Dysfunctional people, especially narcissists, often believe that giving someone everything they want & doing anything they want is what it means to love & honor someone. They even claim it’s not Godly to say no.
This couldn’t be more wrong though!
Romans 15:2 in the Amplified Bible says, “Let each one of us [make it a practice to] please his neighbor for his good, to build him up spiritually..”
Did you notice what that verse says? It says we should please our neighbor “for his good.” That alone proves that not everything that can be done for someone is for their own good. But, even if you don’t believe the Scripture, simply observing those who have gotten their way about nearly everything shows you that isn’t good. People who are very accustomed to getting their own way are very arrogant & entitled. They can be extremely demanding of others & have virtually no respect for the time & needs of others. Worst of all, they also can be narcissists. It’s very good for people not to get their own way all of the time.
It’s also good for people not to do for others all of the time, because those who are catered to will come to expect that. They can become very entitled & demanding rather than appreciating all someone does for them or returning the favor.
For victims of narcissistic abuse, saying no creates a great deal of shame. Narcissists train their victims to do whatever they want with no regard to the victim’s own needs, wants or feelings. They also make sure their victims know how selfish & terrible they are if they consider their needs, wants or feelings rather than only the narcissist’s. After being berated for being so terrible enough times, any normal person in this situation learns to avoid having any boundaries, & simply do whatever the narcissist wants in order to avoid trouble. It seems to be the easier alternative to being shamed for having boundaries.
After years or even a lifetime of being forced to go along with whatever the narcissist wants, setting boundaries seems almost impossible, & I don’t mean only with the narcissist. It can seem impossible to have boundaries with anyone. It can be done though!
As always, I recommend starting with prayer. Ask God to help you learn how to set & enforce healthy boundaries. Ask Him for strength & wisdom & anything else you need in this area.
Start small. Don’t be available every single time someone wants to speak to you. Let the phone ring sometimes. Don’t answer that email or text immediately. If you must get together with someone, suggest a different time or even day than they want. These tiny steps can help you to gain confidence & set bigger boundaries.
Remind yourself often that it isn’t your job to please other people. It is your job to please other people according to what is good for them, according to Romans 15:2. Sometimes what is good for someone is doing things for them & being a blessing, but other times what is good for someone is saying no or forcing them to handle something without your assistance.
Don’t let other people make you feel as if you’re a terrible person for having boundaries & telling them “no” sometimes! That is certainly NOT the case!