Saying no without guilt is a huge problem for many adult children of narcissistic parents. After all, we were raised to think of others & ignore our own needs, feelings, wants, etc. That made us believe we must blindly do for others & completely ignore ourselves. When you say no & have that belief, saying no makes you feel incredibly guilty. In fact, you usually just don’t say no so you can avoid the awful guilt.
Unfortunately, this is basically only putting a bandage on the problem, it isn’t fixing it.
To avoid that “I can’t say no” guilt, you have to get to the root of the problem. That means getting rid of the faulty believe that you’re not allowed to say no, or if you do, that makes you wrong, bad, selfish, or whatever other awful things your narcissistic parent said you were.
To do this, as usual, I recommend praying. Ask God to show you where the problem first started with you. Pay attention to what He shows you. It probably will be a memory coming back of something you didn’t pay much attention to at the time. Think about it. Tell God how that made you feel & ask Him if that’s the truth- are you selfish, bad, stupid or whatever you felt you were in that memory. He’ll tell you the real truth & chances are, it’s absolutely nothing like what you felt. (To learn more about this, see Craig Hill’s book “The Ancient Paths.” That’s where I first learned about this technique.)
You also need to pay attention to your thoughts. If the opportunity comes up for you to say no & you feel guilty, ask yourself why? Do you have a very valid reason for that guilt? (probably you won’t!) Remind yourself it’s simply old programming done to you by your narcissistic parent- it’s not true, & it’s wrong. Remind yourself of what God told you when you prayed about that guilt.
You also need to improve your self-esteem. As you heal from narcissistic abuse, your self-esteem naturally improves. Even so, maybe you need a little extra work in that specific area to help you alleviate that false guilt. If you feel that’s the case, ask God to show you what to do & enable you to do it. Study what the Bible has to say about you. I have a list of positive affirmations from the Bible on my website if you’d like to check them out. (That’s available at http://www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com) Also, pay attention to what people say to you. People don’t complement other people for no reason! If someone pays you a complement, that person means what they say. Enjoy it.
Remember, Dear Reader- you have the right to say no without feeling guilty. There is nothing wrong with saying no sometimes!