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How do I stand up to people?


New Member
I grew up with a father that was very controlling and I was afraid to stand up to him, and therefore learned to be afraid to stand up to anybody. Now I am 29 years old, and I still let people walk all over me. I do whatever anybody wants me to do, and when someone does something I don't like or treats me badly, I always just keep quiet and don't say anything. I know one reason I do this is because now that I am away from my father and don't have to listen to the yelling all the time, I want to do everything I can to avoid arguments and yelling. As a result though, I am pretty unhappy but nobody knows it. Any advice on how I can get over my problems from growing up, and start standing up to people?


Where is my Queen?
I have been in your situation before and you should first talk about your feelings to your good friends and family, it's funny when you talk about your feelings to somebody else you feel a whole lot better. You should also look out for yourself as well, if you keep looking out for other people in your life you will be stuck in the same position that you are in forever. I am not saying stop doing good things for others, but you need limitations and that is going to be the biggest hurdle. The way you need to look at this is, would they do the same thing for you? If the answer is no, then you should not do a favor that person. If they stop talking to you or stop socializing then they were never your friend or a person you didn't really want to help in the first place.

To answer your question...you need to learn the word 'no'.
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Registered Member
Try putting yourself into the shoes of a child you wish to protect. It is easier for me to confront someone if what they are doing can be translated into a detriment to my child.

Example: Someone wanting to borrow money, won't pay me back or is cheating me out of money, I will see that as attempting to steal food from my child.
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Lion Rampant
Hi and welcome. It's good that you're asking this question. It implies a willingness and a desire to improve your conditions. Those are essential elements in personal growth.

I have a saying, "The past is not who you are. It's only where you're from." We're all free to affect our destinies. I have a few thoughts that may help you get where you're going.

The best therapy is... therapy. If you have access to a psychiatrist or psychologist, or some other trained professional, don't hesitate to avail yourself. If you have no access, there are still things you can do: read up on 'codependence'; check out some doctor-written self-help books from a library (look for the best-seller "Your Erroneous Zones" by Dr. Wayne Dyer); and gather as much cheerleader support from friends and family as you can. I hope you'll stick around on General Forum, too, and chart for us how your progress goes. Folks here are amazing and you'll probably pick up some friends fairly quickly.

What you want is in your grasp! Best of luck!


Registered Member
Yes, I grew up similar. I had an impatient alcoholic dad, a authoritarian mom, and bossy critical sister. I didn't have a chance. But I went the other extreme and became argumentative and confrontational. My life has been spent trying to tone it down.

For you, the first step in overcoming this difficulty is first learning to trust. Since...the person that was suppose to nurture and accept you didn't do so. That is a betrayal and very traumatic. So realize that those flaws belong to your dad, not to everyone else. Those in the workplace, in dating, in marriage, etc can be trusted to not scold you, not humiliate you, not intimidate you, not shame you, and not reject you.

The second step is for you to dissect out of yourself how his behavior molded your behavior. Remove it and re-mold yourself. Find your true self. Let your trusted friends help you.

Once you have gotten a firm hold on how trust and a clear sense of who your true self is, you will find that "standing up for yourself" more resembles pressure that people just want their own way. You either assess it to be of value and cooperate with them, or you rationally explain how you will assert your idea. Then execute! Soon, people will not see you as a pushover anymore, and the "pressue" will decline and their respect for you increases.


Registered Member
I can't say I grew up with controlling parents, but I was quite shy as a kid myself, nonetheless. I've read in quite a few different articles that an effective way to get over inhibition is often to simply consciously 'give yourself permission' to do whatever it is you're inhibited from doing; just take a moment for yourself to say "It's okay for me to do this." I'd say start small at first; don't go picking fights, but keep your goals in mind and look for opportunities to exercise your control and challenge other people. For example, say you're shopping and someone says "Buy this green shirt;" if you disagree,you can simply say "I like this blue shirt." Nobody in their right mind would get angry about it; it's just small things like that which make for great practice.

Real confrontation, though, can be disconcerting for anyone, especially if your flight instinct is stronger than your fight instinct. First of all, it's important to remember that whenever you're nervous and pulsing with adrenaline time passes differently; what feels like minutes is often only about one second or less, and some people tend to freeze up, thinking that they look like they froze up, when only a moment has passed. Once you've made the decision to do something in despite of nervousness, before you say or do anything you should take a brief moment to get your bearings: Inhale deeply and focus on maintaining control; like above, if necessary, tell yourself "This is not wrong; I have permission to do this." Tell yourself that you're going to stand your ground. It may seem like a lot, but a lot can be accomplished when your mind is racing at 40,000 rpm; most of the time the breath itself is enough to dissolve the initial nervousness. After that, it's all about maintaining conscious control; take those moments when you have to and remind yourself that you're not in the wrong.
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Sally Twit
You're on the right track because you're asking for help. Many people in your situation won't even admit to themselves that they're unhappy.
Honestly, I think you have it in you to say no. We all do.

This might sound silly but it's something I was once told to do when I suffered with my confidence. I was sat in a room with one other person and he told me to say 'no' to him. I went bright red for a bit but eventually I said it. I said it very quietly, though. It wasn't good enough. He wanted me to shout it at him. I felt like I was going to be sick. Anyway you don't want to hear my life story so I'll get to the point. I ended up shouting it at him, louder than I'd ever shouted in my life and that was the start of me getting help for my problem.

What I think you should do is practice saying 'no' when you're alone at home. Sure you might think it's stupid but nobody is going to be there to laugh at you doing it. You need to get used to that word.

This isn't going to be something you can just change in a matter of days. But you need to be the one to help yourself. You need to get people used to you saying no because at the minute they are always going to take advantage of the fact that you always say yes to them. You are your own person, nobody controls you. You are not a slave. If someone is asking you to do something, you do not need to do it. Ask yourself the question first - 'Do I want to do this?' If the answer is no then you shouldn't be afraid to say so. You should also not be afraid to ask for something in return of these people that are walking all over you.

If you struggle to do this alone then I suggest speaking to someone because if someone is constantly there to tell you that you can do this then it might push you a bit more.

Don't be afraid to say no.


New Member
I know exactly how you feel, my father was much the same and I have spent my life living in much of the same way.
Fortunately for me though, I got better with age. I think it was a confidence in myself that gave myself the power to say no.
In coming on here and posting this thread, you know that you do not deserve to be treated in that way, that you love yourself enough to know you deserve better.

That's it right there...you know you deserve better, they key now is just finding the strength within you to act on this. Hopefully, this will come with the recognition that you are good. Each morning, say to yourself that you are a strong and beautiful person and soon enough you will start to believe it more and more. Avoiding confrontation is completely natural and in many cases, admirable. It is just as admirable to sometimes say no when you want to. Next time you get walked over, just say to yourself I am strong and good and deserve better than this, and that will give you the inner strength and ability to say no.

Keep your chin up and remember, nobody is better than you are.


Son of Liberty
I grew up with the Alcoholic + Workaholic + God Complex father who is an absolute control freak.

The only solution to this problem that I ever found is one of the simplest yet hardest actions to take.

YOu have to look at the situation like Parachuting or Bunjee Jumping. When you're on the Bridge or the Plane... You're absolutely under its control and it'll always be that way no matter what. The only way to get away is to make that brave jump off the ledge or out of the door. You have to leave your comfort zone. Which is one of the hardest things for a human to do, trust me I deal with it on a daily basis and I'll admit 90% of the time... I stay on the plane. But that 10% when I decide I cant take this anymore and I just do it. Those are some of the most liberating moments of my life.

So yeah, my best advice is... dont be a bitch, sack up and just do it. Otherwise your plane ride will have finished and you'll have lost your chance.


Embrace the Suck
My dad was pretty demanding but not controlling. One of the things he demanded was that I stand up for myself which was hard for a very shy kid. I'm glad he did though. I agree with Goat's advice, just sack up and do it.