KNOW, No, no, no…DrBev, I won’t take NO for an answer!!!

THERAPEUTIC THURSDAY: Have you had the experience of being afraid to tell a spouse, lover, partner, co-worker, child, the word ‘NO’. Because telling them ‘No’ in the past has gotten you a reaction extremely out of proportion to the situation. Perhaps they reacted by giving you guilt, shame, fear,  rejection. So much so, you caved in and just give them whatever they wanted to stop their tantrum. As if by magic once they have gotten what they wanted from you, everything returns to love, peace and grace. Until the next time.

Afraid of Rejection and Act out when Told “NO” ? So where does the fear of “no” come in? And, the answer is…..Before we even have the capability to understand a word as simple as “no,” come in? We experience “no.”

We all retain that baby-like sense of being all-powerful, that we are perfect and make everything happen, as well as the fear and growing certainty that we are flawed, that something is terribly wrong with us. We feel angry, afraid and ashamed. And we don’t like being reminded. The lengths people will go to get their needs met includes manipulation, anger, self-sabotage, etc.

Before we were born, we didn’t even have to cry. Everything we needed came automatically, with no effort from us at all. But babies have hard lessons to learn, and the learning starts right away.

To really understand why a little old “no” can flatten the best of us, we have to go way back to when you and everyone else were born. Here goes. Infants all come into the world the same way, with no awareness of themselves as separate creatures from the people and the universe around them.

We all start out incredibly self-centered. Our little person-hood is all we know, and we relate everything around us to ourselves.We feel powerful. We are hungry and cry and get fed. We are cold and wet and cry, and magically, someone pays attention and fixes things and we feel better.

Babies learn that crying doesn’t always work. From their little self-centered place, babies start doubting their power. Babies start thinking that there is something wrong with themselves, something flawed, when they can’t make their environment provide what they want.

Every experience of emotion, be it cohesive or abrasive, can be made into positive reinforcement, and can build character; we must learn to listen to our emotions, to integrate or disintegrate that which its hidden message unveils.

“No!” becomes associated with restriction, punishment and, at the very least, inhibition of our behavior. And that insults our sense of being perfect, as well as activates our fear of being flawed.

Even though we are far past our babyhood (though some folks continue to act rather baby-like), we all retain those early feelings of vulnerability, of basic perfection and basic flaw.  We develop many ways to protect that tenderness, and many of us are pretty much unaware of how much those early fears control our present behavior, especially when it comes to our interpersonal relationships.


DrBev is a National Certified Counselor, Licensed Mental Health Counselor, and a Certified Gestalt Psychotherapist, Seminar - WorkShop Facilitator, Radio Personality, Author and President and Educational Director of DrBev Mental Health Counseling.
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  1. Lovey Curry
    Posted March 10, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    Ha! Love it Dr. Bev. So informative… Good Works you do …do….Manipulators are nerve racking … I love the part that they do not respect boundaries … O Yes .. I KNOW no …

  2. April Byrd
    Posted March 10, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    WOW! How true is this! many people do not think to research why we do the things we do as adults. When my mother passed away in 2003, I was 20 years old, and I felt like I had an extreme amount of growing up to do. For some adults, growing up happens at different times, and for me, there was one person that came into my life that made it clear that he was not going to stand for my childlike behavior, I was bigger than that, and taught me that in order to get the things that adults have, I had to ACT like an adult…..and I married him! the first time my husband told me no, was actually in a place that I did not expect. I was shocked, and almost felt rejected, like something was wrong with me because I could not get what I wanted. Some of that is baby instinct, but I am inclined to believe that some of it also has to do with the state of mind I was in as a young adult. When you have people around you that endorse your behavior, you tend to believe that is the way things are suppose to be (just like a baby). For me, I can look back on my life then, and I notice that I surrounded myself with people that had less than I did so that they would depend on me to help them, and in return I pretty much got anything I wanted. My boyfriends in the past always were lacking in some area that I had no problem picking up the slack in, because I wanted that control. I wanted to be the one that they turned to for help, so when I needed something, I could ask for it, and get it with no problem. After careful evaluation of my life strageties, this was clearly an attempt at me trying to avoid the word “NO”. Yes, I actually created a life where the word NO did not exist.

    And then I met my husband, the FIRST friend I ever had to challenge my thoughts, actions, behaviors and intentions. I actually had to step down from my soapbox and evaluate. I came up with this: the word NO is painful because we look at it as being painful. Someone could be telling you NO to save your life, or to help you make better decisions, or quite frankly to let you know that it is not all about YOU. Relationships are all about negotiations, a techlique we learn and perfect as we get older, and anytime you are negotiating with your partner, you always want to try to figure out how you can give them as much or what they want as possible, then hearing the word NO may not be as painful if you are willing to give more of yourself.

  3. Honeyluv
    Posted March 10, 2011 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    Ok, I’m digging it! We at times are not able,equipped or ready for the word “NO” it is a perfect design because that inability to accept it, is what most times pushes us further and harder..But it also has the power to tear down and destroy….so we as flawed yet resourceful people must learn to over come all that has power over us…including a simple two letter word…

  4. Posted March 10, 2011 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    Very clear, understandable. Amazing how an understanding and willingness to release our judgment of “no” actually neutralizes” the “pain” of No. We can actually begin to welcome it in a whole new light. Thank you.

  5. Posted March 10, 2011 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

    A lot of people has this problem, I wish the mass could see this. Yes is not always the best answer People who always says yes gets used. Thank you for this incredible piece Doc.

  6. Kayla
    Posted March 10, 2011 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

    Wow! So interesting. I can feel both sides this this word No – the fear of saying it and the person abandoning me, getting mad at me, or thinking that I am being unreasonable…. I have also exprienced my fair share of manipulators and I am finally starting to see the personality type as it truly is…. full of control, insecurity, and fear. The powerful thing is that I got out of the video is that being secure and firm in your own boundris is key! There is no negeotiating with this personality type – they simply don’t have the capacity. The lady in the video said you shouldn’t concern yourself over them and that is so ture. With any realationship friend, romantic, family they are meant to be muatually benifical.

    Thanks Dr. Bev

  7. Suun
    Posted March 10, 2011 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

    Babyhood is a nice word for underdeveloped emotions. (smiling) You are right though people get emotionally attached to a No response from wanting something. I never thought this before your blog but, you can see how developed a person is by their reaction to No,(Hmm) I have learned to have respect for the word when I’m told No and I personally enjoy the power of using it.

    A few months ago a close friend ended a relationship with a woman that could not handle the word No. So she made up a lie in hopes to get my friend back. She said, she hit the lottery for $112,000,000.00. (not laughing) Well the truth came out and this woman said that she just wanted to find a way for my friend to take her back. I thought she was super crazy and bagged my friend to stay away from her. We were on the phone while I was reading your blog. She said that the crazy ex was still trying to be friends with her. I normally would have blasted off about the crazy lady but your last sentence made me think! You stated “those early fears control our present behavior especially when it comes to our interpersonal relationships” I can now see that the ex is undeveloped by old fears, so guess I can have a little more compassion for her.(Hmm?) Or not, I’m still thinking!

  8. VONN
    Posted March 10, 2011 at 9:51 pm | Permalink


  9. Brenda
    Posted March 11, 2011 at 1:58 am | Permalink

    After much thought, I believe this is a very good topic for discussion. The power of “No”, and it has a lot of power…that which we give it. Just surveying my own feelings about it, opened my eyes a bit more about myself. It, the word “No”, is a necessary one, but many different emotions come into play depending on how the word is used, and who is using it. If some one is telling you No, because they want to protect you from harm, you will understand that sooner or later, but it may not sit well with you initially. However, if the person is saying No just because they enjoy denying you, that’s a controlling Spirit–not so pleasant. I do believe that we all relate to it based on how we were first introduced to it.

    I know that I personally don’t want to get No for an answer, if I am in need, but even more revealing is, I don’t want to feel it. I also know that I don’t enjoy having to say No to my partner, if I think I am denying her of something important to her, and yes, we all know that our partners can be manipulative at times, but what’s even more important is why do we allow the manipulation. Your gut tells you when things are not quite right, but we usually ignore the warning signs.

    There is good reason for using the word No, the complexity of how we feel about it, comes with the way in which it it is delivered, and why. You shouldn’t get upset if you know you allowed the person to manipulate you. If you are deceived and manipulated, there is reason to be upset — you know it was intentional, and that is painful. But even then, we have to learn to cut our losses, in order to move on with our lives. We can’t drag our baggage around; we certainly will miss out on the one who comes along with some integrity.

    It’s not all one-sided, we all have to consider the whys of their, and our own actions.

  10. Viv
    Posted March 12, 2011 at 12:52 am | Permalink

    Loved this article Dr. Bev! As always, you immerse me with important information, which allows me to continue learning and growing. Thank you.

  11. LaVonda
    Posted March 12, 2011 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    I love this article Dr. Bev! I can so relate and as I look over some of my relationships I have dealt with this type of person. I wish I had this article a few years ago. I tried to please a person like this only to find it frustrating and draining, if things did not go there way. There was no way to really please or satisfy a person like this. So when I finnally realize this I removed myself from this person. Thank you so much for sharing and helping us to continue to grow.

  12. Annie L Dew
    Posted March 15, 2011 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

    Rejection is one of our greatest fears..a fear that can cause a damaging impact on us…it makes us feel small, worthless, insecure and unwanted…we lose our self confidence and it makes us want to crawl up into a shell and hurts…..its a huge blow to our ego…esp. if you have a partner that is unfaithful, a love one moving out, off a relationship,..a date not showing up,..a lot of times we want to blame others , we try to forgive and forget,..we make all kinds of excuses,..etc..the thing that annoys me is the lack of honesty…some ppl will reject you,…just because they dont want to feel / be rejected…
    One thing for sure, you get to know yourself,..your strengths and weakneses…you have to be realistic and stay open, and try to maintain a sense of humor, have confident in yourself….

  13. TheWordSmithCorey
    Posted March 17, 2011 at 3:53 am | Permalink

    DrBev you are one brilliant woman. I’m relatively new to you but you open up my mind to very unique angles and perspectives. I look forward to exchanging views with you in the future.

  14. Karen E
    Posted March 23, 2011 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for this, information is power and knowing what you are dealing with in any situation is 90% of the issue. Once you are able to identify the pattern of behavior and acknowledge it for what it is, (in this case manipulative), you can choose to counter it by putting into place boundaries to support your freedom and at the same time shift the dynamics of the relationship. If you shift who it is that you are being the other person has no choice but to shift who they are being in response to your choice to be a stand for you personal freedom and space. I agree with the video, the abuser will either shift the behavior to something more acceptable based on your boundaries, or get out of your space. The establishment and maintaining of personal boundaries is a tricky thing that I have found takes constant vigilance, and self examination to be effective.

  15. Posted January 25, 2013 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for re-posting this DrBev, I needed it very much. I have always lived by the motto “dont tell me no” It was like fuel to my fire to get what I wanted by any means necessary. This article has provoked a lot of thought. I will be thinking about this information for days and am sure I will be back to post what I have learned about self.

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