Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

Question: Why Does My Daughter Say I Like To Be Treated Poorly?

A reader asked in a comment, how could her daughter say she liked being treated like crap? She and her brother use it as an excuse to treat Mom poorly and she wants to change it. How could they say that? How can she stop it?

The first thing to do if you feel someone is treating you poorly—take responsibility for allowing it! No one can do anything to you that you don’t allow. When you don’t stop people who treat you poorly, your silence tells them it’s okay to continue. People can use your acceptance of bad behavior as an excuse that you must like it or you’d change your response and put a stop to it. Not speaking up allows people to keep on treating you poorly.


To alleviate what might be guilt for doing it, people shelling out the bad behavior might convince themselves you like it if you don’t stop them. Most people are good inside and know right from wrong. But for some, taking advantage of people who readily allow themselves to be victims and give themselves away is pleasurable. And they see your letting them do what they do as YOUR choice, however wrong that is.

How do you stop people from treating you poorly? Don’t accept it. Period!

Okay, that’s not as easy as I said it. Stopping behavior you’ve always had can be hard. I know because I did it. Saying “no” to requests is scary. Telling people to speak to you with more respect takes courage. Often the ones treating you poorly are people you want in your life, like the reader’s children. Speaking up risks alienating someone. But in the reader’s case, it’s especially important for her to show her kids she expects to be treated with respect so she can be a better role model. In any case, you DESERVE to be treated well!


Stopping old patterns begins with starting to treat yourself more lovingly.

You might have to take the bad behavior for a while as you make yourself stronger with self-love. The more good you do for you, the better you feel. The better you feel, the more good stuff you’ll do for you and self-love begins to grow. The more you love yourself and value your right to be treated well, the less crap you’ll accept. As you build a stronger foundation for self-love, it gets easier to turn down requests or walk away from people who disrespect you.

I learned the hard way that NO ONE, not even your family members or spouse or best friend, has the right to make you feel bad. NO ONE!

And you have the power to stop them by changing your response. Love yourself enough to take a stand and say NO MORE! Do it slowly if that feels comfortable. Become aware of what people do that you don’t like and begin to let them know their behavior is unacceptable. Some people will actually get it and stop without a fuss. Others may need to be shown when you say “no” or walk away when they talk to you poorly. Continue to do loving things for you to reinforce that you must stand up to them.


Read my book to get more ideas for how to give yourself love and check out posts on this blog to get more suggestions for standing up for yourself. You can CHOOSE to stop bad behavior or CHOOSE to allow it! Put some time into thinking about which choice you want. When you decide to stop it, slowly do so with your response. It’s usually scarier to think about it than to do it and the results make it well worth trying!

Take the self-love challenge and get my book, How Do I Love Me? Let Me Count the Ways for free at And you can post your loving acts HERE to reinforce your intention to love yourself. Read my 31 Days of Self-Love Posts HERE.

Please leave comments under my posts so we can stay connected.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Kathy

    This is a very good article and I got a lot out of it. I have been working hard at not being a doormat and I feel I am doing very well with it except when dealing with extended family. When I stand up for myself I get the silent treatment. My mother in law will come to our house and have a holiday dinner, she will speak to my husband and tell him what a wonderful dinner and then look and me and give me the stare down. He didn’t cook the dinner I did….we have been married for 30 years and I don’t know how to stand up for myself with her as she acts like she doesn’t get it. She will make rude comment to my adult children and then I speak up and she says there adults they can deal with me….She is in my house and I don’t care for this type of behavior. My husband has tried to talk to her about being nice and then she will say she is….I don’t want to alienate her but I don’t know how to deal with this…I would like some advice….

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment JoAnne

    Thank you, I needed to read that as I have just stood up to my oldest sister and learned that I can do without her. Not because I wanted to but because she is bad for me and is a very hurtful person and devious. I have finally gotten rid of my feat and developed a backbone. No more pretending just the truth even if it hurts. I have been on a learning curve to self respect and hope this completes an important phase.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Daylle Deanna Schwartz

    Kathy–Accept this as how she is. I personally relate to your stories. i will address this in a post in the next few weeks so stay tuned!

    ou were right JoAnne. Standing up to a sister and letting go takes courage. That’s an act of self-love!

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment viqueen

    “Love starved, drinks from rancid pools”, Kahlil Gibran

    Too much of my upbringing, my life, IS the sentence above. Now, at 57, I’ve come to see it and sadly – believe it. Loving was not present in my early life. So, to belong, my focus was to care for others, supporting and lifting them up and forward. And I gave up too much of my self, my inner light. A dear friend tells me my light was actively suppressed by those who were supposed to love me. That was tough to realize, but helpful.

    A solution now, is to love myself. To take care of myself, lovingly, carefully, compassionately, thoughtfully, but actively!

    Learning anything new at 57 also means I have to be patient and kind to my self as I develop a new skill.

    And if someone is abusive, unkind, impatient, unhappy with me, do not turn the other cheek, do not be meek, but with compassion and strength, respond whether through words or actions. Protect and support, even defend, me. These are new skills, and awkward comes to mind. But that’s ok, just have to do it.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Daylle Deanna Schwartz

    Sounds like you’re making progress. I wish you lots of self-love!

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