Sister, I want to talk to you about giving yourself permission to say, “No,” and why it’s so important to do this with not only the ex but with every bully and every narcissist in your world.
Leaving a narcissistic abuser is a massive accomplishment and you just want to be done dealing with people like that. But narcissists will keep coming into your world. It could be a boss, a coworker, it could be your mom. You try to ignore it, try to dodge it, try to continue to handle it like when you were with the ex by bending to their will to avoid conflict.
I discovered that until I healed the places in my life that allowed the ex to walk all over me, those other bullies and narcissists continued to do the same thing to me.
Case in point: In 2016, I found a condo to rent with my daughter. I soon discovered my landlord had some bullying tendencies. She was very strong and assertive, and at times aggressive. While I was recovering from being under someone’s thumb who was aggressive and controlling, the LAST thing I wanted to do was deal with another person like that! But there she was, in my path and connected to the place my daughter and I found shelter and safety from the abusive ex!
After a few months of living there, some of the appliances started to fail all within a short period of time. First it was the dryer and she took care of it. Next was the dishwasher and though she took care of it, she started to grumble a bit. The third time was the refrigerator and when I messaged her to let her know it wasn’t working, her response to me was, “Vickie, you’re killing me! This is too much.”
Instantly my chest clenched and my stomach was in knots because suddenly I was faced with this person who was a bit of a bully. She was basically telling me that I was wrong, I was giving her a hard time, and the problems in the condo were my fault. And I didn't want to create any problems with her, let alone be seen AS the problem.
You know that same fear, right?
I knew I needed to stand up to her but I wasn’t sure how to do it. What if she gets mad and finds a way to evict us? I felt like I didn’t have a choice but to back down like I always had in every conflict with the narcissist.
But, as I sat with that thought, I decided I was tired of feeling this way. I was actually pretty mad that she was putting the problems of her condo onto me. Blaming me for things that were clearly not my fault.
Just like the ex did. ALL. OF. THE. TIME!
No, I was done taking blame and taking on other's problems. I was done.
So instead of backing down or walking on eggshells with her, I decided to say — in a nice but firm way — that this was wrong and she needed to fix it. And that’s what I did. I shook the whole time I typed the message to her but I did it.
And guess what? She fixed the fridge, even if she grumbled the whole time!
As you encounter other bullies in your life, take that step and put up boundaries for you and for your kids. Do it with the boss that pushes you around, do it even if it’s someone in your family. This is important because your kids are watching.
While it’s massive that you left the abuser, it’s not enough to stop there. He is still pushing you and your kids around and you don’t want to always be the victim.
Give yourself permission to say no. When you do that you’re also giving your kids permission to stand up to bullies - including their father.
It might look messy at first as you learn to stand up for yourself. But it’s 100% worth walking through the uncomfortable feeling of messing up or stepping on toes to gain freedom from bullies.
I used to be the person who would never speak up when the restaurant got my order wrong. But now my daughter can see it coming and she reminds me to keep it toned down. She notices and guess what? She’s starting to stand up for herself, too. That’s PRICELESS.
If setting boundaries feels scary or impossible, I created an online course around this topic to help you!
And if you feel like a doormat with the ex and others in your life, dare I say taking this course and learning to set (and uphold) healthy boundaries is absolutely your job as a mom to show your kids how to do the same!
Click below for more info and to know if The Boundaries Course is right for you!
God made you for this!
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