Chapter 2: Learning to Say No

The purpose of writing this series, “Am I My Sister’s Keeper,” is to look at the emotional baggage that women carry around with them. No woman should have to be in an abusive relationship, or feel pressured to do things that they don’t want to do. My desire is to tear down walls of low self-esteem, fears, social stress, etc. This isn’t going to be solved overnight.


Several weeks ago at my job, I facilitated a group called, “Free to be Me.” I introduced this topic, “Learning to Say No,” and I wrote the two letter word, “No,” on the board. Many of the young women dropped their heads. When I asked, “Who can tell me what this word means,” two women answered in unison, “it means no to something.” As the evening progressed, I found out how hard it was for women to say no. Some described how hard it was to say no to their men, especially, when he wants money or sex. Some would do anything just to keep him happy.


Your Kind of Shades, your kind of price!

Yes, I know that you probably recognize this quote being a COVER-GIRL ad with Queen Latifah smiling like she doesn’t have a care in the world. Now there isn’t anything wrong with her smiling or posing for cover-girl; however, many women wear shades and it has nothing to do with feeling beautiful. Many of them don’t see themselves as beautiful. One young woman did drugs with her boyfriend just to keep him from beating her. She never did drugs before she met him, so to keep peace she took the drugs that he forced either up her nose or through her veins.

Someone may ask, “What price did she pay?” She paid a price that led her into jail, drug treatment, and at the clinic because she caught a std. Another young woman gave her EBT card to her cousin being considerate of the cousin taking care of her children for the evening. When she went to the store the next day, her card read a zero balance.

Then the young woman started crying and yelling, “Why did she do me like that? She’s my family.” Another young woman yelled, “Well, that’s on you. I’d never give my ebt card or the pin to my number to anyone.” The other women started agreeing with her and talking loud. I had to call the room to order, “Ladies let’s not talk about her because the next time it could be you. Instead, let’s help her brainstorm ways to say no.”

Here’s my own unscientific summary: If you’re not given the necessary skills to succeed-you remain powerless. In the past, many of my clients haven’t had opportunities to succeed. As a Case manager, I teach them many skills on learning how to say no, building up their self-esteem, 12 steps/ recovery, etc. It’s more about validating them and teaching them new ways of learning.

If you don't see your worth, you'll always cho...
If you don’t see your worth, you’ll always choose people who don’t see it either. When your self esteem rises, your life follows. -Mandy Hale (Photo credit: deeplifequotes)



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