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Snuggling contentedly amongst my other issues, I have two rather deep seated and firmly ingrained problems that I have recently discovered are linked. This actually is rather good, because that means that I now have one rather than two. Please note the positive spin – I am if nothing else, eternally optimistic.

Issue 1

I am a people pleaser and find it incredibly hard to say no.

Issue 2

I am unfamiliar with the notion of ‘moderation’.

And the link is this: I can’t say no to others, or myself. I simply cannot say “No! Stop! That’s enough”.

I suspect I am a people pleaser because of a need to be loved. The problem with this, is that being a fairly needy individual but loathe to be a burden, where one feeling should in theory neutralise the other, it doesn’t; it simply makes me complicated.

So I do things for people that I don’t want to do, consequently get grumpy and do whatever it is with extremely bad grace.

And then my neediness kicks in. Imagine husband dearest trying desperately to leave for work in the morning, briefcase and coat in hand, with me attached to his ankles being dragged across the kitchen floor wailing, “Don’t leave me! Don’t leave me!” Not that he’s quite beating me with his umbrella to detach me but …. Admittedly I am exaggerating somewhat, but you get the gist.

As for moderation, this tends to happen when doing something that I enjoy, for example:

Certain types of exercise (ie cycling until my body starts shutting down)

Nibbling delicately on a biscuit (read: devouring a twin packet whilst locking myself in the larder),

Getting excited about an event (hyperventilating, shaking and nausea)

Again, I hope you get the gist.

There is simply no “Off” button. No bright little button with “Time to stop now Katie!” flashing on it. No sodding great beacon with a man holding a megaphone shouting “No, you stupid woman, just Nooooo!”

I can’t say No!

So the question is twofold:

1). How do I stop this impetuous, people pleasing doormattish behaviour, and

2). How do I dig deep enough in order to find my inner self control? (As in, where do you keep yours? Clearly close to hand, perhaps in a little pocket somewhere …. whereas I think I left mine at a childhood birthday party many decades ago.

All answers, suggestions welcomed ….

Katie xx

47 thoughts on “NO! NO! NO!”

  1. You have described me with frightening accuracy. It is only now that I’m beginning to use that word in the title of this post. My whole life I’ve said yes, then felt deep, all consuming resentment because of it. And just as you say “do whatever it is with extremely bad grace”. I actually chuckled when I read those lines because I could have told you this about me. There are people in my life I now avoid because of how I said yes. Isn’t that crazy? Well. Better late than never.

    Can’t remember where I read it but suspect it was somewhere on my travels through various sobriety/recovery literature and it was about boundaries: “LET ‘NO’ BE A COMPLETE SENTENCE”. I’m trying to live by this, a little at least! I take this to mean that I shouldn’t do what I’ve always done when I’ve TRIED to say no – this has typically meant a long winded barrage of excuses and ridiculous attempts at wriggling out of something whilst making it sound like the no isn’t from me but because of circumstances out of my control. “Oh, I’d love to but I can’t afford it” – when I’m in actual fact not wanting to go and it has nothing to do with money.

    I’m not fantastic at it, but I do try to think before I shout yes. I try to work out if I actually want to, and if I do, whether I can afford to emotionally – I try to ascertain if it’ll require more of me than I can give without it negatively affecting me. Well. For me, this is something I’m more able to do now that I’m sober so perhaps not entirely similar to you, but that’s the tool I have I suppose: think through if I want to and if I can, and if not allow that ‘no’ to be the complete sentence.


    Liked by 4 people

    1. Ooooh you’re a wise bird you! That’s why I like you so much! Come to think of it, I think you’ve written about this before. I too, scrabble around looking for excuses, but against a stronger person who is used to getting their own way, I flail around as they find an answer to each and every excuse. It makes me faintly dislike them for trying and succeeding to walk over me. But in truth, I dislike my lack of … self confidence perhaps? … that prevents me from saying “no”, smiling sweetly and changing the subject.
      Thanks so much for for your input, it’s genuinely good to hear. Katie xx

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I can identify with this, I’m a people pleaser too, I can’t bring myself to say ‘No’ in case it might upset others. Even if I say ‘No’ at first I soon cave in or end up feeling guilty. If I come up with a solution I’ll let you know.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Katie, with people pleasing I think there’s definitely a cultural thing going on, so many of us are similar. I am less like this than before, but now when I say no I am usually too blunt! (I’m reminded of a scene in Friends where Phoebe says with a smile – “I’d love to but I don’t want to…”) But I think better that and at least the other person knows where they stand, than you go on resentfully and they think you’re happy doing it so won’t hesitate to ask you again in the future.

    On the moderation front, I definitely have tendencies, or perhaps you could say blind spots. Generally I’m fairly minimalist, but a couple of years ago I managed to amass over 50 cameras, half of which I never used even once. A few months back I got back into cycling and six bikes have arrived since (three of which have moved on to new homes). I used to be like this with food a few years back, just eating (usually cake and biscuits and cereal) until I was full and then beyond. I am much better these days and have had to be, as my digestive system can’t tolerate what it used to. But I do still indulge now and again (I think we talked about dark chocolate, dates and dried apricots a while back!)

    I also noticed recently that despite my previous over indulgent eBay activities with cameras and bikes being curtailed, when we started looking for Christmas presents for the children and wanted some used Playmobil, the same kind of patterns of behaviour started to return, basically watching loads of items and ending up buying more than we needed, getting caught up in that whole hunting and consuming cycle.

    Obviously I haven’t quite mastered this over indulgence. Clever how you’ve framed this as not being able to say no to yourself and related to the other one. I think you’re on to something!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I have just laughed out loud about the Phoebe comment in Friends! I had forgotten that! This over indulgence clearly is something that many of us have … I hope you had a large garage or shed in which to store your bicycles – that’s quite a lot even by my standards! I do think that eBay can be quite addictive, frankly anything that’s online can be all too easy to get hooked on. Thanks for your honesty, I love it! Katie


      1. I have three bikes, my ebike I keep in our hallway which is large enough to be able to put the bike to one side and walk best. The other two are in the shed with my wife and two kids’ bikes, which fit fine.

        eBay is very dangerous. It’s the hyper accentuated manifestation of that old saying one man’s junk in another man’s treasure… I can’t really use it in moderation, it’s best if I just stay completely away from it. This is an approach that generally works for me, cold turkey!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. eBay do have a very good returns policy, so the buyer would be covered in the event of diappointment… : )

        I’ve drafted a whole post on eBay actually, its highs and its lows. Look out for that one soon!

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Both hard things. I am a recovering people pleaser lol. I too need to learn how to set boundaries more. I have done some of this, but it feels like slow progress. It has taken me sheer will and a crap ton of determination to progress. I wish I had a quick answer for you. GL!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ahhh a fellow biscuit lover! I guess avoiding the situation is one way, and in truth looking back, I think that I’ve done that too. Perhaps I’m just a glutton for punishment and want to battle the ‘no’ monster …. but some people are just so adept at pushing one to get what they want. I shall work on this one. Thanks so much for reading x

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I used to be the same and I was expected to do as well. Then I just refused to do or did not do what was requested. I found the people who expected did not appreciate anything done for them. The people complained and I said I no longer had time. I was running myself into the ground. As for the biscuit problem as you said it accompanies the having to say No problem. Feeling irritated I would munch on biscuits. The more I went my own way the less I needed to munch on biscuits because I was slowly becoming me.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yes, I do think that those who expect it are often rather put out when we don’t concede to their wishes. They slightly remind me of the bullies back in school. However it sounds to me as though you’ve got yourself on the straight and narrow – well done!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Long ago I vowed I would never break my own promise, in a bid to earn my own trust and respect. So knowing that, if there is a hurtful behavior I am aware of -anything from eating a bag of cookies, to putting up with shitty behavior from a toxic person- I just promise myself I wont cross that boundary and then I don’t, because a promise you make to yourself is one you keep. No exceptions.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oooh … this is brilliant. I clearly don’t have this level of self control, but I love this different way of looking at it. Yes, something for me to work on. I need to make a vow to myself. Thank you so much. Katie x

      Liked by 1 person

  7. SO glad I found this blog. Funny that the one day I decide to get back into blogging (took a break due to mental health issues) I quickly find all of these like-minded people. I can’t be of much help when it comes to self-control but one thing I have NO problem doing is saying no. One part of self-growth for me has been setting boundaries. I’ve learned I can show people love and still say no, I can actually do some people more good by saying no than I would do otherwise. I think it’s important to remember to go easy on yourself. People will not resent you for setting boundaries if anything they’ll respect you.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. With so many people pleasers on here, I need to ask some favors or something. 😀

    I have no advice on the moderation of consuming treats, but HAVE had some success with little ‘no’s.’ Telling another that I can’t when I can’t has been great. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha!! I’m sorry about your ‘vile’ sister … oh dear, what is it they say? You can choose your friends, but not your family? However, some of the responses from others have been really interesting and worth a thought if you have a moment to read them. I especially like the ‘making a vow to myself’ one. Thanks so much for reading. Katie x

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Difficult one. Maybe try liking the feeling of guilt? Say no, then when the guilt comes, tell it to shove off. Easier said than done I guess, but you are halfway there to overcoming this problem because you recognise it and also know why you feel this way. I wish you all the best with this. xxx

    Liked by 1 person

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