I have written about boundaries many times over the years. I believe that the inability to hold boundaries in all aspects of life is the main reason people with trauma continue to suffer.
The inability to say no to people and things brings repeated suffering and increased trauma responses. Every time a client tells me they cannot say no, they always include all the reasons for justifying this inability. Every one of these reasons stems from past trauma. Every single time.
Someone cannot say no to a toxic family relationship. Something that causes them great anxiety, frustration, and even anger they cannot say no. They continue to participate in it even if it is just peripherally, they are still letting it affect their lives. They can rant and vent at length about how this affects them, but when asked why they do not eliminate this from their lives the excuses pour forth.
A family member will be angry with them and ask why they do not care about the family. A family member will be sad that they are not including themselves in the family. A family member will threaten not to speak to them again if they put up a boundary. A family member will feel they do not love them if they do not engage. And on and on and on it goes.
Justification to continue suffering. Justification to continue reliving trauma. Justification for accepting they will be anxious, sad, angry every day because it.
All because they cannot say no more.
Someone cannot extricate themselves from a toxic romantic relationship. Something that makes them feel unvalued and worthless. Something that makes them blame themselves and resort to codependence to keep the relationship going. Something that allows them to never have their emotional needs met. They tell the same stories constantly about how they are treated and how badly it makes them feel, but they cannot say no.
The excuses are always the same. I am afraid to be alone. I have children with this person. I share finances with this person. What will I do if they are out of my life? And the trauma response, the way they treat me is my fault. I am causing the issues. And on and on and on.
All of this is developed out of past trauma and ongoing trauma. And of course fear is at the root of all inability to say no. They continue to be traumatized and internalize all the negative things they care conditioned to believe.
All the unresolved trauma blends with all the newly inflicted trauma until there is nothing but negative thinking and fear left. The inability to say no is a prison.
The only way to be free of suffering in all aspects of life is to start saying no.
Start with one thing. Say no more and stand firm. It will be difficult, very difficult. There will be backlash, always. Other people do not like being told no. Especially if you have not said no before. They expect that you will always say yes. When you say no, a tantrum will ensue based on THEIR feelings not what you have done. Their response is NEVER about you. It is about them.
Let them throw their fit and move on. If they truly care for you they will get past their feelings and have a relationship with you. If they do not truly care for you, they will not. They will make you feel guilty, make you feel scared, and make you feel sad. They will try every manipulative button they have ever used on you to get you to continue to say yes to try and break you down and make you give up your boundaries.
Those people do not love you. They will never love you. They will never value you. They will never respect any decision you make. Ever.
Conquer your fear. Talk back to your negative conditioned beliefs. Recognize your worth for yourself. Start saying no.
Freedom is not the ability to say yes. It is ability to say no.
Until next time be well,