I have always had a tendency to say yes, even when I didn’t want to because I’ve been afraid to hurt people, to be disappointing, to be not enough, I am afraid to let the person down. Saying no has been a practice. But I’m still not great at it.
Because you know, when I first started dealing with my shit I thought it was just like…when I’m called into work, or a friend wants to do something I really am not into. I didn’t actually realize that it was so deeply rooted into the abuse from my family but it makes sense right? I was always a quiet kid (because I had to be), but I was always very sensitive both in my own emotions, and to other peoples. I believe some would call me an empath. I made myself and my personality as small as I could. I always said yes, I agreed with whatever my mother or grandmother said about me because I didn’t feel safe to explore my own opinion. And you know, as a kid you always believe your parents, why would they lie to you, if they say I’m a selfish kid, I’m too fat I must be right? Ugh. So anyway, when they’d ask me to do something I’d do it. But it goes even deeper than that, I would sacrifice my own comfort in the sense of telling them something I wouldn’t want to. Let me give you an example. Say I’d get in the car on the way home from an appointment, or choir maybe. I’d maybe be a couple minutes late getting to the car, which my mom always hated, she would get so mad about it that sometimes she’d make me walk home the next time. As soon as I sat down I could feel her mood. Angry, so much I felt like I was breathing it in, it felt palpable, like I could touch it. I would immediately think: This is my fault, I was late, I’m selfish, I’m an awful daughter, I make her feel depressed, I am not enough, I have to fix this and maybe she’ll love me and I’ll be enough. So I’d tell her say something I heard from a friend that was funny. Something that happened between a friend and I. Or I would tell her something emotional. I stopped trusting her emotionionally pretty early on, I understood that if I did only a few things happened: I was made to feel my emotions didn’t matter, that I don’t know what it is like to be sad, that I’m weak, or broken, or sometimes she’d tell these secret feelings to other members of my family when I specifically asked her not to. So in these moments where I was panicking and desperately trying to find a way to make her feel happy, I would maybe open up, in hopes she’d feel like a good mom. Or that she’d maybe be less angry. Sometimes it went well, no matter how it went, I felt awful after it. I’d given away a piece of myself, I’d made myself small.
These days, obviously, that doesn’t happen, as I have not been in contact with them in 10 months and three days. (Holy shit) but this feeling sometimes still happens. Not in the same way it did with her, but when say my boss is visibly struggling or trying to guilt me into working (even if its not on purpose) I get this like pull at my heart and part of me thinks “you don’t matter, you have to help her feel better, you have to work, look at how upset she is”.
Most commonly it comes up in myself, or with shitty people. Like if someone’s trying to gaslight me, you can imagine it brings back 20 years of the same exact feeling and it is like a battle to try and tell them to fuck off. When things end with a dating partner, or when they try and pull something over I am starting now to be able to say like “hey, this specific thing isn’t fair to me, I deserve better”. When I used to be in as situation where say the person is wishy-washy, or stringing me along I’d think of it like I had to prove to them that I am date-able, or good enough. Now, (with some work) I can take a step back and say ‘hey, I don’t want to be with someone that is in a grey area with me. I want to be with someone that wants to be with me’.
There are many many ways in which we can say no. Sometimes its literal, sometimes its an internal ‘no, I am better than this’ or ‘no, I deserve better’, its a ‘no’ to old thought patterns, and the little boxes in which an abuser put us in and we eternally are trying to get out. Rip that box apart love, you are bigger than that. Maybe thats a weird analogy but its hard to describe. I’ll maybe get more into this in the next couple days, for now just a short wee post.
Thank you so much for all your help. Its been about a year since I’ve been doing this, while I fell out of my grove, I’m getting back in.
I have an immensely stressful couple of weeks coming up, so my posts might be shorter, and maybe I’ll vent on here about it.
Y’all know the usual methods of helping out.