horndog asking for more?” Granted, somehow, I forgave her as she forgave me. And fuck, how the fuck did I ever get to that spot?”
Yeah, this is just two kids who are trying to be the sexy bad boy, wild child. In reality, they’re just wounded children who are deeply insecure and feel unworthy of love. And so, they’re looking for that connection. But the way that they get it since they were children was like caretaking other people’s feelings. They became rescuers, fixers, white knights, nice guy syndrome.
“I’ve cried too much this year and last mostly because of my mother and mostly influenced by…” Okay. “I simply can’t wait to be a free man and reunite with my son for his birthday and begin telling my story of the world. I always said that I’d write a book about my…” “I held back so many tears until after that episode. I did an episode on “Is It Masculine To Cry?” and he’s – “mostly influenced by your episode “Is It Masculine To Cry?” Even in jail, crying in the middle of the room, I thought I was a goner. But thank God, the heavy of the inmates was talking to me at the time and was protecting me, lol.”
Alright, great. Look, dude, you need to mature and basically integrate – well, the long-term, the term for it in clinical psychology is ‘integration of the personality’, ‘integration of the self’. That basically – just like, you need to mature. You do that by going back to the times of your childhood when you experienced these traumas that could have caused you to have a deep level of white knight syndrome, even to the point – you know, you’re rescuing your mom.
She gets you in jail as a result, and then you get into a rescue dynamic with this very drama-prone girl who is attracted to you because she wants to rescue you, the bad boy with the good heart. But you keep triggering each other because of your insecurities. You’re both insecure, and that makes you – you know, like, so when one person is insecure, the other person gets really angry. Or when person gets angry or wants to kiss somebody else, that triggers that insecurity, and they withdraw, and then you chase. It’s a very unhealthy dynamic. In fact, it will continue for the rest of your life, or you’ll just hook up with girls that you won’t care about, which is what you’ve been finding.
So, for you to fall in love and have it last, you’re going to need to actually grow from the trauma, in your past, go back to your childhood. Feel those. Heal from them and grow up from there psychologically. It’s a long-term process. Judging by your context and your background, it is a process that will take years and it – you should embrace that. It is a lifelong journey. It is called The Journey of Life. That’s what we all have, right? But yours is a bit more acute because of your more extreme toxic parent background. All we know, actually – the more we dig into your childhood, the more we would see more of the toxicity that has resulted in this deep insecurity that you have.
Alright, man. I got to end. The sun has set. In fact, I’ll leave you with that. Join the private Man Up Facebook group. Join the group. See you inside the group. Click the link. Join the group. You will see Philip’s question in there. A lot of great guys in there. Oh, man. I think you’re going to see the reflection of the room instead of the sunset. I can’t go and turn the lights off right now. It’s too difficult, but maybe you can see some of it, if I just – anyway. The sun is still out. You can see a little bit. Alright, man.
David Tian, signing out. Until I see you next time. Man Up!