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The Price of Not Saying ‘No’

I never thought that I had a problem putting my foot down (most people would equate me with an aggressive personality type…one not afraid to say what she thinks).  But recently, I have become overwhelmingly aware that I actually have a problem with drawing a line in the sand…for myself.  I’m not sure whether it is a need to do everything, or more a fear of not doing everything, but either way, I have a problem saying ‘No’.  And as a result, this has started to manifest itself in an extreme amount of stress on my psychological wellbeing.  Luckily, there haven’t been any major physical reactions…yet.

Although one could argue that this is a positive realization, it is at the same time devastating.  I am the type of person who is happiest when I’m busy and don’t have enough time in the day.  I thrive on trying new and exciting things, taking on new challenges and being as involved as I can.  My philosophy?  Life is just too short to not take full advantage of everything the world has to offer.  And, as a result, this epiphany that I can’t say ‘No’ implies that I need to do something I hate: sacrifice.

My overly ‘eager beaver’ attitude comes with a price.  And for that matter, a price that, if not kept in check, can be extremely high. Not having the ability to say ‘No’ can result in physical health issues, mental health issues or what I feel to be even worse, failing.  Unless you are a superhero (and let’s face it, Wonder Woman and Superman were great role models but we know they don’t really exist), it is impossible to do everything.

So, in order to prevent a stress-related breakdown, physical illness or failure, something has to give.  From a personal perspective, this is just not in my make-up and the idea of it is highly distasteful.  It means I have to give up something that I don’t want to give up.  It means making choices instead of having choices.  It means admitting that, indeed, I’m incapable, physically and emotionally, of doing it all.  How very disappointing.

So why am I burdening you with my issues?  Because, I can’t help but wonder how many of us suffer from the very same thing.  How many of us are trying to do it all and end up feeling stretched so thin, that the idea of flying off to some distant land to escape from all of the built up pressure, doesn’t seem like the best idea we’ve ever had?

Do you feel that you stretch yourself too thin?  Do you have a hard time saying no?  If so, what drives you to continually say ‘yes’?

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Posted in Brett's Blog, Mind-Body Tagged with: , ,
  • julie

    yes I feel we are do that from time to time dont want to say no because we dont want to hurt any onces feelings.

  • julie

    It is not easy, but there are times when you have other that come and ask for you’re help and there is no one else to help them. What do you do. are if a member of the family keeps saying if you need me call me. and they dont understand some times We can not allawys help them and then get mad. what do you do then.I have learn we need to think about us first and what we are not taken care in our own lifes. before we can help any one else.

  • Matthias

    If You don’t know where You are going, anywhere will get You there….
    Hard to reject help / emergency calls, try to produce a solution, that helps the other, without eating me up.
    Often all is not as rushy as in first sight.
    Additional rescue job, just stretches chilling out time for myself even longer and determination to say NO right after, has always kept further SOS calls from coming in a row afterwards.
    Life is fair.

  • Krystallia

    I used to be the person you are describing, not long ago… I think it’s a couple of years that I am trying to be a “more of a selfish” type of personality… not that I have actually accomplished it because it’s in our make to offer… but… I had reached the actual bottom sentimentally, mentally, psychologically and finally physically.

    And that was when I decided that I had to follow my peopl’s advice and just say “no”, just once, to see how it is… well, I found it very hard in the beginning and not that I always do it but even sometimes saves me time to look after myself so as to be strong enough to take care of all the others… good luck!

  • KW

    You have no idea how much this post describes me. I think I’m at the point where I realize there’s nothing else I can do. I have an awesome job that I used to love, and now when I pull in the parking lot I have to psych myself up to get out of the car because I know there will be a new project on my plate at the end of the day that I just won’t be able to do. No, that’s wrong–I get all these taskings because I always make sure everything gets done. Heard the saying ‘if you want something to get done, give it to someone who’s already busy’? Well, in this case just go ahead and insert my name. Over the last few months especially I’ve had people tell me to back off, but I just don’t see how to do it. And since I have this personality, I’m a perfectionist. It seems easier in my brain for me to do it, then to watch someone else try and fail. So why is it then some people have this overwhelming need to do it all? Why do I continually need to prove I’m the best? My boss knows it…my coworkers don’t necessarily like me because of it. So why can’t I just back off a little so I can actually get some sleep at night?

  • HA

    Oh my god, you are talking about ME… And also at the exact momment I was thinking in my head ” I just wish I have more time…for everything.”

    I know I have to stop; I have to say No. But the world is so enchanting…that I feel like an addiction. Yes, I am an addiction of life. Every aspect of life is so wonderful, pretty, that I want to know more about it… But yeah, as I want to know about something new, I have to give up on something else. It becomes distress, because I feel like I live my life half-heartly. I know a lot of them but none I understood at depth… I have been struggling everyday, yet I don’t know how to stop.

    Just like an addiction, I keeps going back on the same road. I crave for new things…and with that, I neglect the old things. It’s not like I don’t like the old things anymore, it’s just that I also like the new things.

    My life feels like an endless swim, in which keeps changing my direction because of every single interesting thing I could see… But with this, I will never be able to reach the land, I’m always worried that I may drown (It’s just a meatphore though 😉 )..

    But yeah, If I could change, I think I’ll be very happy…

  • Adriana

    WOW.. this describes me down to the last sentence. I recently have started thinking that people take advantage over the fact that I enjoy being busy, especially at my job. It seems as if no one appreciates me, all they do is ask me to do their busy work; and ask throughout the day if I’m done with their tasks. My personal life seems to be the same way. I feel as if doing everything still does not please everyone, especially when I do the things I choose to. At some point though enough is enough because everyone you try to please most likely doesn’t care if you suffer a breakdown or illness. Doing everything eventually caught up to me, I became extremely stressed out all the time, tired, and annoyed by everyone. Until I took a day off from work, school, and my personal life I realized the changes I needed to make.

  • julie

    I think because a lot of us fell the need to belong to something our some one, maybe it be you’re job are other person’s. you fell if you dont do it everything is going to fa a apart, well guess what it wont, me and my husband have beening closer then ever makeing time for what we need, like quite time, going outside, not answer the cell phone on sunday’s. sometimes we nedd to hear it from the one we love so we can move on. we need to take time to our slef and slow down. right now my son is palying my husband is injoying some time a long. Becuase monday threw sunday, We run our bussiness. and also home school. you have to say this on the weeken this is time for me.if you have any question’s call me. we went threw one week haven to say no to a family member. because he was beeing slef and wanted us to stop what we wear doing, and we wear in a middle of bussiness. and my husand said we can not help you right now, when we can we will give you a call, and it was not a emergency, so yes you can say no when you realy need to. because you have to look at it this way, you have to think about you and you’re family before you can help any one else. are you are not good for any one else. I feel if you are doing good in you’re life you should help others but you work work like 80 hrs you dont have much time and you’re family should understand that, our maybe they have to much time and there hands that is why they dont see it that way. we all have been there a time our to many. all I can say it is time to say NO!. are you are going to be veary unhappy. and as for the real emergency’s now that is a 24hr job.I have a brother in law that works for the firer department it is not easy.

  • billy

    Not being able to say no is a sacrifice. We do it out of love for the other person, meaning, we put his/her interests before ours. The consequences are the prices we pay for this kind of love. Why be guilty when we are more loving when we suffer? We were never meant to live a life bereft of sufferings. Mankind in fact, was saved because Somebody suffered.
    Suffer out of love!

  • filly

    i felt so relieved when i learned to say NO..Before,i thought I would hurt one’s feelings in saying no.But it’s the opposite.It was the greatest thing I’ve ever did.I begin to love myself.I felt my self worth.i felt victorious.

  • ron

    I don’t think the problem is saying yes to everyone. The problem is resenting the effort, and that’s just the other side of the coin of being selfish. Both result from a lack of self-esteem.

  • Jenn


  • janet

    We say yes to things we should say NO to because we are afraid of people not liking us. Women fall prey to this more than men. Mothers need to teach their daughters to say NO and mean it without the fear of not being liked.

  • Maria

    Yes, related to a passive aggressive personality when you are reaching the stressed and limit of all that you have to do for others and have no time because you had no character strong enough to say, “no, I can’t right now” or just plain “NO” and for many is definitely related to low self esteem, unhealthy pride, mesianic personality of saving the world and thinking only you can do all, and definitely a need of feeling needed and feeling part of something and wanted. For most of this people it goes back to the way they were brought up as children and the attention or inattention that they received from loving and caring adults or the lack there of.

  • marlyn tracey

    I wish I would have said, “NO” to a friend of mine who invited herself to my daughter’s graduation in California. I had to rent a hotel room, eat restaurant food and spend alot of money of taxi rides.
    She was demanding and self absorbed in her demands of sight seeing. I had lived in Ca for 20 years, so I wasn’t in the tour guide mode and to say the least it was 8 nights of hell. I didn’t get to spend time with my daughter and my friends as I had wanted to. I saw more city in 8 days than 20 years. I need a vacation from a vacation. Next time I will say, HELL NO, I’m going to travel alone and do what I want to do. We were good friends but after a couple of snippy fights if I see her again, it will be to soon. Live and learn.

  • b thomas

    this is the situations of so many young people now, i just watched the extreme end of the worst case scenario of this- my own daughter.
    she didn’t say no in time. now she is physically emotionally a complete wreck. the doctors can’t decide on a diagnosis between “too extreme for fibromyalgia” to ms.
    how do you get to that point at the age of 30? she put herself through college while having two children, her husband helped but compensated by being a 3rd child all too often..went to work in her field 6 months before graduation…2nd job offer in another state, they all moved there…and he quit his sophomore year of college…they started a business in which she also provided the main thrust and energy and direction …did i mention her youngest child has asperger’s…so there is some kind of genetic predisposition going on towards hyperalertness, activity…
    but when she crashed, she turned into 80 years old. on her thirtieth birthday.
    learn to say no.

  • Cathy

    KW – you realize there is a problem, which is the first stop to resolution! My technique: When your boss gives you a new project, ask him/her to prioritize it with your other projects, explaining that you are already over 100% capacity with all your other work. If you know the work load and expertise level of your team mates, you might even be able to suggest someone else for the project. This has worked for me for years! I even had one job where I went through the priority bit with my boss, whereupon he told me they were all 1st priority. So I told him that he could put my name on projects, but I REALLY didn’t have any time to work on them. To make a long story short, he instead named me as ‘consulting’ on an ‘as needed’ basis with other members of my group on those projects. I was the ‘second’ on those projects, which meant that I reviewed documents and gave about 3 hours per week to explaining how stuff worked to the “firsts”. After a few months the work was more evenly spread around the group.

    I hope you can find a way to lighten your load.

  • Cathy

    bthomas – my sympathy for your daughter. I have had fibromyalgia for 20+ years, but am lucky enough to have an extremely supportive husband. I was also lucky enough to stumble on a good rheumatolgist (first one thought it was RA and that most of my pain was in my head) and the right set of medications. Also went through some therapy, which helped me sort of relax and also helped me put what goes on in my life in perspective. I have two friends with MS and both have been very fortunate to be able to work and manage their illness. I pray that your daughter is able to reach a good balance in her life that will enable her to feel well most of the time and to enjoy her life. When all is said and done, enjoying life is what really counts.

  • DW

    Personally, I find that our society has especially placed women in a position of having to be everything to everyone. I joke with a good friend that I was born in the wrong generation (age 36), because my heart longs to just be a wonderful wife and mother–sort of a cross between June Cleaver and Aunt Bea. As it is, my husband wouldn’t care if we had seven million dollars in the bank (which we don’t), he would still expect me to work a full time job-because he does. He (and many others I know) think that women who focus their energy on caring for children, the home, and aging parents are of no worth. I am not a lazy person, it is just that I end up feeling that I do not have time to ever relax and just be mom, wife, and daughter. I do some volunteer work with an organization which benefits girls, including my daughter. I enjoy volunteering, but feel so stretched. In my job as a teacher, I am emotionally, mentally, and physically drained by day’s end and still often end up having calls from parents about “Sally” or “Johnny’s” homework or upcoming tests in the evening hours. I even have some parents that monopolize my home time to discuss their child at length. I really don’t mind it except that it takes away from my children. My kids hear me talking with these parents and often ask me why I am so patient and kind with my students and I never have time for them (my own kids). This hurts. Of course, there are all the other things that use up time besides a job–washing, cooking, cleaning….etc. I’d love to know how others do it all while keeping the guilt at bay and while maintaining positive quality and quantity time with their own family. Am I the only one who feels this way???

  • Evangeleen

    Wow, yep thats me. I go and go and go till i get so stressed out and then i crash… feel better and start all over again. I do realize that I cant do it all anymore, but that doesnt stop me from trying. Good luck!

  • Lyndon

    It will cause medical problems. I ‘m having them now. I stopped helping others a while back. I still help but on my terms only. I don’t have a problems saying NO now at all. I come first and if I have time, I will help others out. I found the 12 step program helpful years ago. Everyone one needs time alone to re-group and think.

  • Lisa

    I agree with you Lyndon, I stopped being helpful to people about a 2 years ago and it was the best decision I ever made. People will take advantage of someone’s kindness and treat it as a weakness. I thought long and hard before I finally just said “NO” for the first time. I contribute it now to coming close to turning 40, I have come into my own world now and I can live for me, do things for me and not worry about others. I am very cautious now, much more than I have ever been.

    Great article!

  • marie

    im going thru the same thing because i didnt say ‘no’ to my peers and school mates and as a result i failed in one of my subjects in school.i also find it difficult to say ‘no’ to myself and procastinate on the important things that needs to be done. i have noticed that i waste my time alot and at the end of the day, i dont remember anything related to school.i dont know…maybe it’s just me, but i really need help in saying ‘no’ to my friends and saying yes to my studies!!

  • Chris

    I say no all the time. Thats probably why I only have one or two friends.

  • AB

    I do agree.Learning to say no saves one a lot of stress.Setting out your priorities,at times you find people doing jobs they really don’t like because they can’t say no to their ego and they end up stressed out and unhappy and they age faster.If only we can learn to say no and listen to that inner voice,get the confidence to say no even to ourselves,life will be sweeter!

  • Angela

    May 26, 2009

    I have actually begun to say no in more areas that I used to always say yes and ever so giving. My yeses to people that were and are close to me was never out of my weaknesses, that I remember when I use to always ask then for favors, etc., they said yes to me more than the no’s, that now since I have became stronger and more independent of always asking them for favors, I have seen a change in their attitudes, especially an ex-boy friend who keeps popping in and out of my life whenever he feels like it and coming to my place always empty-handed looking for what he can get out of me, that he has no good intentions of wanting anything more out of me other than a roll between the sheets, playing me for a fool, that just the other evening he caled me up asking me to borrow some money for gas and cigaretts until he gets paid the following week, that I knew he was only attempting to use me and spending no time with me, while he’s been keeping other company at his place in another Town.He must have thought I was going to continue to be his dam fool, that he could not handle when I repeatedly was asking him questions about what was going on, on his end since I had not been hearing from him and now asking me to borrow some money, that he then wanted to come over my place and get busy, that I knew his motives why, and I told him no, not to come over because of his unresolved issues that I could not resolve for him. He then hung the phone up on me. This guy has got 2 long time 2 jobs. Then he needs to better manage his money for his gas in his car and take care of his own smoking habits.

  • LJ

    This used to be me. I discovered that saying no has given me time to do what I want to do. Before, I would just do what others wanted to please them. It is very freeing to saying no; it gives you time for yourself.

  • Annie

    I have to try to prioritize the real requests for help in my life. I have so many people right now that aren’t necessarily even asking for help, but that really need it due to the economy. They come before the people that are not in a real emergency situation. That means I have to face that saying no to unreasonable hours in my job, for the first time, could easily end it. And that also means that I am making people that used to really take advantage of me realize they are not at the top of my list of priorities. That makes them mad that they cannot keep using me instead of thankfull for the extra I have always done. (For instance, free babysitting for my wealthy sister to go out vs. free babysitting so my best friend can work late. I said no to the sister, for the first time, and helped the friend. The sister hasn’t called since.) I have compromised some of my family and work relationships, but I have to prioritize the people in real emergencies that would do the same for me, right? It’s so hard to let people down, and it’s super hard to feel their upset when I do. But I feel like I messed up in letting so many people feel like I owed them from the beginning.

  • I saw only one post where someone mentioned a family members feelings of “hay what about us”. The immediate family members of a do-it-aller have to deal with always being last in your line of to do’s.

    I too used to be a do-it-aller, and got so stressed out that I became cranky all the time, and yes got sick. I knew my issues were related to my inability to say no, but did not know how to stop. Then someone challenged me to change my knee jerk response of “sure I can do that” to “Let me check my calendar and I will get back to you”. I found that once I allowed myself time to think about the request made of me, I was able to ask myself “do I really want to do this?”, “do I really need to be doing this for this person?” (should the person asking for help be doing this for themselves?). In the case of work, asking your boss to prioritize your to do list is a professional and responsible way of saying “lets check what I have on my plate now”. Once I got just a little bit used to doing this something very interesting began to happen. Those people that I was feeling a little used by, fell away, because all they really wanted was for me to do things for them. When it came to a relationship based on us taking care of ourselves, they weren’t interested, and so they moved on and found someone else “who could better serve them” (yes someone actually said that to me). This same thing is true of families the do-it-aller is not just in the work place. The “can you help mer’s” were forced to do it for themselves. And yes a lot of the time they really made a mess of things. But guess what, the next time they had to do for themselves they did better. They began to grow as independent person. Families who turn to one person for advise, to help out, or to fix something, are taking advantage of that person and robbing them of their own full and authentic life. Those who are not willing to make their own choices and mistakes, and learn their own life lessons are half of the equations, having the strength to say now and let them grow is the other half.

    In my case I let go of being a do-it-aller and found a better life that included better and deeper relationships with my family and real friends, that included real quality time filled with laughter, and joy, stress and guilt free. Can you imagine???

    When I found myself in a relationship with a ….. yep, a do-it-aller. The relationship did not work, and ended because there was never any time for us that did not include “just doing this one thing for that other person”, or taking a phone call from a family member who was used to 24/7 access to the “fixer”. Our Valentines day dinner was interrupted by a family member who wanted to talk, at length, about a security system because she had begun feeling less secure in her home. Really???? She had to make the call on an evening she knew we were at dinner trying disparately to have some “quality time together”. Now the fact that my then partner took the call is only an indicator of how deeply seeded the problem was. And after several similar situations, I had to admit there was a serious problem and drew a line. Unfortunately the behavior did not change and the relationship ended. Had it not been for this one issue the relationship would have been the one. Sad!

    So to those of you who can’t seem to say no, stop for a minute and look at what you are doing to the people who REALLY need you. Your immediate family. Wife, husband, partners, and children. Let me be the one to tell you that if you don’t stop and focus on yourself and your immediate, family you WILL loose them. Maybe not because they leave you, but relationships will be for ever damaged. If your significant other, and or children are last on your list, because you have filled all of your time exploring new things, or helping others, you are pushing them away. You are choosing your need to do-it-all over them.

    Change can only happen when you want to change. Choosing not to change is a choice too! Get professional help if you have to. What ever you do, slow down, and focus on yourself and loved ones, all the rest is filler, and in the scheme of things irrelevant.

    Live, Laugh, and Love

  • Chorse99

    I’ve had problems saying no in my life.

    I believe the root causes of the inability to say no to others lies in self-esteem issues (the lack of), and issues with inability in creating boundaries in one’s life. I feel that this is something that is learned at a very young age, either from examples set by parenting styles and/or directly being taught to a child and how to manage life issues that extend into the adult years.

    Most of the time, I’ve only had problems saying no to others in the workplace. I think I felt this way mostly out of fear, and a lack of experience in the working world, and also never being taught how to be assertive and standing up for myself in a non-angry or defensive manner. This took a toll on my work history throughout my younger years, and as a result lead to some very serious problems maintaining a working lifestyle as I aged. I did learn a bit about being more assertive in the process over those years, but it seemed to become more and more stressful for me to manage on any job I had as time passed. As a result, I had what would be called in layperon’s terms, a nervous breakdown at age 37, and became emotionally drained and barely able to function or continue on with life. It lead to severe problems with depression and anxiety that I still am combating to this day.

    Now, I’m not saying that every person who overextends will have this same outcome in their life, but if you’re predispositioned in any way to mental health issues, this behavior can contribute in very negative ways and can have detrimental effects on future interactions and relationships.

    However, I haven’t had many problems saying no to people in my personal interactions in life. With family and friends, I will be there to help in emergency situations, but if I feel that it’s something a person can do on their own and they’re just being lazy or pushing the envelope, I have no problem making pat excuses or simply saying, “Let me check on that…” and then leaving the ball in their court. Usually, if it’s not an emergency, people like that will give up, and as other’s have said, move on to someone who is availble to help them (or enough of a sucker, imo).

    I mostly see the problem of saying no to family and friends occurring with men I’ve been in relationships with. At least 2 of them have had problems with this, and in my observation, have often been used by others as a result, and end up be treated like doormats. I myself am much more cautious about the freeloaders and users in the world, and am much more cynical about people than it seems the men I’ve been with are.

    Oddly enough, these men I’ve known have no problem saying NO to me when I need help, so I therefore have gotten very used to being as autonomous as I possibly can be, and rarely ask others for help. Why someone would say yes to casual friends or strangers, but no to their own partner has illustrated to me that the incapcity to say no to others is often a deep seated need for acceptance and to boost a low self esteem by feeling needed by anonymous aquaintances.

    One good example of this I can think of, is several years back receiving a phone call from my husband’s step brother, whom I’d never even met, and someone who hadn’t contacted my husband for several years. He called asking to borrow 1500$ from us. After a long conversation, my husband hung up the phone, and actually turned to me asking if we should “loan” him the money. I was appalled and my mouth dropped as I said, “Are you kidding me?? Who is this person calling? I don’t know him and I don’t care if he’s your step brother, that is an unreasonable request.” In fact, I acutally laughed at my husband internally for even considering “loaning” him the money (which in my book, would have acutally been throwing 1500 bucks down the drain).

    What puzzles me is the fact that my husband can’t see the folly in this type of request, yet when I make a simple “please take out the garbage” request it’s like pulling teeth from him to get it done.

    I hope this helps the people who have problems saying no, to realise how this type of behavior can escalate into sometimes serious life issues and problems, and can hurt those who are sincerely close to you and may need help, but get overlooked.

  • learning to be mean

    Learning to say know is important because in the end people judge you on what you have, not what you do. For example, If you take on other people’s projects and neglect your own health or work. You may lose your job or get sick. Sometimes when bad things happen, people like to blame the victim. So then that becomes “ Why is it taking you so long to find a job? What’s wrong with you?” Or “ How did you let yourself so sick. Didn’t you know to see a doctor earlier?” Your life state becomes a reflection of you. If your life is bad, you must be bad to have done something to cause it. No one ever thinks about the role they may have played in your problems. Then they worry that what is wrong with you might rub off on them. If you take care of yourself and your happy and prosperous people will assume you doing something right and want to be around you.

  • James

    Brett: I’ve often lamented: Something’s got to give, and this is one thing among many which has…

    As usual, a great an insightful article that’s provoking me how to fit things in better as well as prioritize.

  • LJ

    It’s so interesting when you do start to say ‘no’, you’ve got to try it. One little friend of mine always needed help, to move in for a while, a ride here or there, a loan of money, etc. I was so surprised one time when she asked for a loan that I couldn’t make at the time. I felt terrible even tho she was sleeping at my house and eating well, you can’t imagine how badly I felt that I couldn’t loan her the money. I was sooooo concerned and told her how sorry I was more than once. Finally she told me to stop worrying about it, that it was OK, and I said “what do you mean, I thought you really needed it”.. She replied, “well, I do, but I’ll just call the next person on the list, stop worrying about it!” Whew, did I learn a lot or what? Try it folks!

  • I use to have trouble with saying “No.” But, now I say it freely because I love myself. I use to do everything for everyone and nothing for myself. And, one day I realized it. It hit me. Now, if I can manage to help out with something. I will but if not. I decline and don’t feel bad about it.

    -Kaya Cassan

  • Chandra

    I used to be the “fixer”, the “Yes, I’ll-do-it-right-away woman”, and everyone’s savior who solved people’s problems, babysat for free, did people’s laundry, cleaned their houses, loaned money and property out and anything else I was asked getting little or nothing in return because people would guilt me and call me things like “stingy”,”miserly”, ” a b*tch”, “selfish”, and “not nice” if I didn’t, anmd it made me feel guilty. Now? I don’t care if people say things, they can do it themselves and if they don’t like it, tough. Life’s too short to be a pushover, and this is probably why most of my so-called friends aren’t my friends anymore. No big deal.

  • It seems that being a “yes” or “no” person will always backfire depending on your situation, so you have to stay strong for yourself and keep your own selfworth in mind.

    I was labeled as “difficult and disrespectful” by a boss who had no sense of boundaries, was rude, disrespectful and vulgar – she loved using the “c – – t” word around staff, and it was a woman of my mother’s age. Needless to say, I found that difficult to deal with. She was also lazy, and I suspect she had a touch of dementia due to her “forgetfulness” and her ability to fly into a rage in about 10 seconds flat.

    Within the first 2 weeks of my employment at that company, I was asked to go way above and beyond my contractual obligations by taking on Accounts Payable (I was Assistant Director of Education at a private college). When I said I would do it for a pay raise, I was refused the increase so I said I would not be able to do it. I was accused of “jumping down her throat” by saying no. This was only the beginning of 2 miserable years at the college, which culminated in getting laid off from my job as Registrar because “my skill set was no longer relevant” (ironically, this was the same week the I had managed to finish cleaning up about $300,000.00 of accounts receivable, which, btw, wasn’t in my contract to do) When I took the position as Registrar, I didn’t realize that I was the 5th person in a 13 month period in that job … high staff turnover says a lot (negative) about a company.

    I have since realized a few very important things that every person should know – 1) if a person is weak and insecure, s/he will feel threatened by someone with brains and potential, and will do everything to undermine them – they will always find fault with what you do, 2) there is no such thing as job security, all you can do is your best job while actively looking for something else, 3)No employment obligation should ever supersede your rights as a human being to dignity and respect. 4) If you do your best to be pleasant and do a good job, then if someone doesn’t like you, it probably isn’t your fault. It’s their problem, and you don’t have to deal with it (see points 1,2,3)

    I am in a much better place now, and realize that I prolonged my own misery by not cutting and running sooner. But hey, at least I got a pathetic severance cheque, which was better than nothing.

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