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Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

People Who Tear You Down

I’ve heard it before, “Ha, ha, what I said was a joke.” But, it hurt! Comments that make you wince or embarrassed or hurt aren’t funny. Period. And people who put you down are unhealthy for you to have in your life. When I was a DoorMat I was a target for people to make the little jokes or innuendos about one of my flaws. I’d laugh but each one gave my fragile self-esteem another little beating.

As I got stronger, I realized how unacceptable these mean comments were. I didn’t need someone to point out my extra weight or unruly hair. I had eyes and could see it for myself. But it seemed like the more I felt good and improved my life, the more some people needed to find things wrong with me, and say so. They were like potholes on my way out of DoorMatville. I’d be feeling more empowered and SLAP—someone would point out what was wrong with me! A conversation with a lovely woman with her act together opened my eyes to the reality:

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People who criticize others do it because they’re don’t like themselves and need to bring others down to share their unhappiness.

People who feel good about themselves want to make others feel good and don’t need to knock the joy out of someone. It was a revelation for me and made lots of sense as I thought about the kind of people who loved to point out flaws. They were also unhappy with themselves and often lamented about their extra pounds or being unable to find a job they enjoyed or believing they weren’t meant to be happy.

People who are dissatisfied with themselves try to bring others along for the ride. That’s a good reason to seek out people who are happy with who they are.

Mark Twain “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” I’ve gotten rid of my critics and made new friends who appreciate me and want to cheer me on, not tear me down. We support each other. In my DoorMat days I felt too insecure to be with people who had strong self-esteem and confidence. Being with those types made me feel worse about who I was. So I gravitated to the wounded and insecure people who felt better when they pointed out my flaws.

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Pay attention to who you spend time with and how they make you feel. Friends should build you up, not try to make you feel worse.

I don’t need friends to point out my extra pounds. I can see them. If I say something wrong, I can correct myself without being the butt of a joke. Choose your companions wisely. Whether friends or relatives, seek to spend time with positive people. If people pick at your flaws, let them know that you find their comments unacceptable and they need to stop. Don’t get angry and bark at them. Just gently communicate that it must stop. And if it doesn’t, walk out of the room or hang up the phone. No one has a right to use you for target practice. Love yourself enough to stop it and seek out kinder people.
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Take the self-love challenge and get my book, How Do I Love Me? Let Me Count the Ways for free at http://howdoiloveme.com. And you can post your loving acts HERE to reinforce your intention to love yourself. Read my 31 Days of Self-Love Posts HERE.

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  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment viqueen

    What do you do if it’s your boss? There are only a handful of jobs in a 50 mile radius, for my skill set; and my age is against me.

    My boss isn’t a bad person, but he isn’t truthful with me; he’s manipulative; he has badmouthed me to others outside of the office – none of it was true, but that doesn’t stop him; he says puts me down as often as possible. Standing up to him just escalates his behavior down the road; he gets even. And he tells me that he’s the one person at the company that “has my back”.

    Feels like I’m between a rock and hard place.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Daylle Deanna Schwartz

    A boss is different than a friend or relative. Calm, non-accusing communication works best. I will write a whole post on this in the next 2 weeks.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment laurie

    Hi!My on/off boyfriend talks badly to me often.
    He’s on/off because of this. I always stand up for myself and when i do he gets real defensive or turns it around on me. He gives the “what about me” attitude & tries to make it his problem saying I treat him badly…..I know this is not true. I used to say sorry & now I’m getting stronger & need to get out of this relationship, I know it’s not healthy for me. I am alone & my family & friends are back east, so i know i stay out of loneliness. Any advise? Thanks for listening.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Daylle Deanna Schwartz

    Focus on enjoying your own company! Download my free self-love book to learn about how to fall in love with yourself and create a life that isn’t dependent on anyone. You deserve MUCH better than this jerk.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment May

    Hi Ms. Shwartz,
    I wholeheartedly agree with your blog. I kept a supposedly close friend for several years and spent a great deal of time with her. We both had things in common, except that her older son had some “learning handicaps” where my much younger son was far ahead of the game. She would spend so much time talking negatively about my son’s behaviour, and what a handful he was. Yes, he has a lot of energy, but is actually well-behaved compared to many kids his age, and several grade years ahead academically. It got to where whenever we talked on the phone, I would spend most of my time defending or explaining my child rearing and life choices and would end up feeling very tense and with constant headaches. I finally realized that she wasn’t being a real friend to me, and was most likely jealous of my son, which was why she kept targeting him. When I drifted away from the friendship, I felt relieved more than anything else, and now that I have surrounded my life with more like-minded and positive people, I feel a positive change in my own life. Sometimes we get caught in a ‘friend’ trap, where we want to believe the friendship is real, and in many ways it appears real on the surface, when in reality it is destroying the very essence of our being! :) Thanks for the insight. It really hit home!

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Lorelee

    You are absolutely right!!! I like to think I am a positive person (most of the time), yet some of those whom I love the most (family) are the worst negative people. Everyone seems to want to be on top in this world. I wish more people would appreciate other people for just the way the are.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Daylle Deanna Schwartz

    Thanks May! Glad you drifted away from that person.

    If it’s people you love Lorelee, try having a calm conversation about it like I advised for a boss in yesterday’s post.

  • Pingback: Question: How Do I Handle a Mean Boss? - Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Kelly

    Thank you very much, I enjoyed this article. I feel like this past year people have tried to tear me down so much because I had the courage to change my life and start my own business. A lot of people don’t get it and don’t support my decision. I want support so badly and while it is there the nay sayers seem to be heard the loudest. Finally though I am starting to stand up for myself and surround myself with those who will pick me up and not pull me down. I just had someone publicly try to tear me down and make fun of my business model and I wrote him off-line and nicely said my piece. Anyway, reading this article was timely and I thank you for your words. They are words to live by and I need to be reminded of them often.

    Thank you!

  • elegant

    thanks for this :)

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  • mervyn brown

    I try to understand where people are coming from and it is often hard to find a simple answer. There are a lot of people who gain their status at the expense of others. Sometimes it would help if you think what other people would think if they were in your situation. It’s a problem of the modern world! We we’re all too busy and those that are not too busy have time to make problems for other people.

  • causalset

    You said something VERY TRUE and VERY WRONG at the same time.

    VERY TRUE: People that tear you down do so because they feel bad about themselves

    VERY WRONG: That is why you have to stay with positive people.

    I mean, have you ever considered the fact that the people that are negative STAY negative precisely BECAUSE everyone flocks to positive people, thus making them feel EVEN WORSE since IN ADDITION to their misery they ALSO became social rejects as well? Maybe if people were to actually befriend the negative people, eventually they won’t be negative any more since friendship will lift them up! True, lifting them up might take few months and it is also true that, during those few months, they will be tearing you down. But that is ONLY few months! On the other hand, by ostracizing those people, you are condemning them FOR LIFE (since no one else would come along to do the few months process for them). So don’t you think feeling SLIGHTLY worse just for few months might actually be forthwhile if you are rescuing someone else’s LIFE?

    I am speaking to you as a person with Asperger’s Syndrome. Even though my social skills were the problem all life long, I only became aware of it, and bitter about it, at the age of 21 (and I am now 35). And yes, between ages 21 and 35 I was bitter AND taking out my bitterness on others, exactly as you described in your article. Consequently, I was ostracized even more than I otherwise would have (probably because too many people listen to the advice that you give), and I basically threw away my 20-s all because of that ostracism! I don’t even know how it feels like to be invited for parties and to live a normal life. Now don’t you think it might be worth someone’s few months to get me out of this mess?

    • Natalia

      If someone is strong enough, then yes, it is very good if they offer friendship to the negative/ unhappy people. But nowadays, most of us is just trying hard to get by. With this in mind, please don’t condemn someone’s decision if he/ she feels like its not beneficiary to spend times with those that drag us down. Maybe when they made this decision, they were not yet strong enough to carry their own weight PLUS having had to uplift those ‘less lucky, therefore is negative’. You should look for those who will offer friendship, but don’t blame or condemn those who doesn’t. Just ignore and let them go their own way and send them peace and prayers. Those who doesn’t offer friendship may not be necessarily bad – but perhaps have got too much in their plates as well. It is not good to be judgemental, as it will make you more miserable with your current condition. And it may seem harsh, but your disease is not the obligation of others. I don’t. know much about your disease, but let me share my own experience with you. Few years back I went through a painful divorce. At those times, many so-called friends deserted me, even if I was in trauma, got strange sickness and allergies due to heavy stress, etc. Because I was uncool with tarnished reputation, overweight, and extremely unhappy. At first I felt angry and disappointed in life. It felt like all are fairweather friends. But there’s no use crying about it, therefore I picked myself up, work hard, and nowadays got back my looks, health, and happiness. Guess what, with the new wealth, beauty, and success, some of the deserter came back being friendly as if the past 7 years never occurred. It is now my choice to reject them, as during my journey I have acquired more worthy candidates I can call friends.

      Don’t blame those who don’t offer friendship. And, if they don’t want to, don’t try to force it. Instead, use your disappointment as fuel to better yourself and look for those truly worthy to become friends with you. Then, keep them and treasure them. Best wishes always! ^^

  • Tanvira Chaudhury

    I think that criticism is necessary and important but should be used not to demean anyone or their work or what they have to say. It is still possible to criticise and help the receiving end while making them feel secure and emotionally empowered enough to better themselves. But a lot of people do not do that but rather employ personal attacks at the other’s self-esteem, disguised as formal/professional/friendly/hypocritically termed to be I-am-trying-to-help-you-by trying-to-break-you-down criticism. Moreover, people, despite having good intentions often cannot communicate their helpful criticism in a manner that does not leave the receiving end feeling horrid, There is an art to criticising without hurting someone’s feelings and a lot of people do not know how to do that either. People just fling words at each other, without considering the weight of their words at times.

    I think the best people that I would like to be around( shaped by my life experiences as a doormat that is) would be people who are not preying on me and looking intently for one weakness or one insecurity in me to poke fun at in the name of criticism. I should be feeling empowered, brave and ready to deal with the world, in my own way without having to resort to a loud, overly-cocky, self-assured persona( since such a person is not me) to look strong and capable around the good people. Unfortunately, I only know one other person like that in my life outside my immediate family members. The patriarchal society that I live in where most men think that they are “hot stuff” and hence “automatically better than others and entitled to criticising and demeaning them” (regardless of their level of achievement that is) is particularly irritating at times.

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