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How to get more comfortable being “mean” and letting others be responsible for themselves?

July 11, 2021

From my family, I was conditioned to believe that if I felt good about myself, praised myself or felt confident it meant that I was conceited, selfish or self centered. I was “disciplined” a lot as a child for talking back (reasonable) and “having an attitude” because adults didn’t want to deal with me. I used to have no problem saying no or expressing my opinions. But over time, it was beaten into me that I’d be alone if I wasn’t agreeable or less mean. Truthfully, I could be hard on others but I genuinely dislike it when people are passive aggressive or try to evade accountability. I guess I was that person who will let you know very clearly that I see through the BS, and many people don’t like that and dropped me because of it. I think my ethnic background is also an easy way to pass that label off onto me so I’m very self conscious to not come across as “angry.”

I feel terrified of being mean or to be seen as that. I’ve learned a lot of self-deprecating inner dialogue and of course became a people pleaser and I trained myself to be less comfortable expressing my true opinions or believing myself when I felt something was off or if I didn’t like/didn’t want to do something but did it anyway because I feared losing the friendship more than being comfortable. Sometimes it’s hard to understand in the moment how to articulate my true needs and not feel rejected.

I still struggle to hang onto my boundaries and not reacting when people respond poorly to my no. I still feel like I have to people please my way out of it or I immediately stuff down my intuition and needs. So I get into the mode of “well if I just blame it all on me will you like/love/accept me then?” which is terrible and disempowering but I kind of don’t know how to stop that. I finally was able to say that out loud to my therapist after like 5 years of working with them. She mentioned this is manipulative.

What’s are some ways to overcome this?

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Post Information
Title How to get more comfortable being “mean” and letting others be responsible for themselves?
Author dancedancedance83
Upvotes 77
Comments 10
Date July 11, 2021 12:13 AM UTC (1 year ago)
Subreddit /r/askFDS
Archive Link https://theredarchive.com/r/askFDS/how-to-get-more-comfortable-being-mean-and-letting.791653
Original Link https://old.reddit.com/r/AskFDS/comments/ohu310/how_to_get_more_comfortable_being_mean_and/

[–]saint-jezebel 30 points31 points  (4 children) | Copy Link

Sadly, one of the most effective ways to deal with it it to not take it personally. If you say no, mean it. Don’t back peddle. People will get over it but it’s not your job to soothe someone if they’re hurt by your boundaries. Tables turned they wouldn’t do the same for you. If it’s something that bothers you, always remember you come first. It’s not about being selfish or conceited, it’s about protecting yourself at all times.

[–]intrepidis_dux 13 points14 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

Yep this is something my gramps has been saying to me over the years. "Always look out for number one." Because no one else is going to have your back 100% of the time.

[–]dancedancedance83[S] 5 points6 points  (2 children) | Copy Link

What about overcoming the fear of being seen as who you truly are?

[–]saint-jezebel 5 points6 points  (1 child) | Copy Link

You have to ask yourself what you are and if that’s what you want to be seen as, you will. It you love plants but say yes to everyone, you won’t be seen as a person who love plants. Learning to come into yourself is going to come with people who don’t like you and people who will leave you. They weren’t meant to be in your life in the first place.

[–]fierce_and_mightyFDS Specialist 1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

Agreed. OP you need to decide if being what others want you to be is worth your sanity and happiness. It should be an easy HELL NO

[–]seawitchbitch 21 points22 points  (4 children) | Copy Link

As a people pleaser myself, I have been trying to get in touch with my bitch side. So because I am afraid deep down of being called a bitch, I call my self one first. So I will say “sorry I’m gonna be a bitch for a second, XYZ.” In reality, I am only acting like any normal, straight, white dude would, but because it is a jump for me, it’s easier to frame it that way. What I did not expect, was how many people would say, “oh my God no that’s not bitchy at all!” So that has been helping me heal my own boundaries and see that it is socially acceptable to have more than we are socialized with.

[–]dancedancedance83[S] 2 points3 points  (3 children) | Copy Link

I do the same thing. Or I'll even call myself stupid because I'm afraid of being seen as or even being incompetent, even though I am college educated and have common sense. I agree, a lot of what we ask for isn't bitchy, mean or unreasonable. I hate that we are socialized to think that we have to be afraid of that.

[–]seawitchbitch 1 point2 points  (2 children) | Copy Link

I get that but the stupid one makes me sad! There’s not a positive spin on stupid the way there is with bitchy vs. assertive. I’ve actually been correcting my inner voice everytime I call myself stupid because we create our own reality, you know? I’d like to be more of a bitch. But you don’t want to manifest stupidity.

[–]dancedancedance83[S] 2 points3 points  (1 child) | Copy Link

The stupid one I'm starting to work on. It is also born a bit out of people pleasing, like in the sense of automatically taking someone's opinions, thoughts, perspectives and making them more important than my own for (hopefully) the other person's gratification and approval. So I've been used to not trusting my perspective on things. It reinforces that belief that I feel I am stupid if that makes sense. I have an affirmation that I've started to say each day just to affirm that I have a sound mind of my own and there isn't anything wrong with my level of comprehension or intellect.

[–]fierce_and_mightyFDS Specialist 0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

Very glad you’re working on that! I would agree with u/seawitchbitch and say it is definitely a lot different than calling yourself a bitch in a good way. You don’t deserve that treatment.

I used to be the exact same as you, a complete people pleaser - I was always thinking first about the effects of my choices on OTHERS not on ME. Which is totally backwards. Self first then others if you want to thrive. I too used to let the negative thoughts about myself slip in and not tell myself to stop it. Now I have started to go in the absolute opposite direction and try to “up” myself to the moon. I try to be as outrageous in my compliments to myself as possible, finding any chance, with anyone around to accept compliments and compliment myself. Call yourself amazing, remind your body you are hot as fuck and tell yourself you are WORTHY OF IT ALL. Now my family call me conceited as a joke but I don’t care because I have given and try every day to give myself the greatest gift in the world: CONFIDENCE.

You can kill a man, but you can't kill an idea.

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