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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

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  351 ratings  ·  66 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
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published July 1st 2008 by Wiley (first published June 20th 2008)
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3.82  · 
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 ·  351 ratings  ·  66 reviews

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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
Aug 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Debbie Mitchell
Jan 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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.
Mar 15, 2015 rated it did not like it
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.
Sep 29, 2010 is currently reading it
This book was spot on! I am way too nice!
Dec 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Joy by: new books @ the library
Shelves: school
Love it! It's like therapy!
زهرا غفاری
May 24, 2018 rated it did not like it
some sort of sexism, i think.
اسم اولیه کتاب برام هیجان انگیز بود، اما محتواش از همون صفحه های اول ناامیدم کرد. به جای این که مسئله رو درست مطرح کنه و بعد راهکار ادامه بده، خیلی غیرعلمی و بدون فکت محکم مثال میاورد و به جای گفتن حرفای تازه، همون چیزایی که می دونیم رو تکرار می کرد.
Mar 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Apr 20, 2014 rated it it was ok
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
Feb 09, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
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
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
Travel Writing
Jan 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 03, 2013 rated it liked it
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Lila Lockhart
Aug 23, 2016 marked it as to-read
I'm a bit hesitant about this one. But it was a recommended read, so adding it to the list! Might try it at some point.
Jan 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Fantastic book. It was very helpful to me. These new ideas and thoughts are changing the way I view myself. I am becoming more confident and able to have my own ideas and beliefs and stick to them. This is helping my relationships be healthier. I am so glad I found this book. I recommend any woman to read it who has felt like she loses herself in relationships or wants to be more confident and have a sense of inner peace and strength.
Nov 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: self-help
Much better than expected. It takes alot of complicated concepts and boils it down to simple mantras to help you deal. For example, being nice is part of a belief that not being nice means you're bad so:
"everyone has good parts and bad parts, including me"
Helps remind you that not being "nice" does not make you a bad person.
Angel Lajeunesse
Sep 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a good book. I think it is for anyone who has ever been told they are too nice. It is not just for those who have been abused or are trying to get out of a bad situation. It could be helpful for those who are. However, I think it is a good book to keep people from getting caught up in those situations. It's worth the read and a good self help book.
Feb 01, 2019 rated it did not like it
Cis/ heteronormative and super condescending, negative and victim blaming. Additionally, there’s some subtly racist undertones. She at one point blames rap music for misogyny and even calls Africa a country. No good.
Mar 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Really good pockets of information covering a wide array of topics. However I found the actual exercises to be just okay. Definitely worth a read, especially for abuse victims.
Mar 10, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Seemed very judgmental and condescending, unable to finish.
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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
“Turn down the volume of your negative inner voice and create a nurturing inner voice to take it’s place. When you make a mistake, forgive yourself, learn from it, and move on instead of obsessing about it. Equally important, don’t allow anyone else to dwell on your mistakes or shortcomings or to expect perfection from you.” 29 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.” 20 likes
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