Summary of No More Mr Nice Guy by Dr. Robert Glover

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  • Post last modified:December 11, 2023

Chapter Five: Reclaim Your Personal Power

Nice Guys tend to be wimpy victims because their life paradigm and childhood survival mechanisms require them to sacrifice their personal power.

Feeling like a victim is common. They often consider that their problems are caused by other people.

So they feel frustrated, vengeful, and rageful.

Nice Guys often try to create friction-free lives. But they always fail for two reasons.

  1. There is no such thing as a friction-free life (even though they believe it should be). Since they didn’t get their needs met as kids, they overcompensate in their adult life by suppressing randomness and uncertainty as much as possible.
  2. They do the exact opposite of what they should do because they still rely on the beliefs and mechanisms they developed as kids.

The dependence on these ineffective survival mechanisms keeps Nice Guys trapped in the memory of their fearful childhood experiences and perpetuates a vicious cycle.

The more scared they are, the more they used them, the less successful they are, the more scared they are, etc.

Breaking Free: Activity 17
Look over the following list of ways Nice Guys try to create a smooth, problem-free life.

– Doing it right
– Playing it safe
– Anticipating and fixing
– Trying not to rock the boat
– Being charming and helpful
– Never being a moment’s problem
– Using covert contracts
– Controlling and manipulating
– Caretaking and pleasing
– Withholding information
– Repressing feelings
– Making sure other people don’t have feelings
– Avoiding problems and difficult situations

Write down an example of how you used each coping mechanism in childhood, and in adulthood.

Note how each of these behaviors keeps you feeling like a powerless victim. Share this information with a safe person.

Reclaim Your Personal Power

Personal power is a state of mind in which a person is confident he can handle whatever may come.

This is the best type of power there is. It doesn’t suppress fear; it helps act in spite of it.

The following strategies will help you reclaim your personal power.

  • Surrendering
  • Dwelling in reality
  • Expressing feelings
  • Facing fears
  • Developing integrity
  • Setting boundaries


Surrendering means letting go of all of the things that cannot be changed or controlled. It means letting them be as they are.

Instead of asking, “Why is this happening to me?” the recovering Nice Guy can respond to life’s challenges by pondering, “What do I need to learn from this situation?”

Breaking Free: Activity 18
Think about one “gift” from the universe that you initially resisted but can now see as a positive stimulus for growth or discovery. Are there any similar gifts in your life right now to which you need to surrender? Share this information with a safe person.

Observe Reality as It Is, Not as You Wish It to Be

Nice Guys make up belief systems about the world and people to attempt to control them, but since these systems aren’t true, they always fail in their endeavors.

Eg: if your wife has become fat, depressed, and no longer wants to have sex with you, you can’t maintain she is “the love of your life”.

Breaking Free: Activity 19
Pick one area in your life in which you routinely feel frustrated or out of control. Step back from the situation. Is the difficulty you are having with the situation the result of your trying to project the reality you want to believe onto it? If you had to accept the reality of this situation, how might you change your response to it?

Express Your Feelings

Nice Guys fear everyone’s feelings, including their own. This is because they make them feel out of control on the one hand, and feelings have a mostly negative connotation due to their childhood on the other.

So they often repress them. Then they will convince themselves that the reason why they do so is that they don’t want to hurt anyone. The truth though, is that they don’t want to get hurt themselves (they don’t want to recreate their childhood experiences.)

Nice Guys need to understand that their feelings won’t kill them. Then they need to get in touch with them by really going deep and wondering: “How do I feel about this?”

Breaking Free: Activity 20
Some guidelines about expressing feelings.

– Don’t focus on the other person: “You are making me mad.” Instead, take responsibility for what you are feeling: “I am feeling angry.”
– Don’t use feeling words to describe what you are thinking, as in “I feel like Joe was trying to take advantage of me.” Instead, pay attention to what you are experiencing in your body, “I’m feeling helpless and frightened.”
– In general, try to begin feeling statements with “I,” rather than “you.” Try to avoid the crutch of saying “I feel like.” As in, “I feel like you are being mean to me.”

Face Your Fears

For Nice Guys, fear is recorded at the cellular level. It is a memory of every seemingly life-threatening experience they ever had.

Because of this, Nice Guys look at the world as a highly dangerous place. So, they play it safe, which creates suffering.

  • Suffering because they avoid new situations
  • Suffering because they stay with the familiar
  • Suffering because they procrastinate, avoid, and fail to finish what they start
  • Suffering because they make a bad situation worse by doing more of what has never worked in the past
  • Suffering because they expend so much energy trying to control the uncontrollable

The only way to overcome your fear is to face it. Every time you do so, you create the subconscious confidence that you can face it, which gives you a headstart for your next fear.

Breaking Free: Activity 21
List one fear that has been controlling your life. Once you decide to confront the fear, begin repeating to yourself, “I can handle it. No matter what happens, I will handle it.” Keep repeating this mantra until you take action and stop feeling fear.

Have Some Integrity

Most Nice Guys pride themselves on being honest and trustworthy. In reality, Nice Guys are fundamentally dishonest.

They tell lies and withhold truths about themselves because they’re afraid that they wouldn’t be loved if other people knew.

Eg: the husband lying to his wife about seeing a movie.

Many Nice Guys don’t want to tell the truth because someone got angry when they did. But that’s the reality of life. It’s actually easier to live in the truth than in the lie.

Ask yourself what you think is right.

And do it.

Breaking Free: Activity 22
Choose one area in which you have been out of integrity. Identify the fear that keeps you from telling the truth or doing the right thing. Reveal this situation to a safe person.

Then go and tell the truth, or do what you have to do to make the situation right. Tell yourself you can handle it. Since telling the truth may create a crisis for you or others, have faith that everyone involved will survive this crisis.

Set Boundaries

Learning to set boundaries allows Nice Guys to stop feeling like helpless victims and reclaim their personal power.

This is one of the most fundamental skills to learn.

Most Nice Guys believe that a meek response will stop the person from invading their boundaries – which is rarely the case. They’re afraid that if they get clear on their boundaries, they’ll be abandoned.

Once they learn how to set boundaries, they get addicted and get to the other extreme of boundary setting.

Boundary setting prevents other people from doing things Nice Guys dislike, which means their relationship improves over time.

Breaking Free: Activity 23
Before you can start setting boundaries, you have to become aware of how much you back up from your line to avoid conflict or to keep the peace.

For the next week, observe yourself. Do you say “yes” when you would rather say “no”? Do you agree to do something to avoid conflict?

Do you avoid doing something because someone might get upset with you? Do you tolerate an intolerable situation, hoping that it will just go away?

Write these observations down and share them with a safe person.

Take A Walk On The Wild Side

There is no “key” to a smooth life. Being “good” or doing it “right” doesn’t insulate Nice Guys from the chaotic, ever-changing realities of life.

Life isn’t meant to be peaceful or boring. It’s meant to be crazy. As you embrace it, you will begin to enjoy it more.

Chapter Six: Reclaim Your Masculinity

It’s ok to be a guy.

The social changes we have talked about compel men to be more and more passive.

Let’s see how.

Disconnection from Men

Many Nice Guys don’t have any male friends because “they don’t know how to do it”.

Their lack of relationship with their fathers means they experience some difficulty bonding with other men.

Some think they’re different from other men because they don’t get angry, controlling, or violent.

When Nice Guys are disconnected from men, they’re disconnected from their masculinity.

Breaking Free: Activity 24
Note the ways you have consciously or unconsciously tried to be different from your father and/or other men. How does the belief that you are different keep you disconnected from other men?

Disconnection from Masculinity

Masculinity is that part of a man that equips him to survive as an individual, clan, and species.

Masculinity empowers men to create, produce, provide, and protect.

Masculinity implies strength, discipline, courage, passion, persistence, and integrity, and assumes the potential for aggressiveness, destructiveness, and brutality. The latter three scare Nice Guys because it usually scares women, so they repress this side of themselves hoping they’ll get women’s approval in return.

Meanwhile, they complain women seem to be attracted to “jerks”.

The problem is that when Nice Guys repress their dark side (their shadow), they also repress other good things inherent to masculinity.

As a result, they lose sexual assertiveness, competitiveness, creativity, ego, thirst for experience, boisterousness, exhibitionism, and power.

Nice Guys Are Monogamous to their Mothers

Most boys fall in love with their mothers and want them all for themselves. Parents must help the boy to go over this desire, bond with other boys and men, then grow up to become a healthy male that can then have a relationship with a woman.

The lack of fathers in the home and the need to “take care of their mothers” led Nice Guys to develop an unhealthy relationship with their mothers. In adulthood, women who try to date Nice Guys notice that they’re simply not available for them.

Nice Guys Seek Women’s Approval

Nice Guys are desperate for women’s approval. They do everything to please them and always fail because women don’t like men doing everything for them (they see them as weak).

Getting Your Masculinity Back

To get your masculinity back, you’ll have to connect with other men, get strong, find healthy male models, and reexamine your relationship with your father.

Connecting With Men

Connecting with men means doing guy things with guys.

To do so, you will have to make time, take risks, and be vulnerable (opening yourself up). You can connect with men by joining groups that do traditionally male activities, like fighting, fishing, sports, etc.

That means Nice Guys will have to take time off from their girlfriends and families.

Developing male friendships makes Nice Guys less likely to be resentful toward women.

Friendship with men is much deeper for men because there’s no sexual agenda.

When a Nice Guy connects with men in a way he never could connect with his father, he breaks the bond with his mother.

Breaking Free: Activity 25
List three men whom you would like to get to know better. Next to each man’s name list a possible activity you could do together. Next to this, write down a date and make a commitment to contact him by this day.

Get Strong

Strength and power are masculine attributes that you need to develop.

To do so, stop eating junk food, eat healthy food, get off drugs and alcohol, go to the gym, learn how to fight, relax, and take some rest.

Breaking Free: Activity 26
Identify three ways in which you neglect your body. Write down three ways in which you can start taking better care of yourself.

Seek Out Healthy Role Models

Befriend guys with a strong masculine essence and hang out with them. You will become more like them as time passes.

Breaking Free: Activity 27
Visualize what you think a healthy male would look like. What personality traits would he possess? Write these down. Do you know anyone who has a number of these traits? How could you use this person as a healthy role model?

Reassess Your Relationship with Your Father

None of the Nice Guys had a good relationship with their fathers. They were absent, not available emotionally, or weak, Nice Guys themselves.

Often, Nice Guys perceive their fathers through the eyes of their mothers. They must stop doing so and begin to perceive their fathers more objectively.

This may mean that Nice Guys should express their rage at their fathers for failing to do their job (even if the father’s dead).

Breaking Free: Activity 28
Embracing masculinity involves coming to see Dad more accurately. To facilitate this process, create a list. On the left side, list a number of your father’s characteristics. Write the opposite characteristic on the right side. Indicate where, on the spectrum between the two, do you see yourself.

When recovering Nice Guys do this exercise they are often surprised at what they discover about their fathers and themselves. They often see how they have made their fathers into a caricature—a distortion of who they really are.

They may realize that if the man they have become is based on a reaction to how they saw their fathers, they too have become caricatures.

Remember, the opposite of crazy is still crazy. They realize that if their lives are a reaction to dad, then dad is still in control. They discover that they can be different from dad without being the opposite. They often come to realize that they have more traits in common with their fathers than they had previously realized or wanted to accept.

While women know when they become women, there isn’t the same thing for men. So many tribes came up with rituals of initiation that would take the boy from boyhood to adulthood.

Today, these rites no longer exist. So if you are an adult, make sure you can be a positive influence on young boys.

Breaking Free: Activity 29

How can you provide a healthy male support system for the boys and young men you know? List three boys along with an activity you can participate in with them.

Likewise, girls benefit from seeing what a real man looks like, how he sets boundaries, how he takes responsibility, etc.

Chapter Seven: Get The Love You Want: Success Strategies For Intimate Relationships

Intimate relationships are often an area of great frustration and bewilderment for Nice Guys. Most Nice Guys profess a great desire for intimacy and happiness with their significant other. Nevertheless, intimacy represents an enigmatic riddle for the majority of these men.

Nice Guys fail to experience intimacy due to their toxic shame and childhood survival mechanisms.

There are six reasons why Nice Guys struggle to get the love they want.

Let’s go through each of them.

Toxic Shame

Intimacy implies vulnerability. It requires two people who are willing to courageously look inward and make themselves totally visible to one another.

Since Nice Guys believe they are inherently bad and must hide themselves to be loved, looking inward – or letting someone else do so – is terrifying.

Dysfunctional Relationships

The moment he enters a relationship, the Nice Guy begins to struggle to balance the fear of vulnerability (getting too close) on one hand, and the fear of isolation on the other.

In order to do so well, the Nice Guy chooses a partner that has as much difficulty being intimate.

They create a relationship together that frustrates everyone.

Patterns Of Enmeshment And Avoidance

Intimacy is usually played out in two different scenarios, depending on the Nice Guy.

  1. The Enmesher: Nice Guys become way too involved in the relationship, at the expense of their lives: his world revolves around her and he will do anything for her.
  2. The Avoider: Nice Guys become emotionally unavailable for their partners while playing the Nice Guys outside of the relationship: he focuses on everyone but his partner.

Breaking Free: Activity 30
Ask yourself: are you an enmesher or an avoider in your present relationship? How would your partner see you? Does the pattern ever change? What roles have you played in past relationships?

Childhood Patterns

If the Nice Guy listened to his mother’s complaints as a kid to get attention, he may choose a partner that will want to complain all the time so he has someone to listen to…to get attention.

If the boy’s parent would often come home angry, he will expect his partner to do the same.

These projections permutate the dysfunctional relationship and prevent Nice Guys from getting the intimacy they desire.

Breaking Free: Activity 31
We tend to be attracted to people who have some of the worst traits of both of our parents. Instead of blaming your partner for your unconscious choice, identify the ways in which she helps you recreate familiar relationship patterns from your childhood. Share this with your partner.

Remaining Monogamous to Mum

This prevents Nice Guys from bonding with their partners.

Breaking Free: Activity 32
The following are a few of the ways Nice Guys unconsciously maintain a monogamous bond to their mothers. Look over the list. Note any of the behavior patterns that may serve to keep you monogamous to your mother.

Share this information with a safe person.
– Over-involvement with work or hobbies
– Creating relationships with people who need fixing
– Addictions to drugs or alcohol
– Sexual addictions to pornography, masturbation, fantasy, chat lines, or hookers
– Affairs
– Sexual dysfunction—lack of desire, inability to get or maintain an erection, or premature ejaculation
– Forming relationships with women who are angry, sick, depressive, compulsive, addicted, unfaithful, or otherwise unavailable
– Avoiding intercourse or taking vows of celibacy

Nice Guys Are Bad Enders

They spend too long trying to make dysfunctional relationships work.

Even if they do try to end the relationship, they’re really bad at doing it (too late, they do it in an indirect way, etc).

Building Successful Relationships

Nice Guys must:

  • Approve of themselves
  • Put themselves first
  • Reveal themselves to safe people
  • Eliminate covert contracts
  • Take responsibility for their own needs
  • Surrender
  • Dwell in reality
  • Express their feelings
  • Develop integrity
  • Set boundaries
  • Embrace their masculinity

Approve of Themselves

The essence of recovery from the Nice Guy Syndrome is the conscious decision to live one’s life just as one desires.

A Nice Guy must start to please himself and do what he wants to stop being a Nice Guy.

This is the only way to have a healthy relationship.

Breaking Free: Activity 33
List some of the ways you try to please your partner. What changes would you make if you did not have to worry about making her happy?

Setting Boundaries

Women will push their boyfriends in order to test how strong they are. If they manage to push them around, they won’t feel safe with them, hence the importance of setting boundaries and standing by them.

Ironically, resisting your girlfriend’s demands will make her happier than accepting them (Aure’s Note: women’s demands that they hope won’t be fulfilled are called sh*ttests).

How to know what to set boundaries for? Use the second date rule: if she had done/said this on a second date, would you have tolerated it?

How to know how to deal with her bad behavior? Apply the healthy male rule: how would a healthy male react?

Breaking Free: Activity 34
Are there any areas in your personal relationships in which you avoid setting appropriate boundaries? Do you:
– Tolerate intolerable behavior
– Avoid dealing with a situation because it might cause conflict
– Not ask for what you want
– Sacrifice yourself to keep the peace
– If you applied the Second Date rule or the Healthy Male rule to these situations, how might you change your behavior?

Focus on the Relationship, not on the Partner

Healthy people aren’t attracted to unhealthy people. When one of the partners in the relationship is screwed, the other also is.

When they focus on the relationship, Nice Guys can understand why they have the relationship that they do and how it connects to their childhood.

Breaking Free: Activity 35
The next time you find yourself feeling frustrated, resentful, or rageful at your partner, ask yourself these questions: “Why have I invited this person into my life?”
“What do I need to learn from this situation?”
“How would my view of this situation change if I saw it as a gift?”

Don’t Reinforce Undesirable Behavior

If the Nice Guy reinforces his partner’s undesirable behaviors, she will keep behaving in undesirable ways.

When their partner is angry, Nice Guys jump in to try to fix them, which makes them even angrier.

Bad behavior should not be condoned but punished. Every time a Nice Guy responds to a bad behavior, he reinforces it in his partner.

Do Something Different

Get into a relationship with a healthy agenda, instead of a dysfunctional one.

Don’t go looking for someone who needs fixing.

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