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The “Yes Curse”

on August 1, 2012

I’ve done it! I have officially passed the curse that I have struggled with for years on to my daughter.  I’d like to let her keep it because I don’t want it back but that seems kind of unfair to her. She got it from my DNA after all. No, upon further reflection, I’d rather we just throw the thing out of the house all together so that no one has to deal with it any more.  I hate to see her at seventeen struggle with something that took me forty-two years to figure out.  I guess I won’t let her keep it.  I guess we’ll work together to get rid of it now while she’s young.  What am I talking about?  You may be surprised how many of you have it.I’d guess that about half the women in the world have it.  (The other half of the women in the world take advantage of it.) I call it the “yes curse.”  It’s the inability to say “NO” to people.

I can almost hear the light bulbs clicking on above people’s heads.  “Ah yes.  That curse.  Yes I have that too. Doesn’t everyone?”  Apparently not because in order for some people to struggle saying no to other people you must have other people who are aware that you aren’t going to say no and therefore ask you to do all the stuff they don’t want to do.   Don’t believe me?  There’s a new term for it.  It’s called “Consumer Friendship”: a person who takes advantage of their friend’s generosity and doesn’t return the favor. A person who will move on to the next friend when they can no longer get what they want from their friend.  I’ve had several of them.  Why? Because I’m a “yes” woman.  I have a really hard time telling people no.  I like to help other people out and I don’t mind lending a hand when needed.  I think everyone should be that way.  The problem is that not all people are that way so it’s really easy to get a reputation as the “go to” person.  Let me give you an example of how this works.

CF: “Would you mind if I dropped off my kids tonight for a little while so I can shop in peace.”  Me: “How long are you thinking?” CF: “Oh just long enough to get the stuff I need.  An hour maybe hour and a half?”  Me: “Sure. No problem.”  What actually happens is CF’s kids show up right at supper time having not been fed. CF: “I didn’t have time to feed them.  Would you mind?”  Now I have to put up with these children who are going to get crankier the hungrier they get.  Duh.  Of course I’m going to feed them.  Me: “No problem.”  So I feed them and the hour and a half passes.  Then two hours pass.  Then two and a half.  Then my husband begins to ask me why I said I would do this.  Three hours.  He starts asking me why I never say no to anyone.  Three and a half hours CF shows up about the time my husband is starting to look up therapy places where I can seek help for my illness.  CF: “Sorry I ran so late.  I remembered that I needed to run a few more errands and then I ran into a friend so we stopped to eat. I didn’t think you would mind.  I hope it wasn’t a problem.”  Me, not wanting to be mean: “Oh well that happens.  It’s ok.”  Me. in my head, ‘And it would have been really hard to call and let me know.’  But I smile all the while vowing to myself and my spouse that I won’t watch CF’s children again.  And I won’t.  Until she asks again.  Maybe.

The aforementioned scenario wouldn’t bother me much if  the CF didn’t do it all the time.  I understand having little kids and how hard it is to do things with them.  I don’t mind helping out because I’ve been there. That’s why I say “yes” without any expectation of anything in return. Don’t think that CF ‘s don’t know that.  There comes a point where they expect it from you and if you tell them no they get angry.  For instance the other day a CF who has run in and out of my life contacted me after not talking to me for several months to see if I would be willing to have her daughter’s baby shower at my house.  What??  I asked what was wrong with her house.  “Too small.” (Mine isn’t a lot bigger. Just cleaner.) Thankfully we are planning to be gone that weekend so I had a reason to say no.  She actually came back with “Well I could just come get a key from you.  I’d clean it up after we are done.”  Yes. She was serious.  Where do these people come from?  Oh yeah.  We people who never say no help create them.  I’ll take some blame.  But not enough blame to enable it to happen any longer. I’ve seen the error of my ways and I’m working on it. I am very happy to say I stood my ground and said no.  Now she’s mad and I really don’t care that much.  She’ll be back when she wants something.

So back to my daughter. This week has been band camp and as a drum major she is part of the leader team.  Apparently she is one of the few on the leader team who says “yes’ to helping out.  This week alone she has carted 3 extra kids to and from school with no offer of gas money to help offset the fuel that she buys herself for her car.  She’s been asked to cover the cost of things for a few people who have conveniently forgotten to repay her.  She has had extra things assigned to her to take care of.  Why?  Well first of all she is responsible.  She also is willing to do what it takes, no matter the cost to her, so that things she cares about will be successful.  The final reason is that she inherited her mother’s Yes Curse.  I must stop this now before it gets much worse.  I’m thinking of opening a clinic for people with “YA” – Yes Addictions.  Maybe just therapy sessions.  How hard would it be really?  Practice with me:

“No.” “NO.” “NOOOOOO!”


One response to “The “Yes Curse”

  1. Uh-huh! I can sooooo relate!

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