No More Mr. Nice Guy
|Author||Robert A. Glover|
|January 8, 2003|
No More Mr. Nice Guy: A Proven Plan for Getting What You Want in Love, Sex, and Life is a 2000 book by Dr. Robert A. Glover about nice-guy behaviors such as prioritizing the needs of others, why these behaviors are not actually "nice", where the behaviors come from, alternative ways of getting one's needs met, and transcending "niceness" through becoming a more integrated person.
[Glover] noted that all [Nice Guys] have a core belief that who they are is not enough to get their wants and needs met—Glover refers to this as "toxic shame." This toxic shame refers to [Nice Guys'] belief that they need to prove to others constantly why they deserve love, affection, and sex. They don't understand that friends and lovers care about one another by definition and that one doesn't need to constantly prove why you are worthy of love and attention.
Wickelus further notes:
While [Glover] doesn't explicitly say it, I think the best working definition masculinity would be a man who feels no shame or guilt for being a man. Without having fathers around to develop positive relationships with, boys are often adrift in their life with no masculine figure to secure their positive growth to. Then these boys go to schools dominated by women and centered around girl's strengths.
Nice Guy Syndrome
The nice guy has become convinced through experience that he is unworthy of love unless he constantly demonstrates qualities that are socially approved:
In a nutshell, Nice Guys believe that if they are good, giving, and caring, they will in return be happy, loved, and fulfilled... Nice Guys have believed a myth.
Furthermore, the nice guy believes that society will reward him for his niceness:
The working paradigm of the Nice Guy is this: "If I can hide my flaws and become what I think others want me to be then I will be loved, get my needs met, and have a problem-free life." Even when this paradigm is ineffective, Nice Guys only see one alternative: try harder.
Nice guys believe themselves to be honest, but are fundamentally dishonest in withholding their needs from others.
Glover notes that boys become nice guys in childhood when they become convinced that they can only get their needs met covertly out of a fear of abandonment:
These helpless little boys concluded that if they could eliminate or hide all of their needs, then no one would abandon them. They also convinced themselves that if they didn't have needs, it wouldn't hurt so bad when the needs weren't met. Not only did they learn early not to expect to get their needs met, but also that their very survival seemed to depend on appearing not to have needs. This created an unsolvable bind: these helpless little boys could not totally repress their needs and stay alive, and they could not meet their needs on their own. The only logical solution was to try to appear to be needless and wantless while trying to get their needs met in indirect and covert ways.
Caring vs. Caretaking
The nice guy's gestures, Glover notes, are a manifestation not of caring, but of caretaking. The critical difference is that caring comes from a place of emotional abundance and has the needs of the other in mind while caring comes from a place of emotional barrenness and is only a covert form of getting what one needs. For example, the caretaker says "I love you" in order to be reassured by a reciprocal response: "I love you, too."
Glover notes the specific differences:
|Gives to others what the giver needs to give||Give to others what the receiver needs|
|Comes from a place of emptiness within the giver||Comes from a place of abundance within the giver|
|Always has unconscious strings attached||Has no strings attached|
Reclaiming One's Personal Power and Masculinity
Glover defines personal power as "a state of mind in which a person is confident he can handle whatever may come." He defines masculinity as "that part of a man that equips him to survive as an individual, clan, and species."
Steps for the nice guy to change include:
- Learning to approve of himself
- Putting himself first
- Revealing himself to safe people
- Developing integrity
- Setting boundaries