You may have already seen the whiny, complaining videos from Elliot Rodger, the gunman in the recent Santa Barbara shootings. While I'm loath to give posthumous fame to someone who takes out his pain and anger in such a destructive manner, the guy does have a lot to teach about how not to approach the topic of being successful with women.

Unfortunately Elliot never reached out to me for coaching, so I couldn't help him. There are countless other life, dating and confidence coaches on the internet who could also have made a huge difference. Plenty of YouTube videos from dating coaches would have taught him what he needed, had he bothered to put it into practice. I've read somewhere that he was getting professional help at the time of the shooting, but clearly it didn't give him the skills he needed to change his world view or deal with his pain and anger.

If you want to feel sick in the stomach, here's a video I'm going to talk about:

Elliot makes a bunch of obvious mistakes in the way he thinks about his approach to women. Here is a man who has let his dark side, his inner victim if you like, run his life. Part of the reason it makes me feel sick listening to him is that I've made these mistakes in the past too.

So yeah, I can relate. There are days I'd like to go postal too. Fortunately when negative thoughts rear their ugly head from time to time I generally know how to deal with the anger that comes up in a way that isn't hurtful to myself or to other people.

Here are the obvious mistakes I see in this video:

Blaming Girls For His Problems

The world we experience is just a reflection of what's going on in our inner unconscious. Our brain and nervous system are programmed to notice any potential threat or danger, based on our existing world view. That means we're always consciously and unconsciously collecting evidence from the world to support the way we already see our place in it.

If you walk around thinking that women hate you, all you'll notice is the times they don't treat you the way you would like, and you'll interpret that as them hating you. Now that the guy is famous and his YouTube videos have hundreds of thousands of hits, I notice some women commenting that they would have gone out with him even with the obnoxious attitude. Go figure.

If you think women hate you, that's just a projection of your subconscious. The way to fix this is to learn the social skills you need to interact with women, while also healing the pain you still carry from past experiences that haven't gone the way you would have liked.

On an even deeper level, other people hating you is just a projection of inner self-hatred. Heal that, and the world changes for you. In other words Elliot, girls (seem to) hate you because deep down you hate yourself.

Not Taking Responsibility For Himself

This is really just a generalisation of my last point about blaming girls for your problems, but it's worth reiterating because it's so fundamental. There are many aspects of western society that will actively encourage you to avoid taking responsibility for yourself. Advertisers deliberately instil feelings of inadequacy and victim-hood in us so that they can sell us products we don't need to relieve these same painful feelings.

But the BMW only has a temporary and minimal effect. It won't actually make a socially inept man attractive to women. The mass media go along with all this because they want these advertiser's revenue. We're sold a diet of fear and loathing on TV every night where we live vicariously through the lives of characters who do appalling things because their lives are more exciting than most of ours.

People with poor social skills get tagged with labels like “aspergers”. I often wonder what happened to these people in their early life to cause them to relate to other people in the way they do. I'm not convinced it's just genetic because social skills are all learned. We can't even speak when we're first born. Saying you have a genetic, medically diagnosed disorder can become another way to abrogate responsibility for your life.

If people don't relate to you the way you would like, the most powerful way I know of dealing with it is to recognise that the problem is the way you are communicating.

Nice Guy Syndrome

Thinking that being a nice guy and having a flash car will make you attractive to women, and somehow compensate for your lack of interpersonal skills is a serious problem.

Women pay attention to guys who stand out from the crowd and do things that are interesting and appealing to them. Guys who have a bit of “edge”. I gave up a high-paid engineering career to become a writer/actor/musician and it makes a difference to the way women see me. Now I get to explore sides of my character I never encountered in my relatively boring “nice guy” life, and that's much more interesting to the women I meet. Plus the women I meet are a lot more interesting, and even if they hate me I don't care because I've got an awesome life. My YouTube videos actually help people, they don't just complain about how shit my life is because girls hate me.

Posting whiny videos on YouTube about how magnificent you are and blaming women for not noticing doesn't qualify as “having edge”. Ultimately the problem with Nice Guys is they're not actually all that nice: they're manipulative, bitter, resentful and prone to fits of rage given that they don't know how to get their needs met effectively. Elliot is a chilling example.

Not Feeling Worthy

He wants girls so that he can feel worthy of having girls. This is clearly a circular problem. Now it's not really Elliot's fault that he doesn't feel worthy. I don't know enough about his background to say where this stems from in his case, but the usual culprits are dysfunctional family patterns, religious indoctrination and societal/cultural programming that teach us that we're not good enough as we are in some way. Then we go through life with a sense of unworthiness which the rest of the world mirrors back to us until it becomes self-reinforcing.

Women sense this insecurity in a man, and it makes you unattractive. But Elliot's problem wasn't just that he felt unworthy; lots of men suffer from that. His real problem was that he wasn't willing or able to do anything constructive about it. Some dating coaches advocate faking it until you make it, which works for some people: Neil Strauss says that success breeds worthiness. Others teach deep inner healing of past wounds so that the unworthiness goes away and the women that seemed out of reach start becoming available almost magically. It's about finding the approach that works for you and sticking at it until you become successful. Or you can just go shooting innocent people.

Assuming People Should Get What They Deserve

Elliot feels justified in his self-righteous yet fundamentally flawed world view because he's such a great guy and yet women go for slobs and jerks. I can relate because at times I've also felt some anger about the way women say they want a nice guy yet go for guys who are more exciting than average, but there's a massively flawed belief here:

People (should) get what they deserve.

I've put the word should in parentheses, to highlight the fact that any time we use this word, we're engaged in child fantasy thinking not adult reality thinking.

Many religious and justice systems are based on this notion that people should get what they deserve judged by a set of moral values invented by someone else; yet even a cursory glimpse though any part of history will tell you that it's clearly not reality. Not in this universe, anyway. Some murderers do get away with murder. Like Hitler, Elliot Rodger died in the end, but that was the end of their suffering. They aren't burning in hell now just to make us feel better about it all because there is no such place.

Try on some adult thinking based on the the truth:

People get what they have the skills to get.

There is no ultimate moral arbiter out there ensuring that we get what we deserve. The whole notion of worthiness is flawed: the universe doesn't care one way or another about human notions of right or wrong. Morality is all man-made. Some people like to fantasise that there is a judgemental God out there to fulfil the childish fantasy that life should be fair, but this is just a human construct too.

If Elliot felt so unworthy of the women he sought, one solution would have been to invest some time and energy in learning the skills necessary to relate to women in the way he would have liked.

Self Righteousness

Self righteousness is like self-pity: it's an addictive drug. I've been there, and I know how painful the withdrawal process is. But at the end of the day, you've got to ask yourself:

Do I want to be right, or do I want to be happy?

I'd rather be happy, alive and wrong than miserable, dead and right any day.

The irony is that most of our self righteousness is based on fundamentally flawed and often paranoid belief systems, so we end up feeling the hit of moral rectitude when we're actually wrong about the way things are, and since the universe just reflects that back to us we end up reinforcing a self-destructive world view. Throw in a gun culture where the rights of any shooter outweigh the rights of any potential victim and you've got a recipe for self and other-destruction.

The painful irony here was that Elliot was wrong about girls.

Don't make the same mistakes he did.

Graham Stoney

Graham Stoney

I struggled for years with low self-esteem, anxiety and a lack of self-confidence before finding a solution that really worked. I created The Confident Man Program to help other men live the life of their dreams. I also offer 1-on-1 coaching via Skype so if you related to this article contact me about coaching.