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I'm the girl who can't say no

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tangledknot posted 7/15/2014 08:30 AM

BH made an observation about me last night that really struck me. He was upset that I didn't understand the gravity of the situation and that I didn't understand the gravity of what I was doing while I was in the affair. I didn't respect that I could lose everything and make him a single dad. He asked me how I could do that? How I could throw it all away? Why didn't I understand?

I explained that I didn't have a plan. When it all started I was firm that I didn't want to lose my husband or my family, that I always knew I wanted my family, but as I got deeper and deeper, my vision blurred and I had no clue what to expect day-to-day. I told him I got carried away, like a willow-the-wisp, just being carried by the breeze.

All the sudden he snapped out of his anger, and looked me in the eyes and said he knows that about me, that I get carried away. He said I am like that with everything, whether I'm reading a book or talking to friend. And it struck me, I have been that way my whole life, as far back as I can remember, even preschool age - I just go along with whoever I am with. I never, ever say no. I get caught up in other people's plans and I don't have my own bearings.

This revelation just devastates me. I look back to when I was little, 4,5,6, and think back to playing with my cousins and other little kids, and how I would just go along with playing doctor or "I'll show you mine, if you show me yours," and then the resulting shame I would have. And then I think back to my college years and I how I would just go along, never saying no, never resisting. I never really knew what I wanted, so I just went along, and let other people degrade me, and then the resulting shame and self-recrimination. Then, I think back to how angry I am and how angry I am at my husband, and I realize it's because in our major life decisions, I just went along, never putting up a fight. I just let him run over me, without ever even telling him what I wanted or how it made me feel.

And then of course, I think of my AP, and how I just went along, never saying no. I just let him take the lead and I followed along, allowing him to do whatever he wanted. I degraded myself. I feel so worthless and defiled.

I HATE this about myself and I recognize that this aspect has been part of me my whole entire life. I have zero boundaries. I don't even know where to start.

DrJekyll posted 7/15/2014 08:52 AM

start with reading

i would recommend "co-dependant no more" "toxic parents" "trapped in the mirror" "your survival instinct is killing you"

if you have memories going that far back, then this is a childhood injury that has festered your whole life.

The best place to start, is the beginning.
You have go all the way back and see where this started, in order to move forward and heal all of those experiences and mal-adaptive behaviors.

moist likely it sounds like you never developed a "you" this will be from childhood trauma. This is where the crap gets deep. It is easy to look at your current behaviors and say "i see some issues of..if I would have done XXX...i can change that" when the reality is if you do not go back and see where it started, you cannot change that.

So you are faced with the next phase. Are you ready for it? This is when it starts to get real hard. Are you ready to face the truth about you? The real hard nosed truth? The what makes you "you" The why didn't I see this before. The depravity that is in you? It is a terrifying adventure. You will look into the eyes of demons inside you, and then realize that is a part of you. Are you ready for that? Are you committed to you yet? If so, grab your shovel and strap on your boots. Because this is the part where you realize that everything you have told yourself and thought about your childhood, family, and life has never been what you tell yourself. You need to think about this long and hard "Do I have the courage? Can I commit to myself?" That is what will make or break this journey for you. Your commitment to "You"

Best of luck on this journey. We are here for you. You are not alone, we have gone through this before you and are still digging down the rabbit-hole with you.

tangledknot posted 7/15/2014 09:17 AM

Thanks, Dr. Jekyll. I do appreciate it, and I like having a place where I can throw these "revelations" against the wall and get some feedback. I have an IC appt. in the next couple days, and I will bring this up. I have a long list of books to read. I am still working my way through "Not Just Friends."

You are right that I never developed a "Me," and this has led to great unhappiness and frustration, and has negatively affected each and every area of my life.

I have never really given much thought to these things, but now I am really wondering if these childhood experiences played a big role in my underlying issues with depression, low self-esteem, etc.

I think I am willing to dig through the muck to go back to the beginning and examine things, to face my demons. I feel like I have actually been given a beautiful opportunity to be redeemed, to fight for a joyful life.

Edited b/c I revealed too much. Boundaries! :)

[This message edited by tangledknot at 9:46 AM, July 15th (Tuesday)]

DrJekyll posted 7/15/2014 09:27 AM

I have never really given much thought to these things, but now I am really wondering if these childhood experiences played a big role in my underlying issues with depression, low self-esteem, etc

get reading, lots of reading. and you will start to find lots of parallels from your youth to how you act. But keep reminding yourself, this may be a reason, but it is never an excuse.

[This message edited by DrJekyll at 9:44 AM, July 15th (Tuesday)]

tangledknot posted 7/15/2014 09:33 AM

I feel silly for revealing so much. I DO NOT want to play victim or point my finger at everyone but myself. I'm just thinking out loud, I suppose.

sorrowfulmate posted 7/15/2014 09:41 AM

this may be a reason, but it is never an excurse.

Not to thread jack, but I know this.

I know that my FOO issues have something to do with what I have done in my life. But I made the choices I did.

No one else is to blame except me.

tired girl posted 7/15/2014 10:03 AM

What are your parents like?

tangledknot posted 7/15/2014 10:08 AM

Tired Girl,

My parents are wonderful and I am extremely close with both of them. Like every one, they made some mistakes along the way, but who doesn't? They are really, truly special people. For the most part, I had an idyllic childhood.

The truth is that I have had a pretty good life. I don't know why I have such poor coping skills. I grew into weak-willed woman. My hope is that I don't have to always be that way.

sorrowfulmate posted 7/15/2014 10:13 AM

**** god I am such an ego I though I was being asked bout my parents ****

[This message edited by sorrowfulmate at 10:19 AM, July 15th (Tuesday)]

tired girl posted 7/15/2014 10:28 AM

So neither parent has a tendency to override what you want and have you do what they want? Were you always given the ability to grow into who ever you wanted to be?

tangledknot posted 7/15/2014 10:58 AM

tired girl,

My mom always talks about how compliant I was as a child.

You are very insightful! My parents had huge (unrealistic) expectations for me and my sibling and my dad in particular tried to live his life through us. They both definitely overrided me. My dad had no hesitation in letting me know that he was ashamed or embarrassed of the person I was becoming.

tired girl posted 7/15/2014 11:03 AM

my dad in particular tried to live his life through us.

Talk about this a little.

tangledknot posted 7/15/2014 11:21 AM

My dad was self-made. He came from nothing, no help from his parents, barely graduated from high school, no college, married my mom right away, and somehow worked his way up in a company to make a very high income. Both of my parents worked hard to cultivate an image of success in our small community.

My dad really, really, really wanted his kids to be beautiful, athletic, smart, high achievers, the best at everything. It turns out, all three of us are a little goofy.

Anyway, my parents eventually lost everything, but that's another story. They are very humble now, and very happy as well. :)

[This message edited by tangledknot at 12:28 PM, July 15th (Tuesday)]

tired girl posted 7/15/2014 11:30 AM

Do you feel that he saw you as who you are, or as an extension of himself that could bring him more respect, admiration and so forth?

tangledknot posted 7/15/2014 11:37 AM

tired girl,

Definitely an extension of himself. He projected his own issues onto his kids. He had true anxiety that we would turn out just like him. He had always felt like a failure.

tired girl posted 7/15/2014 11:57 AM

This may be a good book for you to read. It will probably apply more to your father than your mother. I am not saying that your father is full blown NPD, but a parent with a lot of those characteristics can cause certain things in the children.

Will I ever be good enough? Healing the daughters of Narcissistic mothers. By Karyl McBride

Aubrie posted 7/15/2014 12:37 PM


What did you want to be when you grew up? Not what your parents wanted. What did *you* want?

Did you accomplish it?

What happened when you embarrassed you parents? If you did something "wrong"? How did you fail and let them down? Can you give me examples?

What did you feel when you were growing up? Did you feel peaceful? Did you feel pressure?

[This message edited by Aubrie at 12:41 PM, July 15th (Tuesday)]

SorrowfulSoul posted 7/15/2014 12:38 PM


I could almost have written what you have posted. I too, cannot say no and have gotten myself into all sorts of troubled situations as a result especially as a teenager.

I committed adultery with a coworker. It started out as a EA for a number of months and then he started pressuring me saying; "when are we going to get together?" I said each time; "I can't (not won't) cross the line. Yet in thinking about this and not to blame shift, was this another instance of not being able to say no? The PA carried on long past its expiry date because I again couldn't say no to end it. I transferred with my job and ultimately used that as a way to end the adultery.

I am in IC and have started EMDR and looking at childhood issues. Childhood issues or FOO issues did not make me choose adultery, but I believe they contributed to my poor decision making skills. I too did not have a plan, did not think of consequences and carried on in my own world. I compartmentalized. I left AP's house, locked that away in my mind and came home to BH. I did take the lead in setting up the first meet but as mentioned above, was this b/c I felt pressure from AP or am I blame shifting.

I have IC next week, so I will discuss with my therapist. I have huge issues with abandonment by my father when I was eleven and although my BH scoffs, I think my AP overlaps in my mind with my father.

Not being able to say no is huge and I can only see it now looking back and through some of the reading I have done. How to put saying no into practise? I can't say no to telemarketers or people accosting me in the malls trying to hawk their wares. I truly have work to do in this area. I at least recognize this now and that is the first step.

Tangledknot, you also have made that first step to recognize not being able to say no. Now to put it into practise as well. Good luck to you.

Macsecond posted 7/15/2014 12:47 PM

this is all ringing very true for me as well.

I don't see it as placing blame, but definitely as part of something that paved the way for you to make the decisions you did for the A to unfold.

More of a contributing factor, and something that can be changed and worked on, than as something to blame or taking blame away from you.

tangledknot posted 7/15/2014 12:53 PM


I was a goofy kid. I wanted to be a poet when I grew up. I didn't like school and didn't understand the point of it. I just wanted to play outside by myself in my own little world. I talked to myself a lot and was always in some sort of costume.

I didn't accomplish anything I really wanted to in life. I am in a career I hate. I just kind of landed in it.

Anyway, I struggled in school from the very beginning. My dad told me I was lazy and stupid. He said I was just like a person we knew who had dropped out of school in eighth grade and couldn't read. He said I would never graduate high school. He said that my test scores showed that I was mentally challenged and would have to repeat a grade (I wasn't and I didn't). He would say all of this from a throne. He had a huge office chair and a huge oak desk. He would lord over it as I sat across from him in a sunken sofa, usually dressed in a bathing suit or some other ridiculous play outfit - of course he would call me to his office when I was in the midst of playing.

Anyway, I have talked to my dad about all of this. My siblings have similar memories and my dad has apologized to all three of us.

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