We all have times in our life where we didn’t have enough of a boundary with someone or something.
Do you ever walk away from a conversation and a couple minutes later think “Ah that’s what I should have said!” and then felt really bad that you didn’t? Because what you think you should have said usually seems better than what actually went down.
I used to only have that realization anywhere from an hour to two days after a difficult conversation or argument. Only since I’ve actively worked on creating those boundaries for myself have I been able to stop being everyone’s doormat. By being aware of my need to over-give and over-serve, I’m able to take a step back and put my needs and wants into focus, without all of the guilt.
3 Steps to End Doormat Syndrome and Stop Suffering:
The first step is to recognize that you’re most likely a people pleaser.
People pleasers do everything they can for everyone else, and typically put themselves last. This leads to you not taking care of yourself or putting your needs first. It also leads to you feeling guilty any time you disagree or have a different opinion than someone, especially when it’s someone you’re close to like a family member or your partner. Because all you want is for them to be happy, and like you, that drives a lot of your actions and reactions when they cross your line.
The second step is to figure out what your love language is.
Learning your love language is key to understanding the why behind a lot of your natural actions. There are five love languages according to Gary Chapman:
- Receiving gifts
- Quality time
- Words of affirmation
- Acts of service (devotion)
- Physical touch.
You’re usually some sort of combination of the five types but two of them stand out stronger than the others. My love languages are words of affirmation and acts of service so you can imagine when you combine that with my desire to please everyone that I would quickly become a doormat. Understanding how you express affection and how you want to receive affection will help you find different ways to feel loved, needed and heard with people.
The third step is to be on the lookout for other personality types.
I like to subscribe to Gary Smalley’s personality test of the lion, otter, beaver and golden retriever. It takes an incredibly complicated subject, gives you a general understanding of personality types and lets you quickly understand where another would be coming from and why you’re their doormat. The lions tend to be extroverted, in charge and great problem solvers but can be demanding and quick-tempered. The otters are also extroverts and are great at motivating others but can get distracted easily and burn out. The golden retrievers are loyal to a fault and tend to endure incredible amounts of pain in a relationship but can be overly sensitive and unwilling to get involved. Lastly, the beaver wants everything done correctly and in order, but can be prone to procrastination because of perfectionism.
Again, most people are a combination of two personalities, but some are more dominant than others. My personality type is a combination of a golden retriever and beaver. I’ve been able to bring in more lion as I’ve gotten older, bolder and less prone to letting people walk all over me.
Think about who you’re a doormat for and what exactly is happening in situations where you feel taken advantage of.
What’s the recurring pattern? Is it a dominating personality that you’re intimidated by? Or is it an overwhelming circumstance that you don’t know how to solve? Perhaps you’re trying to show you care for someone by knocking yourself out doing nice things for them but they don’t get it? Perhaps their love language is gift giving and words of affirmation and they just don’t understand why you’re so frustrated with them for not feeling appreciated.
Stopping the doormat syndrome starts with you understanding the WHY behind what you do.
Know how you naturally show affection and recognize that other people may not appreciate it. And do not feel guilty for wanting to please people, but remember, you are a person too, so don’t forget about you!