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Power games: A Field Guide

Rian Ston
November 27, 2018
Power Games - A Field Guide powergames.jpg

Power Games

A Field Guide


If you're not sharing information, your struggling over power and status.

Some studies were done during the first world war, as most soldiers when in battle would not fire with the intention of killing their enemy. People rightfully have a moral aversion to killing, go figure. A combat historian and WWI vet S.L.A. Marshall, had a few revelations.:When training if you switched from bulls-eye targets to human silhouettes, you could bypass this moral aversion and turned this from a moral aversion, to an instinctual act. It transformed this into instinct, and increased peoples kill rate considerably. It got me thinking, with the proper tools I can develop this otherwise unattainable skillet of Dark Triad behaviors. When you’re thinking of men with natural game, or naturals, they tend to just internalize their success with women, thought they don’t know what they are doing. True psychopaths, true Machiavellian, true narcissists aren't self-aware. True dark triads run into problems, especially when problems arise and require thinking outside of the box. It's their one, very useful hammer, and they approach everything as if it were a nail:

The man who pulls a knife on you is at a disadvantage … Psychologically, he only has one weapon. His thinking is therefore limited to the use of that single weapon. You, on the other hand, are thinking about all your weapons. You're thinking 360 degrees around him. You've got all the advantages when you think about it.

Bruce Lee

My advantage is that I am not a natural. I learn deliberately and understand, each day, how best to work with strategy. In this case, understanding open and closed conversation engagements. Dark Triad isn’t about being a complete psychopath, they have brain abnormalities and can’t help it. Narcissistic Personality disorder is caused by brain abnormalities or childhood trauma, you can’t learn that. What I aim for is learning how to make the the bulls-eyes into silhouettes, make me better prepared for situations where it’s needed.

Open conversation is how most people interact. Open conversations involve exchanging information. Anything you think of when you imagine debates, co workers discussing work, and they also involve expressing emotional states. Everything from ‘this is how you put together a bookshelf’ all the way to ‘when you call me a bitch, it makes me feel bad.’ Closed conversations engage in validation-seeking and harmony/status behaviors. When things are good, when and people are stable, open conversations are the norm. Boredom, struggles for power, and dissatisfaction encourage closed conversations. Engaging a closed conversation with open communication always fucks things up. You'll DEER too much, or roll over and give a girl the reigns over your frame, neither of which does either of you any good.

Don't Eat Paint

If you aren't in a stable LTR or marriage, I can think of few reasons to engage a closed conversation. The #1 tool in your toolbox is to disengage, and it should always be your first choice. When you've decided to take on the wonderful burden of female companionship, you cede some freedom in exchange for her value to you. A plate hasn't earned it. A live in girlfriend takes a little more preparation to kick out. A wife adds legal obligations and sometimes a lengthy separation. A child adds a lifelong engagement even afterwards. As you go up the list, these tools become more useful, at least for me.

There's your disclaimer, don't be on the spectrum with this shit on your tinder date. Don't be an aspie asshole.

Validation-Seeking Behavior

Validation-seeking behavior is poison. You are your own judge. This disarms 80% of closed conversations power against you. The focus should be on on harmony and status. Children think of conversations in one dimension. Status, or am I better than you, or worse; or, harmony, am I with you or against you? Watching my old 80s cartoons, I see the language in one dimensions. the fact women are so good at power talk is most likely because they never watched Thundercats growing up. I guess mom was right, TV rots your brain. Instead, picture a conversation in two dimensions, which I use to define the 4 conversation archetypes:

  • Condescension - I am better than you, and I am for you

  • Contempt - I am better than you, and I am against you

  • Supplication - I am worse than you, and I am for you

  • Insolence - I am worse than you, and I am against you

With a few, standard red pill interactionsWith a few, standard red pill interactions

With a few, standard red pill interactions

The above chart illustrates the concept. In a closed conversation, each individual is either for or against the other person, and also considers themselves better than, or worse than the other person. This is status, and harmony. These are not objective labels, the mind of the speaker is what matters. Women are better able to convince themselves of their status, so their ignorance gives them an advantage through an irrational confidence. Narcissists have this as well. As a man, the best defense against faux confidence is competence. Then add on Irrational confidence backed up with blood and sweat. This comes after my building of frame, and for a good reason. Men do not get the benefit of ignorance, the burden of performance is a bitch. Plus, the way guys tend to interact makes competence a fairly straight forward thing. We all figure out who has status in a hierarchy.

Initially, I was reactive when I was having an open conversation, and a woman was having a closed one. Shit tests will come from the disharmony like a status check. My end goal is to win in the status game. My harmony comes with being a high value male. So long as I’ve established both, she will come around, or I will get out. This is where the power in a relationship can be gained or lost, one engagement at a time. Carl from Black Label Logic calls it death from a thousand concessions. When people talk about having a high EQ, as a correlate to IQ, this kind of stuff is what they mean. I consider EQ to be equivalent to phrenology, but in this case its a close enough description.

High IQ men build nations. High EQ men build realities. Receiving shit tests, push/pull, emotional engagement. A man needs to take charge with all of them, I’m playing in this space, speaking womaneese. Once you see interactions like this, it’s very easy to spot them in the future. Not just women either, you see them all the time, engaging in social media, or normal conversations. Closed conversations are manipulative tools to maintain, check, or shift status. They are also ways to create or remove harmony. When a girl acts like an insolent or contemptuous cunt to make me angry for whatever reason? It pushes me into disharmony, so you are the manipulated into supplicating a girl when she’s being insolent. It’s really clever manipulation. Instant status boost. When my girl gives me a shit test, she's giving me the reigns to see if I can lead and she can submit. She's on the fence. A little bit condescending, a little supplication, still manipulation though in this case it’s for both our benefits. You either step up and she submits, or you fuck it up, and she belittles you for thinking you were worth a damn. Push pull makes a lot of sense like this, dancing between status and harmony engagements.

The main event, the nuclear comfort test, they both come from a position where girls realize they have 0 power in an engagement, and while desperate for harmony, give a status check, then submission. Tears, desperation; the intent is to manipulate a man through her tears into submitting to her, or to treat her like her stern, but loving father. Assure her of her place in your life, replace the old status with a new one. A last ditch effort at testing me. I would start mapping my arguments, map my normal conversations, it was blindingly obvious once I knew to look for it. There is a lot of tools I’ve learned in the redpill that easily map to it as well:

  • Agree and Amplify - Condescension

  • Amused Mastery - Condescension

  • Fogging - Disengagement

  • Nuking a shit test - Contempt

Not only does this encompass me passing simple shit tests, it's the idea behind push/pull! The difference is whether I am reactive, or proactive. Emotional engagement is like catnip to a woman, I’ve known this since my time in the PUA days. and if you don't initiate these thing, she will, eventually. I’m playing to win, so may as well take the offense. I refer to it as manufactured outrage. Besides, there’s a beauty in creating my own drama through closed conversations. This reduces the time spent reacting to the random argument at 1AM when she cannot sleep, and I’ve been an asshole because of some manufactured reason. Instead I pick some inconsequential shit, things you simply are not invested in, so you can disengage, reflect, and learn, without serious consequences.

During my interactions, I must be cognizant of the interplay. It is good practice to play around in harmony states, to see which ones create which dynamics with which people. Plus, I’ve noticed that with a woman who instantly disengages with any closed communication, she is already moved on. I may not have a lot of data sets around relationships, breakups I am very experienced with. The opposite of love isn’t hate, it’s apathy. A woman passing up on drama is the first indicator that she is beginning to flip the light switch, to move on.

An Example

This is all a lot of background, and theory, based on reading, learning, acting, applying, observing, and then acting again. These are the guidelines I use, developing my ability to power-talk. This communication does not only involve words, in fact, a lot of it is in body language, facial expressions, and context. This isn't a knife, this is your hands, your feet, your head. Use all your tools, or you lose your advantages. A few practical guidelines I have:

  • Stop treating all interactions as open interactions, become aware of the closed interactions. Body language is crucial here. You need to look for emotional engagement, they will always give a tell.

  • If you aren't able to effectively read body language, it's best to approach all interactions as if they were closed interactions. It is very easy to switch back to open dialogue, but very difficult to move into one. From specific wording, anything that involves your character, your actions during crisis, or any assessment will probably be closed communication.

  • If your first instinct is to assume the other person doesn't fully understand the situation, and you need to explain (DEER) it, hoping for the misunderstanding to resolve itself, then you are surrendering in a status engagement before the first shots were fired.

  • Stop using validation-seeking interactions, and instead be aware of the dynamics. Shutting the fuck up is a temporary tool, used to change a mans natural inclination to DEER, seek validation, and supplicate. STFU isn't about hiding the fact that you're being an emotional bitch when she mouths off, it's about watching and learning.


The way you move in between states? In a word, narratives. A fiction writer builds worlds. Bad writers spend most of the time explaining the worlds. Good writers make references when interacting within the world. Great writers move characters fluidly from one point to the next in the world, like a perfectly designed machine. I suggest Vinkatesh Rao’s book TEMPO to see more about narrative based decision making.

An Example

Before the end of my military career, I was having panic attacks, for … reasons. Just like Briffaults law, when I was no longer valuable, she began to build an exit, rewrite the narrative, and the relationship was on borrowed time. These moments of weakness is where a woman will engage, it's when they always engage. Sharks don't attack without chum in the waters. In a moment of accidental clarity, during a particular nasty shit test, which was 100% insolence, I had my first clumsy successful closed interaction:

“Look, if you think this shit(the attacks) is going to last you can fuck off. I will be getting better. So shut the fuck up, because I will remember how this shit goes when it does[Contempt].”

She dropped it. It was crude, it was not very competent, and it was more angry than persuasive, but it moved from insolence[her] and supplication[me], to contempt[me] and disengagement[her]. It was a step in the right direction. I began reading the 48 Laws of Power around that time.

Fast forward to my main event, many months later. Finished 48 Laws, the Prince, TEMPO. Had some low key tests, and figured I was catching onto things. I've got my separation planned, down to the dollar. All our entangled finances have been separated over the past six months. I have a 'fuck you fund', and the real estate agent is waiting for my call to sell. This was no bluff, this wasn't simply words. I was heading out on our date, and because she wasn't revered enough when I invited her, she was not going in a most insolent manner. 4 hours later, I returned home. The night wasn't over, I went up to the terrace to enjoy a few drinks at an after party. She came up to give me a blast of shit, only to find me surrounded in a hot tub full of girls, laughing and enjoying myself. It was like a shot to the gut, the engagement has begun. Insolence, met by condescension and indifference. She meekly asked if I was coming to bed [insolence to supplication].

Once I got home? Panic and supplication from her. Any man who has gone through a main event will see similar. The only difference? My foundations were built, I was back to my fighting weight, I applied Dread, other women were in the picture. I had my release in the works. In 6 months, I was a free man with the money to take 2 years and go live in the mountains if I wanted. I was mentally, financially, and physically prepared to burn this entire life to the ground and start again. It was clear that moment I ranted about that many months ago was here. I was half drunk, and just let the chips fall where they may. It was my moment to take my life back, the one I gave away for far too cheap, and at this point, just showing up was all I needed to do.

Be smarter than me, I would suggest sobriety during these engagements. This only worked because of practice and repetition, it came naturally. This is the condensed statement of a good hour long comfort test. Again, it was clumsy, but I was better than before. I'm a free man soon. I have not been selfish in the 10 years she’s known me. I will be looking after me from now on.

If you don't want to deal, then I understand, I have enough money set aside to separate clean.[Condescending/Contempt]. I was the new lovable asshole.

And what happened the next morning? She made me a full breakfast with some fun sex during the day. Every interaction (keeping in mind the past 6 months have been nothing but contempt) was 100% submission. It was the biggest emotional release of her life. I got my first taste of proper power-talk, and a more harmonious interaction with my girl. The one detail that sticks with me was looking back, It was watching the hamster working with the narrative I had given her, or watching womaneese in real time. The one-off comment I had made about the separation plans had the largest impact. I had funds specifically to leave, and it was planned down to the dollar.

Actions beat words.

I had shifted my conversation styles and began to lead the interaction. I had created a narrative which anchored the decisions and impressions she had over our interaction. This fight, which she had been having without me for over half a year was over. A Come to Jesus speech later, and there was a path forward, all she had to do was take it. I was the captain Captain, this was the first officer dynamic, and a better life.

Why is she such a cunt?

So, for the guy who keeps asking himself why his wife is such a cunt? Why a fight? They were only talking about the dishes! There's your answer. Approaching all communications as open communications when in a closed engagement automatically pushes you into the supplication archetype. Explaining yourself is supplication in these engagements. You lose a bit of status. The actual conversation doesn't matter. Sharing information doesn't matter. Whether it’s true or not is irrelevant? Yes, it doesn't matter. This is a power play, and you should have tools to engage, disengage, and establish your beachhead, frame conversations within your narrative. They are not parlor tricks. You cannot fake it. It works after you've put substantial work into the fundamentals, and not built a house on sand. If it’s all fakery, she will make that shit crumble like Broadzilla.

  • Get your Male Action Plan in order, get your value to the point where you can command respect, if not from the woman you are with, then another one, or many.

  • Get your finances on lock, and under your control.

  • Get your philosophical house in order. Stop sabotaging yourself by opening your mouth, stop seeking approval.

  • Once all this is in place, learn to understand the power dynamics in conversations. It's about power and harmony. Build your EQ, build your conversation skills. Finding techniques that work, as they will always be slightly different, depending on the relationship.

  • And for fuck sake. If you don't have half a million in real estate, a child, or a lengthy divorce as a consequence of permanent disengagement, don't play with fire, walk away. This is not a system I would ever use on a plate, they haven't earned the ability to play in the majors, she gets bush league treatment, period.

    Originally posted 6th February 2017

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Post Information
Title Power games: A Field Guide
Author Rian Ston
Date November 27, 2018 9:26 PM UTC (3 years ago)
Blog Rian Stone
Archive Link https://theredarchive.com/blog/Rian-Stone/power-games-a-field-guide.24027
Original Link https://www.rianstone.com/blog/2018/11/24/power-games-a-field-guide
You can kill a man, but you can't kill an idea.

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