I could have been Elliot Rodger

I could have been Elliot Rodger

By now I’m sure all of you have heard of the shooting in Santa Barbara this past Friday by the deranged gunman Elliot Rodger. He was a sexually frustrated 22-year old virgin who took out his aggression on the 6 people he killed that tragic day. Before the shooting, he recorded this haunting video:

Ever since I hit puberty, I’ve been forced to endure an existence of loneliness, rejection, and unfulfilled desires all because girls have never been attracted to me. Girls gave their affection, and sex, and love to other men, but never to me … In those years I had to rot in loneliness; it’s not fair.

Many of you may be able to silently relate to the things he says on some level. A huge portion of those seeking help from the PUA community have been through many of these same frustrations. I know I certainly used to. I used to feel frustrated and angry because I felt powerless. I saw myself as a victim. I felt sorry for myself. I was angry at the world. I even tried to kill myself.

And somewhere within the depths of my deeply disturbed mind, I wanted to take others with me – those that have “wronged” me by denying me the intimacy I so craved.

I used to think the exact same things Elliot Rodger thought. Every heterosexual man has a deep and intense desire to connect with women in a genuine way, but many of us distort our own interpretations of these desires through patriarchal social programming that tells us that we deserve to have hot women begging to suck our dicks. I was no different all those years ago.

In his 141-page manifesto, he wrote, “All I ever wanted was to love women, and in turn to be loved by them back.”

Looking back at how I once was, I am deeply disturbed. I could have been Elliot Rodger. I could have let my own self-absorbed views take me over to follow a similar path. In fact I almost did.

However, Rodger and I took different paths after making fundamentally different choices. When I found out about the PUA community, I chose to make a change for myself through the intense journey of self-improvement and self-discovery that it offered. I realized that where there was a will, there was a way. I focused on changing myself. When Rodger found out about the PUA community, he chose to remain hateful of those who achieved the success he desired because he was absolutely convinced that his fate was decided by others.

Now, I’m not here to spout the predictable “This shit could have been prevented if he learned from us” rhetoric that other PUAs have preached. While this rhetoric is somewhat true, it doesn’t address the core of the matter.

On the surface, PUA techniques just look like a bunch of manipulative methods to further objectify women and continue to trap men into the belief that their self-worth is based on the number of women they sleep with. Many of us break through this surface to see the real depth PUA stuff can offer, but a guy like Rodger could not have been fixed with just a few lessons. It comes to me as no surprise that he chose the PUA-Hate side of things.

All of us PUAs know about the PUA-Hate website. It’s a forum dedicated to self-victimizing and criticizing the PUA community for its many flaws, as well as for its many philosophical differences from those who self-victimize.

Many of their criticisms are legitimate. The online marketing many of our “gurus” partake in are less than honorable, to say the least. As an experienced seduction teacher (yet a highly inexperienced marketer) myself, I’ve played around with a couple of these conscienceless marketing practices, too. However, I stand firm by the things I actually teach, and I believe that the differences between what I teach and what most other PUAs teach can mean the difference between turning out to be a misogynistic, entitled, self-serving sex addict who still retains most of the internal issues Elliot Rodger suffered from, and a mature man who seeks something greater than himself through genuine connections with women.

Our entire society and the representative surface of the PUA community send very problematic messages to young people as they develop their world views. These messages tell us that men are women are locked in some sort of gender war or, at the very least, that they’re living in different worlds. They tell us that a person’s value is entirely based on the attention and affection that the opposite gender gives them. They tell us that beautiful women are trophies to be won instead of human beings that we can relate to on so many levels.

If we all worked together to change these messages, the Elliot Rodgers of the world wouldn’t have to end up so fucked up in the head. However, it’s not a simple matter of sending all these troubled boys to PUA school. At the same time, it’s not a simple matter of condemning the behaviors of someone like Elliot Rodger and telling men to focus on how their actions hurt other people while pointing the finger of blame just at misogyny. Both are steps that will help people, but it’s not enough.

Allowing men to learn how to make themselves more attractive and pointing the finger of blame at misogyny is a good place as any to start, but we can do better than that. Before we even prioritize those solutions above anything else, we need to take a step back and address the epidemic of the external locus of control and the culture of ego.

If Elliot Rodger and I were so similar to begin with, why did he end up killing people and himself while I ended up a pretty successful PUA who tries to shove feminism down the throats of other PUAs?

For one thing, I never let my external locus of control get the better of me when push came to shove. When I hit rock bottom, I let an internal locus of control take its place. I allowed myself to believe that I could change not only my circumstances, but that I could and should do so through changing myself.

That “changing myself” part is a huge distinction that many people forego when it comes to taking matters into their own hands. That’s where the culture of ego comes in. Your ego will tell you that you are perfect just the way you are, that you don’t need to change yourself, and that the world needs to change to adapt to you. Putting your ego aside opens up the floodgates of self-discovery and improvement, and allows you to see and achieve your own boundless potential. Adopting an internal locus of control while holding on to ego can still result in a shooting; that’s what Rodger did. He took matters into his own hands by actually doing something besides feeling sorry for himself, but it was his ego that stopped him from making an internal change. Instead he made a tragic external change by taking others’ lives.

The messages we need to start drilling into people’s heads while they’re growing up in our society should not only include a propagation of an internal locus of control, but also to practice the shedding of our own egos, to think of solutions through a lens of self-change. It’s not enough to simply empower our youth; we must also make them realize that they themselves must “be the change they wish to see in the world,” as Gandhi said.

From that fundamental mental starting point, learning pickup and compassion for women will lead a man to the real love and connection he so craves while giving women the same freedom to do so.

If only Elliot could have seen these deeper lessons from the PUA community before dismissing it entirely.

R.I.P. to all the victims of this horrible tragedy.

Michael Chief

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  1. This is a great piece of writing. Upon meeting you years ago, I could see your good and genuine heart off the bat. I believe the gender roles that popular culture presents to us are a bastardization of what relationships between people can actually be, and my more cynical thoughts suggest that it is on purpose to breed disfunction and unhappiness. At a point in my life I realized that I had to find role models outside of Hollywood or I was going to be crazy. Those characters are not full people. Talking about these things honestly with actual humans is the best and maybe only way to really be able to understand where one fits in with the whole scheme. What kind of man are you?? What kind of woman am I?? When talking with you I learned a lot regarding the female side of the equation, truths about the way men & women think that have helped me love and accept men and their quirkiness in my life, AND to realize what my first reactions to situations might be provoked by. In the end it’s hard for me to believe that some people can be so full of hate… what this young man has done is beyond disgraceful.

  2. Frankly, I think part of the problem is that a lot of guys that teach pick up hate their old self and are appauled at who they were, so when they finally strike that right balance (that for some of us, including myself, a pick up coach YEARS) they might say “I was an AFC and now I’m a PUA” yet, they really never divulge themselves completely probably because they fear they will be attacked or their old “afc” selves will rub off on them.

    And I agree with PUA Hate at one level, a lot of it is gimmick, hype and fluff. Who the fuck REALLY believes a goldfish will get you laid?

    We (as marketers) have to make this shit look easy or else it will scare off a lot of potential clients, yet, that works out in the clients detriment because they don’t understand what it’s REALLY like to be a cowboy out in that field.

    I recently dropped out of the pick up artist community marketing because I felt that in order to become marketable, I had to bury the truth behind some “goldfish” gimmick. Now, I am doing things my own way, have no problem admitting that I’ve still got a long way to go before I’m legitimate James Bond and if the long answer is what it takes to get it into these guys heads than that’s what I’ll give.

    Breaks my heart that Elliot has had his heart broken to this extent.

    Breaks my heart that we live in a world where one rumor about you or one awkward statement out of the usual can get you blacklisted.

    And the only way you’re going to survive it all is being a fucking cowboy and being willing to drop anyone out of your life that doesn’t benefit your purpose.

    It sucks we live in a world where women don’t say what they really mean or that guys feel like they have to act like gay, finicky women just to get acceptance from women.

    This is the world we live in, so we turn as many women our way, even if it’s just for a night or 2, befriend other cowboys who feel the same way about life as you and we live our lives with purpose.

    If you’re a PUA and you’re reading this, go as deep inside of yourselves to offer your soul when dealing with these guys, even if it makes you look a little “soft” and “weak” because it just might prevent something like this from happening again.

  3. thenumberjuggler says:

    This is the best analysis I have read. Most PUAs have pissed me off with the whole “we could have saved him” malarky. Oh well why didn’t you then?, he clearly knew about PUA, he talks about being Alpha and acting cocky!

    Because they ban anyone from the forums who dissents or says it’s too difficult. Knowing the details (I read all 139 pages) of his life, there is no way a guy who had had no friends or any social interaction with women since high school could have pulled the sorority party chicks he was after. It’s socially impossible. So he gets frustrated, probably banhammered from some PUA site and ends up on PUAhate.

    I thought PUAhate was funny. Maybe it’s not so funny now. It’s frustrating that even when it becomes infamous, the world refuses to acknowledge it. The mainsteam news is “He was a virgin who posted messages on hate websites.” No in depth discussion of incel or the social problems caused by a society that over emphasises sex, beauty and partying. Then you have feminists, and PUAs trying to use it to score points.

    It’s very true about his ego being the problem. It’s totally clear in his writing that he viewed himself as superior to everyone else. He would not accept cleaning/shop/basic jobs. He only wanted a “hot blonde girl” He only got one Armanni shirt when his mum took him to Harrods!

    Exactly as this post says he decided to take radical action, but refused to accept change himself. The only way was to attack society. His actions make perfect logical sense from his own perspective. It’s like a terminal case of narcissism.

  4. This really was a great analysis. I agree both with what you say about the importance of fostering an internal locus of control, and with what thenumberjuggler said about it being a case of narcissism.

    I also used to beat myself up about not having a girlfriend and tell myself no woman would ever love me — all the while there were always plenty of perfectly decent girls who were gaga over me. But they weren’t the “hot blonde sorority girl” or whoever. It’s amazing the depths of stupidity we can manage to reach when we insist on making ourselves victims of the “cruel, cruel world,” when we could be so much happier instead.

    Thanks for writing this.

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