Reflections on Life Thus Far

My life. My story: Exploring mental health, spirituality, meditation & random thoughts I have

Guilt Over Saying No


Why am I feeling guilty right now for declining to babysit for my sister on the weekend? I have no reason to feel guilty. I did nothing wrong. My sister didn’t have to go anywhere important. Yet I am thinking I am selfish for wanting my Saturday to be mine. It doesn’t matter really because it’s for her and her partner to go out together for a few hours. They have other help but I feel guilty because I love my niece. Still, I don’t feel like going out Saturday to babysit for several hours when I have been tired lately. Also, I have my portfolio development workshop on Monday (provided it’s not cancelled again!) and I haven’t done my “homework” for that yet.

Just because I’m not employed doesn’t mean I haven’t got rights to spending my time the way I wish to. I think my sister believes I ought to be available because I haven’t got a paying job. This blog and my social media sites have become a job to me in a sense-but an enjoyable one. Or else I would not still be doing it as there’s no money involved. At any rate I’m glad I didn’t let my knee-jerk response of being nice and agreeable take over! In the past I’d have agreed out of guilt because I didn’t wish to be seen as selfish or uncaring. Now I know I am neither of those things even if I decline to babysit. If I didn’t have my portfolio stuff to do and wasn’t tired from some bug or other I likely would have given in. But as it is I’m pleased I held my ground.

She might phone tomorrow to talk to me because she only talked to my dad this evening. The thing is she will likely only phone to ask me to babysit or do something else for her if she didn’t manage to get someone else. She never phones unless she wants something. I don’t like when she phones because it’s rarely for a pure conversation. There’s almost always a hidden agenda. She’ll beat around the bush for a bit then ask whatever it is she really phoned for. I can tell by her tone of voice when she wants something. We don’t have much in common in terms of values, beliefs or even interests so we don’t have very much to discuss. Hence, the reason she typically phones is to get something.

I’ve come to believe my sister has some Narcissism like my mother had. Not that she’s anywhere as bad as my mother but she fits the profile. I’d never considered her to have NPD before because my mom was the one I was always focused on. But another blogger talked about her experience with a narcissistic sibling and I couldn’t help thinking my sister was much the same. It saddens me to think my sister has NPD but I had long ago concluded she had some type of personality disorder. I may be the “identified patient” in my family but there are a whole lot of other nutty people in my family. I’m actually reasonably sane considering all the therapy I’ve been through. The rest of my family is content to be nuts and pretend other people are the real problem.

Anyway, I don’t feel guilty now but dislike that I felt an automatic guilt response at saying no initially. Thankfully I have learned that I can say no and have rights to things I didn’t realize until learning about healthy boundaries. If my sister phones tomorrow I am going to still decline babysitting if she asks me. I think I struggle with talking with her because she judges me thinking I have it easy. Thus she feels she has the right to treat me like I don’t have any(rights). Since I have gotten better boundaries and learned about my rights though she has been backing off a bit. I think it’s important when you deal with people who don’t have great boundaries that your own are as strong as possible. You might think it’s unfair to have to be the vigilant one but I would rather protect my rights then be lax about it and be sorry later.

Sorry to be slightly negative today. Hope everyone is well this Thursday or Friday depending on where you live. πŸ˜€

Β©Natalya, 2013.


Author: Natalya

Blogging my thoughts and feelings about mostly mental health, meditation and spirituality(non religious). Hoping to connect with other interesting people in the blogosphere. *The name is Russian and is my pseudonym.

46 thoughts on “Guilt Over Saying No

  1. 😦 I’m sorry you are troubled with this it can be a tricky thing. I will just send πŸ˜€ smiles
    And support for you.

  2. Oh dear girl, nope nope,,.no need to feel even a little bit of guilt. We should only be asked for favors when its absolutely necessary, and its wrong to impose on others when its not needed. Plus if you have no energy you really dont have the health to care for a child. It is not safe for the child either.

    Be at peace with yourself, dear soul. You did what was best for you and the child. πŸ™‚

  3. i can so relate to this, my sister did the same thing, and i could feel the judgement off of her if i said no, at times she even said to me, “don’t you want to spend time with your nephews?” she just doesn’t get that just because i may look fine doesn’t mean i am fine…i’m so glad to be living far away from all of them, they can’t ask me anymore. i’m proud of you for standing your ground! you also don’t have to answer your phone tomorrow if you don’t want too!!

  4. Don’t you hate that feeling? I always feel guilty saying no when I don’t have anything else to do and i just want some “me” time. It’s silly really but I can’t help it either

    • Thanks Summer. Yeah, I do have a bit of stuff that needs doing this weekend but I also don’t have the energy. I’ve got a cold sore and seem to be feeling a bit run down.

  5. Its horrible when people take you for granted. I am so with you on the sane bit! Just because your diagnosed everyone else around us feels better about themselves! Pathetic really, isn’t it? Have a great weekend! Hugs Paula xx

    • Haha, you’re so right! They do use our diagnosis to feel better about themselves. They might be bat sh*t crazy but because we have the label and go to therapy we’re they crazy one! ROFL Talk about ironic! I’m just a little annoyed thinking about it as you can tell, LOL πŸ˜›

  6. Hi,

    I have a sister like this too. She was always making me feel guilty and manipulating me and was so much like my mother. She had a child as well and was always wanting to use me for free childcare. One thing that was a highlight of our interactions where her jealously and her bitterness. There were lots of time I said yes, even when I didn’t want to, some ended badly and I was always blamed for that. When you say no you have to get up early in the morning for work, and you don’t want to babysit three children so she can go on a double date, well it means no you have adult responsibilities that need to be respected. After many years of trying to establish boundaries and failing I finally stopped seeing her. In a way she won.

    Saying no now is a good thing for you to do. You are working this weekend, looking for a job is a full time job, it just doesn’t have a wage. I’m sorry that your sister does not want to support you in that. Good and healing thoughts to you.


    • Thanks Kate. I’m sorry your sister used you and didn’t respect you either. For quite awhile I would agree to babysit all the time for her free so she could go out and have fun. Then I stopped offering and accepting because I had other stuff I needed and wanted to do.

      I guess I don’t see it as working really because it’s more my portfolio I’m working on. The part of the portfolio development we’re working on in the workshop now is a personal piece. So it’s more about our background and exploring what we’ve done. There’s greater emphasis on personal development in this workshop. It’s not meant to help us find a job technically speaking. We are mainly learning more about ourselves through the process of doing the activities we’re given each week.But I hope to use the experience to help with finding employment once I’m finished.

      • Hi,

        I’ve gone through workshops like this, on this area of personal development, and I have to say it helped me to increase my self-esteem, which played and still plays a big part of valuing myself accurately in the workplace and in the worksearches I have done. This too, I believe, is a huge part of a job search.

        Good and healing thoughts to you.


    • Ah, that is good to hear you had a positive experience with it then. I’ve heard good things about the workshop. But I never really found out if anyone was able to find a job more easily afterward. All the same, I think my awareness of my skills should increase.

      Thanks πŸ™‚

      • Oh yes I went out and got a job the next day. But I think the person giving it really helped me a lot, with positive regard to me. I didn’t get that a lot back then. So I do think that the facilitator really can have a big and positive impact as well as the materials and work you do.

        Good luck to you.


    • Are you serious? Wow, you should give a testimonial! πŸ˜€ That’s great it helped you and you were able to benefit from it so soon afterward. I am impressed!! At first I thought you were joking but gosh that’s pretty darn good. You must have felt pleased πŸ™‚

      • Hi,

        Yes totally serious. I was helped alot through the program here in Minnesota by the Workforce Center. I got the job listing from the computer room they run, found it on a job listing there, and made an appointment and went in the next day and got offered the job, it was an assistant manager position for a store. Of course if it had been a different kind of position I was looking for and a different kind of job market, then it would have taken much longer, but for sure my self-esteem was impacted long-term. Valuing ourselves in the workforce, I have found, directly impacts my daily life and self-esteem in all areas.

        Good and healing thoughts to you.


    • That’s great! Did you enjoy the job? I find being unemployed has been one of the hardest hurdles to leap over in regaining self confidence. A lot of people in my family figure I can do any job until something better comes along. But I am easily overwhelmed in noisy environments, places with bright lights, crowds and having to deal with bodily fluids. My last job was terrible for my stress levels. I was on ‘high alert’ all the time unable to relax (I worked in a group home with severely developmentally disabled adults and did many nurse/orderly type duties). It was not good for me. My other jobs have also been in bad environments for me so I really am not capable of taking whatever job I can get. Yes, if I was destitute and faced with being out on the streets, but luckily I have my dad. So these things have made it slightly more challenging but I don’t feel comfortable telling extended family this. Maybe if I told them I have PTSD and it is managed currently fairly well but would not be if I had to work in an unsuitable place they’d get it. But likely they’d ask why I have PTSD or think I was malingering πŸ˜›

      Sorry for the extended venting.

      • Hi,

        It was an okay job. Unfortunately everyone smoked and all wanted to smoke in or near the open door of the office I had to work in. It was not a good match for me or my health issues. But they were not allowed by state law to do that, so I complained about that.

        I can totally understand about how a certain work environment is necessary. It would be what I would need too right now. I understand about not wanting or needing to share all of what you are going through. I’m glad that you have your dad to help you out as you are looking for a job, so you don’t have to take a job that could or would set you and your health back.

        Good and healing thoughts to you.


    • Hi, thanks Kate πŸ™‚ I am grateful to have my dad’s support.

      Sounds like the job environment wasn’t ideal then. Smoking in the workplace is a bad idea. It’s not allowed where I live but likely some places do. I’m glad you stood up for yourself and complained about the smoking. That takes courage.

  7. Ah the joy that is having a sister that makes us feel like crap, one that I know only too well. You did so well standing up for yourself and I hope you can find the strength to say no again if she does! Maybe make plans to do something else with a friend or even on your own so you have definite plans that you ‘just can’t break off’. xox

    • Thanks! I am okay-won’t be accepting babysitting this weekend at any rate. I think the cold sore in my mouth is making me tired so I don’t feel I need any other back up excuses! LOL

      • Oh dear, sounds like you’re run down and definitely shouldn’t be looking after little ones that are always little germ factories! lol It’s always good when we have a ‘valid excuse’ that our minds won’t rebel too much against πŸ™‚ xox

    • Thanks πŸ™‚ Ya, a “legitimate” excuse helps dispel the guilt for sure, lol πŸ˜‰

  8. I know what you mean about feeling guilty when you shouldn’t. I almost always do things for people when they ask, because I feel guilty if I say no. You wouldn’t believe the number of shifts at work I did, simply because I didn’t want to let them down when they asked me! Well done you for standing up for yourself and realising that you are allowed to say no! πŸ˜€ xx

  9. That’s so weird- I said NO to my sister for the first time in forever the other week. She wanted me to travel to her flat to be there with her when our aunt and uncle visited, just for social support! I normally would say yes, but I really, really didn’t want to go, as family reunions bring up a whole load of traumatic stuff for me. So I told her no. I’ve never done this before and I felt really guilty. I thought she might never speak to me again. But I saw her the other day and we’re still on good terms! Yay!!

    • Good for you! It’s hard for us to say no when we’ve grown up saying yes just to try and get a little bit of affection out of our parents or caregivers (or to avoid being attacked). Glad your sister and you are still on good terms πŸ™‚

  10. I also have a narcissistic Mum and Dad. I love that you put yourself and your needs first. I think with narcissists in the family, this is difficult to do- as you don’t even realise you can say NO to people!! I’m learning about healthy boundaries too at the moment xxx

  11. Be aware that if you wear the ‘spot-the-NPD’ glasses, you will catch a lot of false positives.

    • Thanks Bert. My sister is definitely NPD though. Not a sociopath but she still qualifies. I do not try labeling just anyone with NPD. It took me YEARS before I admitted to myself my sister had something. My whole family is dysfunctional so there are a lot of personality disorders present. Tonnes of childhood abuse causes that.

  12. It’s so great that you set your boundaries. I know it’s really hard, especially with relatives that judge you all the time and/or think they are superior to you (which is just not true)… these people are awful.

  13. Hey, Natalya, great post!

    IMHO, learning to say “no” is perhaps the greatest sign of personal growth for those of us who were raised in families and/or cultures where anything but compliance with other peoples’ wishes was frowned upon.

    Kudos on asserting your right to choose differently!

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