Have you ever been in a situation where someone asked you to do something, and you automatically refused, not because you didn’t want what the request would bring you, but because you were resisting the person doing the asking?
This is called “demand resistance” and, not surprisingly, the behavior is closely tied with self-sabotage. Sometimes the term used is “demand sensitivity” and it is a common element in codependent relationships.
To discover whether this is a habit in your life that is getting in your way, take a look at your history of dealing with opportunities. If someone you feel is trying to control you suggests that you do something, do you metaphorically speaking “dig in your heels” and spurn the offer? It might be something you really want, and you feel a sense of conflict inside over saying no, but it’s as if some deeper need is forcing you to stand up for yourself and turn down what is being suggested.
Now look at the regrets and the feelings of being cheated out of a trip or an event, a party or an outing, that you secretly wanted to agree to do or attend. And yet that stubborn voice inside was saying: Don’t you dare say yes! You always say yes! You’ve got to start saying no for a change!
The problem with that voice is that it doesn’t have your best interests in mind. It’s speaking from your paradigm, or mindset about what actions will keep you safe from potential harm or distress in an already rocky relationship. It’s coming to you from a frightened place within that can only look at the future and predict more of the same outcomes as the past dished out.
When we learn more about standing up for ourselves and our best interests, the urge to say “no” when you really do want to say “yes” and the seemingly paradoxical pattern of frequently saying “yes” when you want very much to say “no” will start to straighten out. You’ll find more balance. You’ll find that you can be your own best friend. You don’t have to label yourself as a bad person for reacting in this way. It is probably something you learned in childhood as a way to try to control confusing situations in your home life and at school.
Once we see demand sensitivity as being a behavioral tool that no longer serves us (if it ever did), then we can begin the process of releasing it. Don’t try to push it away or scold yourself when you realize you are being overly resistant to a “demand” or request from someone. Simply take a deep breath, remind yourself that you choose to be the one making right decisions for yourself, take some time to consider your options, and then reply. A great trick is to tell the other person, “Let me think about that and get back to you.” That helps avoid the hasty response that turns to regrets later.
As we grow and learn more about being authentic and healthy, these issues start falling away because the lesson the other person’s request offered has now been mastered.
As part of my “stress relief” blogging, I frequently address the topic of codependency — aka people pleasing. Most people pleasers know who they are, and may even feel bitter about being this way. It can be a real drain on your energy to feel you have to juggle everyone’s needs at all times — while ignoring your own!
A prime place for people pleasing to cause problems is in romantic relationships. If you’re a people pleaser, you probably have a long history of ending up with guys who seemed sweet and fun at first, but quickly became very demanding and insistent on having their needs met at all times. On the surface, the match seems out of kilter, but when you look at the relationship dynamics in the engine of each person in the relationship, you see that both are no doubt acting out the same relationship they witnessed their parents struggling with when they were growing up. One person makes all the demands, the other mutters angrily but bows to the one who seems to wield all the power.
If you’re sick and tired of this old pattern of yours… if you are stuck in a crazy relationship right now and you’ve attempted to leave but always back down… I’ve got great news for you!
My newest coaching program is now up and ready for you. It’s called “Attract the Guy You WANT!” It’s set up as an e-course that is fully downloadable. That means nothing is shipped to you that could tip off the guy you’re with that YOU are about to start making major changes in how you operate in the world and in the relationship. You’re gonna take back your rightful power as a loving woman, and I show you how step-by-step. Although I call it a 14-week course, you get full access to all the audios (10 hours of coaching lessons) and the 50-page workbook as soon as you purchase the low-cost program, even if it’s midnight. That means you can decide for yourself how quickly you want to progress through the lessons: week by week with the workbook assignments, or as fast as you can gulp it all down and hit the ground running.
If you have a friend who could use this information — do her a favor and share this link: Attract the Guy You WANT!
See you there!
Have you ever noticed a friend who always seems to be blaming others for what’s going on in their life? And maybe you’ve noticed that same tendency in yourself — it’s something you most likely picked up as a kid by modeling adults around you, and have been unconsciously using all your life.
What is “victim language” anyway? You don’t have to be in a blatantly abusive relationship to talk like a victim of circumstances. Victim language goes hand-in-hand with a pattern of thinking that revolves around looking outside of yourself for reasons why you feel the way you do. This pattern invites reactions like blaming and pointing fingers at others, as well as making excuses for your own results by listing all the reasons you can’t do something you want to do. Those reasons might seem very logical — the economy, the housing market downturn, job unemployment rate, your personal level of education and experience — but looking “out there” actually puts you in a state of victimhood, because your belief system says that there’s nothing you can do. You’re helpless in the face of all “that” (whatever “that” might be at any time, including the actions of spouse or family members or your boss, etc.)
These are typical phrases that are victim-point-of-view:
Let’s be frank about relationships for a moment — some of them are really NOT in your best interest, right? (Or mine, either!) Some relationships truly suck, and it can be extremely stressful when you stay in a relationship despite a very real longing to leave.
What’s a narcissist? Someone who makes your life absolutely crazy! The stress of living with a narcissist will send you right over the edge, and meanwhile, he’ll be standing there saying it’s all because you are so controlling, cold and impossible to live with.
Here are a few examples of a narcissist:
- You tell him that you have something important to talk about, and he blows you off, instead diverting the conversation at once to something he is interested in– whether it’s a basketball game on TV, a project he’s working on, or telling you about an old girlfriend he dated 10 years ago. The subject doesn’t matter. The point is to keep that spotlight on him. Talking about you and your issues or things that are meaningful to you are simply not on a narcissist’s agenda — although many if not all of them have learned enough about how to fake it so they can fool you and not end up in the doghouse. It’s vital to a narcissist that you have a great opinion of them and believe they are the most wonderful person on earth!
- If you make a mild suggestion about something in the relationship you would appreciate their changing–such as asking if he could stop leaving dirty clothes all over the bedroom and instead put them in the laundry hamper each day–he will immediately puff up with rage and get very annoyed if not downright furious with you. He considers any request to be a “Demand” that is not only unreasonable but that proves you are a bitch, a nag and totally impossible to live with. He may give you the cold shoulder for the rest of the day or even the rest of the week, to show his extreme displeasure and then will act like nothing at all happened. Because…to him, nothing did. It is simply the way he operates in life, so it’s standard. (While you stand there, feeling like a steamroller ran over you, backed up, ran over you again and then merrily went on its way tooting the horn while the driver waves out the window.)
- If you have kids together, and you ask the narcissist to go to a school event or some other family activity that he did not suggest, he will get angry that you make all these constant demands on his time and don’t respect that he works hard and deserves a little free time to himself. It won’t matter how nicely you ask, how far in advance you ask, how sweetly you explain how much this would mean to the family — he’ll throw a hissy fit. And if he does go, for example to your son’s piano recital, he’ll shift impatiently in his seat, sigh loudly and repeatedly whisper (loudly) that this is lasting too long!
If any of this sounds a bit familiar to you…or you realize that your mate (or someone else significant in your life) constantly creates dramas and blames you for them… you probably have a narcissist in your life.
I’m writing a book about how you can cope…stay tuned for more on that soon.
to your happiness and stress-free living,
Could you help me out? Let me know what’s on your mind, and post a question in private at my ask page — http://askevelynbrooks.com — where your question can remain totally confidential. I’ll do my best to “answer” all appropriate questions in either a blog post or an article.