I just had a bit of a ding-dong with Steve Jabba over breakfast this morning as we were discussing some of the implications of his recent post on the three levels of Game. I thought I’d put a few notes down here for my readers’ edification.
My mother is a shrewish frame-controlling narcissist. Well up into my mid-twenties I’d not even seen anything unusual about this so thoroughly had I bought her frame as normal. Gradually as I got more life experience, discussed things with my brother, and spent longer periods of time away from her due to my living away from my hometown I started to see her behaviour more objectively. Don’t get me wrong she wasn’t a malignant narcissist and she has always been very giving in putting her children’s interests first. For a long time I even considered my childhood idyliic. But that frame-controlling…… here’s a sample conversation:
Her: How was your day?
Me: Pretty good. I’ve been looking for a new camera for a while. There’s a new Nikon advance companct I think I’ll buy
Her: um [impatient]
Me: I want something that’ll fit in my pocket but is pretty good at taking photos in low light, because then I’ll be able to carry it around on my travels but still get decent photos when I’m in pubs and
Her: [interrupt] Yes, pubs. You’ll love this new client at work. The family is…
Me: [interrupt] That’s got nothing to do with what we’re talking about.
Her: Yes, yes yes. So this new client…. [prattles on for half an hour about her job while I overtly show no interest]
My mother is incapable of talking about anything except herself and in particular whatever is at the front of her mind at that moment in time. She’s also got an extremely aggressive frame-push conbined with zero calibration and a refusal to listen to or learn anything new. Her reality is so strong that absolutely nothing can penetrate it unless there’s a predetermined spot prepared for that new information to occupy. Like transplanting an organ if there’s the slightest incompatibility the new information will be rejected out of hand. The frame-push is so strong she’ll constantly interrupt people and follow them around the house to keep chipping away. I’ll say things like “Stop talking to me. I’m trying to read” and it’ll just bounce off. She cannot process the world as it is. Feedback is not allowed into her complex reality-weave.
I consider this a learning disability. In earlier times she’d likely have been murdered.
So that’s what I grew up with. Whereas my father just rolled over and “yes dear”ed his way through the marriage I fought it the whole way through my childhood until I’d internalised the same frame. Narcissistic contagion. A strong frame combined with zero calibration is a recipe for social ostracisation as you dominate social gatherings without taking due care that others are enjoying the situation. Before long they just avoid you. I do that now with frame-controlling weirdos – although I can easily rip the frame off them I just see no point in expending the energy so I just freeze them out of my life.
The manosphere didn’t exist in my twenties. I had no vocabulary to describe these dynamics, just blue pill psychology. It never crossed my mind that twenty-five years of resisting a frame-controlling narcissist had a hugely positive silver lining: (i) a bulletproof frame (ii) a strong regard for protecting my own self interest. I struggled to reconcile these attributes with society’s expectations and my own moral code. Put simply, I felt like my animal brain was a barely-domesticated pitbull straining on a leash held by my human brain. The thin veneer of civilisation that covered the beast inside existed only because of a constant restraining effort on the part of my learned logical forebrain. If I let the pitbull off the leash it would just run amok. Not high-school-shooting-amok (I felt no hate to society or urge towards violence) but that the pitbull would just run directly to whatever it wants and take it, consequences be damned. Then like a dog owner cleaning his dog’s shit off someone else’s front lawn, I’d have to deal with embarassment and social fallout as I try to return my self-opinion to that of a gentleman. A respectable member of the community. So I consciously learned to moderate by behaviour to prevent the pendulum to swing out to the extremes – I came to deny myself both exhuberance and anger. I learned state control and a poker face.
Of course this barely-civilised barbarian schtick is a big part of why women fell for me. Blue pill beta that I was I felt it but couldn’t get it into my logical brain.
Many men remember their first encounter with the manosphere (taking the red pill) as a Great Liberation. It’s the moment when a respected elder teacher puts his arm around your shoulder and says “It’s ok to feel like this. You aren’t the only one. Your feelings and secret theories are right. It’s the world that’s wrong.” Women get the same immense relief when I put them in their place.
Now I see that men are supposed to impose themselves upon the world. Men are supposed to put their own interested front and centre. Women are attracted by men who do this and feel secure around them. You do need to put the leash on the pitbull in order to navigate through society. Unrestrained alphas don’t last long in modern society – sure we can point to some apex alphas who are killing it, but that’s survivor bias. The road to successful alphadom is littered with the graves of failures. To build the metaphor further, you need to accept your inner pitbull. Accept the aggression. Accept the animal spirits. Accept the urge to chase the car down the street and piss against a lampost. Don’t forget you’ll need a wise owner on the end of the leash lest the exterminators come around with a court order.
And don’t for a moment consider exchanging the pitbull for a poodle.