Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

Giving Permission with Silence

Since this week I’ve been encouraging you to be true to what you really want, I’ll end the week with this thought.

People continue to do what they get away with. If you don’t tell them that something is unacceptable, your silence gives them permission to continue doing it.

Do you complain to friends about job inequities but continue to work hard? Do you let your partner control your relationship by buying into the belief that you need one to be complete? Or that you’d feel like a failure if it didn’t work out? Do you brood in silence, rather than risk losing someone who does you wrong?


When I was a DoorMat, I let people take me for granted and shut my mouth when those I’d helped over and over ignored my needs. I laughed off disrespect and closed my eyes to poor treatment. My inability to communicate anger gave people the unspoken right to continue bad behavior. If you don’t voice dissatisfaction, how can you get satisfied? Silence says you won’t make a fuss. And while a fuss isn’t necessary, speaking up is.

Margaret Atwood said, “Powerlessness and silence go together.”

If you don’t take control and express what is unacceptable, nothing changes. If you act like everything is okay, the bad behavior will continue. If you accept apologies over and over while the unacceptable behavior continues, you give them permission to do what they please in exchange for a cheap apology.


DoorMats feel like victims. They’re not victims of those who hurt them. They’re only victims of themselves. Inability to address a probably is your choice. If someone hits you and you stay, it’s YOUR choice. If someone talks to you disrespectfully and you ignore it, it’s YOUR choice to let it continue. I blamed everyone when people hurt me. “How dare they take advantage of me?” Why did he keep lying? “Why did she never repay the money I loaned, and loaned again?” Because I let them!

I learned how to better empower myself by acknowledging that it all happened because I didn’t speak up.

Your power begins and ends with you and your perception of your situations. You can stay silent and delude yourself that you’re a victim of other people treating you badly, or let them know you will no long accept it. And if you’d prefer to send a strong message silently, quietly walk away and close the door on your way out!

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  • Smilie

    I just have to say, again, I LOVE your blog! It really strikes a cord with me…and it makes me feel a bit more empowered :) Keep up the good work!This silence things is very true. I hate conflict. Absolutely hate it. So much that I avoid it at any cost. People tend to admire my ability to get along with everyone. And that makes it sound like a good thing. I NEVER get into fights/conflicts/’heated discussions’ (apart from with my parents, who I have occasionally had screaming fights with – very rarely though, even in my teens), I don’t do conflict. Partly it’s because I’m a nice person, don’t get particulary angry and always try my best to see the best in other people. Partly is because my mum always attacks every chance at conflict really aggressively and growing up, I hated that…I didn’t want to be like her. But mainly, it’s just that I avoid conflict at all cost, because it upsets me. Which of course, have given people the chance to take me completely for granted and treat me however they like. Not very admirable that. It has gotten better (I was the most insecure, self-punishing teen – I didn’t know how to state any kind of opinion), but it’s still a big issue for me. If people get angry, I just cry! I can’t stop it, I just take it so personal. And crying doesn’t exactly solve conflict does it? It just makes people feel bad and then they blame me. I wish I could handle conflicting opinions a bit better.

  • Daylle Deanna Schwartz

    I have to say again that I’m happy that my blog is valuable to you. I came from the depths of being a DoorMat and want to inspire others to take charge of their lives. You’re doing better already by acknowledging things that hold you back. Eventually you’ll be ready to take baby steps out of that pattern.Blessings,Daylle

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