this mat couldn’t illustrate my point more perfectly.
1. a mat, placed at an entrance, for wiping dirt from shoes
2. Informal – a person who offers little resistance to being treated badly.
Seeing as how I just finished a weekend with a surprise birthday party for the little lady that asked me this question, I thought the post would be fitting.
She said to me a few weeks ago: “People take advantage of my niceness and it bothers me and I don’t know what to do…girls make little comments that bother me. They walk all over me because they know i won’t say anything. I’m too nice. They act like it’s supposed to be a joke but I’m the only one singled out – it’s never a joke or snide comments to anyone else but me.”
First off: where are these girls and how bad can I beat them up before anyone will see me? Anger aside, first off let me say that everyone’s experiences with catty girls are different. There could be a bevy of reasons they choose you to pick on. The biggest for the darling who asked this question is that she is absolutely stunning, not to mention the nicest girl on the planet. I know for a fact that 80% of the girls that are mean to her do it out of jealousy. But she doesn’t think she’s pretty, so we will move on to the “doormat syndrome.” Note: I too, used to be part of this society of pushed-around-ers.
First off, being a doormat involves you giving up power. And relinquishing your personal power to another is usually not a very healthy option. Power comes from two places: coercion and persuasion. One is forcible decisions, the other requires acceptance from a person. The best example I can think of for a healthy relinquishing of power is a doctor. That doctor has been trained to do things most people cannot, so when he says you need your appendix taken out and you can’t do it yourself, you give your power to him. You trust that he will make you healthier and happier for doing that. Sometimes you have to give up a little control and compromise to an outcome that everyone can be happy with. Not relinquishing any control ever is a recipe for a lonely lifetime.
On the flip side, maintaining an overly-sensitive internal sense of control may result in OCD tendencies. Keeping a healthy internal sense of control results in the person taking responsibility for not only the choices they make, but the people they keep around them.
The longer you keep a one-sided view on power, the longer you feel internal anger, tension and usually anxiousness and panic.
Doormats have learned it’s easier to give their power away rather than fight about it. By turning over their own personal power to others, whether it be decisions or letting themselves be the butt of jokes, they show everyone around them that they don’t care about themselves, and those people take control of the situations.
When you learn that the habits you have formed regarding decisions and responsibilities are poor and begin changing them, you will also give friends and hangers-on choices as well. You are becoming a more confident, happy person, and if they don’t like that they will try and tear you back down (which won’t work with your fabulous new mindset), and when that doesn’t work they will move away. More often than not they drift toward another doormat or lackey (like so many villains in movies have) who will fawn all over them. Friendships will change and there may be some you will mourn the loss of, but you have to be mindful of your own issues and taking care of yourself first. If these friends truly love and respect you, you standing up for yourself should not make them angry.
It’s hard to create boundaries at first: there is only so much joking you can take, and it is different each day (some of us, each hour). If your friends continue to be negative, there are some simple – and nice – messages to keep your distance from that behavior:
“Now, was that really necessary?” when people tell me that, I feel incredibly embarrassed. Mortifying at some times. If your friends don’t get the hint to “GROW UP!”, then they can take their Negative Nancy-ness elsewhere.
“…Such ugly words from such a pretty girl.” You can say this with a smile or a laugh so it seems kind of joking, but it still gets the message across that they are too good for those harsh words.
“I’m going to pretend I didn’t hear that.” This is a fantastic one. It definitely shows that you don’t like what you heard, and kind of like ignoring a child with a temper tantrum, it shows that negative behaviors and actions will not be rewarded with any sort of attention.
As an ex-doormat transitions from follower to independent woman (or man), secret parts of yourself begin to reveal themselves. Sometimes this transition can wake people up out of a stagnant place or slight depression (FYI: this is not a cure-all for depression in any way-Ed.) and you can become a much happier person. Another fantastic secret is being okay with you. You feel comfortable with all your flaws and faults. Another thing? It helps open your lines of communication and analyzation (not overly so) when a new relationship comes along. Being respectful of each other’s boundaries, sensitivity and being open to talk can make you a more amazing partner than you could ever imagine.
For more help, you can always look at my investigative report on “cool” girls, or take a peek at some informative books, like this one! Or, for a more straightforward and humorous approach to being a relaxed girlfriend, try this article about Sloane Peterson.
I hope this helped! 🙂