Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

Lessons from a Recovering Doormat


Emotional Bondage

bandaidsSome people thrive on drama. It almost feels like they create situations that feed negative emotions. I used to look for reasons to feel taken for granted or used when I was a DoorMat. For some reason I needed to feel wounded, almost like it was a substitute for allowing myself to get angry at people for never being there for me.

Sometimes childhood creates your need to live emotionally. You may learn that if something happens, like you fall, and you cry, you get sympathy in the form of hugs, a sweet treat, and other good stuff. Some children also learn that if they get emotional enough they get their way, even if it was originally denied to them. Girls learn to wheedle their fathers and other men to manipulate them. Both sexes discover that throwing a temper tantrum can get them appeasement for what they want.

Then we grow up and emotional reactions and outbursts don’t get the same kinds of responses as they did in childhood. But some of us are so used to responding with emotions that we can’t stop.  For the first half of adulthood I whined when something bothered me. Thinking about it makes me cringe now as whining is so hard to listen to. But I was so used to getting my needs met by whining as a little girl that the habit was ingrained in me, just as it is in many people. And habits can be hard to break.

Many women are labeled “Drama Queens” because they look for reasons to get emotional and drive everyone crazy as they look for how to make mountains out of mole hills as the saying goes. These types are often anxious and blow everything out of proportion. Many people think that running with an emotional response gets them more or means they’re standing up for themselves. But the truth is, when you let emotions  rule you, you become out of control. Your emotions control you. And that’s never good when the emotions are negative. Being emotional puts people off. When you take control of your emotions, you regain more control over what happens in your life.

After I left DoorMatville, I actually listened to myself and found the whining unpleasant. So I made a concerted effort to change it. The more I took control of my whining and other emotional responses, the more I appreciated feeling in control of me. As I broke old habits and created new ones of speaking in a calm, friendly voice—nicely—while letting people know what I felt or wanted. I got a lot more, and earned respect. It’s hard to respect someone who’s letting their emotions get the best of them.

If you tend to let your emotions rule you, do what you can to let go of the chains that keep you locked into emotional reactions. It’s a form of bondage because you often do it on auto-pilot and may think this is just how you are and there’s nothing you can do. But awareness is a great tool to help you let go of any habits of letting your emotions guide you. Then you control what happens to you.
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