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Dear Dr. Dina
I cannot say 'no' to people. I take on too much, I feel overwhelmed and resentful. Please help!

Dear Overwhelmed,
Rest assured that you are not alone. Many people constantly compromise themselves due to 'people pleasing' syndrome. Unfortunately, this can lead to anything from mild resentment to rage and ulcers. So why is it so hard to say 'no?' Commonly, people are afraid that others will be mad or will not like them. If you feel this way, you are probably undervaluing your own worth. This is a dangerous way to live, because you are basing your self-esteem on your ability to do what others want you to do. Taken to an extreme, you can live your life for them and completely lose yourself. It's most like time for you to take the responsibility and risk of disappointing others. While this may be a difficult step, it's extremely important for your psychological and possibly physical health. There is nothing wrong with honestly and assertively telling a person 'no.' While some may be irritated that you are not conforming to their desires, others will increase their respect for you and may even learn an important life skill.

Please contact Dr. Friedman for further information or to schedule a consultation.

Dr. Dina Friedman
Licensed Clinical Psychologist
Private Practice
Reston, VA