Too Nice For Your Own Good?

July 26, 2011

Change, Personal Growth, Recovery

Years and years ago I read a Bradshaw book that described a term I identified with whole heartedly: toxic niceness. That is me. I am toxically nice.  I used to say I was sorry to everyone all the time….pathetic. And I was that way before I moved down South! Imagine my delight when I ran across this book by Duke Robinson.  (A man, no less!) It has turned out to be a great book in helping me see what is TOO nice and how to change it.

I love the chapters in this book, because I can identify with each chapter’s niceness behavior.  Dukes tells us the ways that niceness impacts us negatively.  Many of us (women especially) were taught and modeled these behaviors as ones we must do as good manners and being loving and nice.  Duke also says we adopted these behaviors to be socially acceptable, avoid emotional pain, and help others. (In Al-Anon, we learn that “helpfulness is the sunny side of control”.)  The 9 chapters are:

  • Trying to be perfect
  • Taking on too much
  • Not saying what you want
  • Suppressing your anger
  • Reasoning with irrationality
  • Telling little lies
  • Giving Advice
  • Rescuing others
  • Protecting those in grief.
In each chapter, Duke gives us possible reasons for why we have this issue ( besides my mother!), why it is a mistake and strategies to overcome it. Why do we need to overcome niceness?  One reason is that it keeps us from being geniune. Another reason is that if we deny our feelings and wants long enough, we will be hurting ourselves.  And of course, trying to do too much and do it all perfectly stresses us out and makes us feel bad about ourselves and makes those around us targets of our frustration.
Although I struggle with all these niceness behaviors, I will address only a few in this blog.  This is a very practical book, that is full of solutions, so go ahead and get it if you suffer from toxic niceness and want to be more authentic, assertive and happy.

One Comment on “Too Nice For Your Own Good?”

  1. Linda Hardy Says:

    Think I need to get this book. Thanks.


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