It’s Narcissist Friday!
Recently I had the opportunity again to remember the value of boundaries. Setting limits for others in your life is not only acceptable, it is important. If you don’t, you will wish you had.
But you should expect those boundaries to be tested. This is especially true if you have allowed something in the past that you no longer want to allow. People will whine, bargain, accuse, or argue to get you to change your mind. Users and narcissists will simply ignore your boundaries and do what they want.
Yet, you will know that you have set the boundary even when it is disrespected. At least you will have tried. You may not be able to control the actions of others, but you can control the permission you give.
You will have a lot more difficulty setting and maintaining boundaries if your yes isn’t really yes and your no isn’t really no.
Users look for people who try to be nice. They seek those who are able to be compromised. If you can’t say no, someone will use you. You will be hurt and abused, and that other person will get what he or she wants. You have to learn to mean what you say.
And that means that you have to say what you mean. If you want to say no, don’t say maybe or someday or give any sort of opening. Users will hear only your opening and seek to stretch it to get what they want. Even friends can be confused when you don’t say no simply and clearly.
I accept that this is a problem for me. I don’t want to hurt or disappoint people. I tend to give in rather than face conflict. So, I need to remind myself that others will use that fact to get something from me that I don’t want to give. When I am not okay with that, it is at least partly my own fault.
In other words, when I feel that I should say no, I should say it and stick with it. I can pray for guidance, then do what I think is right. If that means I have to say no to someone or yes to something, then I should feel free and confident to do that. Otherwise, I may communicate the wrong thing, and others may take advantage of my apparently weak commitment to my position.
Now, as I said, narcissists and abusers will use your reluctance to say a firm yes or no as an excuse to ignore your desires. But friends may do the same thing. When you tell a friend something bluntly, he or she might not be used to that frankness. But without it, he or she might misunderstand. And misunderstandings hurt on both sides.
So, when you want to say no, say it. When you want to say yes, say it. Don’t redecorate your words so they sound nicer because you will probably make them weaker.