No More Mr. Nice Guyby Robert A. Glover
A detailed guide for all men who are trying too hard to please others while neglecting their own needs. No More Mr. Nice Guy explains why nice guys end up frustrated, unhappy, and resentful toward their loved ones. The book provides insight into how childhood trauma contributes to this problem and how men can heal from it to finally start getting what they want in life. You’ll discover simple tools to help you express your emotions, enjoy a satisfying sex life, embrace your masculinity, connect to other men, and live up to your potential.
The nice guy syndrome
“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 are men who are generous givers and caretakers who constantly seek approval from others, avoid conflict, and will do anything to hide their perceived flaws. They suppress their needs and feelings as they strive to make their partner the center of their world. Though there’s nothing wrong with being nice, these men take this too far until it ruins their life. Since they fail to openly express their own needs, nice guys ultimately become dishonest, secretive, manipulative, controlling, vengeful, and passive-aggressive toward their partner.
When it comes to relationships, nice guys find it difficult to set boundaries. They allow people to push them around without standing up for their needs and always attract “broken” people who need fixing. Many women confess that dating a nice guy is frustrating because these men are like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. They can be wonderful one minute and extremely vicious the next. They constantly want to please their partner but are never really there emotionally.
Breaking free from the Nice Guy syndrome requires you to achieve a state of balance. You don’t have to be nice all the time and you don’t have to be a jerk either. There is a middle ground where you can have your needs met even as you please your partner. To achieve this, you have to become an integrated male who embraces his power, assertiveness, courage, passions, and imperfections.
Actions to take
The making of a nice guy
“It is not unusual at some point in childhood for Nice Guys to have made a conscious decision to be different from their fathers”
Nice guys don’t feel safe about being who they are and are constantly hiding their flaws because this is how they survived their childhood. In their early years, they likely received messages from their families that it was not safe or acceptable for them to be themselves. They were raised to believe that they had to be perfect little boys to be loved. They may have blamed themselves for these painful events, and this led to toxic shame.
As a result, they developed survival mechanisms to cope with the feeling of abandonment. They also began to internalize and hide their perceived badness from themselves and others. Those who grew up with an oppressive father may have vowed never to become like their fathers and thus became too soft with no strict boundaries. Those who had co-dependent or abusive mothers may grow up to be attracted to needy or broken women because they are subconsciously trying to fix their mothers.
Due to such family conditioning, nice guys struggle to prioritize their needs or put themselves first in their relationships. This underlying programming of shame and fear prevents them from trying something different in their relationships. Thus they keep doing the same things and get frustrated when they fail to achieve their goals in life, love, and career.
Actions to take
Seek validation from yourself instead of others
“Just about everything a Nice Guy does is consciously or unconsciously calculated to gain someone's approval or to avoid disapproval. Nice Guys seek this external validation in just about every relationship and social situation, even from strangers and people they don't like”
Since nice guys believe that there’s something inherently wrong with them, they look for ways to convince themselves and others that they are lovable. They may pick one attribute about their life e.g. physical appearance, talent, a child, or even a nice car, and fixate on it to gain approval. They pour their heart and soul into being “good” and doing everything “right” just to feel valuable and nullify their internalized shame.
This quest for approval is more pronounced when dealing with women. A nice guy will go out of his way to please a woman, and if the woman is sad or depressed, he interprets this as a sign of disapproval. He will allow her to set the tone for the relationship and then secretly hate her for his sense of powerlessness and not loving him the way he wants. They will also hide any perceived flaws such as being sad, feeling pain, getting older, or having sexual needs. They cover up these perceived shortcomings by lying, fixing the other person’s problems, shaming their partner, or isolating themselves.
To overcome the Nice Guy syndrome, you have to change your core paradigm of seeking external validation. You need to start seeking approval from within and doing things that please you. It’s only after you’ve learned to focus on your needs that you’ll begin to experience greater intimacy and connection with others.
Actions to take
Prioritize your needs
“For Nice Guys, trying to become needless and wantless was a primary way of trying to cope with their childhood abandonment experiences. Since it was when they had the most needs that they felt the most abandoned, they believed it was their needs that drove people away”
Nice guys have a big problem with making their needs a priority because they perceive it to be a selfish thing to do. In most cases, this is an attempt to avoid being like their father who they perceive to be mean and self-centered. Unfortunately, by acting like a low-maintenance individual, a nice guy decreases the odds of having their needs met. Therefore, to create situations where their needs can be met while still hiding those needs, they use covert contracts.
A covert contract is an unspoken agreement that says, “I will do X for you so that you can do Y for me.” A nice guy will do a favor for someone with the expectation that they will reciprocate yet they haven’t explicitly stated their needs to the person. Another strategy a nice guy uses to get their needs met is caretaking behavior. This is where he focuses on another’s problems and feelings so that they can feel valuable or avoid dealing with their problems.
These immature and manipulative behaviors often leave the nice guy resentful because he starts perceiving the other person as a taker who never gives back to him. When this resentment reaches its limit, they aggressively attack, pout, shame, withdraw, or physically abuse the other person. When they calm down, they begin the cycle again. The only way to snap this cycle is to become selfish. A nice guy should learn that it’s healthy to prioritize their needs and take responsibility for meeting them.
Actions to take
Reclaim your power
“In an attempt to cope with their childhood abandonment experiences, all Nice Guys developed the same paradigm: "If I am good, then I will be loved, get my needs met, and have a problem-free life." Unfortunately, this paradigm not only produces the opposite of what is desired, it guarantees nothing but feelings of perpetual powerlessness”
Due to feelings of being abandoned, neglected, abused, or smothered in childhood, nice guys develop a victim mentality in adulthood. This feeling becomes so familiar that they perceive those around them as the cause of their problems. To overcome the feeling of helplessness and get what they want in life, they try to be perfect and do right all the time. Unfortunately, life isn’t fair, and they end up enraged when they fail in their attempts. Nice guys also fail to realize that you cannot negotiate the complexities of life by relying on ineffective survival mechanisms.
If you want to overcome the victimhood of the Nice Guy syndrome, you need to reclaim your personal power. Personal power means being confident about handling whatever challenges may come into your life. Let go of the things you cannot change and only focus on those you can. This will allow you to see each life experience as a gift for your healing and growth.
Learn to become comfortable expressing your feelings assertively and powerfully so that people can respect you. You should face your fears and take the steps necessary to change your life. Tell others the truth even if it means they get angry at you. You have to speak your truth and set clear boundaries so that you can take back your power.
Actions to take
Reclaim your masculinity
“Not only does the recovering Nice Guy get to experience deeper bonds with men, but his relationships with women grow too. Perhaps most significantly, a whole new generation of boys and girls reap the benefits of seeing what a healthy male really looks like”
Over the last few decades, masculinity has been demonized, and men have been taught that being male is not always a good thing. This mindset is caused by the disconnection of boys from their fathers and other healthy male role models. It’s also the result of boys being forced to accept a female definition of what it means to be male. Therefore, boys and men in today’s society believe that they have to suppress any negative masculine traits and become what women want them to be.
As a result, nice guys tend to avoid forming healthy and positive relationships with fellow men. Because they didn’t share a positive bond with their father, probably due to childhood abuse, they struggle to develop the skills required to bond with men. Thus they either become loners or form superficial friendships with male friends. In an attempt to repress the darker masculine traits such as aggression and brutality, they end up disconnecting from positive aspects of masculinity such as discipline, integrity, persistence, and strength.
Nice guys can also fall into the trap of forming an unhealthy bond with their mother, especially if she was controlling, critical, smothering, or needy. By always trying to please their mother, they become unable to bond with another woman. In most cases, they become dependent on the approval of women. You need to shed all these mental programs to reclaim your masculinity.
Actions to take
Create the relationships you want
“Even though Nice Guys often profess a deep desire to be intimately connected with another individual, their internalized toxic shame and childhood survival mechanisms make such connections difficult and problematic”
The area that frustrates nice guys the most is intimate relationships. Most nice guys want to be in a happy relationship with a woman but struggle with intimacy issues. This is because they attract partners who resemble their mother i.e. depressed, angry, unfaithful, or sexually repressed. Sometimes, they develop hidden behaviors that can ruin their relationship e.g. addiction to porn or an affair. Nice guys often blame their partner for the lack of intimacy instead of realizing that the true cause is them.
One of the reasons why nice guys struggle to create the right relationship is toxic shame. For you to be intimate with your partner, you have to be vulnerable and reveal the abyss of your inner self. For a nice guy, their internalized toxic shame makes this kind of openness feel life-threatening. The fear of vulnerability also makes them afraid of getting too close to people. But since they also fear isolation, they end up looking for partners who are just as wounded as them. The two individuals connect over their dysfunctional childhood even as they hide their internal shame from each other.
Finally, a nice guy just doesn’t know when to leave a bad relationship. He will do anything to fix a bad relationship instead of working on himself so that he can find a suitable mate. By the time they leave such a relationship, it’s often too late. The nice guy must release his internal shame and start to prioritize his needs, even if it means the end of the toxic relationship.
Actions to take
Get the satisfying sex you want
“All Nice Guys have shame and fear about being sexual and about being sexual beings”
For a nice guy, sex represents the one area in which all his shame, abandonment, and dysfunctional mechanisms are focused and magnified. His sexual issues come in the form of not getting enough sex, settling for unsatisfying sex, sexual repression, or premature ejaculation. In many instances, a nice guy exhibits compulsive behavior such as an addiction to masturbation, prostitution, or pornography. These issues usually stem from the trauma of sexual violation, memories of past sexual failures, religious guilt and shame, sexual bonds created by the mother, and growing up with sexually wounded parents.
This unconscious baggage makes it extremely difficult for a nice guy to freely and openly engage in healthy sexual relationships. He has to rely on avoidance and distraction mechanisms whenever he finds himself in a sexual situation. Nice guys also try to be good lovers by focusing on arousing their partner instead of allowing the sexual experience to unfold naturally. This leads to a routine, boring experience that lacks passion and reciprocity.
Nice guys need to understand that being nice all the time depletes your life energy, which is the very thing that attracts women to men. Just be yourself and display your natural masculinity without feeling afraid or shameful. You also don’t have to settle for bad sex. Choose an emotionally available partner, be clear with your needs, and refuse to settle for sexual scraps.
Actions to take
Discover your passion and purpose
“As you look at the reality of your life, ask yourself two questions: First, are you creating the life you want? Second, if not, why not?”
Most nice guys tend to be hardworking, intelligent, and competent individuals who achieve moderate success. However, they often struggle to live to their full potential or create the life of their dreams. The reason is that they spend so much time seeking approval, playing it safe, and hiding their flaws.
In their workplace, a nice guy will be too afraid to demand a raise. He will stay in a job he hates for years because he’s afraid of moving to another company or starting his own business. By trying to do everything right or being afraid to delegate, a nice guy becomes rigid and thus stifles his creativity and productivity. Nice guys also sabotage their careers by wasting time caretaking other people, getting distracted by chaotic relationships, or not setting boundaries.
To realize your passion and potential, you have to accept yourself as you are and embrace your fears. Start respecting yourself, get rid of your victim mentality, and chart your own path instead of putting up with a mediocre career. Life is a series of ups and downs, so you need to accept that things won’t always be perfect. Simply do your best and learn from whatever successes and failures life brings your way.