Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

People Withdrawal

On Tuesday I had a Law of Attraction in Action post on Friendship and how we attract the kinds of people we accept as friends. Here I tell you how I changed the message I sent to attract better friends.

When I became single, life was wobbly at first. My married friends couldn’t relate to me. Some were jealous that they didn’t have the nerve to leave an unhappy marriage. So friends were scarce in those early days of being a single girl. That scared me. As I made new friends, I regressed to being a DoorMat to keep them around. These new friends really took advantage of me and treated me poorly. I know God was trying to help me when two different friends give me a serious lecture.


One was someone I worked with who I’d invited to join me with some friends. Afterward, she scolded me about allowing people to treat me like a real DoorMat. They talked to me with disrespect and ordered me around. “How dare you allow yourself to be treated so poorly? You’re a good person and deserve so much better!” I was stunned but it got me thinking. Then I heard from a friend in the UK. I’d shared my frustrations with him about people in a letter and he wrote back, scolding me for letting people hurt me. He too said I deserved to be treat well and if I didn’t stop my pattern he’d come to NY and pull me away from these friends. He It woke me up!

I finally saw DoorMat Syndrome as an addiction, like drinking or smoking too much and not being able to stop.


I was addicted to needing people around me! I’d been uncomfortable with my own company for so many years that I believed not having lots of friends around would  bringi me great loneliness, which equated to painful. It was time to let go of that belief! I needed to go into people withdrawal, just like people withdraw from alcohol or cigarettes. I realized I was tired of not having the loving friends I hoped I’d attract by pleasing everyone. It was time to get to know me! By doing so I learned the most valuable lesson of my life:

The best antidote for loneliness is learning to enjoy your own company and building strong self-love.

I literally withdrew from most people.  I don’t recommend you do this. It’s not for everyone. But I was so sick of how people treated me that I cut myself off from almost everyone. I still spoke to people at work as I was teaching back then. And I saw family members. But I stopped associating with all my so-called friends and spent most free time solo for a year. I think I rented every video ever made back then. The guy at the video store would joke that he was the man in my life since I was there almost every day.


And I began my love of walking long distances, which I still love today. I read lots of books as I enjoyed going out to eat solo. I became comfortable going to movies on my own. I even went to a concert by myself! At first I forced myself to embark on solo activities. But I discovered it was fun, I mean fabulous, to make plans without worrying about what anyone else wanted. Solo time took on a completely different meaning. By the end of my year of withdrawing from most people I was stronger, and, in love with me.

Being on your own is much more pleasurable than being with people you buy with favors or those you tolerate negative behavior from.

If you feel taken for granted by people or do a lot for others but don’t feel appreciated or get no reciprocation when you need help, figure out how you can be kinder to yourself. Do something you like to do solo, even of the thought of it sounds uncomfortable. Go to a movie at off hours like I do. I certainly won’t go alone on Saturday night but I don’t like crowds even with someone. I choose restaurants that seem more comfortable.


The most important thing is to slowly back off from people who don’t make you feel good.

The more kindness you give you, the better you feel. The better you feel, the more you’ll want to do for you. It’s a lovely day when you realize you’re looking forward to plans you made with just you—when you can leave when YOU want and go where YOU want and come home when YOU want. I still make many solo plans even though I have a great bunch of friends now. After my year of isolation, I began to make new friends who only knew me as a more empowered person. I continue to attract good people because I won’t settle for less.

Replace people who don’t bring you joy with time alone. Get comfortable in your own company and you’ll attract better friends!


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.

  • Moreen Murray

    Daylle, I love reading your posts and love your book “Nice Girls Can Finish First”. Although I am married – sometimes I feel alone or like to be alone…I look enviously at groups of friends out together and feel sometimes I am missing out on something – like the girl togetherness pictured in “Sex and the City”. I did break it off with one friend who I could do activities with – shared interest – but she was, I discovered – not trustworthy and an energy vampire. My closest friend of many years lives in another province…but we do chat online every week.

    I am taking your advice to heart – I often go places by myself – movies, lunch, whatever. It would be nice to share coffee, or theatre or lunch with people I respect and trust. I hope my building my appreciation of me I will attract new like minded friends. Thanks again!

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Daylle Deanna Schwartz

    Glad you enjoy my writing Moreen! Build the relationship with yourself first! It keeps you solid no matter what else is going on.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment donna ryan

    so glad I found your blog. i care for my 92 year old mom. she moved in with my husband and I three years ago after suffering a heart attack. I stopped working two years ago to be here more with my mom. she is relatively healthy for her age aside from the heart condition and she is blind in one eye she does well for one of this stage of life but I will admit it still gets difficult for me. I am trying very hard to care for me. i do workout every day….I try to eat well….I love to read…and as therapy for myself I have a blog….really just therapy…Im not an author at all… I hope to make more friends….I do Love myself despite the circumstances though….oh and I have a verbal type blog on blogtalkradio…im atttaching the link to my last show….
    caution…I Love myself…but I really am an amateur:) who loves to share the story with anyone who would like to listen…

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Daylle Deanna Schwartz

    Sounds like your doing your best with what you’ve been given! I wish you the best with finding your way through this difficult time.

  • Scott Alexander

    You have an inspiring story. I can relate to you as I experience major problems with my wife lately. Thankfully, all is well. We are still together, and definitely we learned from our mistakes. Our relationship is getting stronger because of the problems we had.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Daylle Deanna Schwartz

    Thanks Scott! I’m glad that you and your wife are learning from your mistakes.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Michelle

    Ma’am, I really needed to read this (lost a few “friends” in the last few days). I know you don’t recommend withdrawing, but I can still handle myself and be that way… I’ve been there before. I started blossoming, but it’s time to cut back and fade into the background, maybe for forever. Thank you for your article.

    Alone and proud of it,

    Miss M.

  • Daylle Deanna Schwartz

    Glad it helped you Michelle!

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Mi

    I googled your website and would like to know why people think they can treat you nice one minute and then bluntly attempt to make you feel like you’re stupid. I have a friend? who continuously has no patience. She wants a ride and says “you’ll never get there because you don’t know where you’re going” when I forgot directions but had a general idea. She just simply is unforgiving in little things and then does the same thing…forgets an address where we were to meet. I tell you, if that doesn’t make the keetle boil…but I resisted the urge to say “well, how are we supposed to meet if you don’t know where youre going. AhhhhhhHH!!! I want new friends. I have to accept her quirky ways if we are going to be friends but jeese, it is a challenge. Any suggestions? I am taking a break from her for awhile.

  • Daylle Deanna Schwartz

    Sounds like someone you need to drop, not just for a while. Or speak to her and set a boundary. Tell her honestly that you don’t like when she behaves like this and will walk away when she does it it in the future. I’ll write a post about this in June.

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