“No” Is A Full Sentence

Let’s talk about that famous ‘no’ word. It’s simple, powerful, and yet somehow often ignored.

Now, I’m talking purely from a woman’s perspective, because I’ve never lived as a man (shocking, I know.) So, forgive me if this sounds sexist or like I’m generalising men, because that is not my intention. Not all men are the same, I know that. But I can only write based on the experiences I’ve had as a woman, as well as statistics.

So, here we go.

Let me start but letting you guess how many times I’ve been accused of leading men on. Go on…

Jokes, I wish I could tell you, but it’s actually too many to count. So many times have I told male friends that I’m not interested in being more, and so many times have they continued to read into everything I say and do, hoping against all hope that I will suddenly change my mind, or perhaps I was confused. And then accuse me of sending them mixed signals.

Well, guess what guys… I’m fed up with it. Here’s a little tip, LISTEN to what a girl is SAYING. When she says she’s not interested, she probably really freaking means it.

Let me give you a scenario. I walk outside stark naked, and say “I don’t want to have sex or be touched at all.” Is it my fault if I get sexually assaulted because my ‘signals’ aren’t matching the words coming out of my mouth?

No, it most definitely is NOT. Again, LISTEN to what we are SAYING.

Sure, signs and signals can be fun, exciting, like when you first start dating someone. But when a person says “no, I’m not interested,” that counteracts ANY and ALL signals… Period.

And yet, somehow it’s our fault when we have to reinforce again and again that we want to be ‘just friends’ or nothing at all. Somehow it’s our fault if our skirt is too short, or our heels too high. Causing a temptation that apparently cannot be controlled.

But there’s also the problem of female friends excusing their behaviour with comments like “maybe you’re too nice” or “your personality is too likeable…” While the intentions are good, it is essentially victim shaming, placing the blame where it doesn’t belong.

I have a playful personality that can come across as flirty, I won’t lie about that. But despite pointing this out and still saying I’m really not interested, it never seems to sink in.

I find myself genuinely wondering lately what we have to do to actually be heard, to have our feelings and our needs respected.

I read recently a quote that said “no is a full sentence.” So freaking true! We don’t owe anyone any explanation for not wanting to do something, men and women alike, and we certainly shouldn’t have to repeat it over and over.

I’ve been bogged down, suffocated by what men want and how men think I feel, way too often. And look, I’m betting so many men have felt the same about women too! There’s no denying that. This isn’t a battle of the sexes, this is a battle against the inability to take what should be a simple response, and turning it into chaos and accusations. This is a battle against friendships being demolished because certain people can’t stop chucking temper tantrums when they don’t get the answer they want.

This is about freedom of choice, and the freedom to choose “no” at any time without being made out to be a villain.

If you read my last post about Mr Puppeteer, then you might understand this rant a bit more. Enough is enough.

Mr Puppeteer

One month – that’s all it took. Four weeks, thirty days, to see a new romance with a seemingly nice and normal guy sour to a tumultuous storm of intimidation, emotional manipulation, volatile emotions, and controlling behavior.

One month, and you became my puppeteer. And I, a slave to your emotions.

It happened quite suddenly. Once we were official, you visibly changed. I felt the strings tie around my wrists and feet, one by one, as you made me move and dance as you pleased, pulling the strings from your seat above me. My body became made of wood – not my own and completely out of my control. My face was a mask of a smile, of perfection, never letting my true emotions slip through my puppet facade for fear that Mr Puppeteer would come out to play again.

Today I feel raw, fearful… But mostly confused and sad. Sad because you were not who I thought you were, and I still like the guy you were before you became my puppeteer. I’ve made excuses for you that you didn’t deserve, because I couldn’t see you standing above me and pulling the strings in everything I said and did. I couldn’t see the little dance you had me doing until I took a step back.

My friend could, she could see it all. And she feared for me, for my safety. And I started to as well.

Things took a turn when you told me how you felt, that you were falling in love with me after only a few weeks. My response upset you, then angered you. Sitting up while I pretended to sleep as you talked to yourself and hit your bedroom wall. I felt scared, not completely sure if you were angry with me or with yourself. I wanted to hide under the blanket, under the bed… I just wanted to be anywhere but there with you in that moment.

I was scared for the rest of the weekend, scared to say anything or even move or breathe for fear that you would lash out again.

On Monday I brought it up, that your reaction concerned me… I was being polite. Again, not realising I was scared of you, not realising you had purposely made me feel that way with the pull of your strings.

You apologised, you said all the right things that you knew I needed to hear in order to forgive and forget. But I never forgot, I never really even forgave.

Yesterday things turned quicker and harder, your strings couldn’t control me any longer and things turned… Volatile. Mr Puppeteer, how did I not see what you were doing sooner? How did you make me feel SO trapped so quickly? I understand now, I understand how women get caught in abusive relationships, constantly making excuses for the man they used to love. To those women, I see you… You are not alone.

Yesterday I told you I was going to WA for a holiday, to visit my family friends. Your mood soured after that, with hidden demands of how long you wanted me to go for. “No longer than a month.” The next demands came with who you wanted me to stay with. “Stay with Jess, not with Andrew.” This required a two hour deep and meaningful conversation, leaving me feeling caged and drained. Like you had pulled your strings and put me back in my box and taped it up, trapped in the dark and unable to move until you decided to pull your strings again.

Then you became clingy, again asking me to tell you how I felt about you and us, wanting those words from me that I wasn’t ready to say. Making me feel like I couldn’t breathe as you leaned over me, my arms trapped underneath you, as you stared into my face. Leaving me vulnerable and exposed in so many ways.

The day worsened from there. I was ill, in pain, cramping (most ladies will understand this.) You wanted me to meet your family and I didn’t feel up to doing so, so asked if I could go home. (Yep, you heard me, I had to ASK.) You did not like this, not one bit. For I’d stepped out of line with the little string dance you had me doing. You became angry, then upset… You cried. Don’t get me wrong, men are allowed to cry – but in this situation, really?! You did and said everything you could to make me stay. I was scared, genuinely scared for my safety. As were my friends who were frantically trying to get in touch with me. But I couldn’t touch my phone, couldn’t respond unless you weren’t watching. You wanted, needed, to know everyone I was talking to and everything I was saying.

I was scared of you. That was hard to say at first, hard to admit, but it’s true. I felt the need to do and say everything you needed me to in order to keep your mood level, to prevent you from lashing out. Where volatile emotions come into play, so does violence.

I drove home in a numbed state, feeling completely drained of life, completely empty inside. I’d stopped doing your puppet dance, and finally my mood and body crashed.

This situation taught me a lot, it taught me I have some amazing people who have my back no matter what. That even though you made me feel trapped and intimidated, I still had my safety net of support. Willing to hide me safely if need be, willing to do whatever needed to save me from any potential emotional or physical abuse.

I’m safe from you, because I chose to be. Mr Puppeteer, I cut those strings the moment I left your puppet house. Your constant calls and messages tell me that you’re aware of this, tell me you fear that you’ve lost your hold on me. Because you have.

I don’t write this to put you down, to be mean. I write this for exposure, for awareness. I won’t be a slave to someone else’s emotions, and neither should you.

Please, I implore every woman to watch, to notice even the littlest of red flags in your relationship, in the relationships of your loved ones. Please watch for abuse before it happens. Please tell someone and get out. Be safe ladies, be loved. We all have your back. ❤