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Do you feel GUILTY when you say NO to someone?

As children, we feel an understandable need to please our parents and to gain their approval. The alternative is to lose the connection with them and possible rejection. We want to feel loved, it’s one of the strongest human needs. When we do something that they see as wrong feelings of anxiety are common, worried that this will cause them to reject us.

As we grow older, into adolescence we may act out, unconsciously testing our parents, needing to ensure they won’t push us away.

But deep down we still need their approval. We try to get the best grades at school and achieve the goals they often put upon us. If we fail we feel guilty, because we feel we have let them down. Those achievements and goals may not be ours, and yet again we feel guilty,

As adults we need to stop feeling guilty and acknowledge that it doesn’t matter what others say, if it doesn’t feel ok, then say NO!

You may hear the phrases like
  • ‘If you loved me, you would’

  • ‘You are weird’

  • ‘Everyone else does’

  • ‘What’s wrong with you?’

  • ‘It’s normal’

  • ‘You’re selfish’

  • ‘Stop making a fuss’

  • ‘You don’t want to do anything I want’

  • ‘It’s all about you’

Some of these comments were made to me growing up, by my mother, and later by lads trying to persuade me into sexual situations.

I wanted to be loved by my mother and accepted and liked by my peers, so I struggled at times to justify why I stood up for myself. I wanted to be loved and accepted.

I often doubted myself, believing that I didn’t have the right to stand up to others.

As a result, instead my confidence nose-dived. I became a people pleaser, I lost my identity and sense of self.

It took many years to rebuild my confidence, to trust my gut, and to say ‘NO’

If someone is trying to coerce you into doing things you don’t want to do, speak up. If they really care about you, they will respect your feelings and accept your decision.

Until you respect yourself and put in strong boundaries, others will take advantage of you. It can lead to anxiety, depression, and stress.

Bullies and abusers are adept and devious. They are only out for their own gains.

So if it doesn’t feel right, say no.

It’s your life.

Remind yourself you aren’t that small child anymore. You can create your own rules and goals.

More importantly, you can say NO, of course, you may still feel guilty, and that’s ok.

You are taking care of yourself and well being.

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