Anxious To Please is the first book to make a connection between the behaviors of Chronic Niceness and the emotional condition known as anxious attachment. It is likely that most folks who see themselves as co-dependent have anxious attachment, and will benefit greatly from the ideas in ATP. Co-dependents Anonymous and books such as Codependent No More (Beattie, 1986) have helped many people over the years. Anxious to Please takes Chronically Nice people several steps further in understanding themselves. It offers a new paradigm for the healing of self, as well as breakthrough growth for relationships with partners, families, and in the workplace.
Assertiveness training often employs the "pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps" philosophy of change, which goes something like this: "You're a wimp, get over it. Memorize and practice these new habits of success. Now you're cured." The idea is that if you learn to act assertively, you will be assertive. This often doesn't work because it ignores the root anxiety underneath the chronic condition. Assertiveness training can also unwittingly encourage an attitude of contempt for the chronically nice behavior. The net result is a chronically nice person who pretends to be assertive while denying their anxiety, and feeling crummy about the whole thing. Anxious to Please uses powerful techniques to recognize and diminish the anxiety that holds a nice person hostage from asserting their true selves.