No, this is not about sex. This is about the pain of bad relationships. There are many types, but let's look at dealing with bad parents. I don't mean parents who occasionally annoy you. Unless your parents are Mary and Joseph (and I'm talking about the Mary and Joseph, if you know what I mean), they occasionally annoy you. That annoyance is right and normal. I'm talking about parents who sometimes really mean ill to you, and who always drive you to distraction. I'm talking about parents who may still love you in their strange way, but their love is not expressed positively and their relationship with you can only add to your dukkha. To such persons, you may have to just say "no." "No," I do not want to come spend Thanksgiving listening to you berate me. "No," I will not get in between you and your landlord again. "No," I am not going to accept the blame for your frustrated life. Just say "no."

This is a very sad thing, of course. But perhaps no sadder than the actual time you spend together. If this is so, you simply need to limit or stop your exposure to such parents (and to anyone else this description fits). Just saying "no" ends power games that may be too painful to continue. . . .

Saying no doesn't necessarily mean saying the word, "no." More often it means refraining from being part of negative relational dynamics, power games, acting out, low-level abuse, all things that make up harmful relationships. You can be there with a negative person and not become negative yourself. Try saying that word "no" inside. When you hear your bitterness, say "no bitterness." When you hear anger, say "no anger." And so on. Give yourself the strength to witness these emotions without having to succumb to them.

Franz Metcalf in Just Add Buddha!