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Saying “no” to people comes very easily to some and is nearly impossible for others.
I have found that many people with C-PTSD have trouble saying no. If you were brought up in a mentally or otherwise abusive childhood, saying “NO,” may be associated with severe consequences to you.
If you lived with a parent that had narcissistic personality disorder or borderline personality disorder, then they probably used confusion tactics on you, to the point where there was “no” way to say no to them.
Gaslighting can confuse our ability to trust ourselves and our perceptions.
It may be difficult to tell what situations that “NO,” would be perfectly okay, and what situations where saying no, would really cause a problem.
If you grew up in an environment where your feelings and thoughts were not considered relevant, then you probably feel that your feeling of wanting to say no, just does not count. Even though the same person may say “No” to you all the time, you do not feel that you have the same right to say no, that they do.
If you were even in an abusive situation where disobeying meant punishment , then you probably have a fear of retaliation from others. There is an anxiety response triggered by saying no and refusing to comply with another person’s request.
THE ACT OF SAYING NO, CAN TRIGGER A VERY UNCOMFORTABLE PHYSIOLOGICAL RESPONSE. IN ORDER TO AVOID FEELING SEVERELY UNCOMFORTABLE, WE JUST SAY “YES” WHEN WE REALLY WANT TO SAY “NO.”
Triggers are very real and the tendency is to want to avoid feeling the bodily sensations associated with them. Ignoring triggers and going against our conditioned responses, is a very difficult thing to do.
IT IS PERFECTLY NORMAL AND ACCEPTABLE FOR YOU TO SAY “NO” TO PEOPLE WHEN THEY ARE ASKING YOU TO DO SOMETHING THAT YOU DO NOT WANT TO DO OR SOMETHING WHICH CROSSES YOUR BOUNDARIES.
You are allowed to set personal boundaries for yourself. You can also set boundaries for certain people that you do not want crossed.
You can set boundaries in regards to your emotions, your time, your energy, your work and your social interactions. You can set boundaries in regards to dating, doing work for people and doing favors for people.
You can set boundaries about your personal space and your personal items.
Any situation where someone is trying to get you to do something by using your emotions against you, is a situation where your boundaries need to come into play.
Sometimes people do not accept your simple NO or your reasons for saying NO. They try to convince you be making you feel guilty or by shaming you.
They are trying to use your good and caring personality against you.
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They want you to feel bad and they do this by intentionally pushing whatever buttons they know you have. If they know that you want to feel like you are cooperative they will call you uncooperative.
If they know that you have helped them many times in the past, they will lie and tell you that they do not remember the last time you did them any favors.
Don’t fall for these manipulative behaviors. If someone feels the need to make you feel guilty in order to do them a favor, then they really do not deserve the favor.
People should accept No, especially if you have perfectly good reasons for saying no, even if the reason is that you just do not feel comfortable doing it or do not want to do it.
Here is a list of ways to say NO…
No, thank you.
No, I really cannot do that.
No, I do not want to do that.
No, I am not interested in that.
No, I cannot find time in my schedule to do that.
No, I am just too overloaded right now, to do that.
No, I am not interested in doing that.
No, you go ahead without me.
No, please ask someone else.
No, I do not have to think about it. I would rather tell you NO right now.
I said no. Please respect my answer
If you have a history with this person that tells you that they will counter any reasons you give them for saying No, then you can try something like this..
“In the past my giving reasons for my No, seems to have just been an opening for someone to tell me the reasons are not good enough or to dispute my reasons in some way. So this time I am going to say simply No without going over my reasons with you. “
If they refuse to accept your “no”, then you still do not have to do what they want just to make them stop complaining.
Just because they are going to upset that you told them “no”, does not mean that you are responsible for their feelings. As long as you were not intentionally trying to hurt their feelings, then you did not cause for them to feel bad.
If someone is an adult then they are responsible for their own feelings. Much of the time, manipulative people are acting when they get dramatic with you. They can be very dramatic about how disappointed they are in you or about how selfish they think you are.
These are more reasons not to tell them “yes” every time they demand something from you. The more times they are able to manipulate you, the more they will resort to the same tactics over and over again.
**Please note that this article is not talking about partner relationships where the person will physically abuse you or will otherwise punish you for saying no. Those relationships are volatile and should be escaped as soon as possible but I never recommend to ignite retaliation in a severely abusive person.
It is designed more for situations where you are in no immediate danger or impending danger.
This article is also not a recommendation to tell your boss no to doing work, thus risking your job. If your boss is abusive it is a different topic and must be handled with a different strategy that is not discussed in this post.
- Other people do not get to decide what upsets you and what does not.
- Other people have no frame of reference about your life, to be able to decide if you are being “too sensitive” or “hyper sensitive” . No…they just don’t get to!
- Shaming someone is not love or support in any way, no matter how they attempt to twist things around to convince you. No shaming! Don’t accept it!
- People do not have the right to tell you how to perceive reality or to question you perception of reality. No they don’t! Just say NO !
- You are completely entitled to your feelings and to feel hurt when someone is….. mean, disrespectful, inconsiderate, selfish, sarcastic, deceitful, dishonest, disappointing, exploitative, condescending or minimizing to your reality. (image from Pinterest link HERE)
- Someone insisting you perceive things the way they tell you to all the time is gaslighting you.
- You have the right to a conversation with a loved one about abusive or hurtful behavior. You are not being abusive to them when you point out behavior that hurts you and express your feelings about that behavior!!!
- Conversations about your feelings that always turn around somehow to be about their feelings, is a red flag of narcissistic abuse.
- No demeaning behavior, embarrassing you, disrespectful behavior or condescending attitudes have to be tolerated. It does not prove that you love them…it is just evidence that you have been desensitized to that kind of treatment.
- Excuses for their behavior that make you the cause of it, are UNACCEPTABE !
*PLEASE NOTE **If you are in an abusive relationship with someone that you fear may become violent, then please do not provoke them ! …. Get help, and carefully plan your escape from them. …..Do not risk violence to yourself or your children….. Pathological people can suddenly become much more violent when confronted by a partner.
This is a video that shows how someone can use manipulative tactics to control a conversation, influence someone else’s ideas, and make someone appear to be non-credible to other people.
The techniques exposed in this video are
Disrespecting the person’s research and facts by repeating “That’s YOUR opinion”
Asking yes or no questions when someone is trying to explain something. Designing the yes or no question in a way that will make them say something they do not mean.
Interrupting in key places to redirect you
Using body language to minimize you
Blame shifting – like making you look rude, when they are actually the one being rude
Refusing to allow you to answer a question they just asked you
Rushing you, while interrupting you from respoding
Discrediting and disrupting
Changing what you say and mean, by repeating it back incorrectly
Refusing to hear evidence, and calling something opinion that you have facts to back up
Gestures to take away your self esteem
Gestures and other body language to bypass your critical factor
It is important to understand ways in which people try to manipulate your words and your message. There are people that you will deal with in your life that will use these tactics to try to redirect you, and to alter the meaning of what you are saying, as if you mean something else.
Jonathan Adampants gives a full in-depth analysis of the mind manipulation and NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) techniques utilized by Fox News anchors Sean Hannity and Alan Colmes during an interview with Kevin Barrett about 9/11.
NLP Neuro Linguistic Programming has many good uses. It can be used by good intentioned people to help others. It can be used to overcome phobias and other kinds of healing.
But as with so many things, it can be used for good by good people, or it can be used with malicious intent to control people without their consent.
As children we are taught how to see the world. The meanings of incidents and events are programmed into us, along with false beliefs that we carry into adulthood.
We have held onto certain beliefs for a long time and cannot always see that we need to re-assess them.
All beliefs that we were taught are not true. Believing and following along blindly is not something you have to do.
Respect your intuition and prioritize your gut feelings.
Trauma can cause the brain to hold those memories in a way that they are integrated properly, thus causing emotional flashbacks. Emotional flashbacks are triggered by things that remind our subconscious of the memory.
We can learn to re-frame memories, using NLP techniques.
This way we can attach new meaning to those memories, rather than holding onto the meaning that other people out into our brain.
We can also re-wire false beliefs that we are holding to, that are no longer serving us, or that were never serving us in a healthy way.
It is your brain and you have the right to frame the memories the way that supports you best. Truth and reality are dependent upon many things.
Enjoy this video and learn some NLP techniques that you can use. For more information about NLP, hypnosis for trauma, and coaching for overcoming narcissistic abuse, and abusive relationships, you can visit the gentlekindness face book page and also the web site.
Also follow the YouTube channel for more videos about overcoming abuse, and dealing with pathological people.
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