Why is it that so many women have difficulty saying NO to their family and friends, thinking they must be all things to all people–the same women who resent people taking advantage of them, yet swallow those feelings and let people continue doing it?
I offer that it is the price women pay to be loved. Some women, that is.
One example is a 74 year-old woman I know who allows her daughter-in-law to dump the four-year-old child with the grandmother to babysit without any consideration to the older woman’s age and lack of energy it takes to care for the child. She shares with friends how difficult this is, but says she just can’t tell them no. That is a huge price–risking even her own health. Again, the price women pay to be loved.
This is not a situation where the family can’t afford daycare. They just choose to save that money to spend on other things they want. The older mother/mother-in-law resents being taken advantage of, and is no longer up to the rigorous physical effort it takes to care for a child that age. Yet she will not stand in her own power and tell the daughter-in-law NO. She doesn’t want to offend, or to ‘hurt her feelings’ or make her mad, or… could it be–stop loving her? If that is what it takes–abuse–to be loved, I’ll take doing without it.
The result of such actions is not that they stop loving us, but rather the abusers learn to no longer respect us. They choose rather to use us.
I must admit, in the past, I was guilty of such co-dependent behavior. But not anymore. Not since I discovered who I was, what I stood for, and what I wouldn’t stand for.
Since I discovered that I couldn’t even begin to know who I was, to define myself, what I believe and what I don’t believe, if I don’t practice giving firm no’s, when no is what my gut feels.
I believe that we must first learn how to give firm no’s before we can truly give the resounding yes.
When we can give a firm no, we are on the road to knowing who we are. We learn this as a child, then over time it gets ‘unlearned’ out of us. Maybe this is a bigger issue for women than it is for men. If this is something you have not learned to do–to give firm no’s–then I challenge you today to practice doing so.
Identify and draw your boundaries. Don’t allow others–friends or family–to use you. Don’t pay that price of being used and abused.
How about you? Do you find yourself allowing your family or friends to use you, when what you really want to say is no? Is this easy or difficult for you to do, and if so, how long, and what did you do to get to where you are today?
Check out Streets and Deep HolesÂ for guidance in learning to make better choices.
The price women pay to be loved is too high a price to pay–and doesn’t result in anyone loving us amy more than they already do anyway.