Why Yes, Is Not Always Best



Lots of people have trouble with saying no. It carries with it the connotation of negativity, obstruction and disappointment. People much prefer to say yes. I know that you and your kind really do struggle with saying no. You prefer to be regarded as a can-do kind of person, positive and accommodating. You also find it difficult to say no to people as you really do not like to see the disappointment on their face should you respond in this way. It makes you feel bad and accordingly, you either avoid saying it in the first place or you change your mind if you have said it. Occasionally, you will take refuge in the realm of uncertainty.

“I will think about it.”

“We shall see.”

“Let me reflect and I will come back to you.”

“I just need to check something, but I think it should be okay.”

You want to say no, but you find that you are unable to and therefore you trot out one of these insipid responses and ultimately you will end up saying yes. We know this is a common trait of yours and something we rely on and play on. We are aware that you do not like to say no and therefore we will press and cajole to ensure you say yes. Do not make the mistake of thinking that we need your validation and approval. Far from it. We do what we want. We like to hear you say yes because it underlines our power over you. We can always make you say yes. Sometimes you do it straight away (especially if we have you conditioned correctly). On other occasions it requires some persuasion and in the remainder of cases we need to pull out our manipulative tool kit to achieve the desired result, but we always get there. You are designed to say yes, we programme you to say yes and you do so even if it is ultimately detrimental to you. You feel you need to please and that need is greatest when it comes to us.

By contrast we are firm disciples of the word “no”. It is a word of strength. It is commanding and authoritative. Those who can say no have fortitude, steel and resilience. We say it regularly. We are untroubled by the fallen expression, the noises of disappointment and pleading. In fact, should you beg and plead we will just keep saying no and sit back and enjoy the fuel that you provide to us by your behaviour. Beseech us, blackmail us, bribe us and bombard us with requests, nay, demands to say yes and every time we will bat you back with a firm no as we savour your increasing anger, frustration and upset.

We do not associate the word no with negativity. We see it as a positive word. It is one that enables us to assert and maintain our superiority. We are able to use it to control you and keep you in your place. We are fully aware that whoever is on the receiving end of the word no automatically feels bad because they have been denied something.

“No I do not want to have dinner with you tonight.”

“No, you cannot borrow my car this evening.”

“No, you cannot go out with your friends tomorrow evening.”

It takes guts and integrity to say no. You struggle to say it because you are used to being exploited and taken for granted. You may try and dress it up as being someone who always helps and is a facilitator but the reality is you end up being used. Notice how in those instances above where I stated no, I did not give a reason for the refusal, I just said no. That takes real strength. I do not need to fall into providing explanations for my decision. It is my decision, the answer is no, that is an end to it. I can do this because I am not accountable. I can do this because I do not feel bad when witnessing the disappointment of others. This enables me to achieve more and avoid being burdened unnecessarily.

You can learn a lot from my use of the word no.

Just do not think of ever using it towards me.

That’s a big no.


20 thoughts on “Why Yes, Is Not Always Best

  1. Empath007 says:

    I do say no more often then I used too. I find for the most part – the empath will see that the world does not come to an end when implemented. I have also seen that saying no – especially to narcissist or narcissistic person – will create bitterness and anger in them. People will not like it and that’s something I’ve had to grow a comfort with… it’s OK not to be liked.

    1. Empath007 says:

      I will also add – I’ve observed and implemented that one can also say “no” with their silence.

      1. Empath007 says:

        I will find narcissits are not always straight forward either. Since they love gaslighting so much – they also don’t say no when they mean no. They also have no problem with lying to make up an excuse. I think we can be selective in which approach we take – but the most important part in is when you say “no explanation needed”. Either we make up a white lie, stay silent or directly say no but we do not provide an explanation for doing any of those things.

  2. Joa says:

    Ooooh, it’s about me !!!

    I’ve been fighting this for years. Especially my “sticky”, or beloved narcissists at work, they use it brazenly, and I have a great weakness for them and I can not be angry 🙂

    Interestingly, my favorite narcissist at work (the most similar to “my” narcissist) will not bear my refusal on his own, but he teaches me how to say no to others and supports me in this … with his authority (I have to be only at his beck and call!). This bizarre professional “union” has been working well for 12 years despite many abuses on his part. He supports my promotions, but I must always be a step behind him, I cannot threaten him, he has to be a little better. And I always have to be ready to help and to listen to every day, especially outbursts of envy to It is not a problem for me, I learn a lot from him and I admire determination, speed, meticulousness and grace.

    And the most interesting thing is that despite the lack of a romantic relationship, with the return of “my” narcissist, the narcissist at work shows rage and again and again hurts what I ignore. These are microscopic scratches compared to the holes “mine” can inflict.

    When it comes to “my” narcissist, he has to fight hard for each “yes”, I put up a lot of resistance, it’s like our ritual, sometimes it takes weeks, but in the end it ALMOST always gets it right.

    Only totally sick and irrational ideas can be quickly pacified.

  3. Eternity says:

    I find lately I have been saying NO a lot ! I honestly don’t think that there is something wrong that. Better than saying yes and getting burned in the end.

    1. A Victor says:

      Exactly, getting burned or being overwhelmed to where things start falling apart. I totally agree.

      1. Eternity says:

        A Victor, I have said yes to everyone and everything over the years. Even at work can you do this for me and that. Me, no problem. They always took advantage of me. No more no way!!! That is where I built my strength and started to say no without feeling bad.

        1. A Victor says:

          I don’t have that problem, in fact, when I first arrived and read some of these articles I dismissed the possibility of being an empath at all, some if them just didn’t fit for me and I couldn’t see my empathy at that time. Having no support from my ex in raising my kids, they became my “job” and that job came first. I am so glad I did that now having learned what he is! He didn’t want me working either so it was a natural fit. Eternity, I am so glad you no longer allow people to take advantage of you! There is a real freedom that comes with getting comfortable saying no.

          1. Eternity says:

            A Victor , I completely understand. Sometimes our Empathy gets eroded because of internal stressor as HG states. My kids also came first and that is why I pretty much stayed in my marriage. I honestly didn’t even know what an Empath was either until I arrived here a few years back. You can’t put a price on freedom either. You are doing amazing A Victor keep it up!

          2. A Victor says:

            Thank you Eternity.

          3. Eternity says:

            You are welcome hun !

  4. MP says:

    This has been something that I have worked hard to change. I have made so much improvement but it was a big struggle. Now it feels natural for me to say no. What I still struggle though is how to stop explaining.

    1. A Victor says:

      I had the same issues years ago, long before arriving here even. No was not so hard for me, my kids were more important. As to the explaining I told myself repeatedly “I owe no one an explanation.” I came up with “It doesn’t fit my schedule at this time.” Or “I already have plans.” even if the plans were to put my pj’s on and watch a movie in bed. And I told myself a hard no on any further explanation, not even a sorry as a sorry seems to leave an opening for some people, in their minds. I have found that people accept these much more easily than I expected and I am saved the stress of feeling like I must explain and justify. As an adult, I absolutely don’t have to. Another one that I have found useful is “Let me check my schedule and get back to you on that.” This buys time, I used to feel pressured at the moment. Then the above phrases are handy and I get to decide if I really want to handle whatever is in question. Best of luck, this is a challenging thing for us I think. Like we walk around with “Sucker” on our foreheads as empaths! At least that is how I felt. Normals say no, are generally very much in control of where they put their time and energy and we are as well, we just feel more guilty about it, but we don’t need to. 🙂

      1. Another Cat says:

        I often feel FOMO when saying no, that the group of friends will leave me then. At the same time always saying yes might get the same result as ppl will lose respect for me, I gather. It’s a tough matter in my everyday, saying a calm no without explaining I only do to known narcissists. I need to learn to not explain halfthetime, even when the question comes from empaths/normals.

        Rather daunting for some of us.

        1. A Victor says:

          Hi AC, I have an odd perspective on friends. My family moved frequently when I was a child, until I was 13. As a result I learned to make friends fairly easily, if I wanted to have some, or just hung out with kids in the neighborhood but didn’t get too close to anyone. One time, when I was about 8, I had developed a closer tie and I was pretty crushed having to leave that friend behind. We visited a few years later but of course there was no connection any longer. Ultimately the moving was another case of stuffing feelings and keeping people at bay so as not to be hurt. It caused me to become quite independent and also has carried over into my adult friendships. Easy come, easy go. If they don’t want yo be my friend because I can’t handle doing something, I view it as they weren’t really a friend at all then. This is not a typical empath way, I realize. It is a sore point for me with others at times. The friends I do have are very special and I can really be open with them. But it takes years to get there. And I don’t have many. One thing that is really sad for me is that I don’t have a friend ‘group’, none of my actual friends know each other, they’ve all come from different places in my life. But now I have my kids so that kind of helps. Anyway, all this makes the ‘no’ thing different for me than for most, I think. Sorry for the long explanation. You know what just dawned on me? Narcissists keep us isolated, this is what the moving did. How sad.

          1. Another Cat says:

            Really moved by your comment AV, sorry it took me this long to find it.
            Finding friends (to keep for years) can be hard for some of us empaths. Also, because of the strong constant influence from my energy draining mother, there were some narc kids drawn to me already in childhood. Several were empathic, granted, but by golly were the narcs draining. I’m not going to say I’d rather have your childhood, but some of those ppl I would rather have never met.
            Yes my friend group is small, like yours, but several live in other towns and regions nowadays, and countries. Two women at work, two guys at the skeptics society, to older ppl, I think having an NPD mother can cause us to feel loneliness through life. Calling a friend, cracking some jokes, writing and reading here among you guys at Narcsite… feels like our own method of belonging.

          2. A Victor says:

            No need to apologize, sometimes the comments get lost, it has happened to me also.

            It is interesting that you are aware of narc kids from your childhood. I had not even thought about that. I did have some in high school I think and you are right, very draining. I am sorry about your mother, that is a big drain on one’s energy.

            What about our mothers would cause us to feel lonely, do you think? I had not thought of that before. A sense of not belonging? I have been lonely for a husband, honestly mostly for the physical aspect. I don’t feel loneliness otherwise much, as you say, calling a friend or one of my kids, laughing, hanging out on here does a lot to assuage any feelings like that. There are a couple of people that live near me now that I can go walking or biking with, which is nice. And we talk, more than small talk but not too deeply. A couple of ladies I have dinner with once in a while. But I’ve never been one to shop with others or “go garage sale-ing” or some of the other typical women things to do together. So if I get lonely it is only my own fault. But, my mother did make it challenging for me with relationships with women for much of my early life, I wasn’t always sure how to do them. That has mostly gone away now, being here has helped it a lot! A shocking side effect. Thank you for your comment. I hope mine didn’t move you in any bad way, it was just information, not emotional on my part.

        2. MP says:


          Regarding FOMO, I remember an Oprah episode in my college years where the self help guru guest was telling people to stop saying No and learn to say Yes more to be open for more possibilities and opportunities. It resonated with me at that time so I adapted it. But it was not healthy nor practical so I got rid of it. Some of the unhealthy habits I had I actually learned from the inspirational guests in Oprah when I was young.

      2. MP says:

        Thank you so much AV for the advice. Those are definitely great suggestions. I love the suggestion about buying time as that allows me to give a less emotional response. You are so correct about normals. A few months ago my former MR frenemy texted me to invite me to their dinner celebrating our empath former boss’ retirement. I used to go with their group to celebrate our birthdays but the MR frenemy undermines me a lot and caused for my birthday to be skipped twice. When I went to this blog I realized as I was learning that she is a MR so I have said good bye to the birthday group but kept my connection with the empath former boss. This dinner was supposed to be a birthday celebration for one of the girls but the MR frenemy told me that they will surprise our former boss and make it about her retirement instead of the girl’s birthday. I knew that this is a manipulation because I told them that one of the reasons I am leaving was because of how I felt when my birthday was skipped twice so she was basically saying to me that this is not a birthday celebration which I know will not be true. I know that the birthday will still be celebrated as well as the retirement and I know it will be awkward for me. She said our former boss will be so happy if I will be there just like how we used to be, which is true. I was thinking about our boss and the idea of celebrating her made me excited right away so I said yes. Then I have thought about it and some feelings were coming back to me so I was preparing to text her that I cannot go after all. I had three alibis prepared and the alibis are all true except they were not the true reasons. So I asked my Normal husband which alibi to use and he said just say you can’t go. You don’t need to explain anything. You don’t need to give her that power because she was not a good friend to you. So I texted and said I can’t go without explaining why. She texted back diplomatically but there was some manipulative comment since that’s how she always is when you say no to her. But I was surprised that my husband was right that I didn’t need to explain anything. I was also surprised that he used the word “power” because he never studied or tried to learn about narcissism and yet he told me that explaining is giving her power. He never reads self help books unless it’s a diy handbook on some yard or house project so I wonder where he learned about “power” or maybe he just learned it from experience and also because he’s a normal. Before Narcsite I didn’t see things where “power” can be a part of dynamics. Although I did engage in power struggles with the narcissists in my life. The buying time suggestion you gave me will help a lot because of my tendency to get excited.

        1. A Victor says:

          MP, you’re welcome. We give our power away a lot as empaths, in my experience anyway. I don’t do it regarding time but I can in other ways big time. Normals do not typically do this, I think, and don’t understand why anyone would. And of course we know how narcissists regard power. Getting into LT more I am hoping to see where I do this and have the courage not to anymore.

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