Doormats Anonymous

I just refused to do a favor for somebody I barely know, a favor that would have meant a huge amount of my time and energy. The request was not only for something totally unnecessary, but the person who asked it had blithely assumed I had nothing better to do. After all, I just sit around and write; it’s not like I have a job.

Anybody with the backbone of a fishing worm would have refused and never thought twice about it. But since I’m a recovering doormat, I’m uneasily wondering if it was selfish of me to refuse. There really should be a Doormats Anonymous organization for people like me. We could get together and talk about how we got up the nerve to say “No” to somebody who wanted to involve us in some drama they were creating. How we spoke right up and protected our own time or energy, and how hard it was to do that. We could congratulate one another and say, “Good for you! You didn’t let yourself be used! You get a gold star!”

Doormats have an inbred doormat’s personality, so even if we refuse to be used, we feel guilty about it. I know full well that it’s my responsibility to use my time and energy in the most constructive way possible. I know my friends are confident that I’ll be there any time they need my help. But I still think it wouldn’t be a bad idea for somebody to form a Doormats Anonymous group. Of course, if we had one, we’d all probably feel guilty because we’d taken space some other group could have used.

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4 thoughts on “Doormats Anonymous

  1. Sign me up! oh wait, wouldn’t that be another set of obligations when we already have so much other stuff to do? Oh, but I said I would. . . if I back out now, I’ll be letting you down. Ok, I’ll stay.
    Very timely topic. I just put out a call to be rescued from a volunteer position that not only takes time but has opened me up to verbal attack — no thanks. If no one steps up to take it over, may I have permission from our new group to just abandon ship??

  2. Recovering Doormats never give permission to just bail out. We think up good lies instead. You can always use the old “My doctor ordered me to get more rest.” That way you can put the decision in somebody else’s hands and at the same time heap guilt on the person trying to take advantage of you. Perfect Doormat strategy.

  3. Hi, I just happened to be looking for a “doormats anonymous” group. Sigh. A ten year divorcee after a 20 year semi-doormat marriage, and I realized today I have been playing the Super Doormat game with the last two men I have tried dating in the past 2 plus years. Time to wake up and smell the coffee !!! This guy lied straight faced to me yesterday in some kind of male mind flux game. Naturally it slipped over my doormat head at the time and now I realize I must set some personal boundaries. Its not like I’m a martyr, but when it comes to men treating me emotionally or psychologically disrespectful I am so programmed to allow it. I need help. This is the start right, recognizing the problem. Thanks. Nancy

  4. You’re so right, Nancy! Recognizing the problem is half the way toward ending it. I’m betting the man who lied to you was somebody who seemed to need understanding and compassion. Doormats are always empathetic people who confuse “understanding” with a call for martyrdom. Next time you meet a man who needs a sympathetic ear, refer him to a good therapist.

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