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Kicking myself because I just can't say no

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I can't really focus on anything else this morning and it's really ticking me off. I'm so tired of feeling taken advantage of. I'm so angry and frustrated at myself. Intellectually, I know I can change things but why can't I?

My situation is complicated because I live in a two-family house. We live on the ground floor. My husband's sister and her family live on the top floors. So already the set up leaves a lot of room for advantage taking.

Anyway, DH and I have our act together. I keep a good pantry. Stock up on things like batteries. We keep our computer and printer/fax always in good working order stocked with ink and paper. Basically, I'm one of those folks who likes to always be prepared. In other words, we always have.

No matter how many times his family asks for things, DH is always able to say no. But I can't. I'm always letting them use the computer because they can't get theirs to do stuff. Use the printer because theirs is out of commission. Borrow a pepper or a onion. But I can never ask them for anything because they never have anything.

So yesterday was kind of the last straw and I'm seething. Around 6:45/7:00, I'm cleaning up the kitchen after dinner looking forward to chanting by the latest 7:05 then sitting down to have tea and biscuits with the kids while watching Wheel of Fortune, our nightly routine. Well, sister in law calls. She and her friend are having trouble getting pictures off the digital camera onto the computer and can I help. I try. But no go. She calls again. Can she and her friend try to use my computer?

I should have said no. I'm in the middle of something. I'm winding down for the evening. But I said yes in hopes that the friend could figure things out without my help. No such luck. I tell sister in law that if she washes the dishes for me, I'll do it for her. She balks. Leaves ds2 in his high chair and goes off to the computer room. They fiddle with the camera and the computer and I'm washing the dishes so fast trying to get there to make sure they don't do anything wrong because I can hear them bumbling.

I finish. DS2 does not want to let me go because he is unfamiliar with the friend. I am holding DS2 while trying to get the pictures uploaded to snapfish without having to store them on my hard drive. Sister just sits there as I struggle holding my son and using the computer at the same time. Never offers to take him to the living room and distract him with books and toys. By now, it is 7:10. My schedule is shot.

Turns out to be over 200 pictures that need to be transferred. Takes about 30 minutes. I decide to have tea before I chant. Finish the tea and they are still here. By the time they leave, it is about 7:40. I have not been able to relax or chant. I'm annoyed. Just so annoyed.

Earlier in the day, sister's son comes down for two double A batteries. I said yes. Day before I typed a cover letter and faxed a resume for sister. Same day, sister's daughter uses our printer to print college documents.

I'm so fed up I find myself cursing. My journal entry today was full of expletives. I'm angry at myself for not being able to say no. For not being able to stop getting taken advantage of. I understand demanding reciprocity in relationships on an intellectual level yet . . . I can't seem to implement that especially when it comes to this relationship. And I'm so frustrated and angry.

I needed to vent. But I also need guidance and help. Argh.
post #2 of 17
, to yoru SIL.

Marking my spot for later.
post #3 of 17
I just came over from WOC....I will be back but I will say in my early to mid 20's I had similiar issues with family...it took a lot of work and even therapy for me to learn to set boundaries. I will come back later.

Shay
post #4 of 17
I need to learn a similar lesson, because I often feel as if I have "sucker" stamped on my forhead. When I receive multiple calls from people that are good about imposing on my time and creativity I don't answer the phone, but then I feel bad about avoiding them.

I know that I often have a hard time saying no, because I believe that God has blessed me with a myriad of resources so that I can in turn help others. BUT, a wise Godly man told me something that I lingers in my thoughts, the Sixth Commandments says that Thou shalt, not kill. Wouldn't that include killing myself?

The more I read the bible for myself I find passages that pertain to people readying and preparing their own homes and those who don't find themselves in difficult situations. If Jesus spoke parables about people not sustaining themselves and the peril that they faced I believe that he does not mean for others to continually come to their rescue.

My lesson is in progress, but I pray that soon I will have the courage to just say no.
post #5 of 17
Can you have a 'get out' list by the phone. Phrases that will help you to say no?
I'm thinking a list like;
I'm afraid it's too late for that, I'm just settling the children
I'm in the middle of something at the moment, I can't chat. (stopping them carrying on)
I'm downloading something, our computer isn't free.
I'm using that pepper for tomorrow's lunch. Sorry I can't help.

I know they're not profound and that they are little more than excuses, but I find having something prepared to say when I think someone is capable of springing something on me has helped me break the habit of saying 'yes'. Now that I'm used to declining with my prepared reasons, I can now just decline things I don't want to do.
post #6 of 17
White lies. Just until you can get a hold on the no habit.

"I need to print something can I come over?"

YOU: "I'm actually out of ink sorry."

"I'm trying to make **** and I totally forgot that it takes an onion can I come get one?"

YOU: "I'm sorry I don't have any I can spare."

Oprah once said something about people pleasers and saying no. Anyone that won't take no for an answer is trying to control you.

And also it isn't rude to say no.

They aren't starving, their users. Just put them in their place and maybe they'll get the hint and reciprocate if they want that sort of borrowing relationship.
post #7 of 17
"i'm sorry, i just don't feel like it today"

i use this one with my dd all the time....
post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the input everyone. I've calmed down a lot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by annamama View Post
Can you have a 'get out' list by the phone. Phrases that will help you to say no?
I'm thinking a list like;
I'm afraid it's too late for that, I'm just settling the children
I'm in the middle of something at the moment, I can't chat. (stopping them carrying on)
I'm downloading something, our computer isn't free.
I'm using that pepper for tomorrow's lunch. Sorry I can't help.

I know they're not profound and that they are little more than excuses, but I find having something prepared to say when I think someone is capable of springing something on me has helped me break the habit of saying 'yes'. Now that I'm used to declining with my prepared reasons, I can now just decline things I don't want to do.
This is a really good idea . . . standard, rehearsed responses. Thanks.
post #9 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by annamama View Post
Can you have a 'get out' list by the phone. Phrases that will help you to say no?
I'm thinking a list like;
I'm afraid it's too late for that, I'm just settling the children
I'm in the middle of something at the moment, I can't chat. (stopping them carrying on)
I'm downloading something, our computer isn't free.
I'm using that pepper for tomorrow's lunch. Sorry I can't help.

I know they're not profound and that they are little more than excuses, but I find having something prepared to say when I think someone is capable of springing something on me has helped me break the habit of saying 'yes'. Now that I'm used to declining with my prepared reasons, I can now just decline things I don't want to do.

I like this idea. I think it might be helpful to practice it before you're called on to do something else. I used to be the same way mama . I then learned how to be very covetousness of my time.
post #10 of 17
I saw your thread over in the WOC thread.

I used to be like that--saying yes to everything. Then I had to think about *why* I was always agreeing to stuff I did not want to do. Are you afraid that they will not like you? Are you afraid that they will get mad? Not to sound too harsh, but so what? Let them be mad; they will get over it. If they don't like you because you won't let them use your computer at all hours of the day, then they are pretty petty anyway and who needs that?

I use my grandmother as inspiration. She is 91 years old and does not do anything that she does not want to do (within reason, of course--she'll help out friends in real need and stuff like that). I once asked if she was always like that. She said no, and that it took a long time for her to be able to say no and brush off silly requests that inconvenience her. Well, I decided that I'm not going to wait until I'm in 80 before I have the gumption to say no. So I started early! Good thing, too, because in my job, it is *easy* to get taken advantage of. I got so good and saying "no" nicely ("I'm sorry, I just don't have time for that" or "No thanks, I'm going to have to pass on doing that" or "Wow, I'd love too, but now is just not good") that the chair of my department once said goodnaturedly to me in front of my colleague, "I'm not even going to ask Sorin to be on the committee because she knows how to say no, so I'm going to ask you (points to colleague)." Ha!

So, I guess this is a long way to say that you just have to say no. Say it nicely. Say it lovingly. Say it with a smile. But say it. People will still like you, and after a while, they might stop asking. Your life is too short to let other people make you miserable.
post #11 of 17
the only thing that worked for me was to push through my uncomfortableness and just say no. just once. and it didn't feel very good at the time.

but after i had said no i had such a feeling of relief and joy that it became kind of addicting.

no i have to work on saying yes a bit more but it's so much easier

just try it. i promise
post #12 of 17
I was in the exact same place!!! For some reason it is just with my twin brother. I was never able to say no so guess what? He started taking advantage of me. I finally realized it when I asked him to do something for me and he tried to act like it was a big burden and straight up said...NO. It was a slap in the face and a wake up call. Things now go like this:

Bro:hey Rianne can I have $20?
Me: I am broke right now.
Bro: Can I put my car in your name?
Me: Why would I do that? You are an adult.
Bro: Can I get an onion and some potatoes?
Me: I haven't been to the store. Or, I don't have enough to give away.
Bro: Can I put some pics on your computer? Mine isn't working.
Me: If you can do it by yourself b/c we are winding down for bed.
Bro: Can you type this for me?
Me: I have no time but if you pay me I will make time..$5dollars a page

It is so hard to say no because it feels like you are letting someone down but to be honest they probably won't take anything personal. If your husband can say no all the time then you can only when you want to or they are just going to take advantage of you.

Goodluck to you girl.
post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by annamama View Post
Can you have a 'get out' list by the phone. Phrases that will help you to say no?
I'm thinking a list like;
I'm afraid it's too late for that, I'm just settling the children
I'm in the middle of something at the moment, I can't chat. (stopping them carrying on)
I'm downloading something, our computer isn't free.
I'm using that pepper for tomorrow's lunch. Sorry I can't help.

I know they're not profound and that they are little more than excuses, but I find having something prepared to say when I think someone is capable of springing something on me has helped me break the habit of saying 'yes'. Now that I'm used to declining with my prepared reasons, I can now just decline things I don't want to do.

Wow, I'm gonna have to do this myself.

rootzdawta- sorry I don't have any advice. I am usually a pushover. Wishing you lots of strenght. Sounds like a difficult living situation.
post #14 of 17
You need to practice the word "no". I know this sounds silly - I used to have similar issues. But, rehearse scenarios in your head. And say your responses. "No, I can't do that right now." "No, it's too late for that." "No."

When the time comes, and she asks you something - force yourself to say no. I know this is easier said than done. But, if you force it the first few times it WILL be so much easier the next few times. Eventually, you won't even think twice about it.

Just turn your mind off when she asks you something, and force out the word no. It does get easier with time!
post #15 of 17
Sounds like you need to chant phrases that mean no until they become as comfortable as the chanting your regularly do.
post #16 of 17
Thread Starter 
[RIGHT]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sorin View Post
I saw your thread over in the WOC thread.

I used to be like that--saying yes to everything. Then I had to think about *why* I was always agreeing to stuff I did not want to do. Are you afraid that they will not like you? Are you afraid that they will get mad? Not to sound too harsh, but so what? Let them be mad; they will get over it.
It's not necessarily that I'm afraid they won't like me. I think it has a lot to do with trying to make sure we have a peaceful household (since we all live under the same roof and I see them daily, multiple times a day). Also, I'm just trying to find the balance between being nice and a pushover, careful how I give and stingy.

I know from the relationship with my parents that there are some issues of feeling like I need approval and acceptance/not wanting to disappoint. And I'm working on that although as I'm approaching 30, I realize I do need professional help to get through those issues. When I moved out of my parent's house, I found it much easier to say no to them and to stand up for myself. Being in the same house always adds and extra pressure, whether it's real or just in my head.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PlayaMama View Post
the only thing that worked for me was to push through my uncomfortableness and just say no. just once. and it didn't feel very good at the time.

but after i had said no i had such a feeling of relief and joy that it became kind of addicting.

no i have to work on saying yes a bit more but it's so much easier

just try it. i promise
and

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailor View Post
You need to practice the word "no". I know this sounds silly - I used to have similar issues. But, rehearse scenarios in your head. And say your responses. "No, I can't do that right now." "No, it's too late for that." "No."

When the time comes, and she asks you something - force yourself to say no. I know this is easier said than done. But, if you force it the first few times it WILL be so much easier the next few times. Eventually, you won't even think twice about it.

Just turn your mind off when she asks you something, and force out the word no. It does get easier with time!
Yes, I'm finally at that point and you both are so correct. Yesterday I started gearing up, practicing, rehearsing how I'm going to say no the next time. What my face will look like. What my tone will look like. It feels like it will be tough but I'm looking forward to it in an odd way. I can't wait. Today, I'm going to get my "prepared response" index cards together.

Quote:
Originally Posted by futurmama8 View Post

It is so hard to say no because it feels like you are letting someone down but to be honest they probably won't take anything personal. If your husband can say no all the time then you can only when you want to or they are just going to take advantage of you.
Definitely. I've already noticed that sometimes they'll ask me for something and if I deflect and say, oh you have to ask DH, they'll try to push and say they need it right now or "never get around" to asking DH. Thank you for your own personal story . . . that is encouraging to know that there won't forever and always be "beef".

Quote:
Originally Posted by pauletoy View Post
Wow, I'm gonna have to do this myself.

rootzdawta- sorry I don't have any advice. I am usually a pushover. Wishing you lots of strenght. Sounds like a difficult living situation.
Thank you!

Quote:
Originally Posted by homewithtwinsmama View Post
Sounds like you need to chant phrases that mean no until they become as comfortable as the chanting your regularly do.
LoL . .. yeah, I've been chanting. And the wisdom that has come out of that is that I really do need to sit on down with a therapist and hash some things out.

I got an e-mail one time that said "Yes, a lot of terrible things might have happened in your childhood but your childhood is over" How very untrue.

Thanks again everyone. I feel . . . courageous and encouraged.
post #17 of 17
Can I ask a side question: What is chanting? Sounds cool. And I wish you lots of luck practicing your NO!! That will sound cool too....to you, that is. It will make your life incredibly less stressful. You are awesome.
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