Being Treated Like a Doormat

Being walked all over is a horrible feeling, nobody likes being treated like a doormat.

Of course, there are times when a friend or family member might need to lean on you a little heavier than usual in a time of need.  But if you notice consistent patterns of people taking advantage of your kind nature then it’s time to do something about it.

Here are some ways to tell if you’re being treated like a doormat:

1. You can’t say no.

Sure, you’re a nice person and you want to help out your friends and family.  So you say ‘yes’ to giving that ride, looking after those kids, joining that PTA, mowing that lawn, cooking for that dinner party, helping with those taxes, picking up that shopping. Sounds familiar? Remember it’s totally ok for you to use your time to make yourself happy and to say no to obligations you don’t want to take on.

If it makes it easier then practice some polite refusal phrases in advance, even something simple like ‘sorry I don’t have time for that this week’ or ‘that’s not for me!’. It’s ok to say no, I promise, and the more you say it the more comfortable it becomes!

2. People take advantage.

Not only do you always say yes, but people know you’ll always say yes. So they take advantage of your good nature by asking you for more and more favors. Of course, there’s a difference between a one-off favor and a constant stream of demands.  If you’re being treated like a doormat you need to start setting strong boundaries around what you will and won’t say yes to. Think about what you have the time and energy to do, limit your favors to those things you enjoy and can do. Communicate your boundaries, what you won’t do, to those treating you like a doormat, and stick to them.

3. They only call you when they need you.

An easy way of telling if you’re being treated like a doormat is to take notice of how people interact with you. Think back over the last few months of interaction with your friends and family. Who contacts you regularly just to catch up, see how you are or talk about your day? Who only calls to talk about themselves or to ask for something?  Perhaps it’s time to make more time for those with a genuine interest in you, and less for those who don’t.



4. You’re unappreciated.

After all, those favors the least you would expect a little appreciation or a thank you, right? If you’re being treated like a doormat, then the response you might get from putting yourself out to help others may be that you’re asked to do it again.

It’s even worse if you’re not even asked, it’s just expected of you. It’s difficult to turn this cycle around, distance yourself from people who show little appreciation for your efforts and remember to practice gratitude yourself by thanking those who help you out.

5. You feel bad.

Take note of how you feel day to day, your moods and your emotions.  If you’re feeling bad or sad because your friends are walking all over you, then it’s time to change.  If you’re comfortable, try to explain to those taking advantage of you how it feels, and see if their behavior changes.  Perhaps write it down or seek out a good friend or therapist to talk things over with.

Most importantly, take care of yourself.  Being a doormat can be a sign of low worth, believing that people will like you more if you give them what they want.  Instead, you should be giving yourself what you want, you are worth it!  Good self-care can increase your confidence!  So make sure you’re eating well, getting enough sleep, exercising and taking part in activities you enjoy.

The good news is that once you’ve realized you’re being treated like a doormat you can change it! 

If you keep your boundaries strong, practice good self-care, and learn to say no, then your days of being treated like a doormat will be behind you. Where they belong.

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By Susie E.