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How can I take back, and gain, control over my life and the people in it? Toxic family/parents.

(7 Posts)
afriendcalledfive Wed 19-Mar-14 15:16:31

Hi, came on this thread a long time ago, NC'd since then, background taxic parents, toxic family.

Does anybody else feel that they are the ones expected to 'give' something of themselves to family members or even friends, yet these other people just take and not give back, absolutely refusing to do so?

I remember my Mum telling me that I gave all my toys to my eldest sister when I was little. I realised eventually that my eldest sister had been systematically bullying me over the years without me realising it, bit by bit, stealing then destroying all my stuff.

A colleague recently did the same to me, and the signs were all there. Brought back things I'd forgot, or kept hidden away inside me, and its brought everything to the surface.

I want to gain control over things, not give too much of myself, and get nothing in return, to say no nicely and to ask people to help me in return. Does anybody have experience of this, and are there any books out there that can help me with this? Please help.

afriendcalledfive Wed 19-Mar-14 15:19:10

Oops, meant to post in the 'stately homes' thread, but never mind.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 19-Mar-14 16:02:12

I only have some advice from personal experience having been a dreadful people-pleaser when I was younger.

- To say no nicely, just look someone in the eye and say no. Keep it brief. Never explain or apologise for saying no. Don't use euphemisms or be mealy mouthed. Practise saying no in a way that makes others think that there's no point arguing.
- To gain control rehearse phrases that might strike you as selfish or even manipulative and test decisions or requests against them. e.g. 'What's in this for me?' 'Am I happy with this?' 'What do I really want?' 'How do I get things to go my way?' 'Who do I need to talk to to get the right outcome?'
- If you want help, be specific about what you want rather than vague. Vague can make others think you don't really need help, you're just complaining. I still struggle with this one because I prefer doing things for myself. smile

afriendcalledfive Wed 19-Mar-14 19:07:26

Cogito, that last sentence resonates with me. And thanks for your advice. I'll practice the 'no' bit, especially.

I'm used to doing things myself due to being expected to 'get on with it' when I was younger, and wasn't allowed to ask for help. I was made to feel weak for asking :/

I like that it has made me a resilient person (though not by choice obviously) but I'm getting older. My body is telling me to slow down, and I need help.

It's just asking for help that I find hard due to the above. And it's the attitudes of the people I work with that I find harder still. I feel like I'm living with my parents again.

And I do feel like I'm complaining, but I can't go on like this.

CrazyCatLady13 Thu 20-Mar-14 13:30:44

I have had the same problem. It's so draining having people taking all the time. I tend to use the 'sorry, can't do that I'm away that day / busy at work etc' but I've heard advice on here that I'm trying to stick to that says don't give a reason as it gives the other person a chance to argue back e.g. can you do it another day then?

I'm still a work in progress!

bishbashboosh Thu 20-Mar-14 13:34:58

I feel like this soooo much especially with family and I have to say I get so so angry!!! But I've realised I can't expect people to be like me. I saved my sister loads of money looking after DN so she could go to work when I was on maternity leave, she never once offered to help me ever! And then turned around and said, you offered you didn't have to! But we are not all kind and generous people. Just give lovingly if you want to but don't expect people to be so giving xxx

elmerelephant Fri 21-Mar-14 17:17:47

Theres a great book called Woman in your own right, which is about living an assertive life. Its a very good read and not too long either

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