Closely related to yesterday’s post about boundaries, today I want to tell you about another aspect of boundaries that not everyone is aware of.
No is a valid answer. Really.
I know it can be hard for some of us when we first learn to set boundaries. Saying no means we often feel like we need to explain every single reason why we’re saying no & make sure those reasons meet the other person’s approval. That is often a by product of surviving narcissistic abuse.
Unless you’re being interrogated by the police, you do not have to explain yourself to another person if you don’t feel comfortable doing so. People don’t need to know every single thing about you if you don’t want to share every detail. Really!
If the person you feel you must explain yourself to is a narcissist, then for your sanity’s sake, just say no instead. Offering explanations only gives a narcissist more ammunition for embarrassing or hurting you at some point, providing them their coveted narcissistic supply. For example, let’s say you can’t take your narcissistic mother to her doctor’s appointment on Thursday because you have a doctor’s appointment for yourself. If you tell her this, she probably will demand to know why you’re going, & do you really feel comfortable telling her it’s for renewing your prescription for birth control pills?! How awkward would that be? Or if it’s something more serious, you know she’ll spin it around to how it would affect her if you were very sick or, God forbid, were dying. Do you feel like dealing with that while you’re afraid yourself? No? Then remember to tell her no, without any explanation. If you really feel the need to elaborate, simply say “I can’t, because I have an appointment (or plans) at that time that can’t be changed.”
And, don’t let her push you into telling you either! Ignore when she hints around, wanting to know why you can’t help her. Pretend you don’t grasp that she is hinting for you to tell her anything. If she demands to know, change the subject. If she offers guilt trips (“I guess you have better things to do than take care of your mother…”), IGNORE!! You have every right to your privacy, & don’t let her convince you otherwise.
Always remember that no is a valid answer, & you have every right to use it as you see fit.