I always let people talk me into things. This writing is not about me blaming them for forcing me. I genuinely think their ideas are better than mine, their feelings are more important than mine. When I go along with them, I am rewarded with smiles and they tell me how much they like me. When I say no, in any sort of way, no matter how small, they react negatively, I feel punished. And sometimes they try to convince me anyway, they don’t take my no as a valid answer.
I’m learning to say no to my husband first, but it leads to arguments and shouting. He tries so hard to be the perfect husband for me, he wants to find that place where I never need to say no. Too bad that place is an unattainable fantasy. Saying no when I want things to stop, when I change my mind, when I’m feeling bad, it’s part of life. I should have the space to do that.
Still it feels wrong to disagree with someone. Like I’m hurting their feelings. I’m learning to voice my disagreement and it feels horrible every step of the way. Friends give me flustered looks. I feel like I’m not allowed to decline nice things, like I’m not allowed to change my mind. Once I agree to come to your new year’s eve party, I have to come again every year. Once I have been your friend for a few years, I can’t decide that we have little in common and stop calling you. I have to slither and back out of these things like a horrible person. Because if I ever found the courage to say “No thanks, I just don’t want you in my life right now” I would be the bad guy. There is no nice way to say no.
So I still let people talk me into things. And I take full blame. I choose to bend and change to accomodate others. Sometimes I even do it consciously. Because I’m still too afraid. After all these years, after all this work, I’m still too afraid to stand my ground. I’m still too afraid to be “not nice”, even for a second.
Sometimes, I test it, in public. I do small things. I don’t move over when other people want me to. I ask them to move aside for me. It never works. I always get pushed around and sometimes I even get shouted at.
So I give in. I let people talk me into things. My need to hear people tell me how nice I am, is somehow still greater than my need to be respected.