Freezing up when you want to say no. Anybody else experience this?

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Freezing up when you want to say no. Anybody else experience this?

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  • Freezing up when you want to say no. Anybody else experience this?

    I'm not sure if this goes in this section, but my question is if any of you intellectually want to say no to something, but your body freezes up and you go along with whatever is being asked of you. This also includes sexual pressure.

    I've been doing pretty good at being assertive in my life, but I look back at all the times where I didn't know how to say no. I'm embarrassed to even admit that I didn't know how to walk away and say no when someone was sexually pressuring me. There have been several situations where I felt I had to just take the sexual pressure to survive.

    In these situations, I tend to go "numb" as if someone is holding a gun to my head. I just want to know if anyone else feels this way. Even if I do say no several times, a person persistently pressuring me causes me to shut down. It's like my body somehow physiologically doesn't want to go along with what my brain says. It's hard to explain ,but does anyone feel this way?


    My mom is someone that blames me for not being strong enough and asks why I can't just leave and kick someone in the balls, but I know her criticism is a reflection of her own insecurity. She herself is staying in toxic situations where she can easily just leave.

    Logically, I know there's a lot of research to back up people "freezing up" in stressful situations. I can't let go fo the feeling of being judged by others and getting mad at myself for not being assertive enough. I feel like most women know how to strongly say no and not put up with anyone's , and then I get mad as to why I was never taught this until recently.
    "Dating is like slow dancing. Let the man lead, or you will fall all over your feet"

  • I'm a woman, and I do freeze up when I strongly want to say "no". Something to do with our messed up childhood, I guess?

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    • ^Most likely, especially if you were raised to be a sweet girl that does as you're told.

      What has helped me be more assertive now is to keep practicing in front of the mirror and rehearse what I can say if a future situation comes up. The situations where I froze were unexpected, and I didn't quite know then how to handle it.
      "Dating is like slow dancing. Let the man lead, or you will fall all over your feet"

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      • I forgot to add that what may be major strides to us in being assertive might be small to someone who thinks assertiveness is as easy as making a cup of tea!
        "Dating is like slow dancing. Let the man lead, or you will fall all over your feet"

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        • I know. It amazes me that there are people who are really good at being assertive - well-developed EQ? LOL....

          My thoughts also elude me so much that I have great ideas but when I start opening my mouth, I just can't spit the words out. I also practice in front of the mirror. When I was younger, I also discovered that singing in an operatic/classical way helps you with pacing yourself so that you can "assert" better. You know, breathing practice/management during singing can help if you can use the same skill in speaking your mind. Still a work in progress.

          Do you express yourself more fluently in writing than in speaking when it comes to assertive behavior?

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          • Originally posted by caterpillar79 View Post
            I know. It amazes me that there are people who are really good at being assertive - well-developed EQ? LOL....

            My thoughts also elude me so much that I have great ideas but when I start opening my mouth, I just can't spit the words out. I also practice in front of the mirror. When I was younger, I also discovered that singing in an operatic/classical way helps you with pacing yourself so that you can "assert" better. You know, breathing practice/management during singing can help if you can use the same skill in speaking your mind. Still a work in progress.

            Do you express yourself more fluently in writing than in speaking when it comes to assertive behavior?

            Yep, I used to write my feelings and show it to my guidance counselor when growing up. I didn't have the articulateness and eloquence to verbally state what I was feeling.

            I just want to be able to let go of blaming myself. I'm now careful of who I share this with, because I don't want to put myself in a situation where someone would tell me that I was "asking for it" by not being assertive enough.


            What's interesting is that when I was assertive in my life, some of the males thought I was being b**tchy and hostile. Too bad.
            "Dating is like slow dancing. Let the man lead, or you will fall all over your feet"

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            • PB, this is probably due to your perception of a disadvantage in power or status. Raising your level of self confidence will help.
              I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience.
              ...
              Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot?

              From a speech by Patrick Henry on March 23, 1775 at St. John's Church, Richmond, Virginia

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              • Originally posted by jns View Post
                PB, this is probably due to your perception of a disadvantage in power or status. Raising your level of self confidence will help.
                I think I've done all what I can to raise my self-confidence. I just don't understand why some people are so pushy and keep persisting. I remember telling a date last year "Stop touching me. I have the right to say no." He just rolled his eyes and kept groping me. This man was from an Indian marriage site where you think people would be serious.
                "Dating is like slow dancing. Let the man lead, or you will fall all over your feet"

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                • It's not so much of a matter of self-confidence anymore at this point. It's more of verbalizing and learning to get the right tone of voice when you say "no". There is the right frequency that when you utter words, people just listen.

                  PB, if I'm not mistaken, it's when you want to assert yourself is when your thoughts race also, so that you cannot concentrate and say it in the right tone. Is this one of the cases?

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                  • Originally posted by caterpillar79 View Post
                    It's not so much of a matter of self-confidence anymore at this point. It's more of verbalizing and learning to get the right tone of voice when you say "no". There is the right frequency that when you utter words, people just listen.

                    PB, if I'm not mistaken, it's when you want to assert yourself is when your thoughts race also, so that you cannot concentrate and say it in the right tone. Is this one of the cases?

                    Yes, racing thoughts and feeling emotionally overwhelmed describes it. It seems like the easiest thing is to give in the situation instead of sorting out all of those racing thoughts and trying to think clearly.
                    "Dating is like slow dancing. Let the man lead, or you will fall all over your feet"

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                    • Have you come across the book, 'Introvert Power' by Laurie Helgoe, PhD? She brought up a lot of things about people who are so much in their heads (like you and I) during conversations, that we need so much time to think of the words to utter. We get drowned by the the noise that the other person we're talking to makes, and while we are processing it to make a comment (or to assert ourselves), this person doesn't recognize we need silence so instead, he/she keep rattling away.

                      I read the book and now re-reading it but it is still a challenge to use what I learned so that I can come ahead and act "normal" like the others who can assert themselves in challenging situations. That's my battle even at work. When one of the kids in my class yells at me, I freeze!

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                      • I agree with caterpillar about needing to have a certain tone. Im not an assertive person at all but its only a problem with people I care about. Like dating someone and its going well you just want to please them. I might say no but I think they can read some insecurity in your voice and body language and they know they can eventually get what they want.

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                        • I do think healthy and respectful people will respect your boundary, and will not insist on getting what they want. Obviously, I was around unhealthy people that I got rid of.

                          In terms of being assertive, there are cases where I think walking away is the best option like with a stranger or someone who just doesn't matter.

                          On dates, I've learned my lesson and know how to carry myself strong enough to gt the person to back off.
                          "Dating is like slow dancing. Let the man lead, or you will fall all over your feet"

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