*Warning: Naughty language below.
Are you the kind of person who ends up apologizing when someone else does something to hurt you?
Are you constantly trapped in relationships with no sense of reciprocity—do you always give more than you take?
Have you ever, with the power of hindsight, been able to look back on a situation and say, “Crap. They used me. I actually wasn’t important. It was only what I could offer that mattered. How could I have been so blind?”
If you do any, or all, of these things, then it’s the clearest sign imaginable that you’re an emotional doormat.
You’re a person who’s good to have around when someone is struggling, but—surprise, surprise—fairly disposable when you find yourself in the eye of a storm.
Well, that shit has got to stop—right now.
If it doesn’t, you’ll always be chasing after people who don’t truly care about you, and you’ll be forever depriving yourself of the precious time and effort that could be used to improve your life.
It’s time to stop being such a fucking doormat and put yourself first. There are two ways to do this:
If you have a propensity to find yourself in any of the three situations above, you’ve probably got weak personal boundaries. As a result, you’re also likely to have low levels of self-esteem.
You’re the kind of person who tolerates relationships with no reciprocity, or with people who have no issues (and then no remorse) about crossing your boundaries, because you’re not brave enough to invoke those boundaries or because you’re too afraid of “causing a fuss.”
I don’t wish to be unkind, but if that’s you—do some research on codependency and attachment styles. Trust me; do it. Things will begin to make a lot more sense when you see that you’re trying to reframe your childhood experiences through the prism of your adult relationships; it’s not pretty, but your inner child (and anyone you meet from that point onward) will thank you for it.
You’re scared that if you stand up for yourself, others will run; so, you don’t. Instead, you allow yourself to be trapped in a continual cycle of giving, apologizing, compromising, and sacrificing, whilst the other person merrily depletes you and gives you little back in return.
In short, you’ve grown used to being used and you accept continual reruns of the above three situations.
It’s time to grow some courage and start enforcing those boundaries.
Okay, okay, I get it: you struggle with self-confidence and aren’t quite sure just where your “lines in the sand” are; well, good news, you already come equipped with a few built in.
As a living, breathing human being, you have a right to be treated with kindness, with compassion. It’s not outrageous in any way whatsoever to expect your loved ones to be nice to you; to simply listen to and validate what you might be feeling; to not abandon you; or to be around when things are bad.
To be honest, those are the bare minimums to expect from another person; if you have to ask another human for basic decency, you’ve already wasted your breath. And if you have to beg for those—walk away.
You. Are. Entitled. To. Those. Things.
Yes—even you—who’s made more mistakes than you care to remember and whose self-confidence is in the gutter.
You shouldn’t be apologizing when someone else hurts you. Harsh truth alert! You are not responsible for someone else’s actions—that’s on them. It’s not your fault someone did something that hurt you—it’s theirs.
Yes, I understand: feeling as if everything is always your fault is a deeply ingrained habit—you’re a serial apologist.
But, if you keep shouldering the blame for someone’s actions, you’ll keep on running back to people who have no problem doing it. Those kind of people are takers not givers; they’re not even able to give you accountability.
As well as those universal boundaries, it’s not unfair to expect to hear the word “sorry” when someone hurts you and for them to want to do something about it; it shows a healthy level of self-respect.
Never hide from your culpability, but don’t accept all of the blame because it’s the easiest way. You know that saying, “If you remain silent to keep the peace, then you start a war inside yourself?” The more you don’t speak up when you’re hurt, the greater those wars will wage; before long, your emotional landscape will begin to resemble Europe circa 1944.
Feeling a lack of reciprocity? No relationship, personal or professional, is ever 50/50. There’s an imbalance of the heart of every union, but—it needs to be an acceptable one.
If you never stop crossing oceans for your loved one but they’re not even willing to step over a puddle for you, then, well, let’s just say you really should be matching Usain Bolt by now—run away.
You are entitled to love, compassion, kindness, validation, hearing the word sorry,” and some degree of effort. The moment you start accepting that is the moment you take the first steps toward not being such a fucking doormat.
Have some respect for yourself and know your worth.
But, you’re thinking if you cause trouble, they’ll leave you, right?
Well, it’s time for another a harsh truth: someone who doesn’t respect your personal boundaries, doesn’t respect you. Your boundaries are you; if someone wants any sort of relationship with you, they must respect your boundaries. If they don’t take your boundaries seriously they don’t care for you.
You voice will shake the first time you speak all this aloud, that’s okay. This is virgin territory; it’s permissible to be afraid. But, every time you voice the desire not to be walked all over your timbre will grow stronger. If you don’t manage to express your concerns adequately the first time, be bold, and try again. Over time, you’ll find a new voice. Hang in there.
Don’t ignore those red flags.
We’re all allowed a second chance; don’t get into the habit of giving people third or fourth ones. Especially not after you’ve told them, “Right, I don’t think I’m getting back a fraction of what I’m putting in,” or “You’re just not listening to me,” or “This matters to me.”
They’re not going to change. If they cared about you, they would’ve done something about it by now. If they haven’t, it’s a pattern of behavior that falls upon them.
You can’t love them harder and deeper in the hope of changing them; only they can do that. And, if they’re still doing the same thing over and over and over again, even when they know it’s hurting you, then you’re not important enough to them—you’re just a doormat—something to wipe their psychological mud upon.
But you are important enough.
You are a beautiful, wonderful, clever, kind, talented, and unique individual—not a fucking doormat.
So, stop being one.
And, the funny thing is, something strange will happen when you do: you’ll find people who, instead of wiping their feet on you, will want to build with you. Those boundaries will become the foundational blocks of something special. You’ll stop being that tatty mat that lives outside, you’ll be part of the house itself.
Don’t settle for any less.