Anxious to Please: 7 Revolutionary Practices for The Chronically Nice

( 8 )


Do you (or does someone you know)...

—Apologize frequently or for things you are not responsible for?
—Get preoccupied with what other people think of you?
—Become unhappy when your partner isn't happy?
—Feel worried or fretful so often it seems normal?
—Often not know what you want?
—Constantly second-guess yourself?

Chronic Niceness affects multitudes, causing severe anxiety and depression, crippling self-esteem, and undermining and ...

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Anxious to Please: 7 Revolutionary Practices for the Chronically Nice

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Do you (or does someone you know)...

—Apologize frequently or for things you are not responsible for?
—Get preoccupied with what other people think of you?
—Become unhappy when your partner isn't happy?
—Feel worried or fretful so often it seems normal?
—Often not know what you want?
—Constantly second-guess yourself?

Chronic Niceness affects multitudes, causing severe anxiety and depression, crippling self-esteem, and undermining and destroying relationships

Anxious to Please reveals the primary psychological cause of Chronic Niceness—Anxious Attachment. Anxious Attachment drives the Nice Person to accommodate, acquiesce and avoid conflict. Nice People take what they're given rather than asking for what they want, often sacrificing relationship, careers and their own integrity.

Anxious to Please presents seven powerful practices designed to bring about: resilient self-esteem; a happier and calmer emotional life; a reality-based optimism for the future; fulfilling sex; and satisfying relationships.

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What People Are Saying

Bernie Siegel
""Anxious to Please contains information that almost everyone needs to read. If you want to rebirth your life and reparent yourself you need to read this book and begin the journey to a new and authentic life."
MD author of 101 Exercises For The Soul, 365 Prescriptions For The Soul and Prescriptions For Living
Robert Glover
"Anxious to Please is now on my list of 'Must Reads' for every recovering Nice Guy and Girl."
author of 'No More Mr. Nice Guy: A Proven Plan for Getting what You Want in Love, Sex and Life.' Running Press, 2003.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781402206528
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks
  • Publication date: 4/1/2006
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 350,777
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.54 (d)

Meet the Author

James Rapson, M.S., LMFT, is a clinical member of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, the U.S. Association of Body Psychoterapists, and the Center for Object Relations in Seattle. Mr. Rapson is a veteran therapist who combines hard-won personal insight with clinical experience and scholarship. The journey of healing and growth in his own life has been greatly amplified by the courageous men and women with whom he has the privilege to work. Mr. Rapson's focus on human connection, coupled with his penchant for innovation, has led him to develop programs such as Group of Dads, Couples in Motion, and The Shared Vision Project. James' collaboration with Craig has led to the development of numerous seminars, workshops, and classes.

An avid learner, James draws from a diverse background that includes early career forays in the worlds of music, software engineering, theater, and religion, as well as even earlier exploits on the football field and wrestling mat. These days his wrestling is mostly limited to matters of the mind and heart, though he continues ot play piano, write poetry, and take the occasional raft trip down a northwest river. He has a private practice in Bellevue, Washington.

Craig English, M.F.A., is an award-winning writer with extensive experience in both nonfiction and fiction. He is founder of the much-published "Commoners" writing group in Seattle, Washington. A dynamic lecturer, teacher, and workshop leader, he draws from the wisdom traditions of both East and West to deliver a message that is warm, tough, funny, and poignant.

Mr. English performed as a professional actor for twenty-five years, with numerous credits on stage, television, and radio. He has cofounded such diverse projects as a groundbreaking Montessori middle school and a highly-regarded Shakespearean theater comapny. Among his interests, Craig counts hiking, kayaking, skiing, drinking tea, cooking, reading, and laughing.

Craig and James first met in 1965 on a grade school playground in Santa Barbara, California, and discovered that they shared a similar offbeat sense of humor. They have marked the stages of life together with comic books and ping-pong marathons, dreams of kissing the perfect girl and becoming rock stars, college hijinks and geographical relocations, through buying homes, raising children, and earning some gray hairs along the way. They are, forty years later, still best friends.

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Read an Excerpt

Excerpt from Chapter 1
How to Make a Nice Person: The Enduring Effects of Anxious Attachment

Take a puppy away from his mother, place him alone in a wicker pen, and you will witness the universal mammalian reaction to the rupture of an attachment bond-a reflection of the limbic architecture mammals share. Short separations provoke an acute response known as protest, while prolonged separations yield the physiologic state of despair.

... and down they forgot as up they grew.

The comedian Steven Wright joked that, while he didn't think that being born by C-section had really affected him, "...every time I leave my house I have to go out through the window." Our culture has come to accept the notion that the way we feel and behave is related to the way in which we grew up. It will probably not, then, tie you into knots when we suggest that the psychological roots of the Nice Person originated in his or her childhood.

Nice People come in a wide variety of packages and from quite diverse backgrounds and ethnicities. But they all share a common foundational loss, going back to the earliest days of childhood. From this loss springs the anxiety and fear that drive the Nice Person's behavior.

The loss that we are talking about is the lack of reliable, consistent, and attuned love from the mother (or primary care giver). This loss prevents the formation of secure attachment, which is the healthy bond between mother and child.

Like an invisible umbilicus, the bond of secure attachment provides a conduit for the unobstructed flow of emotional nourishment to the child, while similarly allowing for the needs of the child to flow to the mother. When the attachment is secure, the child feels comfortable needing mother and depending on her, and as the baby grows older this comfort can be extended to other caregivers. Eventually, the secure attachment that began with mother will blossom into the self-assuredness that will allow the child to form healthy and openhearted intimate relationships in adulthood.

Secure attachment is the emotional foundation for a calm and confident psyche in the growing child and adult. In order for secure attachment to develop, a baby must believe that his or her mother will:

- Be there when she is wanted or needed
- Be able and willing to provide what the child needs
- Offer love enthusiastically and consistently, without rejection or withdrawal
- Love effectively by staying "in tune" with the child, not being intrusive or demanding

No mother, of course, can do these things perfectly at all times. Even a woman who is ideally suited for motherhood will have her strengths and weaknesses, as well as her good days and bad days. But research has shown that babies are resilient and will internally compensate for mistakes, lapses, and disappointments.

Even so, the "good-enough mother" has to be reliable enough, responsive enough, attuned enough, and warm enough for the baby to feel securely attached. She must also be able to handle and contain the baby's normal aggression and rejection without withdrawing or retaliating herself. If she cannot reliably do these things, the child becomes anxious and insecure, fearing that this all-important connection with mother is threatened by things that are innate in the child: neediness, anger, aggression, and desires to be separate. If things don't improve, this anxiety becomes firmly fixed in the child's body and psyche.

At the other end of the spectrum are two attachment styles that represent general failure in the mother-child relationship: avoidant attachment and disorganized attachment. Avoidant attachment is the result of a chronic emotional neglect, and leads a child to routinely reject opportunities for connection and nurture from a parent. Even though these children need reassurance and encouragement, they act as though they don't, and seem unable to be nourished by it even when such comfort is available. As adults they likely will minimize the importance of close relationships.

Disorganized attachment forms when the child is regularly overwhelmed and terrified by the parent. These children face an intense internal paradox: their instinct is to seek soothing from the very parent who is terrifying them. Desperate to maintain a bond with that parent, they fragment internally, repressing their overwhelming rage and fear. When they become adults, these raw emotions will randomly reappear, causing great disruptions in their relationships.

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Table of Contents


Introduction: An Epidemic of Nice People

Section One: Nice Peope
Chapter One: How to Make a Nice Person: The Enduring Effects of Anxious Attachment
Chapter Two: A Natural History of the Nice Person
Chapter Three: Pedestals, Altars, and Gilded Cages

Section Two: The 7 Practices
Chapter Four: Awareness Practice
Chapter Five: Desert Practice
Chapter Six: Warrior Practice
Chapter Seven: Brotherhood and Sisterhood Practice
Chapter Eight: Family Practice
Chapter Nine: Disillusionment Pracitce
Chapter Ten: Integration Practice

Section Three: Romantic Relationships
Chapter Eleven: The Transforming Relationship
Chapter Twelve: Creative Conflict
Chapter Thirteen: Union
Chapter Fourteen: Stand by Your Transforming Man or Woman

About the Authors

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 8 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2006

    Finally, clinical advice with a sense of humor ...

    When I first read Anxious to Please, I was weary of how the authors would talk about what I already know. I was expecting the same tired analysis. (I already know what the problem is I need to understand and fix it.) Much to my surprise, however, the authors addressed issues with humor and provided case-studies that I could easily relate to and understand. Better yet, they provided practical 'practices' that get to the heart of why I'm anxious and what I could do to make the best of any situation. (If you're looking for ways to communicate in an intimate relationship -- dating in particular -- this is your book.) I read Anxious to Please in one sitting and actually practice what these guys recommend. (And I didn't have to pay $150/an hour for advice that works ... )

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2012

    Excellant Book. I recomend this to anyone who is a people pleaser, or co-dependant.

    This book hit close to home. It help me realize why I am the way I am and how to change myself for the better. This book is an excellant way to help you turn your life around for the better. It will help you to start taking care of yourself first, and to stop the cylce of always feeling like you have to take care of others and that you can say NO to people. It is an excellant book and I recommend it to all people of all ages. It's never to late to change your life around for the better. I am greatful to the author.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2006

    Helpful guide to recovering from being too nice

    Sure, it¿s good to be nice, but you may be 'too nice.' If you are clingy, care too much what others think of you and minimize the bad personalities of the people around you, then your niceness may be hurting you. Authors James Rapson and Craig English recommend seven practices that will put you on the road to a more balanced emotional life - many of these approaches will be familiar to readers who have engaged in any sort of meditation or self-awareness exercises. Lists, sidebars and quotes make the book¿s ideas easily accessible - although integrating these practices into your daily life will require some work. We recommend this book to self-help beginners who are tired of having sand kicked in their faces and wish to develop their tranquility and strength of character.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2006

    Authors really know their stuff

    Very well written, many interesting cases that support their conclusions. A must read for both men and women.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2006

    This is a book you will want to read again and again!

    This book was an eye opener. There were so many 'aha' moments I lost count. The great news is, this book has solutions and tools for those of us who are, anxious to please. It felt like a gift from the authors. I highly recommend it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2006

    This is a fabulous, and very helpful book!

    It was a little scary how well the the definitions of a 'nice guy' in the first chapter fit me ... and I'm sure lots of others out there will agree, when they read them. This book will give you the tools to recognize the nice guy (or gal) in yourself and to grow into something more ... into a stronger, kinder, more mature and passionate human being. It will help you to reclaim your life and your true potential. It will also help those who find themselves in relationships with 'nice guys' or 'nice gals'. Craig English and James Rapson clearly know what they're talking about, and I thank them both for sharing their insights with the rest of us. I highly recommend this book!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2006

    Self Help that actually Helps

    Anxious to Please surprised me by being so nurturing in its methods, not chastising or blaming, but rather trying to sympathize and counsel the reader. I found myself reading half the book thinking 'Oh I hope all these Nice People find a way to work through their problems...', and the other half thinking, 'Oh...I am a Nice Person'. Nothing to be ashamed of, I figure, but Anxious to Please's message is clear: if you suffer from these symptoms, you are a Nice Person. If these symptoms are keeping you from things that you want, here's the way to work through it. Honest, compassionate advice from a couple of guys who are more than just Nice. A worthy read that definitely applies to the majority of young Americans today, including most of my friends, who now want their own copies...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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