Are You Tired of Being a Doormat?


Value yourself. The only people who appreciate a doormat are people with dirty shoes.” By Leo F. Buscaglia

Relationships can get dirty. In relationships, I can be both the doormat and the bulldozer. I can absorb debris, so others can breathe more freely. And, I can also push my dirt on others, so I lighten my step. Which are you?

If you are tired of holding others debris and dirt, get ready to stand up! Stop waiting on others to change. Dust off those scattered and discarded remains. Allow others to clean up their own messes. Value yourself as much as you value others by setting boundaries.

What is a boundary?

  • A boundary is NOT getting others to do what we want.
  • A boundary IS defining what we are/are not willing to do.

How do we set a boundary in our relationships? Take small steps to liberate the doormat in you.

Boundary making steps to liberate the doormat in YOU:

Watch for Pitfalls

Do you know what contributes to being a doormat? Some family roles can make you more vulnerable to being a doormat.

How do you fill in this sentence: “I’m okay if you (don’t argue with me/ like me/ need me)”? Depending on how you complete this sentence, you may be a peace keeper, people pleaser, or need filler. Tread carefully. These roles can be pitfalls for a doormat.

Know Your Choices

If you are in a pitfall, you may not realize that you have a choice. How many parents want their kids to be happy, even if it costs them? Or, how many spouses will give in to make their spouse happy? If you step into others choices, you will collect some dirt. I know I have!

Your choices are questions that only you can answer. For instance, a mother pays for her adult son’s rent. She feels sorry for him, and says “he just can’t seem to manage his own money.” This mother has a choice. What is it?

Define Your Position

Is she okay with continuing to support her adult son financially? This mother is afraid to shake off her doormat. Yet, she is tired of worrying about two rent payments, her own and her son’s. She doesn’t want to let him move in with her, and she doesn’t want to keep paying his rent.

This doormat, liberating mom is defining her position. That is, what she is willing and not willing to do. Now how does she tell her son?

Communicate Your Boundary

Here’s where it gets hard. She will come face to face with her fears. Will he still talk to her? Will he argue with her? Will he still need her?

She takes a deep breath, and tells her son, “December is the last month I will pay your rent.” She makes a decision to stop avoiding this difficult topic. She is clear and direct.

Steer Away From Dirt Collectors

It can be hard to communicate so clearly. Beware of dirt collectors. They may look like boundary setting, yet they will only leave you more dirty.

What if this mom is tentative about setting a boundary with her son? She may try convincing him that he needs to grow up. Or, maybe she will try to solve his money problems for him? An unsure boundary setter may ask a question, “Do you think you could start paying your own rent?” Each of these are dirt collectors. They will leave us holding all the responsibility.

Follow Through With Actions

Our actions often speak louder than our words. When you communicate your position, you will need to follow through with your actions.

Your loved one may try to avoid getting dirty, by convincing you he doesn’t know what to do with the dirt. The liberated, doormat says, “I’m concerned that I have been keeping you from paying your own way in life.” Then, don’t slip money in his pocket as he leaves!

Taking these small steps will invite growth in yourself and in others.

So, what is the payoff for standing up, cleaning off, and setting boundaries? You will be able to see your true colors when you are less covered in grime. You may not shine, but you will feel less resentment and worry. I think we are all worth liberating!

What helps you value yourself?

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Photo Credit: Keriluamox

6 responses to “Are You Tired of Being a Doormat?

  1. Great insights, Marcy. It’s funny how we think that setting boundaries is not nice, but it’s often the nicest thing we can do for those we’re enabling. It is actually quite loving and a great example to those around us. Not easy stuff though. Thanks for this … lots to think about here.

    • Definitely, not easy. I’ve never built a fence, but I imagine it’s not easy to get it level and sturdy either! Worth it for all in the end though.

      And, no worries on my name spelling. Thank you for recognizing the “I” in me!

  2. Sorry, I meant to type Marci not Marcy.

  3. Being a door mat/mother and or friend or coworker can seem like the line of least resistance in the beginning; but then it’s a snowball running downhill without appropriate boundaries. And, setting those boundaries can be a big shock to the “setter”; and those not accustomed to those boundaries being there… challenging to say the least.

  4. Most what i read online is trash and copy paste but i think you offer something different. Bravo.