Looking after YOU first.

How do you respond when someone makes a request of you and it really is not something you want to do?

I suspect you try and search for an excuse, such as I am busy that day, I have to wash my hair…..and all these excuses seem very lame to you. And so you say yes, against your better judgement.

BUT, what if you could respond confidently to the request? What if you could say no without guilt?


The question has just been posed.  Pause.  Were you going to say yes, even though there’s a voice deep down saying “no”?  What possible reasons could there be for saying no?

  • It’s beyond your means?
  • It’s beyond your comfort level?
  • You have no interest?
  • You have to wash your hair?

Identify all the reasons you have for saying “no.”  Identify which stem from a lack of confidence, which would be detrimental to you and which come from a sincere disinterest in fulfilling the request.

What would happen if you said yes?  Perhaps:

  • You would be considered ‘one of us’
  • It would make your friend happy
  • Your visibility with other people may be improved
  • It would make you miserable

Would you feel comfortable with your self if you were to say yes, even though you knew it would not be in your best interests?

Saying “no” is hard for so many of us.  A false sense of guilt often comes into play.  Whether this guilt has its foundation in religion, a proper upbringing, or a world view that simply says “it’s not nice to say no”, we know it is there lurking in the background and make decisions  based upon it, even though deep down, we know it is not right for us.

New for 2013. From confusion to clarity – Becoming ME again


So you have made the decision, after scientifically weighing the results of your cost/benefit analysis, to honestly say “NO”.  Practice it in the mirror. Say it clearly and self-assuredly.….in the mirror.  Look yourself in the eye, and do it.  Just say “NO.”

Say it like you really mean it, and then say it again as if you speaking to whoever asked you the question.  When you pretend you’re speaking to the person who made the request, does it come out differently?  Practice and experiment with different ways to say “NO” until you find one you’re comfortable with.

Then go, and say “NO.”

Sometimes, if you have always given in to others,  guess what happens?  After all that practice, getting the tone right and pretending you are talking to the person who asked you the question, you may just be surprised to find that they are not willing to accept it!   They may try to push you to say yes, rephrase the question, or make a new, not altogether different, request.   This is where your personal boundaries come in to play.

Know your boundary—what ARE you willing to do?  Revisit the questions you asked yourself before. If you are really serious about saying “NO”, then stick to your guns.  Tell the person making the request that you would appreciate it if they respected your wishes and boundaries, and ask them not to ask again.  If you are comfortable expressing your “reasons why” then do so speaking from your personal perspective.

If you are going to say NO, you must say it in a way that means NO!  In a firm, yet polite voice with a firm tone.  Also, if you want to say the reasons why, keep it short and sweet.  When saying NO remember the power of non-verbal communications.  Look the person in the eye when you say the NO.  Shake your head at the same time as saying NO.  Stand up tall.

Don’t forget that when anyone asks a question of you, it is perfectly OK to say, “Can I think about that and get back to you”.   No-one should be pressurised into giving an immediate answer.  It will give you some time to think it through and to gather your thoughts.  It will also give you some time to think about how you are going to say it, the words to use and your body language.

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Practice makes perfect as they say!  Remember you must look after yourself first.  This is not selfish, it is a necessity. Practice in the mirror and soon you will:

  •  feel much more confident and proud.
  •  find that practice makes perfect—the more you confidently say “NO” the easier it becomes.
  • Others will respect your wishes and take you seriously the first time you say “NO.”
  • You won’t find yourself doing things you never wanted to do in the first place.
  •  have more time to focus on the things you do want to be involved in.
  • The list goes on from there…

I have learned  how to look after myself first and how to say no without guilt.  I have learned that my boundaries are vital to my day to day living and that once people are aware of those boundaries they respect them and me.  That isn’t to say that I always say no, I know when to say yes and when to say no.

So if you’re looking to finally take control of your life and make a change, why not drop me a line and we can talk it through.

To book in for a FREE 15 minute discovery call please Email me.


Maggie Currie

Thought Leader, Speaker, Author, Survivor
Contributor to BBC Radio, Vectis Radio, Susan Rich Radio
Published author and regularly write articles for national and international magazines.
Find out more about me on my website.


Why do people stay in abusive relationships?

There are many, many reasons why women and men don’t leave an abusive relationship.  Often it is because they don’t realise that they are being abused.  They think it is normal.  I know from experience that I believed the emotional, psychological and financial abuse I suffered was normal.  I thought everyone’s relationship worked in this way.  It wasn’t until I literally woke up one day and thought ‘this is n’t normal’ and started really looking at other people’s relationships that I realised I was in an abusive relationship.

I went and consulted a solicitor who agreed that not only was this an abusive relationship but I had grounds for divorce.  Unreasonable behaviour. And so I took my courage in both hands and filed for divorce.

What is an abusive relationship?

One where you are treated in one or more of these ways:

Manipulated – Have their will imposed on you so you do as they say without realising it

Controlled – told what to wear, what to do, where to go, where you can and can’t work, who you can and can’t speak to

Insulted – in private and/or in public

Treated as a possession

Told that everything is your fault

Deprived of money – only allowed so much a day not allowed your own income

Deprived of friends – not allowed to have friends

Only allowed a mobile phone as long as you only call the abuser and they control the bill

Psychologically mistreated – made to feel worthless

Emotionally mistreated – constantly told you are useless and nobody wants you

Physically – beaten, burned, tortured

Sexually – raped, made to perform acts you don’t want to, made to be part of a threesome

Verbally – shouted at, berated in front of other people, made to feel small and inadequate

Held prisoner/locked up

Made to have meals on the table at specific times and threatened with various consequences if they don’t appear on time.

Interestingly in 1995 a national survey showed that just under 50% of abusers are in fact female.

I believe that most of the reasons that people don’t leave abusive relationships, once they realise what it is, stem from fear.

Most of the fears are understandable, but often irrational.  For instance, fear of having no money if they leave.  Because women are generally at home looking after the children, they don’t have any income of their own.  The fear of financial ruin builds in the mind until it becomes ‘I can’t survive if I leave’. And so they stay.

Fear of losing the children. If a man has been abused he may find it very difficult to leave with the children.


Most of the fears are understandable, but often irrational.  For instance, fear of having no money if they leave.  It may be they don’t have any income of their own.  The fear of financial ruin builds in the mind until it becomes ‘I can’t survive if I leave’. And so they stay.

Fear of what other people might think.  There is often a social stigma that labels people as failures if they dare to leave their partners.  Usually nobody outside the home realises what is going on which adds to that stigma.  This leads to feelings of insecurity. And so they stay.

Fear of what might happen to them at the hand of their partner if they did leave.  Often people believe that their partner will come after them and kill them and/or their children. The threats are made to them over and over again, until they are ingrained in their mind.  And so they stay.

People often fear that they are the reason that they are abused.  That it is their fault. And if they were to change their ways their abusive partner would be different.  A false supposition.  And so they stay.

Of course, the abuser will tell their partner that they will change, they won’t do it again. But they do. They never change.


I know how difficult it is to leave an abusive relationship.  I was verbally, emotionally and financially abused by my first husband. He would belittle me in front of the children and other people, always tell me that I knew nothing, that I was of no use and he would do anything to stop me succeeding at anything.  Add to that the fact that my parents believed that I should make the marriage work because I was too young, in their opinion, to know what I was doing, and I was financially dependent. And so I stayed.  I stayed 10 years.

I did, eventually, wake up to the fact that it was not normal to be treated in this way, and found the courage to leave and take the children with me and started a new life in a different town.  The feeling of relief was immense.  Although I was threatened with all sorts of things, such as having the children removed, losing my flat etc., I discovered that the threats were empty.  And this is probably true of most abusers.  They are cowards and when someone actually stands up to them, they generally back off.

There are ways out of this horrendous situation.  There are both men’s and women’s refuges who will help you so that you can get yourself out of the abusive home.  Once you are out and can think about what options there are for you, there are counsellors and life coaches who can help you see yourself as you, the real person, and not a punch bag.

There are various organisations who can and will help you to start your new life. Social Services and the Police will work together to ensure that you are safe and help you to move on with your life. They will give you respite and guidance in a safe environment. There are solicitors, the Samaritans, Citizens’ Advice, Relate and they can all point you in the right direction for help. Schools will have contacts if you are worried about your children. There is a whole lot that can be done for you once you are out of the abusive situation and in a safe place. There are protocols that can be introduced and put into action for you.


There are trusted friends and family who may be able to help you too.

If I had known about life coaching back then I would have been first in the queue.

There is no reason good enough to actually justify staying in an abusive relationship.

It can be hard to admit that you are in an abusive relationship.  But if you think you are being abused and you are unhappy, get out of that relationship as soon as possible.  Take your courage in both hands and make the leap.  Often men find it much harder to admit to being abused than women do, but I believe they are just as justified as anyone else.  There is help out there for everyone.

Do you want to remain stuck and miserable? If your answer is no, find your way to get out and start your new life on your own terms.

Remember, the relationship has failed, not you.  You are not a failure.

If you would like to chat confidentially about your situation, contact me hello@maggiecurrie.co.uk


Maggie Currie

Thought Leader, Speaker, Author, Survivor
Contributor to BBC Radio, Vectis Radio, Susan Rich Radio
Published author and regularly write articles for national and international magazines.
Find out more about me on my website.