A complete sentence. My counselor worked with me over and over and over and over, no, I didn’t get it until he had me practice repeatedly. I kept giving huge humongous explanations as to why I was saying no….or more likely I didn’t say no, I attempted the impossible and failed, a lot.
Which brings us to #18:
18. Saying no instead of pushing through something I really don’t want to do.
Judy’s perspective is very similar to mine, here is the link to give her perspective: https://theprojectbyjudy.wordpress.com/2017/12/06/self-care-18-of-25/
My counselor told me very seriously that I need to learn to say no. My ‘do or die’ attitude needed to go. I stared at him and thought about his statement. Very quietly I responded, “I would have died.” He stopped and pondered for a minute. He agreed, in my situation without the do-or-die attitude, I would have died. I said Yes to my abusers to survive. Saying no would have had catastrophic results. He watched my first attempts at no and watched me visible shiver and shake trying to say no. He changed his insistence to say no to put a dimmer switch in my thinking. Not so intense on everything.
Enter Flylady.net FlyLady can be fairly intense herself but she taught me two powerful things that perfectionism is a disease and swish and swipe is good enough. Some people swear by her and other swear at her. I couldn’t keep up her pace. She started out by saying I could have a clean house in 15 minutes a day. I noticed that 15 minutes a day bloomed to 1-2 hours a day and I couldn’t keep up her pace. I did learn from her that coping with PTSD is easier with routines. I learned to say No to Flylady. No I am not going to do a one hour clean the house session every week. I’m doing awesome if I pull that off once a month. I also had a nasty boss, I learned to say no to him, too.
My counselor noticed that I would do things for other people that I wouldn’t do for myself. He used that to help me say no. He taught me that every time I said yes to someone at church, school, or work, I was saying no to my husband and children. Since my family of choice was a very high priority I started thinking twice or thrice before saying yes to some things. I still struggle with saying no but I am noticing an improvement.
Another huge area was saying no to what happened to my body. As a child, my body was not mine. If I protected myself from a hit or a kick I would get punished far worse than allowing my body to be hurt. Sexual abuse depends on the victim saying yes to anything that perpetrator does no matter how painful, creepy, or scary. Learning that my body belonged to me and I am responsible for it, is a work in progress. One of the things that helped me is signing up for karate class. One person chided me that I could beat up anybody. I thought about this. The power of martial arts to me is I have control over my body. I can do kicks, punches, rolls, falls and control what happens to my body. It is powerful to know that I can say what happens to me. Recently a student playful put up his fists to me. Instead of backing up, I stepped forward. I asked very quietly, “Do you think you can take me on?” He suddenly became a lot more cautious and backed up in a hurry. He decided taking me on was not a good plan. This feeling of power over my body spread to the medical field. I didn’t like the recommendation I had from a doctor, so instead of following orders, I stopped seeing that doctor and sought a healthier way to achieve the same results he was going to use a high power medication. I said no. Not loud. Not forceful. Just no and walked away. I am in control of my body, my time and my energy I maintain that control by saying NO. No explanation needed.