Stop Getting Used by People – Learn to Say No

Do you feel like a pushover?

Can you say no?

Are you ready to stop getting used by people?

Don’t get me wrong. It feels good to lend a hand sometimes. Even when you get nothing in return except the satisfaction of knowing that you helped. In fact, helping others is a key component to a healthy and long life.

However, I’m not talking about a side order of altruism. I’m talking about a constant stream of main dishes that include the feeling that no one returns the favor after you’ve spent lots of time and energy helping them, repeatedly.

I’m talking about your never-avoided overwhelming feeling of guilt or shame when you think about saying “no” to someone who has asked you for something.

I’m talking about your compulsion to offer help to someone who hasn’t even asked directly, but who has complained about something that’s a burden to them.

Why can’t you say no?

Why do you offer unsolicited help when you’d rather spend your time doing something else? Why do you do things you don’t really want to do? Do you know? Do you want to know?

Here are some reasons why you can’t say no:

  • You can’t say no because you don’t have a well established sense of your own “space.”
  • You’re afraid of the feelings you are going to feel in your body when you say no to someone.
  • You were conditioned to say yes to the expectations of others.
  • Being punished/ridiculed/humiliated for saying no when you were small has created an adult version of you who can’t feel comfortable and confident in saying “no” directly.

And while it’s nice to know all that, how do you change it? How do you stop getting used by people without having to avoid them? How do you ACTUALLY say no to someone?

Here’s how you avoid getting used by people:

You can try to talk yourself out of the predicament. But, let’s be honest. If that was going to work, it probably would have already worked.

What you have to do is BE different. And to be different, you have to DO different. Which is why talking yourself out of the predicament probably hasn’t worked. Talking about saying no isn’t going to make it easier to say no. Just like talking about getting better at push ups isn’t going to make you any better at push ups.

What you must do is stand in front of another person and verbalize the word “no” to them audibly.

This is called “right brain” learning. And it teaches you to be comfortable with the experience of saying no to another person.

It won’t work after you’ve practiced it once or twice, just like it won’t make you better at push ups to do 1 or 2 of them. But if you continue to embody the experience of saying “no” through practice, eventually, you will be able to say no in a “real” situation.

The guilt and shame you felt at failing to offer unsolicited help, or saying no will fade away. It will be replaced by confidence in yourself and enjoyment of the extra time you have to spend doing what you want to do, for you.

Ready to stop getting used?

Give me a call. We’ll talk. And I’ll teach you how to be comfortable saying no.

Leah Benson Therapy icon

Contact me now to set up your free 15-minute phone consultation.

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