Emphasis equals opposite

Women who repeatedly mention a trait in themselves are more than likely doing so to cover up a truth: that they “own” the trait that they’re ashamed of.

Psychologists use the (completely nondescript) term, reaction formation, for this denial technique. From Wikipedia:

Reaction formation is a defensive process in which anxiety-producing or unacceptable emotions and impulses are mastered by exaggeration of the directly opposing tendency

The key is repetition of a firmly held belief or trait. Said one time, the statement probably is true. But when a woman repeats a statement numerous times, it should give you pause. Some examples you might hear:

  • I’m anti-marriage
  • I hate drama
  • I’m very happy
  • I don’t believe in cosmetic surgery
  • I love giving blowjobs
  • I don’t need a man
  • I’m not high maintenance
  • I absolutely hate my ex
  • My kids are number one


You can think of her statements as an effort in trying to convince herself of the words as much as she’s trying to convince you. Here’s a good quote from John Karter:

When someone overplays a characteristic in themselves, it often masks a trait that is completely the opposite– in other words, a darker personal quality of which they are ashamed

A very worrisome aspect of emphasis-equals-opposite is the obsessive personality many of these women have.

The mechanism of reaction formation is often characteristic of obsessional neuroses – Wikipedia.com

In my experience, philosophical statements made repeatedly by a woman usually means the opposite. If she “hates” marriage, she secretly desires marriage to a good man. If she “despises” drama, she actually is consumed by it and thrives off of it. If she “absolutely hates” her ex, deep down she has unresolved feelings for him (as the opposite of love isn’t hate, it’s indifference).

Repressing her true traits or desire is what emphasis-equals-opposite is all about… so be on the lookout for an oft-repeated statement from a woman. It’s extremely revealing to any man who is savvy enough to pick up this clue.


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