Loving Someone Who Can’t Say No

Some people are addicted to the service of other people. Whenever someone asks them for something, they agree to do it because the thought of saying “no” creates a lot of anxiety about the possible negative outcome. It’s a tough place to be as they don’t want to do the task that is being asked of them. They likely have no compelling reason to do it and have a their own list of things they need to do, but once the request is made the pattern repeats itself. Off to work they go, putting their own life on hold to serve first the need or request of another.

Being kind and helpful isn’t a character flaw in most cases. It really is a better way to live as it will improve the happiness of more people, but only if the service is of value to both parties. If the interaction is anything but win:win, it shouldn’t exist. When someone feels powerless to say no, the interaction isn’t going to be mutually beneficial and should be avoided. It can be argued that in the above situation, there are no losers as the person taking on the new responsibility is doing so to avoid some sort of pain. Okay, sure, that’s kind of true.

It is challenging to exist as a part of this type of relationship. It takes a particularly self-aware and grounded individual to be an actual partner because you need to always remain aware that each of your requests or expectations will stimulate the same anxiety within them that other peoples requests do. This is not necessarily because these things are unreasonable or even outside of what the they want to do, it’s because anxiety is the conditioned response to EVERY request, real or perceived. If you forget this and misread their anxiety as something else, or you misread any of their automatic responses to requests, you will end up clouding a relatively straightforward situation.