Why It’s Hard to Say “No” as a Caregiver

By Roz Jones

Have you ever said ‘yes’ to something you wished that you’d said ‘no’ to instead? Chances are you’ve done that not just once, but several times in your life, and likely regretted it every time. This is particularly difficult as a caregiver, when we know that our loved ones are relying on us. Why is it so terribly hard to say ‘no’ when deep down, you know that it’s the right thing to do?

As it turns out, a lot of those answers come from the past and our upbringing. Thankfully, it’s never too late to rewrite the past. Let’s take a look at several reasons people say ‘yes’ when they mean ‘no.’

“If I say no, I’m weak.”

Far from being weak when you say ‘no’, you’re showing a great deal of strength. It takes someone with confidence, and the ability to look out for their own mental and physical health, to put their foot down. As a caregiver, when you say ‘no’ to something, and putting your health first, you are ensuring that you will still be strong tomorrow as you are today in order to care for yourself and your loved ones.

“I don’t want to let anyone down.”

Believe it or not, when most people ask for a favor, they are already expecting the person they’re asking to say ‘no.’ They meet that refusal with a shrug and a determination to try someone else. People aren’t as invested as you think. The only person you’re letting down here is yourself if you say ‘yes’ when you don’t want to.

“I’ll be seen as difficult to work with.”

Again this is where your perception of the situation is off. People will see you as being difficult to work with if you’re …difficult. So long as you’re not belligerent, angry, or abusive when you say ‘no,’ no one is going to think anything at all. Keep in mind that there are other ways you can still contribute and be part of the team without saying ‘yes’ to every little thing asked of you. In fact, you may make the situation worse for yourself or others if you always say ‘yes’, but don’t have the time to follow through.

Check back later this week or more discussion on saying “no” as a caregiver, and visit http://www.rozjonesent.com for more information on setting boundaries a caregiver and check out my upcoming book!

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