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Updated on October 20, 2010


This is the second in a series of blogs addressing the topic, Helpers and Caretakers. These blogs correspond to six foster parent training classes that I am facilitating at San Bernardino Valley College on Tuesday and Friday mornings from 9 a. m. to Noon, starting October 19 and ending November 5, 2010. If you live nearby and want to attend the classes, email me.

If you missed the first class, the blog for that class in online.


So yes, the title is a little tongue in cheek as is noted in the first class. So we really want to work at becoming Care Givers and Supporters. Caretakers and Helpers have a tendency to operate out of a kind of codependency. One way you can be sure that you are being healthy in your care giving and supporting is to check in with your yes’s and your no’s.


How many times a day do you say YES to something you really prefer to say NO to, but for some reason, you think you HAVE TO say yes, because after all, if you do not say yes, who will? How will anyone survive? How will any thing that needs to get done, get done?

When we keep saying YES to an abundance of “things” we really prefer to say NO to, we begin developing a very grandiose notion that without us, the world, our family, will fall apart.

Well, guess what? There will be lots of inconvenience and maybe frustrated and even angry folks, but nothing or no one will fall apart. We are programed for survival, and someone will figure out how to make it work without us!! So the worst part of being a yes person is your grandiosity! You are a control freak as well! And the second worst thing about being a yes person is how much you resent everyone for having to take care of them all the time, for never being invited to say no. And guess what, as long as you are a yes person, obviously no one is going to invite you to say no. They like you being a yes person, and at the same time, they don’t. So you cannot win! Everyone either takes advantage of you or resent your control freakyness.

Having to always say YES is the height of caretaking and codependency! Having to say YES most of the time is still the height of caretaking and codependency. Having the freedom to say yes and no ALL THE TIME is the height of caregiving, support, and mental health.

So let’s make a list. What do you say YES to that you would prefer to say NO to.

Why do you say YES when you prefer to say NO? Notice how your answer suggests that it all depends upon you?

What do you imagine will happen if you say NO? What will really happen? Notice the difference between your imagine catastrophe and reality.


Being able to have your YES’s NO’s is not complicated. It is as simple as pressing the Staple’s button, “That was easy.” But it is not easy because we have such a grandiose sense of our self, our importance, and such a low estimation of other people’s ability. Wow, that is hard to swallow, but those are the facts!

Ask the class what do they think about your yes and no’s? Notice how we can direct some one else to say No, but we have a hard time giving ourselves the same permission. How interesting.

If you are in class, we are going to spend the remainder of the time looking at Chapter 12 from The Frying Pan To The Jacuzzi and discussing the sharing questions. If you are online, I have added Chapter twelve here. You can share you thoughts in the comments


From The Frying Pan To The Jacuzzi
Gourmet Recipes For A Gourmet Relationship

Copyright © 2009 by Vernon R. Bradley.  All rights reserved.  Printed in the United States of America.  No part of this book, including designs and graphics, may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage or retrieval system without written permission from the author.  For information, please write to Vernon Bradley, P. O. Box 48, Yucaipa, CA 92399 or email:

    Bon Appetit!
    YES’s AND NO’s

Get very clear, ABSOLUTELY CLEAR, about absolutely everything in your life you want to say YES to and equally clear about absolutely everything in your life you want to say NO to.

There is an on-going question in everyone’s brain that sometimes, we can experience throughout our entire body.  This question may be inherent in every creature in the universe.  Watch ants, for example, hiding on a counter top!
So what is the question.  Here it is.  “How much control am I going to allow another person to have over me?”

    Out There
This persistent question is almost like a white noise.  It’s just always there.  Sometimes, the question is really loud and on full alert, almost to a level of paranoia.  For example, when you get a call from a telemarketer, when the doorbell rings on a Saturday morning, when a friend or family member wants to borrow money, when a homeless person approaches you, when a car salesperson approaches you, when you attend a timeshare meeting, whenever any salesperson engages you.

At other times the persistent question is just sort of sloshing around in the background and not on alert.  For example, the drive through voice asks,  “you want to power-size that?  You want some fries with that?”  Without evena second thought, you say yes, and the container of soda is so huge, it won’t fit in the cup holder and the fries are so plentiful, you offer them to that homeless person!

Sometimes the persistent question gets very personal and causes deep stress, for example when your partner wants to make love and you don’t, or the doctor wants to poke and prod into your most private parts, or your dentist starts looking like King Kong, or your doctor begins suggesting tests and treatments that you just as well ignore and take your chances.

Loud or soft, the question is there.  ALWAYS THERE.  How much control am I going to allow YOU to have over me?  The more we can tune into the question and be in the driver’s seat, so to speak, the more flexible control we will have over our decisions and our lives in general.  And, in fact, the clearer we are in knowing what we want to say NO to, the freer we become to look at our options.  In other words, the freer I am to say NO, the freer I am to say YES!  For example, when you can freely say NO to lovemaking, it often opens you up to wanting to make love, sometimes only moments later.  Yes, it is a wonderful paradox.

If you are still not getting it, then think about all the things you forced yourself to do today that down deep you did not want to do.  So you said YES to a bunch of stuff you really wanted to say NO to.  Think of all the things you wanted to do today, but you had to make the sacrifice.  Ah yes, the sacrifice, the sacrificial victim we are!

    The Price
Here’s the big question.  How many people know that you said YES when you wanted to say NO, and how many people know that you thought you had to say NO when you really wanted to say YES?  Well, maybe you haven’t told anyone outright, but how many people know by your attitude, by your passive aggressive sullen mood?  Ah Ah!  Now we are getting down to business.  We can go on and on talking about how real life just demands that we often say yes to things we really don’t want to do, but at rock bottom when you do that, everyone, including your self, pays a price!  And you make sure we all pay it! 

There is no easy solution here because you are right.  Real life, especially when we have small children or teenage children or adult children or we have a demanding job, real life seems to force us to say YES and NO to all kinds of things that we’d rather say NO and YES to.

So the first step out of this quagmire (swamp) is to get very clear.  What in my life do I want to say NO to, and what in my life do I want to say YES to.  Once you get the No’s and Yes’s very clear, then share that information with each other.  The point is not to put the responsibility for a resolution on your spouse.  The point is to share the dilemma with the most important person in your life.  Sometimes just sharing out loud to another important person opens up new options that we just hadn’t even thought of before.  Sometimes, sharing the information with your partner makes it possible for the partner to support you in your Yes’s and No’s.  Sometimes it also allows your partner to step up to the plate.

Sometimes sharing your Yes’s and No’s with your partner will start a fight!  “Boy I’d sure like to say No to traveling a hundred miles to go to work everyday....I’d sure like to say YES to that motorcycle I’ve had my eyes on, and so forth.  When that happens, EAT ALL twenty pieces of delicious knowledge and hang on to your yes’s and no’s.

But you know what?  More often than not, sharing your YES’s and NO’s makes something other than a fight happen.  So let’s practice.  Right now, share with your partner what you want to say YES to and NO to.  Ask your partner how that impacts him or her.  See if his or her response shapes (NOT change) your YES’s and NO’s.
That’s the beauty of sharing.  Sharing often leads to shaping.  Shaping is simply you having your YES’s and NO’s in a way that your partner can live with.  Sometimes it ends up that you have your YES or your NO in ways that you never dreamed possible.  And again, your partner gets something from it as well.

That is all there is.  It is not complicated.  Get very clear, ABSOLUTELY CLEAR, about absolutely everything in your life you want to say YES to and equally clear about absolutely everything in your life you want to say NO to.  And YES, it’s time for another Garage Sale!

HUSBAND for sale.  A real yes man.  Easily controlled.  Unfortunately, no fun.  Ask for Eileen Dover at 241-4666
GARAGE SALE.  Sat morn.  Quagmire for sale.  Shackles and chains included.  Cheap. 2468 Yepno Rd.
WIFE for sale.  Easily manipulated.  Takes No for an answer. No fun in bed.  Free delivery.   Frank Lee at 241-4666

    Bon Appetit!

1.  Growing up, was there any such thing as having your YES’s and NO’s?  As an adult child, do you have your YES’s and NO’s with your parents?

2.  Share with each other those times in the relationship when you say YES but you really want to say NO.

3.  Develop an “action plan” for supporting each other’s YES’s and NO’s.  Agree on a cue word or signal that you will use with each other when you really need to stick to your YES or your NO!

4.  Share with each other the feelings you have about being more open to each other’s YES’s and NO’s.      ❦


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    • vrbmft profile image

      Vernon Bradley 7 years ago from Yucaipa, California

      Awesome. I'm shooting for a hundred AT LEAST. i LOVE LIFE and have lot to do here before checking out!

    • G-Ma Johnson profile image

      Merle Ann Johnson 7 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

      My mother is 91...Bless her Heart...:O) Hugs G-Ma

    • vrbmft profile image

      Vernon Bradley 7 years ago from Yucaipa, California

      Well, growing up is an ongoing process!! I am 65 and at any given moment, I can feel like I am three. And you are right, when we grew up, we had only our yes's!!!

      And we do get tired and appropriately have other people in our lives do more!! Supposed to be that way! glad this has been helpful to you. How old is your Mom?

      Take care for now. thanks for being a fan.


    • G-Ma Johnson profile image

      Merle Ann Johnson 7 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

      well... "Growing up, was there any such thing as having your YES’s and NO’s?" Absolutely NOT...and it is a very nice thing you are teaching the younger people.

      It wasn't until I got to be a senior and left alone I finally got to really know myself, am still learning actually, sometimes I like me and sometimes I don't.

      I have always been a responsible hard worker and wouldn't ask others to do anything I wouldn't myself do, as long as it was something I could do...but as of late I am asking more and seems I do less? So how does that work?

      I am 71 and proud of it (now) because I still don't look or act my age...tsk tsk tsk...and I like what I read here you are a big help to me...Thanks once again...I am now following you...:O) Hugs G-Ma

    • vrbmft profile image

      Vernon Bradley 7 years ago from Yucaipa, California

      You got it. Say no and you're free to say yes!!!



    • justom profile image

      justom 7 years ago from 41042

      NO! I'm not reading this hub....uh too late, I already did :-) Peace!! Tom

    • vrbmft profile image

      Vernon Bradley 7 years ago from Yucaipa, California

      Hello Jasper. I sort of mixed myself up on the title. Part one is listed as Helpers and Caretakers, Part 1. Go to my profile page and you will see it listed under latest section. Sorry about that.



    • profile image

      jasper420 7 years ago

      please send me part one i missed it some how

    • profile image

      jasper420 7 years ago

      please send me part one i missed it some how