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  • 3 Best Ways to Become Manipulation-Proof

    If I had to boil down the most crucial information in my podcasts, this would be it. You need to recognize cunning manipulation tactics when they’re being used on you. Part of that is to strengthen your self-protection. This means deflecting anyone trying to maneuver you. With just three simple steps you can build up the emotional shield that makes it much tougher for others to take advantage of you. Worth doing? You bet. Protection One: Self-Care I just watched a video of a close friend of mine, Professor Carolyn West from the University of Washington, Tacoma. She gave an inspiring talk to the School of Social Work at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She emphasized the essential nature of extreme self-care. You may not work in a field where you’re bombarded with tales of trauma. But if you’re female, you’re likely to be the confidant of others going through different levels of stress and distress. Women are socialized to be nurturers and caregivers. There’s compelling evidence that aspects of this are natural, as women are the givers of life and the source of nutrition and care for children. Most of us are there for each other when any of our family or friends are struggling. If you’re male with a strong protective drive, you may find yourself in a similar situation. People rely on you for council and sympathy when things get difficult. One key component that gets left out of this process is the deep need for the caregiver (and protector) to give themselves time and space for peace, healing, and loving support. If you don’t recharge, you burn may burn out. And there’s more to be considered. Why Protection Step One Matters When we’re stressed and overwhelmed, it impacts our problem-solving skills. Our objectivity diminishes. Our perspective shrinks, with the crisis overtaking most other issues in our minds. Manipulators and predators can sense someone going through turmoil. It’s like a beacon, highlighting someone who can be manipulated. They offer a shoulder to cry on, give practical support, even just notice the struggle. They hope you’ll be so grateful for the sympathy and support you won’t look closely at the source. You won’t ask yourself, “What are they getting out of this?” What they’re getting is space in your life and placing you in their debt, triggering that reciprocity reaction that will make you feel obligated to them. You need to prioritize taking care of yourself on a regular basis. This keeps you from being as dependent upon the “kindness of strangers”. While you may appreciate someone offering compassion and help, you won’t need it to the extent you’ll turn off your brain or place yourself in someone’s debt. Protection Two: Love Yourself Have you watched the film Titanic? In it, Jack (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) is a poor, adventurous artist who wins a ticket on the Titanic, and sets off to a new life. Along the way, he falls for wealthy Rose (Kate Winslet) and has dinner with her and her associates. They do everything they can to make him feel inferior and out of place. And it doesn’t work. He’s so comfortable in his own skin, he doesn’t feel the need to pretend. He just enjoys who he is and the good food available. It makes him even more appealing to Rose. It reminds me of a saying that I often paraphrase from Eleanor Roosevelt, that no one can make you feel inferior without your permission. (This is something males may not understand on the same visceral level). Girls and women are bombarded with information designed to make us feel flawed and self-conscious. Then we’re sold remedies for our problems: clothes, make-up, skincare, shampoo, weight loss remedies and plastic surgery. We’re told only youthfulness and physical beauty make us worthy of being loved. This makes us incredibly vulnerable to manipulation. Early days with an Abuser often involve being examined closely and then prodded with comments and questions. This is done to find out where you feel the most defective and undeserving both physically and in other areas: education, social status, life experience, sophistication, popularity, etc. Then the Abuser will make quips and jokes to draw attention to your shortfalls. He’ll give you long looks and then state admiration for another woman who doesn’t have your defects. He’ll work hard and be unrelenting in first poking you in your tender spots, the areas where you feel substandard, then prying them open until they become gaping wounds. It's important to consistently recognize any tender spots, any areas of self-consciousness and be very wary of someone who draws attention to them, even if they claim their intentions are good. Why Protection Step Two Matters Abusers and manipulators know to focus your attention on areas you feel are lacking. Feeling unworthy, you can be convinced to surrender resources to someone who claims they can fix your flaws. You’ll be excessively grateful to someone who promises to accept you with your defects. All of this focus on your shortfalls will probably make you overlook or undervalue the serious red flags being displayed by the manipulator or Abuser. Do what you can to build up your confidence and accept your lack of perfection. Work on being resilient and not being easily embarrassed. Laugh at yourself. If there’s something that bothers you, carefully seek to fix it. Make sure the remedies are sound and evidence-based. Don’t be enticed by magical solutions – a favorite ploy of manipulators and Abusers. While you’re reducing your weak spots, place most of your attention on your strengths so you’re confident and self-reliant. And take the time to learn the tactics used by Abusers (and manipulators) so you don’t get drawn into a dodgy situation. Protection Three: Shield Your Mind If you’ve listened to the Unmasking the Abuser podcast, you’ve heard me mention this issue. Remaining in control and being less receptive to manipulation requires protecting your brain from content that’s designed to undermine your confidence and make you more malleable. It will send messages to which your brain is receptive (and the media people realize this) that’s destructive to your self-worth, your life choices and your relationships. What’s really scary about social messages is they’re embedded in content all around us. They’re in the stories you watch or read, the news headlines you scan, the narratives and camera time given on award shows. The brain is programmed to pick these up and adjust your beliefs and behavior according to their instructions. It’s part of our primal adaptive mechanism. And it works whether you realize it or not. It works even if you deny it. I often encounter people who believe they can watch content on streaming services with destructive messages and be unaffected. People who commit crimes are either presented sympathetically or featured as the stars of the show. There is a complete disconnect between actions and consequences. None of the heroes or heroines admit to spiritual faith unless they belong to a non-Christian group. Every lifestyle is advocated without examination of its shortfalls or its impact. Anyone who doesn’t blindly follow this narrative is openly bullied by the leads and called mean names. They can only be redeemed if they drop their faith and values and submit. When I mention this to these individuals, they assure me they recognize the attempts to force-feed them social messages that conflict with their values. They’re intelligent and savvy and that’s enough to keep them safe. Yet, when we discuss issues they’re experiencing in their lives, it’s evident many of these ideals have leaked through. As they rationalize their influenced choices, I’ve heard some quote some of the scripted lines I recognize from the content of these shows, films and social media sites. Oops! These people aren’t stupid. They simply don’t understand the main factor that’s necessary for the success of widely distributed social messages. It’s exposure. The more often you’re exposed to certain values, types of relationships, and scripted excuses for wrong behavior, the more your brain will first normalize and then accept these as true. It works that way for all of us, regardless of our level of intelligence. Why Protection Step Three Matters What can be done to combat social messages that are designed to erode your values and literally “sell” you on attitudes and principles that won’t lead to your best life? Be cautious in what you watch and read. Limit your exposure to award programs that literally shower accolades on people who attempt to indoctrinate you. Find content from people who share your values and put your attention on them. In my book, Fascination with the Devil: Why Women Love Emotionally Dangerous Men, I lay out some simple guidance for better relationships. Relationships that last and where all sides are respected and cherished. I wrote this because it’s necessary. Learn what works well, and do that. And protect your mind from harmful propaganda. Good luck! #DrDinaMcmillan #AbusiveRelationships #Manipulation #FascinationwiththeDevil

  • Abusive Relationships – The First 30 Days

    It’s easy to find information and discussions about abusive relationships. It’s a popular topic. These usually advise paying attention to excessive jealousy, possessiveness or frequent anger in a new relationship. A crucial aspect of prevention, however, is offering insights into how abusive relationships are created. Recognizing these moves can be the key to remaining safe. Abuse Doesn’t Just Happen It’s rare for a normal relationship to transform into an abusive relationship. In the few cases I’ve witnessed, the causes included a brain tumor, having an affair and wanting a divorce, and addiction to drugs, gambling or pornography. I didn’t find someone suddenly changing into a monster simply because a crisis occurred. We can’t predict everything someone else will do. People may become erratic when their life circumstances become challenging. Breakups can be emotionally caustic and ugly. But in most cases, abusive relationships are significantly, noticeably different from the start. Smart from the Start When meeting someone new, it’s crucial to observe everything, not just the pleasant parts. While the Abuser wears that ‘nice guy’ mask, there are red flags a discerning person can learn to spot. If you recognize any, don’t rationalize away their importance or ignore them. And don’t believe any smooth explanations offered to placate you. Abusers move quickly to establish trust, forge a strong emotional bond and gain control. There’s some variation – some Abusers move faster than others. But there are some that are likely to appear in the first days of an abusive relationship. You’ll notice some moves can be misinterpreted as positive, passionate and a sign someone is really into you. That’s why this warning is necessary. Weaving the Web In most cases, Abusers pretend to be a great catch. They have to get someone to enter an imbalanced relationship where they’ll be emotionally, psychologically and perhaps even physically harmed on a regular basis. Truth in advertising would leave Abusers lonely. They don’t want to be lonely. But they’ll only accept a relationship on their own terms. By late teens, Abusers have a range of well-practiced moves to appeal to targets within their preference group. These scripted lines and behaviours are repeated like a choreographed dance every time they draw someone into a new relationship. Fast and Furious The Abuser’s behavior is all about intensity. They know how much the brain – and heart – love intensity. You should understand it, too. Whether good or bad, being with someone who provokes strong feelings and arouses primal drives gives the Abuser a huge advantage. By primal drives I mean the Abuser stirs powerful urges. This can be any of the four F’s – fight, flight, food or fornication. Get someone emotionally and primally aroused and good sense takes a distant back seat. Someone who makes you angry, then you desire them, then they make you happy has enormous power. If they also feed you a great meal, you’re really in trouble. Abusers are also moody and unpredictable. This is partly their psychological issues and repressed rage. Yet, it’s also intentional. Their aim is to keep their new target uneasy and off-balance. It’s a way of establishing control and domination. Most Abusers know being unpredictable is more enticing than being safe and conventional. The bond created by this rollercoaster is robust and often lasting. I hate the fact intensity builds bonds in ways moderation doesn’t touch. Your brain isn’t always your friend. You need to find ways to add healthy intensity to a stable relationship, so you get the benefits without the terrible costs that come with attachment to an Abuser. Strategic Use of Early Tactics Abusers understand they’re on the clock. They have to get their target to commit to the relationship before the Abuser’s twisted psychology and unreasonable demands become impossible to hide. They also rush because they’re incredibly uncomfortable with a partner who can defy their will or say, “No”. The success of Abusers’ strategy relies on their willingness to deceive and manipulate, skillful application of effective tactics, and basic understanding of the human mind. It doesn’t require academic intelligence. Devious cunning, twisted psychology, and years of practice provide the necessary ingredients to push through your defenses. All it takes for it to work is for you to remain unguarded. Tactic One: Testing and Training In the first 30 days, consider everything the Abuser does as part of their Testing and Training strategy. They need to test you to establish how far they can push your boundaries. And they have to train you to submit. Basic operant conditioning is used here, punishment and reward. The carrot and the stick. Gaining authority helps it work. In my Unmasking the Abuser TED talk, I mention the most often-used choreographed moves to do this – if he’s not already your boss, your professor or someone in a position above you. Unmasking the abuser | Dina McMillan | TEDxCanberra ( An Abuser will test to see how much you’ll accommodate them. They may start by changing the time, day or location of your first in-person meet at the last minute. Whether or not the Abuser plays that game, they’ll often try to take control by deciding where you’ll both sit in the venue. They’ll have a rational reason for their preference, so you’ll be tempted to comply. Then they may suggest a drink or food for you to try. No big deal, right? Yet, if allowed to take command in these small ways, your brain is quickly going to classify the Abuser as a legitimate authority. Keep going and in a short while you’ll do whatever you’re told without hesitation. The Abuser knows – even if  you don’t – God’s in the details and the Devil’s in the fine print. The fine print here says the more you give in, the more authority the Abuser gains. And it works quickly. Once you give in, the training starts. Compliance gets rewarded: compliments, warm looks, promises. Resist or hesitate, you’ll be punished. This includes coldness, ignoring you, criticism, admiring other women. You’ll get the message. Do whatever the Abuser asks and have a great time. Resist or show defiance and this could be your worst date ever. During the first 30 days, variations on these maneuvers will be reused as often as possible until the Abuser is assured of control. Unrelenting Continue seeing the Abuser and you’ll be contacted constantly. You might think it’s romantic. But it’s texts and calls throughout the day and into the night, even when you have something important the following day. The Abuser uses the Marathoning tactic, making each encounter last as long as possible. Nightly catchups are especially important. You’ll be persuaded to reveal things while exhausted that you’d hesitate to admit in the cold light of day. They may get you to promise things without sufficient time to reflect. Your loved ones may notice this new person seems to be all over your life in a very short time. They’re right to be concerned. The artificial intimacy that’s created by frequent contact and prolonged talks is actually a type of cognitive distortion. It’s not real or reliable. That person is still a stranger. The Abuser will also start using the ‘fairy tale lure’, promising you a wonderful future. It doesn’t have to be marriage. It can start with promised gift, a trip away or something to help you financially. The critical part is getting you emotionally invested in something that’s hasn’t happened yet. This mentally and emotionally places this stranger at the center of your future – a powerful influence mechanism. Aiming to Please – and Tease Abusers also use love bombing. This involves showering you with compliments, declaring how special and unique you are. Telling you this feeling is new or this secret has never been revealed. Clever Abusers use compliments based on your genuine assets or things you want to believe are true about yourself. The Abuser wants to make you feel good and crave more of what’s being offered. You need to want it enough to answer overly familiar questions that make you uncomfortable. You have to rationalize away excessive persistence. You have overlook anger and moodiness, and accept the Abuser’s excuses. Keeping you off-balance is key. Perhaps you’ve had a lot of failed relationships, or your job’s mundane, or you haven’t travelled. The Abuser will ask about these and seem disappointed, perhaps mentioning an Ex who’s celebrated in the areas you’re lacking. Abusers draw attention to your every flaw and mistake. Mispronounce a word, don’t know something and the Abuser will tease you or give you a smug look or bring it up repeatedly. They know a self-conscious target is easier to manipulate, so they’ll do whatever possible to increase your insecurities. Falling in Love Abusers don’t just want control. They need their partner to fall in love. These tactics can do that in spite of your resistance. If you get upset, the Abuser will return to love bombing and add “You and Me Against the World”. This includes big, romantic gestures and declaring the world revolves around the two of you as a couple. The Abuser often tries to do splashy things in public, so your family, friends or work colleagues say you’re. You and Me against the world sounds ideal. It’s the foundation of fairy tales and chick-flicks. In this case, the Abuser declares no one loves you as much, demands all of your time and attention, and pitches a fit if you want to socialize alone. You’ll be contacted endlessly with demands of immediate response. Soon you’ll be told what to say, do, eat, wear, how to spend your money, and what to support. Any objections or disobedience results in punishment, even this early. It won’t be physical. It will be promises broken, lack of contact, mean comments. It’s all too much too soon. Too many compliments, too many gifts and promises, too much talk about the future, too many demands on your time. There’s also moodiness, pushing against your boundaries, frequent anger, jealousy, control. There are comments and criticisms that make you feel unworthy mixed with efforts to make you euphoric. It’s overwhelming. Your intuition will warn you. Will you listen? #DrDinaMcmillan #AbusiveRelationships #Abusers #FascinationwiththeDevil #DomesticViolence

  • The Secret Relationship Superpower - Integrity

    I’ve been working in the relationship field for quite a while. One thing that happens so often I can almost set my watch by it is I’m asked to boil down complex concepts into a single soundbite. People ask me for the one thing they can do right away to put whatever I’ve been teaching into action. That’s tough to do. After all I teach about avoiding abusive relationships, ending attraction to emotionally broken men, having a better life. They seem different on the surface. But there’s one underlying principle and skill that helps enormously with all of it. Integrity. That doesn’t mean integrity is always highlighted or even mentioned in the research I read. It’s often hidden in the descriptions or alluded to but not spoken about outright. In some ways it’s treated like a powerful secret that should only be whispered. Yet, integrity is the one thing that underlies every fundamental relationship or personal growth approach that demonstrate strong, lasting results. It’s such a core concept you can think of it as another superpower, something that will set you apart from the crowd and improve your life across the board, personally and professionally. Integrity – from Theory to Application According to Oxford Languages, having integrity means, “the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles”. That’s nice but difficult to translate into practical information that can be used in your life. When I use the term “integrity” I mean saying what you’ll do, and then doing what you say. It definitely includes a foundation of truthfulness and honesty. But in application it’s a simple credo by which to live your life. How does it help? Having integrity assists you by increasing the trust others have of you. If you become a person of your word, you no longer have to yell, or threaten, or count to ten or else. Those around you know you won’t say you’ll do something unless you’re willing and able to back it up. You won’t declare a course of action, you won’t promise, unless you’re willing to move heaven and earth to manifest it. Integrity is a subtle superpower because it allows you to be softer and still demonstrate strength. You can use a reasonable tone of voice. In fact, a reasonable tone is recommended because it shows more personal potency than shouting. Say if you do this, then this will be the consequence. Once you have integrity, the people around you will believe it. Gaining Integrity In the last chapter of Fascination with the Devil, we cover the necessary steps to fundamentally improve your romantic taste. That requires real change. Transforming yourself is very difficult without integrity. Because the most important person to believe you when you say something is you. I wish all aspects of personal growth were as simple to implement as integrity. It only requires small steps, and anyone can do it. The first step is a simple decision that you are always responsible for how you respond to the people and circumstances in your life. Then you take the second step, deciding you’re going to be a person of your word because nothing else is as important. You’ll be upfront and say what you’ll do, then do what you say. Always and without excuses. What this means is that if you’ve told your family you’ll bring home some fruit and milk, and you get to the front door and realize you forgot, you don’t even stop. It’s okay to put your purse inside and perhaps change into comfortable clothes and shoes. Then you immediately go back out and get what you promised to bring home. If dinner is on the table, tell them to put a plate in the oven. No justifications, no rationalizations, even if they say they won’t mind if you delay. You said you’d do it, so you do it. You don’t have to tell anyone you’re building your personal integrity. In fact, it’s best kept to yourself. You don’t want anyone else’s energy on your efforts, especially those who would doubt you or try to discourage or undermine you. And you keep going. You become really careful and thoughtful before you promise to do anything at home or at work. You know if you say it, you’ll have follow through and complete the task. This is a core strength you’re building in yourself. It matters more than pleasing a boss or impressing your kids. Every time you keep your word, even if the commitment was only internally made to yourself, your confidence will grow. Your trust in yourself will build. Other people will begin trusting you, too, even if they can’t put their finger on why they believe you whenever you say something. Gaining integrity is simple to do and it usually doesn’t take a great deal of time before it starts to set in. I won’t claim it’s easy, because if personal integrity is new to you, it may be challenging at first. And consistency is key. You’ll have to stop yourself from slipping into your old ways, whether that’s making excuses for not following through, or allowing someone to get away with something when you told them you’d hold them fully accountable. If you slip up, that’s okay. Tell yourself you’re just not there yet. And start again. Integrity is something anyone and everyone can possess. The Rewards of Inegrity Having integrity is worth it. Even without considering anyone else, if you have personal integrity you can coach yourself through difficult tasks or gain new skills by telling yourself, “You’ve got this.” Just like everyone else, you’ll believe in yourself when you declare something. With integrity you’ll be viewed as someone genuine, moral and trustworthy. Reliable, dependable, honest will also be words used to describe you. You can imagine how your professional profile will improve if those who work with you describe you this way. It will give your kids, even if they’re teenagers, a solid role model to follow. Your partner will admire you for it, and know that you’re not someone who will accept poor treatment or betrayal. You’ll also become less tolerant of people without integrity. In this case, intolerance is actually a good thing. One of the key aspects across the various types of emotionally dangerous men is low integrity. They cannot be trusted. Either they deceive in order to cheat on their partner, they manipulate through promises they never intend to honor, or they exploit other people’s emotions or past histories to get their way. These are all behaviors people of integrity don’t do. The more you build your integrity, the wider the gap will become between you and any type of emotionally dangerous man. My only point of caution here is as you build your integrity, keep your eyes open. Don’t believe other people will keep their word just because you do. Pay attention to see if they keep their word about small things. Those without integrity on small matters won’t have integrity about big ones. You don’t have to dislike them or reject them. You just don’t trust them to follow through and don’t rely on their integrity for anything that’s important to your life. If you’re following me on my website because you’re looking for a better relationship, trying to emotionally leave a disastrous relationship behind, or even advising someone else, know that integrity is a key factor in what we’re doing. All of the best relationships have mutual integrity as a cornerstone in their foundation. Bad relationships don’t. I want you to have the best relationships possible, personal and professional. #DrDinaMcmillan #TheSecretRelationshipSuperpower #Integrity #FascinationwiththeDevil

  • How to Attract an Alpha Male

    I’ve spent a lot of time in my career helping women lose their attachment to destructive men. In my new book, Fascination with the Devil: Why Women Love Emotionally Dangerous Men, we go over the stops to do this in detail. I even finish the book with realistic tips to help women lose their attraction to the kind of men who break their hearts. Reading the book, you’ll learn how cultural norms teach women that bad men can be transformed by a good woman. If you believe it, you’ll probably reinforce this myth in your own mind. You’ll continue telling yourself and everyone else that wanting hurtful men is just how you love. In your heart, you’ll expect to be able to change him no matter how broken he is or how destructive. That common love myth is a complete deception. It’s pushed generations of women into an abyss of endless heartache. If you’re smart, you’re ready to move past those limiting beliefs and behaviors. But to what kind of man? You need a clear idea because nature abhors a vacuum. It’s not fair to teach you how to stay away from bad guys without giving you a clear, realistic path towards the kind of man who should take his place. If you’re looking for a lasting, passionate relationship with a man you can respect, love and trust, then you want a True Alpha Male. Let’s be clear what I mean by this. An Alpha Male Most people realize the term ‘alpha’ describes someone at the top, the pinnacle, the best. I began studying them years ago because I wanted to identify the category of men who are the most desirable and the least risky life partners for women. Please don’t rely on Google to find information on these guys. I actually looked to see what it says about alpha males. First up is advice that Alpha Males love to be listened to and praised, and want a woman with an impressive fashion sense. True Alpha Males are the optimal males. They’re capable, confident, and natural leaders. They’re self-reliant enough not to need excessive compliments or batting eyelashes. Most aren’t superficial enough to care about your fashion sense, especially if it means it takes you two hours to get dressed and you won’t go anywhere without a thick layer of makeup. Google definitely has this wrong. Not All Created Equal I’ll admit there are two types of Alpha Males. There’s a type of male I label the Alpha Imitator. This is the kind of guy who’s very determined, confident, and is often very accomplished. He’s not shy and speaks his mind. Other guys look up to him because he commands attention. He stands his ground and can be protective of what he believes and those he supports. The Alpha Imitator is also arrogant and willing to exploit others to get what he wants. He’s usually promiscuous and views women as objects to serve and please him. His flexible moral code doesn’t just show up in his sex life, where conquest of a range of partners is his way of proving his virility to other men. These guys often cut corners in business and will do whatever they can get away with if they can see a possible profit. The Alpha Imitator wants a partner who’s a trophy and whom he dominates completely. So your fashion sense and ability to do professional-level makeup probably would be a requirement here. He would also expect to be treated with constant praise if not outright awe. He’d see it as his due. Also evident would be a sense of ownership of his female sex partners and their acceptance of his moral double standard. That misogyny you may have feared when I mentioned ‘masculine’ earlier is a fixed component of the Alpha Imitator. My work in Fascination with the Devil isn’t designed to lead you to an Alpha Imitator. In fact, a good portion of the book covers men who constantly cheat – including Alpha Imitators. A man who cheats on his wife and partner will also swindle and deceive in other areas of his life. These are the kinds of emotionally dangerous men you need to steer clear of at all costs, no matter how charming they may be or what sort of bribes they offer for your attention. Their ultra-selfishness and lack of personal accountability will always turn against you. As for sexuality, an Alpha Imitator will not only be disloyal, he probably won’t even hide his infidelity. He’d expect you to accept it in return for the status of being his partner. I don’t care who you are, you can do better. A True Alpha Male is an honorable man who bonds strongly with his partner. He’s careful in his choice because once he commits he’s all in. Some of the advice I give, the part that seems a little conservative, is because I want you to be compatible with a True Alpha Male. If you need the ego stroke of being desired by multitudes of random men, if you dress to signal your sexual availability far and wide, you’ll make a True Alpha hesitate. He’s trustworthy and wants a woman he can trust in return. Alphas in Relationships While both the True Alpha and the Alpha Imitator are confident, masculine and highly capable, there are two traits that differentiate them like oil and water. Selfishness and personal integrity. It doesn’t take long to figure out the Alpha Imitator is extremely selfish. He’ll do a lot, but only if he receives public acclaim and perhaps financial rewards for his efforts. His ego is huge and anything he does for others comes with an expectation of unending applause. He brags a lot, something a True Alpha doesn’t feel the need to do. Imitators also have no personal integrity. An Imitator will follow the rules only if getting caught is likely and would be expensive. They won’t do anything that would interfere with their desire to expand their territory, their kingdom. They’ll break the rules, but always with a plan to avoid accountability if caught. On the other hand, a True Alpha does what’s right and fair even if no one sees him. He thinks about the consequences of his actions. Unlike the Imitator, he has the ability to empathize with other people, and considers what life is like for others, including his partner. He’s highly protective of others, especially anyone vulnerable, even when no one is around to give him an award for protecting those in need. I meet a lot of men in my work. A good number of them have been True Alphas (thank goodness). They have strong principles that stand behind, but I’ve not met one who’s a misogynist or who believes in bullying others because he doesn’t share their values. They have critical thinking, though, so they’re not as easy-going as Beta Males, who usually follow the crowd and support whatever’s on trend. A True Alpha Male will say no, tell you why, and won’t back down because his viewpoint is currently unpopular. How to Attract a True Alpha Male You probably expected was going to be a “but” somewhere. The issue here is that aTrue Alpha Male wants a partner who’s compatible. I mentioned in the last blog that I’ll be hosting online courses to teach how to attract and keep one of these men. True Alpha Males have high standards. If you try to get away with some of the things your toxic Ex accepted, you’ll lose him, or he just won’t commit to you. True Alpha Males want women with boundaries, standards, confidence and competence. They don’t expect you to be skilled in the same ways as they are, and will appreciate the differences. Most are protective and want to do things for you. In return, they want a woman who isn’t afraid to be affectionate, supportive, nurturing. They’re seeking a partner who needs them and helps give them a sense of purpose without being clingy or desperate. If that’s making you wince a little, I’m sorry about that. But men who are comfortable with their masculinity usually want women who are comfortable with their femininity. That doesn’t mean they’re looking for submissive women who just do whatever they’re told. They’d be bored by that and wouldn’t trust it. They want a woman with a mind of her own and things she’s passionate about and enjoys. They’ll treat their woman with respect and will demand she respect them, as well. If that still bugs you, think about the whole package and consider the alternatives. And here’s another little point. A True Alpha Male will appeal to you on a primal level. When you meet one, he may not even be your type. He certainly won’t match the emotionally dangerous man you left behind. But your hormones and pheromones will start singing. This is the kind of man worth keeping. #DrDinaMcmillan #HowToAttractAnAlphaMale #AlphaMale #FascinationwiththeDevil

  • Why Do Women Like Toxic Men?

    I’m sure you’ve asked yourself this question. Why do women like toxic men? You may even have asked why do I like toxic men? Why can’t I be attracted to a guy who’s strong, loving and loyal? Why do only bad boys give me that rush, make my heart accelerate and my mouth go dry? Why is it only heartbreakers who fill my fantasies? If you’re reading this, you’re not alone. I published my recent book for a reason, and called it Fascination with the Devil: Why women love emotionally dangerous men (Ocean Reeve Publishing, 2023). The book walks you through the many reasons the wrong men can be appealing to many of us. It leaves you with effective instructions to fundamentally change your taste. I’m going to offer some online courses that take you step-by-step through the process to increase your chances of success. In the meantime, let’s explore a few of the main reasons women like toxic men. When these relationship end they wonder want kind of mind fog possessed them. Because they want a decent guy, don’t they? Why Do Women Like Toxic Men-Reason One: The Brain, Part 1 The first reason many women are drawn to toxic men is their brain. The human brain loves intensity.[i] You can tell this by studies measuring attraction levels of strangers put together on roller coasters and other adrenaline-rich activities. Even though the increased heart rate was driven by fear and speed and gravity, people tended to be more sexually attracted to whatever viable partner participated with them. Another factor. There’s a great deal of uncertainty when dealing with toxic men. Research shows intermittent, unpredictable rewards weave a stronger, more resilient emotional bond than reliable rewards.[ii] This works in both humans and other animals. As a result, a man who’s predictably moderate and nice will not be as immediately alluring as one who’s affectionate one day and cold the next, with no clear reason for the switch. If you haven’t figured it out yet from these examples, your brain is not necessarily your friend. And since your brain interprets what you see, hear, smell, taste, touch and desire, you should know it’s inclined to lead you astray. Why Do Women Like Toxic Men-Reason One: The Brain, Part 2 Another powerful driver for wanting toxic men is reinforcement. Reinforcement simply means an action that increases the probability that a desired behavior will occur or recur. The link with toxic men and bad relationships is reinforced by you. This is something you can’t blame on other people. These are thoughts accepted within your own head and words that come out of your own mouth. If you’re emotional when you think or say them, it’s like underlining everything and putting it in ALL CAPS. “Bad boys are more fun!” In my career I’ve heard that hundreds of times. Usually spoken by a woman who’s been in tears a short while before and is seeking help to get through another dark night of the soul. Maybe it’s just me, but heart-splitting agony and betrayal don’t look like fun to me. I don’t share this insight with those who are still hurting because it will be interpreted as blame, and that’s not helpful. But I’d be less than honest if I didn’t admit to you the importance of not reinforcing poor decision-making, claiming it as a part of your personality, even bragging about it when you’ve had some wine. In the realm of the brain, what you claim you keep, especially if you coat it in strong feelings. If you want to move past bad relationships and toxic men, monitor what you say about them in your head. Be careful what you say. Consider it something that you used to do. Destructive Social Norms Your childhood is in the past, but the Beauty and the Beast archetype is alive and well. It’s too easy to find modern examples of romantic stories where the hero is strong but cruel, hypersexual and promiscuous. Once he realizes he loves the heroine, he’s able to turn his back on his wicked ways. The film Crazy, Stupid Love perfectly captures this with Ryan Gosling’s character. Remember what I said about reinforcement a few paragraphs ago? Watching any content where the lead male is toxic just wakes up those subconscious beliefs and gives them new life. Start editing what you watch, read, listen to and promote. Resistance I have a close friend who’s bright, attractive, ambitious, personable. She also has the worse taste in men of anyone I know. If she’s so bright, why is her taste so bad? Her taste is due to her being incredibly resistant. Every time her current rattlesnake mean, hyper-selfish user was kicked to the curb, she’d spend endless hours going over all of his faults. At this point, she always had laser focus. Yet, as soon as she met another guy, she’d do the exact same thing that led to her involvement and heartbreak with her previous Exes. She never seemed to learn. Does this mean women are stuck? Are you permanently wired to like toxic men? Of course not. But if you’ve been involved with one or more toxic men for any length of time, invite new learning and change. You have to learn to spot them early and do what it takes to avoid them like it really matters. Because it does. Where to Go from Here Spotting and avoiding toxic men is something I teach women to do. I talk about it in my book, Fascination with the Devil: Why women love emotionally dangerous men. I’m also going to teach brief online courses on how to do this, making it simple and effective. I’ll give you another clue about what’s required. You have to alter your romantic fixed action patterns. These are sets of behaviors you repeat whenever you feel something strongly. Like arguing with that sibling who always pushes your buttons, even when you swore you’d keep your cool. The stimulus appears and your mind pushes an automatic response. And oops, you’ve done it again. We tend to do it romantically, too, acting in a certain way whenever we feel sexually attracted to someone. Disrupting it is a fairly simple process. Not necessarily easy, but simple. You have to catch yourself when you go into a heightened state whether it’s driven by anger or sexual arousal. Pay close attention to how you feel. You can even practice by visualizing realistic scenarios and allowing yourself to become immersed in the experience. In my in-person sessions we role play to really bring this to life. Then you have to disrupt that automatic response by throwing a circuit breaker in – a sentence, a behavior, a planned action.[iii] The important thing is to retain control and keep your rational mind in charge, not the primal part of your brain that wants to jump on the guy with the dreamy eyes and the long line of babies’ mamas. In Conclusion This doesn’t mean you’re doomed to be single for life. But if you’re someone whose taste runs to passionate men who take you for granted, who cheat and disrespect you and demand their way in all things, bland and safe won’t do it for you. I’m sorry, but that’s that unfortunate bad news. The good news is there’s another type of man who’s the best of both worlds. That’s the True Alpha Male. My next blog will describe these guys in more detail, but let me say here that True Alpha Males are strong, exciting and have natural leadership ability. They have a deep sense of duty and personal accountability. They bond strongly and passionately to their partners. These men are natural leaders and confident enough to have firm boundaries. They’re also protective and are usually warm and loving. They also have high standards so you won’t get away with some of the things your toxic man let slide, either because he was emotionally dysfunctional and found melodrama sexy, or because he had so much going on with other women he couldn’t be bothered to object. You can decide to choose better, to be better. You can have the passionate, intense relationship you desire, and with someone you can also trust and love and keep for the long term. Let’s keep discussing how to make this a reality. [i] McKinney, K. (2011). The Effects of Adrenaline on Arousal and Attraction. Scholars: McKendree University Online Journal of Undergraduate Research, 17; Chattel, A. (2015). “When it Comes to Romance, Science Has Good News for Adrenaline Junkies,” in MIC. When It Comes to Romance, Science Has Good News for Adrenaline Junkies ( [ii] Graham, C. (2022). Demystifying Toxic Romantic Relationships: Identifying Behaviors and Post-Breakup Outcomes. Arizona State University ProQuest Dissertations Publishing; Hazel, L., Barker, L. and Pronin, E. (2023) “Playing Hard-to-Get: A New Look at an Old Strategy,” in The Journal of Sex Research, 60:3, 368-383, [iii] Cialdini, R. (2021). Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion – New and Expanded. Harper Business Publishers. #DrDinaMcmillan #WhyDoWomenLikeToxicMen #toxicmen #FascinationwiththeDevil #OceanReevePublishing

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