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Does Anyone Struggle With Saying No?

Discussion in 'General' started by KT229, Oct 13, 2007.

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  1. KT229

    KT229 New Member

    I know that I can't say no sometimes. Fear takes over, it's almost like I have a built in defense not to make someone upset with me.

    In a couple of seconds, in any given situation I conscientiously or conscientiously decide whether I feel threatened.

    If I feel threatened I automatically do or say whatever I can to alleve or avoid that threat. Then completely regret what I've said or done.

    Sometimes I try to anticipate threats. Then try to prepare what I'm going to say or do before hand... and without fail... 99% of the time it doesn't come out. I chicken out.

    Does anyone else struggle with the fear of saying no or saying what they truly feel? I know this may sound absolutely silly. What a simple task to say what's on your mind. But dear god the things that I've done because I'm terrified to say no... anyway. Any suggestions?
    nie and becvan like this.
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  3. becvan

    becvan Queen of the Blunt! Premium Member

    Yep. I will do ANYTHING to avoid a confrontation. It's put me into many a bad spot and roped me into doing lot's of things that I don't want to do.

    The only way I can say no is to get mad and that doesn't work very well either.

    I have no suggestions for this one, but I know exactly what you are talking about.

    I equate anything other than perfect agreement with the threat to my life. It's ridiculous most of the time, but I just can't seem to move past it.

  4. She Cat

    She Cat Policy Enforcement Banned Premium Member Sponsor $100+


    I too for yrs would never say no, then would kick myself in the ass for saying yes. It takes time, patience, some self esteem, and learning how to be assertive without being threatening to the other person.

    I did it with someone that I felt sort of safe with. This person asked me to do something for them, and I really didn't want to. I looked at the floor and sort of mumbled "no." He just laughed and said, "You know it's ok to tell someone no." It gets easier after the first time. I still find it hard to do, but I do it because I need to take care of ME!!!!!! That's what it basically comes down to...Them or me. Sorry if it sounds selfish, but most of the time....I win....

    You will learn in time how to do this.....So hang in there.

  5. nie

    nie Wishing for wings to fly. Premium Member Donated

    I also have trouble saying no. However, recently I have started to try to be conscious of that. I have been able to say no a couple of times. I think that being able to say no is something that I have to keep working on in my quest to be a better me.
  6. Marlene

    Marlene I'm a VIP Premium Member

    For the longest time, I had such a hard time saying 'no' to anyone asking me for damn near anything. I wanted to please everyone. Nothing like some good childhood training for that! I eventually learned to say 'no' to a lot of requests. I did a lot of volunteer work at that point and they just love people who don't know how to say 'no'.

    Now with PTSD, I've gone backwards to where when I feel confronted or uncomfortable or like I'm being backed into a corner, I can't speak at all. I either leave as soon as I feel that things aren't going to go well. And if I can't leave I do that old fall back of blending into the background by not speaking or even moving much. I'm with Bec in that the only way for me to say no is to get angry...and that's not a place I want to have to keep going back to to be able to stand up for myself.

    The funny part of this, for me, is that I'm at that black and white point with this issue. I either completely avoid situations or shut down when I have no choice but to be in them. More work to try and find my middle ground.

    Good post. Until I read (and asked myself) the question and then read the responses, I hadn't even realized that I felt like this.

  7. vst

    vst Active Member

    I sometimes catch myself singing the song "I'm just a girl who can't say no.." So yes, I have a big problem saying no. At this time I am trying to establish some boundaries. Hopefully if I am mindful of the boundaries I have established I will be able to say no without feeling guilty.

  8. KT229

    KT229 New Member

    Thank you for all your replies. Once again sorry that ya'll are going through this too; relieved immensely again not too know that I'm not alone.

    I think that several times I've actually put myself in some pretty horrible shameful places because of this. And a couple of posts stated that they had to get angry or mad before they could say no.
    I too often do this as well and it keeps me from doing what I don't want to do but it has destroyed a lot of good friendships personal and work wise. So are we saying that anger is not a solution to NO...

    Has anyone read or are they in posts about automatic responses (for lack of better terminology) and how to change them.
  9. resurrection

    resurrection Member

    I know exactly what you mean , its as if Im more concerned with the threat of here and now rather than the consequences of acquiescing ( ooh , acquiescing arent we clever)
  10. kers

    kers I'm a VIP

    Yep, I have this problem, too. I find that there are two types of situations with which I struggle:

    1. Times when I'm afraid to say no to a request or something else innocuous. This is when I end up taking on more responsibilities at work or doing things for friends that don't really want to do. I'm getting better at saying no in these situations as I grow more confident and assertive in looking out for my needs.

    2. Times that are more threatening in which I am too scared to speak, even to say no. These situations tend to be more physical, like when I am in public and someone gets too close or a stranger makes a request. It also includes situations where trauma stuff gets triggered for me and I feel more "then" than "now." This is harder to cope with.
  11. goingonhope

    goingonhope Member Premium Member

    KT, several times, I had put myself in horrible, shameful places simply because I felt deeply threatened to say no. If it happens at all these days, it's so mild, it's ridiculous, meaning it over nothing more than an unexpected guest shows up at our door and wants to visit, I'm not then truly interested in any visit at the time, bc perhaps I'm too busy, but sometimes I don't say no, not now. That's it.

    Other than this, SOME THINGS, significantly changed in me that entirely stopped for me this bigger problem:

    (those awful times when Not saying and meaning No, threatened to involve me in something that then definately WAS NOT A GOOD IDEA!, and/or Threatened to be injurious and/or even worse, Was injurious or self-harming.)

    It's not hard for me to clearly identify within what caused my inability to say No in important matters, but it's hard to now put it into words. I'll just say it was an enormous amount of my neurotic GUILT, unexamined FEARS, and feelings and developed / (ing) false BELIEFS about my complete unworthiness.

    When I examine and discuss at the root of my problems, I see differently, more accurately, and when I consider and see differently I effortlessly think differently. It is this new thinking followed by my pers. understanding and respect for my needs that I've taken necessary action. And, in this case, my action being, ...........Saying, Meaning and Sticking with.............. No!

    But, I could never then just have forced myself to have said No, ...yes, it was quite automatic. This huge problem dropped away from me then, and so much now is improving again from the inside out, through me going to great lengths to examine and discuss the root of my problems.

    KT, the only reason why I'm sharing my experience with this, is because I know that it has and works this way with me and see it working with others too. So I trust that it can work the same way for others as well.

    BTW, KT I've read and see that you've started a diary and have gotten a good start on it. I hope it's possible for you to pace yourself, balance these efforts and get in some self-care during this process, but I see you doing good work, and hope you keep it up.

    I must say I didn't start out pacing, balancing or getting in much self-care while starting out. For the time being though, I can do this and it seems to work great and it is an enormous improvement to how I felt before, when I didn't.

    I'm super-sensitive to saying the wrong thing, that might get perceived neg. or differently then intended, so I assure you now KT, I couldn't have taken this time to write all this if I didn't both care and relate. We're worth it!

    So again, I do hope you keep up the good work, KT. :thumbs-up

  12. permban0077

    permban0077 Policy Enforcement Banned

    I don't have the same issues I had. Before, after really thinking about it, I believe I thought I would lose someone's friendship or potential of one. I mean I was the one who had problems and everyone else must be perfect, right? So if a friendship did not bloom or a relationship failed it must have been something I did. It was further reinforced when someone who was FWD happy with chain e mails was asked by me to stop sending them. Not that I was not happy they prayed for me (they were always prayer mails that you must FWD to 10 people in 5 minutes?). It was annoying and last I checked prayers did not fit in a window of 5 minutes from you opening mail to count. Now I asked very very nicely as back then I checked my mail a couple times a week max as I paid by the minute to be online. It would leave my box overflowing and she sent many a day. She told me off. We never spoke again and our spouses were best buds since kindergarten, very awkward. For years now I dealt with it since that.

    Now I don't and I also know some people I just don't get along with, I do not have to be friends, and some people are just inconsiderate asses. So now no is not a big deal as before. I even told someone the same exact thing about the exact same type of email today. And we are just fine and she will respect it. No is a good word I have learned and real people who really care won't take it as refusing them as a whole.

    I also learned that me being told no was like a rejection of me on the whole. I know this is not the case now. My skewed way of thinking back then. And why would I want to make another feel that way too? So I guess a few things played a part.
  13. pandora

    pandora I'm a VIP

    I also in the past have avoided confrontation at all costs and have a hard time saying no but i am learning. it has been a slow process but now i know that not all people react to no with a smack...they might get angry but not everyone is out to hurt me. I thought that for a long time. i guess i still do to a certain extent but I am learning.
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