Episode Summary

In this episode, we did a Q and A regarding questions of how to deal with a female significant other who nags a lot and what you should do if you find yourself having to sacrifice yourself all the time to be a good person.

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Show Transcript

All right, hello, everybody and welcome to another episode of the Emotional Embuffination podcast. I am your host, David Enevoldsen, and here on Emotional Embuffination, we are training to become emotionally buff enough to overcome any conflict in life. And at the same time, we are trying to discover and optimize new levels of success and happiness. In essence, we are trying to figure out how to maximize all the good feelings and minimize all the bad ones. This podcast is just one of a number of different resources I have available. If you want to learn more, check out the Emotional Embuffination website which is embuff.com. That’s E-M-B-U-F-F.com. When you are on the website, make sure that you sign up for my newsletter and the newsletter has quick weekly weekly Emotional Embuffination tips that will help you along your emotional embuffination journey. Okay, on today’s show, we are going to be doing another Q and A episode, and specifically I want to look at two different questions. The first one was from a guy who was dealing with what’s almost stereotypical and may sound offensive to some people in our modern environment, but it was essentially he felt like his wife was constantly nagging him and he didn’t know how to deal with that or make that stop. So that’s kind of the first question. The second question was it comes from a quote, and I’ll give you the quote later, but essentially it revolves around the idea of why good people get taken advantage of and whether or not they should allow that, or whether you should give up doing that and sacrificing your goodness, you know, that kind of thing.

So let’s start with the first one, the nagging question. So as a preliminary comment, I know there’s been so much stuff in the press lately about gender dynamics and kind of alterations on kind of traditional perspectives on gender and sex and all of that stuff. I’m, I’m going to just say that I’m primarily talking here about kind of heterosexual dynamics, and I’m simply not an expert on things like, how do you interface with the same gender energies that I’ve talked about in other shows with things like same sex or other sorts of dynamics, and particularly with same sex dynamics, I feel like you can apply the same concepts. I’m not going to pretend like I’m an expert on something that stretches beyond that. But if you’ve heard me before at all, you know that I am kind of a believer in the idea that we all have gender energies. I think that in a general sense, if you are a man, you will feel better, more fulfilled, more optimized if you tap into a masculine energy. Likewise, I think if you are a woman, you are more likely to feel better, more fulfilled, more tuned in, turned on, so to speak, with your feminine energy.

And I think that we work better when we’re in those, those modes. Now there’s ways those can go off the rails. I have a whole episode where I’ve talked about this previously, where just kind of the general concepts around gender energies, but starting with that as a baseline, because I think you need to, the framework I’m going to be coming at this question about nagging is going to come from that, because this is a really common kind of stereotypical complaint. Like this, this goes back centuries. We hear I mean, we see this in, you know, things like Canterbury Tales and whatnot, where there’s just the nagging wife, you know, it’s the nagging significant other, the nagging woman. And that’s there’s a stereotype around that. It may not be a just one, but I think that comes from somewhere. And so I want to explore what that is, and more specifically, why a woman might do that, or why a woman is doing something that a man is perceiving as nagging. So let’s let’s kind of start this analysis, at least from my perspective with, what’s the function of that? This behavior that a guy is interpreting as nagging, where is that coming from? Well, I’m going to take a step back to kind of Jungian archetypal structures with respect to male and female. Jung had this idea that you had the anima and animus.

Animus was the idea that there was a masculine element and masculine energy within women. It’s kind of this unconscious masculine energy that a woman can exhibit. Likewise, a man has the anima, which is sort of his unconscious feminine side. Now, I think this is relevant because when you get into relationship dynamics with, and you’re combining this male female energy, then you start to get a dynamic where the woman can sort of act as the man’s anima. Like she starts to bring the feminine to the equation, or at least she can. She doesn’t always, but in a sort of ideal dynamic, she will bring that that feminine energy into the collective mix. And if both of them are bringing bringing their respective gender energies into the mix, then both of them will presumably thrive or do better or succeed. Because if one of them succeeds, both of them will succeed. Or at least that’s how it should be. So with that in mind, we kind of tear down a little bit what is the what is some of that anima function? What is that feminine energy within the man, or what is that feminine role within the the dynamic between male and female going to do? Well, a lot of things. The one that is most relevant for here is she’s often going to push the guy. You see this in so many different scenarios, like in terms of literature.

It’s just all over the place where there’s a guy who’s trying to do something and the woman pushes him into greatness. Like she’ll be behind, and there’s that old saying that behind every great man is a great woman. That woman is kind of pushing him in some fashion. She is going to take these opportunities where she sees something, where he’s got an opportunity to kind of better both of them, and she will kind of push him into doing that, especially if she thinks he’s not realizing his potential in some way, or he’s being lazy, or he’s stuck on some limited belief, or he’s just afraid, or he’s flat out cowardly. If she’s sensing any of these things like the fear, the sloth, the just not realizing everything you can be, her job from an energetic standpoint becomes, in part to push him. Because if she can push him, she’s going to benefit as well. Now one of my favorite examples of this, I think it really illustrates the concept. And this is fiction, of course, but I think it gives you a good sense of what can happen or the purpose of this, this whole dynamic is in The Lion King. And I think most people have seen The Lion King, but if you haven’t seen it in its many variations, I’ll kind of make reference back to the original, which is pretty much how all the variations go.

And in The Lion King, the protagonist of this or one of the major protagonists is Simba, and he’s a lion cub at the beginning of the story, and he’s his dad is kind of king of the kingdom, and the kingdom is thriving. And Simba knows that one day he’s going to inherit the kingdom, and he’s going to take all the responsibilities that go along with this, and he’s going to take charge and be king. Well, meanwhile, there’s a couple of different players in this. One of them is Nala, who’s a lioness that he plays with all the time. Another one is Scar, and Scar is Simba’s uncle. Scar really resents Simba’s dad, wants to take over the kingdom, wants to push these other lions out of the way so he can be in charge. But he can’t because they’re there. So early on, Scar ends up killing Simba’s father, convinces Simba that Simba was actually responsible for the death, and then tells Simba to run away and never come back. Simba believes he has indeed killed his father, so he leaves, runs away from the whole kingdom, ends up finding a couple of buddies and just hangs out with them. They live by this motto, “Hakuna matata,” which means no worries. And so they just kind of live this lackadaisical life with no worries, no responsibilities, just kind of doing their thing, hanging out, eating and just chilling.

Meanwhile, back in the Kingdom, Scar takes over, runs the country into the ground. He just the whole kingdom becomes desolate, devoid of food, devoid of water. Everything turns into a disaster. And so everyone’s unhappy. Years roll by. Simba grows up. The the kingdom keeps just going into disaster. The lionesses are running out trying to find food. And so Nala, the lioness that Simba played with when he was little, she’s out hunting one day trying to find food, and she’s going further and further out from where the boundaries of the kingdom are, and one day she stumbles onto Simba. She finds Simba with his buddies just still doing the same thing like hanging out, being lazy, eating grubs, and just doing nothing. And so she approaches him and she’s like, basically, there’s an instantaneous romance because now they’re both adults, or at least young adults, and so they develop this romantic relationship right away. So now we have the male female dynamic in place. Shortly after that, she starts to say, where did you go? Like, why did you leave the kingdom? We needed you. And he starts to get snippy back with her and he’s like, you don’t understand. I had no place there. He gets snippy and says he doesn’t want to go back. And she says, you know, what about your obligations? What about your you have a duty to go back and take charge and make sure that the kingdom is running right.

And he gets mad and gets huffy and kind of goes off. And she then leaves after she gets frustrated. That if you look at that moment right there, that’s a lot like her nagging him and think about the function that she’s engaged in. She’s trying to say, look, there’s this guy over here. I’m in a romantic relationship with him. If he would just realize his potential and assume the throne and become king, the whole kingdom would benefit from it, including her. If he would just come back and realize his potential, but instead he’s busy just being lazy, hanging out with his bros and doing nothing. I mean, he’s just sitting around staring at the clouds and eating grubs all day. He is not being the the lion that he should be. So she takes off. But that conversation plants a seed in him that really spins everything around. And ultimately he comes back dethrones his uncle Scar ends up taking the kingdom, taking control of the kingdom again and then from there restores it to its glory, so the kingdom ends up flourishing again. Scar’s dethroned. Nala becomes queen. They have a kid together and everybody lives happily ever after. So I love this example because it’s a scenario where it seems like on its face, if you just look at that one little moment, you’ve got the woman nagging at the guy.

At least that’s how he’s perceiving it. He gets all defensive and angry in that moment, but she’s 100% right. He’s being lazy and he needed to go out and do better. And when he does, everybody benefits, including her, because she’s along for the ride. When they’re in this romantic relationship, they’re a single package. Now, historically in our, if you want to go down the whole patriarchal road, women have definitely not been treated as well as they should have been in lots of different contexts. I had a really fascinating college class. It was the United States women’s history. And we went through and we were looking at all these different primary source documents of women who were involved in kind of these major events throughout United States history. And through that, you could see how very often women were taking these very supportive, important roles in stuff that was going on, like the American Revolution or the Civil War or whatever. And oftentimes it was just the guys that were getting credit for it. So I don’t think that we should be ignoring women in this dynamic by any stretch. But from kind of an energetic level, the theory here is that if if the woman who is in this male female dynamic is tapping into that feminine energy, part of what she’s doing is pushing him into something better, and if she pushes him into something better, she’s also going to benefit the collective of them, if you view them as a unit, are going to improve and be better, and good things are going to happen to them and their kids and the people around them, all of that. And that’s exactly what happens in The Lion King. She becomes queen. They have a kid together, like she’s benefiting from the kingdom flourishing again, as is everyone in the kingdom. They’re all benefiting from this. So to me, this is the function of this idea that we call nagging. It’s, I think nagging gives it a very negative connotation when it shouldn’t. It’s not even maybe, maybe we need a whole new word for it. But the idea of nagging is just from this feminine perspective is just, hey, get off your butt and do the right stuff. Do the things that you should be doing. It’s a good woman recognizing that she can push her guy into something better, and that’s going to benefit everybody. Now, with that as our baseline, understanding, nagging almost seems like a good thing, right? Because this is basically just the woman pushing when she should be pushing. However, like with most things, you can kind of see this as a spectrum. Now we had that, I mentioned that adage earlier, the idea that behind every great man is a great woman.

And I know that statement has gotten a lot of criticism in the last many years because of the gender dynamics and the gender wars, almost, that we’ve gotten into and gender dialogues that we’ve been having that go beyond just male female at this point. But I’m going to make probably a controversial assertion here and say that you can also flip this and please hear me out before you try to lynch me on this. But I would assert that behind every mediocre man is also a mediocre woman. Now, before you pull out the pitchforks, let me explain what I mean there. I do not mean that the mediocre man is caused by a mediocre woman, and if he happens to be sucked into some terrible person, that he’s going to become mediocre. Rather, what I mean is exactly what I was describing a couple episodes ago where I was talking about the drama continuum, and in that episode I talked at length about this idea that if you are high in drama or low in drama you are way more likely to attract somebody at a comparable emotional developmental level. Which means that if you’re high drama, you’re going to be attracted to and you’re going to attract a partner that is also high drama. If you are low drama, you are going to draw in somebody that is also low drama and you’re going to be attracted to that person.

And so when you have a guy that is generally mediocre in the same sense, he is going to be drawn to and draw in a woman that is kind of mediocre as well. There may be lower aspirations. Maybe they are both high drama or whatever. But, if we look at that, where that core was starting from, that’s sort of the ideal state. The idea of The Lion King. Nala, when she’s pushing Simba, is a good woman who recognizes what’s going to actually make him great and what’s going to benefit the kingdom in a general sense, and what’s going to benefit her. And her advice is coming from that perspective of knowledge, of wisdom, of knowing what should happen. Now, if you take somebody who is not in that state, take a woman who is not wise, is, is not is kind of the opposite end of the spectrum from this doesn’t really have a good understanding of what’s going to benefit people, then, she still has that that underlying impulse, if she taps into that feminine energy, to push the guy that she’s with into greatness, but she might not recognize what that greatness means, and so she might start to, and this is what I think often happens, conflate her own discontent with the idea that this is on her guy and her guy needs to push forward. And so frequently, in the opposite extreme of this dynamic, you’re going to see a woman who just starts to feel unhappy about whatever and then starts to lash out at the guy and say, this is your fault.

You need to do better. He in turn is going to get upset and angry and say, you’re just attacking me, which he’s going to interpret as nagging, and then it’s all going to spiral into craziness and nothing good is going to come of it. And then we have everything in between those two ends of the spectrum. So there’s going to be a lot of times where maybe a woman coming out of that place of feminine energy is not quite recognizing, the perfect causal, or is not saying something from a place of wisdom, and is criticizing the guy and trying to push him into something that isn’t exactly spot on. Or maybe you’re going to have the woman that is truly wise. But that’s kind of the spectrum. So you have the purpose of nagging. You have where it can kind of go off the rails and become a sort of a toxic negative thing. And you’ve got places where on the opposite extreme, it can be an extremely useful tool, especially for a guy who is trying to do something on behalf of the community, of the two of them, who maybe is missing the mark, or is not seeing his own fears, or doesn’t recognize that he’s being lazy about something.

So you can see this in a lot of different situations, and this can be everything from you need to take control of the kingdom to something simpler like, hey, why aren’t you doing something to push for that job? You know that’s better than the job you have right now, all the way down to like, hey, why haven’t you mowed the lawn? Like, if you would mow the lawn, our house would be so much nicer. You know, our little kingdom would be better if you would do this little thing. All of those are sort of coming from the same basic place. Now, that begs the question. If we have this underlying assumption in place, and assuming I haven’t lost you so far and you’re not wanting to lynch me because of contemporary gender ideology or whatever, then that begs the question, okay, what do you do about it? Now, I’m mostly speaking here from the guy perspective, and I don’t want to pretend like there are not analogous problems with men that women are experiencing. But this is this this question was specifically dealing with the idea of a woman nagging a guy. So what does the guy do here? Now, understanding what we just talked about, it’s interesting because all of this, in my mind, points to the idea that this is on the guy, if she is nagging. Because think about this on the two extremes and everything in between.

On one end of the spectrum, she’s 100% on point with what she’s, quote, nagging about. You know, the thing that she’s trying to push her guy to do, he should be doing. You know, in the case of like, the ideal woman who is trying to push the guy into taking control of the kingdom, like she knows what she’s doing, and she’s 100% on point and right and is pushing him to where he should be going, and he just isn’t seeing it or doesn’t want to, or is being lazy or whatever. So in that scenario, he needs to get the slack out and get himself on gear, in which case this is on him. Now, on the opposite end of the spectrum, if she’s totally off base now, that means that he is probably in the same place. Because again, if you’re drawn to and draw in people that are at comparable emotional developmental levels, him just sitting there and saying, well, she’s nagging me and this is her fault, ignores all the problems in him that have put them there in the same in that place in the first place. And so that in turn means that he needs to level himself up in some fashion such that she’s either going to follow along or eventually that relationship’s going to fall apart just intrinsically, because the two of you become so disconnected that you’re not in the same place anymore and just can’t get along.

Either way, this is on the dude to, if he’s experiencing what he feels like, is nagging like he needs to fix himself, he needs to either heed what she’s talking about and/or start to improve himself such that these issues don’t exist anymore. So ironically, even though we’re saying kind of the function of nagging is potentially like a woman misplacing her perceptions or she’s dead on and she’s saying the right thing, then either way, this is on the dude because he’s failing in some way. Like he’s either in the wrong place, well, no matter what, he’s in the wrong place. Because he’s either not doing something he should be doing or he’s drawing in the wrong kind of girl. Now, it’s interesting to me because I’ve heard a lot of advice about nagging, and most of the advice I hear is kind of one end of the spectrum or the other. When I was working as a family law attorney, most often heard nagging in the context of just like she’s evil because she keeps doing this and she never lets up, which I think gets into this kind of blame game that is not helpful. And I’ve talked about this in a lot of other scenarios, but that’s kind of my analysis on nagging. So if you stayed with me that far, hopefully I didn’t lose you all there.

I know it’s going to upset some people there, but I do embrace kind of the gender ideologies, at least the the gender energy ideology that I’ve promoted here. I think it’s accurate and in my experience has been that that makes everybody feel better when you can correctly tap into those things. When they go off the rails, then it doesn’t, you know, it makes everybody much unhappier. And so you really I don’t think you can even just take one extreme or the other and say, that’s it. Like you’ve got to look at the full spectrum of stuff and start to understand how these pieces are lining up. But let’s go on to the next question. So a second question on this really started with a quote. And that was all about good people being taken advantage of essentially. So the quote came from a guy named Dhar Mann. And I don’t know anything about this guy. I just know he was attributed this quote. I haven’t even actually verified that he said this. This is just what it was said on the the meme that prompted this whole discussion. And the meme said, “Please don’t ever get tired of being a good person with a good heart. I know it sucks being taken advantage of and feeling like it’s better to be cold-hearted sometimes, but people like you will give this world hope.”

Okay. This is a really, really common thought process. And I’ve talked about this in a lot of scenarios where I’ve discussed the Drama Triangle. But there’s this idea that if you’re a nice person, you’re taking all the arrows for someone. You are basically sacrificing yourself so much that you get destroyed. And that’s so painful. But that’s what makes you a good person. And I would offer to you that this is a huge, huge misunderstanding of what a nice person is or what a good person is. This is conflating the idea of a rescuer with a good person.

So I’m going to bring us back to the Drama Triangle for just a second here. Again, I’ve got lots of material on this. I’ve done Drama Triangle stuff. There’s a whole episode on the Drama Triangle. Please go back and listen to that if you have not. That is to me, this was such a life changing paradigm, but it’s really important. Just very quick recap. The idea of the Drama Triangle is it is a discussion of human dynamics when humans are experiencing something they don’t like. So it kind of starts with somebody that that takes on the mindset of a victim. The victim starts to feel like they cannot succeed. They’re held back. They’re can’t do whatever because of all these limiting factors. It’s people, places, things. You know, all this stuff holds them back. There is a persecutor, that persecutor, typically when you’re in a persecutor mindset, you will lash out. You will be angry. You will think that things should be a certain way and people aren’t doing what they should be doing. So you need to get in there and scream at them, or do something to show them who’s boss and what’s right. There is also a rescuer and the rescuer, these are all the three points on the triangle. So, Victim. Persecutor. Rescuer. Three points. The rescuer wants to come in and basically the knight be the knight in shining armor. They want to save the day. They want to protect the victim. So they see somebody that is victimized and they say, I want to jump in here and protect that person and save them.

And the problem is that they, in essence, number one, create problems for themselves by injecting themselves into the fight unnecessarily and oftentimes completely take over the struggle of the victim. And in so doing, they disempower the victim and perpetuate the victim’s victimhood, because now the victim is entirely reliant on the rescuer. So that’s kind of the normal dynamic here. Now, what a lot of people do is they will think that if you are a rescuer, you are a nice person. And so if I’m coming in saving the day, if I say that there’s this person over here who really needs help and I say, well, just come and live in my house now, they’ve done a nice thing. And I’m not trying to say that isn’t a nice thing, but when they don’t establish any kind of boundaries, that becomes a problem. Because what happens when that person that they said, come on, like, just get away from this terrible situation. You’re on the street, so come live with me or you’re in an abusive situation, so come live with me or whatever. Now what happens when that person won’t do anything? They won’t go get a job, they won’t do anything to further themselves, and they just sort of sit there and leech off resources for the next ten years. This becomes a huge drain on that rescuer. And so then the rescuer becomes hurt and resentful and they just haven’t established boundaries. And so I would offer to you that you don’t have to be without boundaries in order to be nice.

And I think we blend these lines together so much. Reminds reminds me a lot also of this idea that nice guys finish last. And I would offer to you, it’s not that nice guys finish last. It’s that weak guys who are confusing weakness with niceness finish last. Women again, going back to this gender energy, I know I’m going to just probably bury myself on this episode here. But women, when they’re coming from a place of femininity or feminine energy, oftentimes want strength, which makes sense from an evolutionary perspective. You want to be with a guy who can protect you, especially at times when you’re very vulnerable, like pregnancy. If you’re going to have children or offspring, you want to pair with someone that can protect you and that can fight off predators and the bad things out there. So you you’re gravitating to somebody that’s strong and that has a backbone. Now, a lot of times I think that guys will kind of just be, I hate this expression, but they almost act like, act like simps. And I’m saying this as someone who has been in this place before, I just thought, well, I want to be respectful. And when I come from this mindset of being respectful, I end up just kind of doing whatever anybody says. And when I do that, I end up establishing no boundaries for myself. And in so doing, people walk all over me, which in turn translates to I’m just, I’m not just being nice, I’m being weak. You can be nice without being weak.

You can establish boundaries and still do kind things for other people or have a good heart. It’s just that you don’t have to allow them to stomp all over you all the time and utterly destroy all your boundaries. So if you’re in this this mode where this statement resonates with you, this idea that it sucks being taken advantage of and this is always happening to you, but you you don’t want to be a cold-hearted person. If that’s the conflict you’re in, I think you’re off base. I think that you want to take a really hard look at the idea of establishing boundaries. You don’t have to lose niceness. You don’t have to lose kindness in order to be able to protect yourself and to establish certain simple walls, and in many instances, that helps people, you know, go back to that example I was giving a second ago. If you say have a homeless person and you allow this homeless person to come live with you, if I just allow them to live in my house for the rest of time or until I die, that sounds nice, but am I really doing a service to this homeless person? I mean, I’m essentially making them dependent on me. I’m depriving them of the ability to be empowered and to go out and get their own job and support themselves and live a good, fulfilling life. I’m enabling behavior of just leeching. Now, not every homeless person is going to be like that. I’m not trying to say that by any stretch.

I’m simply saying that a lot of times when we’re nice, we’re actually not doing good things or when we say we’re being nice, I should say, but we’re instead just using very poor boundaries. We’re not actually being nice. We’re simply enabling negative and destructive behaviors. And so if you find yourself in that mode and you’re just say you’re utterly depleted all the time, you feel like you’re constantly giving and nobody’s giving back, you know, this could be a poor boundary situation and look really closely, is this weakness? Or is it kindheartedness? Because kindheartedness does not, in and of itself drain you in that way. And so I would offer that if you are thinking that you’re kind-hearted and you’re utterly exhausted from that kind-heartedness, there’s something else going on there. Just take a very careful look at that. You can be kind-hearted and still have boundaries.

Okay, I’m going to leave it there. Those are my two questions for today. I hope that this is useful. I hope that you can kind of find something out of here that you can, at a bare minimum, think through and utilize to make your life a little bit better. That’s going to bring us to the end of today’s show. Don’t forget to sign up for the newsletter on the embuff.com website. So this is also going to bring us a wrap on season three. That’s just like before I’m going to be back. I just need a little break again for various reasons, but I will be returning with more episodes.

I really enjoy doing the podcasting. I hope that you guys find this useful. Remember, keep working on this, in the meantime. You know, go back and study these materials. There’s lots of other sources out there. I’ve got stuff on the embuff.com website. If you haven’t checked out the books, especially the Emotional Embuffination book, please do so. It’s available on in print and both audible and there’s E versions, so please check those out. I’ve got other books, the My Reality Generator journal. There’s stuff on the website and it doesn’t just have to be Emotional Embuffination. There’s lots of other stuff out there that you can do to work on cultivating emotional strength and making your life better, so please continue to work on that stuff, whether the podcast is going or not, just keep moving forward. I mean, this is like I say all the time, this is just like working out. You don’t just do it once and then you say you’re done forever. This is something you continually work on. Same thing is true with Emotional Embuffination. Make it a habit. Make it a practice to continually improve your state, your emotional states, and to continually improve your ability to deal with conflict and struggle. At the end of the day, I want you to become emotionally strong enough to go from saying things like, “The struggle is real,” to saying, “What struggle?” Thank you all for listening. I hope you’ve enjoyed this. Have a great week and a great break up until the next season and I will see you on the next show.