Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

Being Nice vs. Being a Victim

People who consider themselves nice moan, “Why do people use me?” And groan, “Why me?” And whine, “I’ll never get what I want because_____.”  Fill in that blank with, “because I allow myself to be a victim.” But this isn’t nice! Or satisfying.

Victims blame other people for being unhappy. People pleasers who call themselves nice usually see themselves as victims of people who take advantage of them. They suffer like it’s their penance and complain about those who did them wrong. But you don’t have to! We all have the choice to accept behavior we don’t like, or not accept it. People don’t make you a victim. You volunteer.


If you’re taught that confronting or changing your response to people who don’t treat you right isn’t nice, you hold the negative emotions in and allow yourself to be a victim. This is poison! You all deserve happiness! Asking “Why me?” when life isn’t good reinforces victimhood. Empowered nice people focus their energy on how to change situations. Many people allow themselves to be a victim of poor treatment as punishment if they believe they’re not “being good enough.” That destroys self-esteem and isn’t nice!

People pleasers are often a victim of their insecurities, such as: “I’m not thin enough so I’d better be agreeable, even if I don’t like it.” Or “Other people seem better than me at work so I’ll do all the grunt work, even though it’s not my job.” Everyone has their own issues that make them insecure enough to be so “nice” that people walk all over them. Then they blame their unhappiness on how others treat them. But the truth is, your own insecurity makes you a victim. If you feel like a loser in some way, you expect people to treat you like one.


A key to being a nice person who finishes first is to take responsibility for how people treat you. It’s your choice to adopt a victim mentality or change your response to what you don’t like. Nobody can take advantage of you if you CHOOSE not to let them. Someone can’t take all your time unless you give it. If you do many favors for friends who never help you, stop giving them your time and energy! Being nice should make you feel good, not like an unhappy victim of people who use and abuse your kindness.

People pleasers who call themselves “nice” give others power over them and their beliefs. “He makes me feel unattractive.” It’s your choice to feel unattractive! Your response determines whether you’re a victim of hurtful words or a powerful person who doesn’t accept unfair criticism. Deciding to ditch the victim role and stand up for yourself nicely attracts better treatment and increases self-respect.


People can’t consistently do negative things unless you allow them to. Relinquish self-pity and change your situation! Why stay a victim? Taking a stand makes people less likely to take advantage. YOU control how folks treat you. It’s your choice to agree to what you don’t want to do. It’s your choice to listen when people say hurtful things.

Nicely tell someone who regularly says things you don’t like that you’ll walk away or hang up the phone if it doesn’t stop, and do it! Politely turn down requests you don’t want to do. Let your response to people show that you’re no longer a victim. Complaining is a cop-out. You don’t have to yell at the person or get nasty. Just gently explain that you’re doing things differently now and you hope they’ll accept it in the spirit you feel. Slowly set stronger boundaries.


Nobody uses someone who won’t allow it. Stop receiving unacceptable behavior by changing your response to it. You can be a very nice person, giving when you can, when you take responsibility for how people treat you. That gives you the power to change how people treat you and own your life, instead of others owning you.

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