Beliefnet
Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

horse:blindersYears ago I had a friend who had HUGE issues, but to him, everything was fine. His friends had given up on getting him into therapy. He insisted he could handle stuff himself. And he did, with lots of alcohol, erratic behavior, and sometimes treating people with disrespect. I eventually had to end our friendship.

Afterward, a mutual friend and I talked about how this guy was in denial. He didn’t want to face his issues, probably afraid it would be too painful. It’s like that with many, many many people. It’s hard to face your bad habits, insecurities, fears, limitations, situations that need to be changed, etc. If you do, you’d feel more pressure to change, which can be scary. This can lead to living with invisible blinders on, like the kind horses wear so they can only see in front of them.

People stay in bad relationships because they’re in denial about how bad it is. They make excuses for the other person rather than face the truth.

Many people with bad habits, like drinking too much, overeating, procrastinating on important things, et., are in denial about it being a problem. People don’t take their medication because they’re in denial about having a health problem. That wouldn’t feel good.People with issues from childhood,, like the friend I mentioned earlier can’t face pain they’ve experienced so they live in denial that rape, beatings, insults, loss happened or remains a problem today.

I was in denial when I was a DoorMat. Many people pleasers are. They please and please and please at their own expense, telling themselves it’s just because they’re nice. I think most DoorMats are. We don’t acknowledge the fear or insecurity or the other reasons that motivate us to give too much. That can be too painful!

When my friend and I talked about our mutual friend’s denial, we realized how common it is. Everyone I talked to knew someone who was in denial about something. And I’m sure they all were in denial about something. While being in denial is very common,, it can hurt you since it keeps you from facing things that are wrong or unhealthy for you to move beyond them.

If you face that your romantic partner doesn’t treat you well, you must take a stand. DoorMats have trouble facing that they’re DoorMats and need to put themselves first more. That can seem scary if you think you’ll lose people by doing so. So take off your blinders if you want to be happy. See what really motivates your behavior. Then you can change if you don’t like it.
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