Author: Jeb Kinnison

Mostly harmless purveyor of gently-used memes. My latest book: "Red Queen: The substrate Wars," available at: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00QSP3JTU/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00QSP3JTU&linkCode=as2&tag=jebkinn-20&linkId=L5XO3S3LGKGGDT4B. Also see, "Bad Boyfriends: Using Attachment Theory to Avoid Mr. (or Ms.) Wrong and Make You a Better Partner," is now on sale exclusively for Kindle (this will change soon.) Get it at: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IW6JYV0

Avoidant: How to Love (or Leave) a Dismissive Partner

117th Review of “Avoidant”

When the book was an Amazon Prime Reading selection (free to Amazon Prime members) it attracted so many new reviews I couldn’t keep up. But here’s a pair of new ones I can riff on.

5.0 out of 5 stars
Great honest book about avoidants
By B*** C******, August 18, 2018

If your partner is cold, doesn’t like touch, is negative, and doesn’t seem to care about your feelings or your attempts to fix the relationship: This is your book. It’s honest about your chances right up front. It’s also not your fault you can’t figure out why you’re mad or why you feel you’re to blame. It’s the avoidant’s gift of manipulation.

It’s honest about these people being able to change. Or unable to change. This book was infinitely helpful in helping me see the light. (Cue Ace of Base – I saw the sign)

Thank you for being honest Jeb Kinnison – where so many lie to make one waste their money on quick fixes, this is straight talk.

And thank you, B***! As you can see from some other reviews, many people prefer to preserve their fantasy view of how the world works and blame others for the problems they have dealing with it. One change I’d make to the book if I had it to do over again is to emphasize several more times (it’s only mentioned in one place) that women are as likely as men to be dismissive or fearful-avoidant, but typically are better at disguising it for longer because the predominant cultural stereotypes of women being the caring and giving sex encourage a less open version of the syndrome. I only adopted the convention of men as the dismissive partner because it is easier to understand the examples.

As for my “tough love” stance, there are thousands of authors and web sites that promote romance and advice to fix bad relationships that doesn’t work and gives false hope. It’s not popular to suggest that some couples and individuals are ill-suited to intimate partnerships, and it’s radical to suggest that some people will never be and that it’s no crime not to be happily married. One size does not fit all, and you can’t “make it work” with someone who doesn’t care to.

5.0 out of 5 stars
Are you in one of those hot-cold, roller coaster relationships you can’t seem to break out of? Read this ASAP.
By L. E. on April 28, 2018

One of the best books I’ve ever read about adult attachment behavior and romantic relationships. If you are always in “on again-off again” relationships or go back and forth between fear of being alone and fear of being abandoned (or you frequently choose partners who are), check this out. This book seems like it would help just about anyone with a pattern of attachment (closeness, trust, faithfulness) issues in their relationships, not just those who are avoidant or are with someone who is avoidant. It is made up of information from numerous reputable sources who research attachment psychology. I find it strange that the author is not a mental health professional at all and has no background in it. Either way, he hit the nail on the head with this one. As a therapist who ironically perpetually ends up with avoidant men and subsequently gets my heart broken, I find this book priceless.

And thank you, L.E.! I’m an auto-didact — I have been teaching myself all my life, having had several careers in different fields. I spent years reading the attachment literature, roughly the equivalent of a Ph.D. It’s amusing how little many Ph.Ds actually know. I greatly admire practicing counsellors and have done some counselling myself, but most have only superficial knowledge of attachment theory. I stepped in to write this because there was no popular-level book on the topic, and more general attachment books (notably Attached) are addressed to the self-help book market which tends to be anxious-preoccupied in orientation. A deeper dive into fearful and dismissive-avoidants seemed more useful for those already in a relationship with one.

1.0 out of 5 stars
Biased and disappointing
ByAmazon Customer on May 19, 2018

Very biased and misogynistic. This author has opinions that he bends scientific theories to support his apparent anger at a dismissively attached person in his life. He goes off topic frequently and seems to have a vendetta against women. The last half of the book was mostly blog opinion posts from other men he knows that he wanted to use to support his views. Disappointing and unsupportable.

And now for negative reviews. A minority of readers see misogyny where none exists, largely because I call out the strain of feminism that is biased toward finding fault with the male in any bad relationship. One chapter in particular, where I point out that women *tend* to engage in verbal and psychological abuse while men are stereotyped as physically abusive, gets that reaction. The fact is no troubled relationship is easy to analyze from outside, and while abusive males have been a big problem throughout history going back to our hominid ancestors, there are also many examples of physically and emotionally abusive females (the statistics on abuse in lesbian relationships make that clear.)

The predominant ideology today is a feminist take that assumes that females are blameless and powerless, while on average every bit as capable as men but needing special accommodations to their needs and desires, a somewhat schizophrenic take. This attitude ends up souring many a relationship when the expectations of the female partner don’t match the reality of the male’s ability to satisfy them. The partnership of equals of a good marriage means both will accept that sacrifice and effort are necessary to succeed jointly. That means respect on both sides for the abilities each bring to the relationship. I see a lot of people (many men, too!) who think they are owed happiness with little effort or humility. The result is broken relationships, unstable homes for children, and unhappiness and pain.

As for the last half of the book, those “blog posts” were written by yours truly, dear Amazon Customer, as was made clear in the book. Each was edited and extended the theme of the book, covering some aspect of relationships with avoidant types. I’m sorry you were unreceptive to my message.

“Public Safety” – The Road to Thermidor

Freedom is dangerous. Your unregulated actions may cause harm to yourself and others. Parents are now expected to monitor their children every minute of the day and adults are voting for politicians who promise ever-increasing protections against harm, to regulate guns, food, and even speech.

The US long ago chose freedom over safety; as Ben Franklin said, “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” We can see now that he should have been more specific — small liberties have been given up one by one, so that now most citizens could be prosecuted for some violation. The lack of enforcement of laws and regulations on the wealthiest and high-level machine politicians leads to cynicism and acceptance of lawlessness at the highest levels of government, while at the same time everyday life is more and more micromanaged by busybodies who want to control how others live.

Network effects make for near-monopolies in Internet-based communications businesses. Google, Twitter, Youtube, and Facebook dominate their respective sectors of user-generated media. These platforms increasingly censor speech that opposes the political status quo. Much of this censorship is motivated by efforts to make these media safe for advertising by removing discordant voices that passive consumers might find objectionable; no one wants their ad for a consumer product to run beside a disturbing message. Already advertisers are being pressured to drop support for content producers, in an effort to give activist groups veto power over content.

Twitter has its “Trust & Safety Council,” intended to censor Twitter. While the company denies it, it mass suspends or shadowbans users who have attracted “too many” user blocks or complaints. Many users wonder why a simple block of someone who annoys them isn’t enough, but for activists the goal is to prevent *others* from seeing anything they find offensive — because they believe removing speech from public spaces will prevent bad ideas from being seen, heard, and possibly influencing the weak-minded.

Every print publication chooses what content goes in and what is left out. Twitter, Facebook, and other services are free to curate users and police content that is illegal or offensive, but the governing laws then tend to make them responsible — if you are in the business of providing an edited product, you tend to be seen as responsible for that content, unlike common carriers that transfer all messages and have no say in what is carried from user to user. It is relatively safe to censor only content that could legally be actionable under the First Amendment — imminent, direct threats to identifiable people or groups. Uncomfortable political ideas can’t be defined clearly, and allowing activists to veto speech based on nebulous hurt feelings is a recipe for silencing most people who have something to say — as voices are removed, what is allowed to be spoken gets narrower and narrower, and those activists who validate their existence by taking offense in order to gain power to silence ideas they don’t like will simply define more and more ideas as offensive until almost nothing is left.

The French Revolution had its governing Committee of Public Safety. Notice the language — no longer focused on protecting the citizens from hostile external powers, but policing safety — that is, finding enemies both internal and external. These ideologues came to a bad end as the revolutionaries were, one by one, found to be “problematic” and executed in service of the higher goal of perfecting and protecting the new State. The modern and humane guillotine made quick work of disposing of anyone who got in the way of Progress.

The Mob, the sans-culottes who could reliably rounded up on the streets of Paris to put muscle behind the Reign of Terror, were the power base of the factional leaders in the struggle to control the day-zero government which would overthrow all vested interests and rethink all customs. Today’s equivalent is the Twitter mob, ready to condemn and disemploy anyone accused of harming a member of an oppressed class. But it is far easier in social media than it used to be in the physical world to destroy reputations and end careers. And the gusto with which the Twitter mob sentences its targets to punishments is related to the selective empathy employed — instead of recognizing each human being as an individual with goals and emotions that can be understood, targets are dehumanized and abstracted.

The stakes are lower in social media (no one aside from a few suicides is actually being killed for the Cause), but the mechanism is the same — the rush of power shared with your tribe to vanquish your enemies and gain strength in numbers. To pull down idols so that you can put yours up instead. To drive out competitors and get you and your friends appointed to positions of authority.

The killing fields of Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge government are arguably the most horrific example of a real-world pogrom in recent history. I’ll wrap this up with the campaign ad for the daughter of Cambodian genocide survivors, recently censored by Facebook.

Evitant (Avoidant) Published in Romania

Romanian Cover of "Avoidant"

Romanian Cover of “Avoidant”

A year or so ago I sold rights to Avoidant to a Romanian publisher. I did a little research into the market — small and almost entirely still on paper. The book has apparently been published now, and I’d be interested in hearing from any native Romanian speaker on how well it has been translated, since I had been concerned the specialized vocabulary might be difficult for them.

The description is just a translation of the author bio, and the error of place of birth (Kansas City, Missouri) being shown as “Kansas, Missouri” is not reassuring.

Evitant at Curtea Veche

Avoidant at Amazon.

Old JebKinnisonForums Archive

The support and talk forums at JebKinnsonForums aren’t hosted here, so just in case the host over there fails, I’ve made a backup of the last few years of discussions there. It’s not really possible to duplicate the discussion hierarchy here, so instead the file is a PDF with links. Not all discussions are complete, but you may find it useful.

Old Forum Backup 6-2018