Have you struggled to find the “right way,” or the strength, to say, “No?” Trying to regulate the reactions and emotions of others is a common trait for those who have survived trauma and abuse. We were taught that we did not have the right of refusal. Should we gain the courage to say, “No,” there were often dire consequences.

Being coerced, manipulated, forced, guilt tripped, and shamed by others is unacceptable. The only people who would get upset with you for setting boundaries, are the ones who benefitted from your having none. You deserve to be safe and have your agency respected! You have the right to exist, to have your voice heard, and to set boundaries.

The more comfortable you become with eschewing what does not work for you, the larger your YES becomes. “No!” is a complete sentence.


  • Write the name of someone who has violated your boundaries in the past.
  • Tape the person’s name onto a mirror.
  • Take a deep breath to center yourself.
  • Think of ways you would like to say NO to that person, regardless of how angry or ragefully you would like to say it.
  • In the mirror say NO in all of those ways aloud.
  • Observe how fierce and strong you are.

Affirmation: I can say, “No.”

Journal Cue: Write down answers to the following questions: What are ways to say, “No” you haven’t tried, but would like to? When you think of being your strongest and most courageous self, how would you say, “No?” What are your favorite ways to say, “No?”

© Amanda Lee