Punch back

Ed Koch passed. After leaving City Hall in January 1990, Mr. Koch battled assorted health problems and heart disease. He was a mayor of New York City. No I don’t live there and I didn’t meet him. Though I extend sympathy to his family and loved ones. As I read his obit in the news I ran across something he was quoted on that was interesting.


Mr. Koch said

“You punch me, I punch back,” Mr. Koch once memorably observed. “I do not believe it’s good for one’s self-respect to be a punching bag.”

Now, this doesn’t mean you should all go out and start punching back. Odd for someone that instructs in martial arts to say though. 🙂

Metaphorically though, you should. 

Punch back, hold your own, just say no. Stand up for what is yours.

Self esteem or more importantly your self schema is something that adapts, changes grows is shaped and shapes you. With conscience effort this can be shaped or reshaped to something that makes you stronger.

Not physically, but mentally.

So does this mean you should say no more? Not to help people, be all for yourself?


a bit

You can still be nice though, and helping others is a grand thing.

Saying no to someone, standing up for your rights. It can be a difficult thing to do. Your makeup (no not in your purse) may not allow for this. It is easier to just go with the flow, even if the flow is not .. well flowing, in the direction you want to go.

Allowing friends to walk over you. Co-workers, bosses, employees.. school mates and on it goes. Many sense when you are someone that “gives” rather than takes. Many feed off it.

So, how do you say no? Or I don’t want to, I don’t think so.. I don’t.

It is something that becomes easier after you have managed some hard ones. Telling a roommate to stop using your shampoo, to get their own. Telling a child it is time to move out, telling someone, you don’t really love them and they are hurting you.

Some can be very hard to do. Maybe impossible for you. They are not just something you blurt out. Or are they?

When you are overcome and have been pushed against the wall, then you hear your voice… tossing out words, lashing out, tears may flow, you are not in control.

If planned, perhaps it can be better.

The hard ones, you need to be calm, reasonable. but firm.

I am going to go easy… for an example shampoo (and no, no one is taking my shampoo)

So it is time to stop the pilfering, things like this though, should always be done one on one, never with someone observing. It is a private thing.

“you have to stop using my shampoo, I know you like it, but when I am in the shower and my hair is wet.. only to discover the bottle is empty, it is soooo frustrating for me. I know you have no money to buy your own, yes that is terrible, I have no money either and now no shampoo as well. You have created a problem for me. Yes I agree your having no money is terrible and shampoo is such a little thing. But you can see how frustrating it is for me to stand in the shower dripping wet and unable to wash my hair.”

No we are not talking about other things, so please don’t go on about this and that, It is your using my shampoo we are talking about now. You must stop, it can not go on. Yes I know your cat died and you are sad, I can’t help that. So, no more shampoo “borrowing” please. It stops today.”

Firm, sympathetic but in control. The discussion is on your topic only. Users will quickly add things, send woes, change so you become defensive, stay in control, firm but polite. 

Punch back, but only about the  shampoo, when the conversation goes to no one loves me, my car won’t start, I can’t go to the store… These are not your issues. So you announce you are not turning this into a complicated discussion, tis just about shampoo and that it is not being shared any longer, they must find a way to get their own.

Start easy, being more firm, more in control. It is a skill that will grow. your confidence will increase. Oh don’t go all out and just become a mean person. If you are a giver, you are likely a very nice person, but “giving” too much creates problems. Your unhappiness. Stress. Financial burdens. Time burdens.

You see, your happiness, it is an important thing. 

Having these discussions is hard though, the “Users” only hear what they want, they pick the occasional word out and focus on them, changing the meaning, their replies are often not logical or on topic. So reasoning becomes much harder. Keep it on topic. Stay calm, but firm.

Saying NO. You feel obliged to explain why. Of course it is rude to just say no and walk away. 

How to say no then?

You can google this, and find three ways, five ways, eleven ways…  ways to say no

You can delay, but you will still have to say no later, this can be good though. You say, can I get back to you on that. Giving a time you will do so, not leaving it hanging.That will just stress you out. So you say i will get back to you on that at four. This gives you time to think of a reason, or how to put it in words. It keeps you from saying yes under pressure.

So at four… No I can’t do that right now,  perhaps another time? (maybe this is something you may want to do at another time, so keep it open)

Keep it simple,don’t offer a lot of excuses or reasons, they are really not that persons business. You said no,  if pressed, you can say the costs don’t fit your budget now or you have too much on your plate time wise, sorry it is not something that interests you now.

Don’t apologize excessively, a simple sorry may be polite. That is all that is necessary. Don’t become defensive.  If your answer becomes long, you give them too many words to twist and prompt you into doing it anyway, simple is always better. 

You can deflect a bit as well, offer another solution. No I can’t talk to you now, can I call you later. No we can’t go to the store now, Becky can take the car though. Again firm, you can’t do it, but perhaps this will work.

Now.. the triad begins. The emotion, the argument, the long story. Listen politely, and then you tell them, once again No. I just can’t. Don’t back peddle, stay firm.

Now, there are things that occur often. A pushy neighbour comes over before dinner, “just to talk”, but does so every day and messes up cooking time, or just ends up staying for dinner. 

So you have a plan in place. I was just about to go for a walk, I am going to visit a friend.. something they will not wish to “go with” for. 

You have to do so without guilt too. You know, that fact that you feel guilt or can’t say no. It says a lot about you. You are a good person. This doesn’t mean you are a door mat though. When someone wants to borrow money, or that charity is phoning again. Don’t feel shame in saying you can’t afford it now, and that is it!

It is amazing you know, when you just say no, many people accept the no and move on. You fret over it, but when done, you realize it really wasn’t a big deal or hard to do.

More of my posts on the mind can found here



About sensuousamberville

I am a Practitioner, teacher and student. I think we should always be students, we should keep our minds open, to continue to learn. :-) Now a mother of two little ones.

4 responses »

  1. Oh my, seems that someone has had troubles with her shampoo being mysteriously and surprisingly empty. *gglz* Discreetly hides bottles of Neutrogena behind my back. Now what were we saying? Oh, you are wondering about all of these bottles of shampoo? Ummm, tis nothing. Discreetly slides bottles of Pantene behind my back next to the Neutrogena. Hey, wait a second. Where is my conditioner? *eeeeppppsssss!*

  2. Hmm. I think many …. likely most of us have trouble with that issue. I know Andrea is trying hard to set boundaries.

    Me… I live alone. Ok … with the daughter at times. But I can boss her around and say ‘no’ to her easily enough. (Though…can she say no to me when she needs? I hope so.)

    But at work it is different. Oh. It just dawned on me. “Katie, I know its your day off, but there is a meeting tomorrow. Can you call in?”

    Hmmm…. a nice way then … a firm but polite way to say, “No….tis my day off.” Or … “I would like to, but knowing it was my day off, I have already made plans.” Hmmmm…

    So I need to learn this too….nods….


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