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New-found self-confidence rattles family

  • 1 min to read

DEAR ABBY: I have always been too kind and polite. I give money I shouldn't, say yes to favors I don't want to do and keep my mouth shut in situations where I should speak up. My best friend once told me I shouldn't say what she needed to hear, but only what she wanted to hear.

I have been in therapy for two years now, and have finally reached the point where I'm learning to say no. I love that when I meet strangers, I can use the skills I'm learning and be more assertive.

My friends and family are having a hard time with it. I broke up with the bestie because our relationship had been not only long, but also toxic and abusive. Other people I come in contact with now seem shocked if I say no or voice an opinion of my own. They then proceed to pressure me to change my mind, which makes me transform back into a mouse and comply so I won't seem rude. How can I get them to understand  in a polite way  that I am changing for the better, which includes putting myself, my needs and my decisions between yes and no first?

— Looking Out For Number One 

DEAR LOOKING OUT: You and your therapist appear to have been doing some good work. Of course people who hear you say no or state your honest opinion are having trouble with it. That's not the person you WERE. You are becoming a new person, someone with whom they are not used to dealing. Keep in mind that when someone asks you to do something you would rather not do, you ALWAYS have the right to refuse. And when you are pressured to change your opinion, what you should say is, "Intelligent minds can differ," or, "I'm entitled to my opinion." It's the truth.

Contact Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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