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The Nice Girl Syndrome: Stop Being Manipulated and Abused -- And Start Standing Up for Yourself
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The Nice Girl Syndrome: Stop Being Manipulated and Abused -- And Start Standing Up for Yourself

3.8  ·  Rating details ·  286 Ratings  ·  59 Reviews
How women can overcome the pressure to please others and feel free to be their true selves Are you too nice for your own good? Do family members manipulate you? Do coworkers take advantage of you? If this sounds familiar, read The Nice Girl Syndrome. In this breakthrough guide, renowned author and therapist Beverly Engel, who has helped thousands of women recognize and lea ...more
ebook, 256 pages
Published December 17th 2010 by Wiley (first published June 20th 2008)
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I think the hardest thing about writing this review was figuring out why this book annoyed me so much for the subject matter it addressed. It should've been something I received well given the subject matter and its intents as a self-help book, but the more I read it, the more I ended up reading mixed messages within it.

I tend to pick up self-help/health/wellness guides at random in many different aspects - social wellness, spiritual wellness, physical and emotional wellness among a number of di
Wagatwe Wanjuki
Now I am a little embarrassed that I was interested enough in reading this book. My intuition told me that this would be a book that would piss me off, but I did not want to dismiss it without giving it a shot. I am pleased to say my gut feelings were proven only partially right; I surprisingly was still able to get something out of this book. I finished this book with a surprising feeling of validation, empowerment, and eagerness to use the new skills I read in here.

I am indisputably a Nice Gir
Jan 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beverly Engel is my number one favorite authority on abuse and how to heal from it. This book has helped me to heal from some past experiences. I would recommend it to anyone who keeps finding themselves in abusive relationships.
Sep 29, 2010 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
This book was spot on! I am way too nice!
Dec 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Joy by: new books @ the library
Shelves: school
Love it! It's like therapy!
Mar 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book. Although I'm not an extreme as depicted in this book, given the fact that I was raised in an abusive environment with selfish family members and a mysoginist community, I had a lot of trouble growing up. I felt extrememely repressed and literally inside a cage tied with eavy chains to the ground.
Making me feel bad for who I was or what I liked or for standing up for myself, was the central technique applied usually in rainsing girls, not only at home but also in school. I fau
Dec 07, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
While this book uses extreme examples of what the dangers of being a Nice Girl are (physical, emotional, and sexual abuse), there are many things in it that are useful for women with milder versions of Nice Girl Syndrome. Nice, unfortunately, gets you nowhere. People will prey on you, manipulate you, and take advantage of you if they can, and this book gives some strategies for avoiding that.

A lot of the things in it seem to be common sense and common knowledge, but sometimes it's nice (no pun
Mar 15, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I tried to read this, I really did. Twice! But the victim-blaming, judgment, and condescension just made me feel gross. Also? Suuuuuuper cis/heteronormative. No thanks.
Apr 20, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Saying "I don't mean to victim blame but..." doesn't cut it. I also found the tone condescending and I was more pissed off than inspired reading this book.
Beth Lequeuvre
Why do I keep reading self help books? All they ever do is make me mad.
L Walker
May 18, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I don't really feel like I got much out of this book to be honest, other than to really confirm that yes, I'm waaaay too nice. There are a lot of 'exercises' that the author recommends you do, which I really wasn't willing to stop everything and do. I would have preferred situational examples like 'If Nancy says this to you, then x would be a good response'. After reading the book, I wished that the not-so-nice people of the world could read a book about being nice, instead of the nice people ha ...more
Feb 27, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is an OK book, but the author comes off as defensively reacting to some major hurt from a male. I understand about being assertive and standing up for yourself, but fully half of the book seems to be aimed at males and how they "take advantage" of females in one way or another. This is the impression given in the book and a viewpoint I don't agree with. I think this book could have been more effective if it dealt with a more open range of situations, rather than just domestic relationships. ...more
Pierced Librarian
Jan 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone and everyone
Shelves: non-fiction
I really enjoy Beverly Engle's writing style and the way she explains things.

This book had some great exercises and reflection activities.

The message could also could be a bit blunt in some places, but if you are reading a book about not being a nice girl- you probably have ignored the kind, sweet advice from a few friends, perhaps a therapist and may need a tiny dose of bluntness.

I would suggest reading Gavin de Becker's "The Gift of Fear" if you want a real eye opener on how not listening to
Mar 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book has a set of effective suggestions for the so very many of us who hold ourselves to a higher standard than all of those around us, and who are, therefore, often used by others.

Beverly Engel uses examples of women who were abused and offers suggestions for how to escape from or avoid an abusive situation (all the while without blaming those who are abused for the actions of the abusers), and how to become more empowered. The book offers suggested affirmations and ways to feel and intern
Ann Busbey
I saw so much of myself in this book, although I have never been physically abused. Being raised an Italian Catholic female, I was taught to be selfless and to serve the needs of others. This has not served me well and I'm working hard at overcoming my "natural" tendencies. My challenge - don't let the pendulum swing too far in the other direction.

While I didn't agree with everything, this book has some useful exercises and advice for making changes and for not feeling guilty about standing up
Nov 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very beneficial, although I don't have these issues as much anymore, I did the exercises and it helped with my other issues, cleared many confusions, helped me to understand my obsessively nice friend and my childhood self. Read with open mind, dont take and twist every word to feel offensive. I came across to some things I didnt agree with, just leave it there, and take what helps you or your loved ones.
Some reviews very discouraging, my opinion is that there are so many helpful things, I woul
Nov 12, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Rife with biological determinism and even some racism, this book was poorly written (and edited) being repetitive and sometimes condescending. It was often victim blaming and used circular logic.

However, it was an easy read and made a (very) few good points. It would provide a good introduction to someone who had not yet considered how patriarchy and gender roles shape her self-esteem and boundaries. The references cited may be better options for someone looking for a more nuanced reflection.
Nov 27, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a good self-help book for any lady who has been abused or trampled upon in relationships. I even found the advice helpful for women who are too nice and giving in relationships period. It goes from figuring out where this niceness comes from to remedying it to friends and family. I really appreciated the book being a social worker as it helped me become more assertive.
Jul 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Women
Shelves: psychology
I think this book should be required reading for all women. It is direct and concise and easy to read so even people who don't like to read much will not have a difficult time getting through it. If I had a daughter, I would ABSOLUTELY insist that she read this book.
Tara Calaby
Jun 13, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychology
This ties in quite well with a lot of DBT/Borderline stuff, and I felt like it was quite good to read as a way of reiterating some of the DBT content. It's definitely told from a feminist point of view, which is good, but rape and/or abuse survivors might be triggered by some of the content.
Dec 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sandy by: Mary Smart
Excellent read, but I wish it was addressed to men also - entitled, The Nice Person Syndrome. Easy reading with practical exercises to move out of being compliant and manipulated into being essentially who you are: strong, confident, competent and courageous.
Apr 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is amazing. It fits what I've gone through like no other I've read. All the putting others' needs first. The built in feeling that somehow you are a bad person if you don't. And the way these attitudes leave you vulnerable to predators. I highly recommend.
Gail Miller
Apr 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am so excited to learn so much about why at 54 I cannot break being the nice girl when situations happen where I don't feel like being nice. Learning about what type of style you have good and bad of communicating in certain situations, what all is behind becoming nice, what beliefs you have that are so hard to break and are false. I think the most important thing that will help me is learning that fear is behind all "nice" reactions, is so important to learning more about what fear patterns a ...more
✟ℜoxanne✟(Death by Book Avalanche)
Before reading this I knew I was nice but not that I had the nice girl syndrome...which according to this book I have quite a severe version of. Once I was diagnosed it was time to learn how to do something about it. I could relate to a very large proportion of this book, however, as extreme niceness is a massive part of my personality I thought there's no way I could change it. I discovered it's not to change a person from being nice it's to give a nice girl some backbone... something that I do ...more
Nov 12, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was pretty decent. I liked a lot of the way the information was organized and presented, and thought that most of it seemed to be fairly accurate and useful.

I sometimes felt a little put off by the author's tone and what seemed at times like unnecessary male-bashing, but overall this book did a really good job of making the points it wanted to make.

I think this is a good book for many women to read, as it helps point out a lot of cultural ways in which women are taught to be submissive
Rebecca Johnson
Jul 31, 2011 rated it liked it
Okay, so first things first, I am not a nice girl. I know a few and I may have been one at some point...but along the way I have had the privilege of having very strong women role models and they have paved the way. I have also had the benefit of having male mentors who have a very good grasp on women and how to leverage their individual and unique strengths. With that said, this book did have some great tips and suggestions and could certainly serve as a refresher on how to be an effective comm ...more
Norhashimah kamarudin yacob
I would recommend this book to the girls who wonder why they keep meeting awful horrible men, and feel like they're being manipulated and used by people around them. Most times, it is hard yes to place a margin between being patient and being ..used. This is for the girls who always reason why people do the awful things they do, why we need to be understanding that everybody is going through some kind of" battle " (there's no such thing in real life. people are respectful because they are respec ...more
Mar 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent information and good reminders not to be a nice girl, but a strong woman. The exercises in each chapter address the false beliefs many woman have regarding themselves and provide opportunities to develop the four C's: confidence, competence, conviction and courage. What I will remember the most from this book is the author's statement that forgiveness is not always the healthiest thing to do. This came as a relief to me since I have often felt that I had to forgive in order to help mys ...more
Jun 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reading this book was rather like sitting down with an older, wiser and more experienced woman, being taken by the hand and told ‘now my dear, it’s like this….’ The author’s long and rich experience in counselling women (and with her own life experiences) has qualified her to really describe how women can so easily disempower themselves; and how to remedy the situation if you feel you fit into one of the ‘nice girl’ types she describes.

I wish I had had this book in my early teens – it could hav
Dec 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psyc, a-2015-z, tbr15
There is much in this book to take in and is likely to be my reread for the coming year. It is true that "nice" gets females nowhere in this day in age. Including in careers. Though the author primarily focuses on relationships with significant others the information is helpful with those beyond that. The examples are extremes of what is normally seen everyday and what many females do.
It is a book I would recommend to many.
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Beverly Engel has been a psychotherapist for thirty years, specializing in the areas of abuse recovery, relationships, women’s issues and sexuality. She is also the best-selling author of 20 self-help books, many of which have been featured on national television and radio programs (Oprah, CNN, Ricki Lake, Starting Over) as well as national print media (O Magazine, Cosmopolitan, Ladies Home Journa ...more
More about Beverly Engel...

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“The messages you received from your family or your childhood experiences may have caused you to believe that assertiveness is unacceptable or even dangerous. Practice saying the following: I have the right to be treated with respect by others. I have the right to express my feelings and opinions. I have the right to say no without feeling guilty. I have the right to ask for what I want. I have the right to make my own mistakes. I have the right to pursue happiness.” 13 likes
“If someone is inconsiderate or rude to you, risk telling them how it made you feel or that you didn’t appreciate being treated that way. If you tend to talk yourself out of anger by telling yourself that you don’t want to make waves, try telling yourself instead that it is okay to make waves sometimes and risk letting people know how you really feel.” 10 likes
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