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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