What to do when you are told no?

"No, I do not love you anymore", "No, you do not have the job" ... Not easy to take a wall. Philosophers, writers and therapists give us their advice in four beats so as not to break our noses.

Hélène Fresnel

"Yes to work!", "Yes to happiness!", "Yes to love!" The positive is everywhere. A vast masquerade supposed to protect us from the melancholy, from our interior tombs, from all the refusals, the little humiliations that we wipe daily. Huge masquerade and vast error.

"It's when life, the real, the world (work, feelings, family) opposes us a no that the thought starts." The no is philosophical, "says philosopher Laurence Devillairs , author of A happiness without measure (Albin Michel). Who says no said evolution, and it is from the negative that the positive arises, demonstrated long ago Hegel with the metaphor of the bud ( Phenomenology of the spirit, Flammarion): so that the flower can hatch, there must be overtaking, negation of the bud. Of course, we are not talking here about the "no" of victims of harassment (see our interview with Claude Halmos). This "no" to violence is not discussed. We are talking about this work of the negative, redesigned by Freud in Hegel's line, a work he articulates with drives: the negative, for him, is the death drive that "demolishes, disassembles". It is the opposite of the life drive that "builds, assimilates", but one does not go without the other, he says in Beyond of the pleasure principle (Payot): it is thanks to their "combined action" that can be expressed "the variegation of the manifestations of life". Here are small white pebbles, precious landmarks drawing us a path in the forest of no which come to darken our lives.

Step 1: assume the no

Some no are not negotiable. "It is salutary to recognize them." This no is not a half-yes likely to turn into yes, you have to know how to hear it. says Laurence Devillairs Let's take the example of the breakup in love.This is a double no: no, you no longer exist like the one you were for me, no, there is no longer a relationship between We are dead for the other, have the revelation that things can end, it is very painful to think that things can stop, but it is important to face because we never heal. a no that is not assumed, a chimerical optimism that turns into bitterness, by dint of disappointed expectations A "no, I do not want you anymore", "no, you will not be hired", " no, treatment has not worked "Assumed hurts, but there is more force in crying than in that optimism that has not known tears."The psychoanalyst and hypnotherapist François Roustang recommends him to" chew his suffering "to digest 1 .

Step 2: calm his anger

With or after suffering and sadness, arises often anger, an emotion that is sometimes dangerous to express in front of the other person, especially in a professional setting Yves Ulmann, strategic therapist, recommends not to refrain from testing him: "It is legitimate to be angry when one you say no. Many are afraid to let it explode. So they try to pretend that emotion does not exist, but it is useless: the unconscious will only aggravate it. So the question is to find ways to let her express herself. "For that, he suggests to his patients to write angry letters to the one who told them no, to put down on paper all that they have the most subtle insults, the most subtle abuses they have imagined, this daily letter must be put in an envelope and sealed, without being re-read.The name of the addressee must not be written nor the mail posted Obviously, having this daily rendezvous with his anger allows two things: to make it less invasive and relieve himself during the day, then to exhaust him with repetition.

1. In Never against, first (Odile Jacob)


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