Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

magnetDo you find yourself surrounded by people who need you for something? Do you tend to end up with romantic partners who need fixing? It’s common, especially for DoorMats who have people pleasing as part of their M.O.  I did when I was a DoorMat. These needy folks would bring me down with their demands and sad situations and kept me too busy to work on me. But while I often complained about them, a part of me liked and needed to have them depend on me.

Insecurity can make you a magnet for people who are emotionally unhealthy. We often have a misguided belief that if we do and do and do for someone they’ll stick around. Women tend to play therapist for a guy they like and figure he will be so grateful, and dependent for emotional support that he’ll stick around. That was me when I was low on confidence and high on criticism for what was wrong  with me. Like many needy people magnets, I didn’t appreciate that I had wonderful qualities and thought the best I had to offer was support.

Do you ever ask yourself, like I used to, “How do all these needy people find me?” “Why do they come to me?” “Why do I have so many people in my life who drag me down?” I used to get angry that people expected so much form me. But then I recognized that I made myself a magnet for the emotionally needy. They could tell I was open to trying to fix everyone. It wasn’t so much that they lined up to use me, as I used to believe. I needed to feel needed, so I opened myself up to it.

I hear from both women and men that they don’t understand why they always end up with a romantic partner who has problems and they have to do some repairs. They complain that they don’t like it yet they keep finding the fix-It specials. Whether it’s a friend or lover, feeling needed can make you feel important and necessary if your self-esteem is low. And being with someone who’s damaged or insecure can make you feel better about yourself, compared to the other person. You may not feel good enough to be with someone healthy. I used to think a secure person would judge me as beneath them when I thought little of myself.

Needy people will bring you down. That doesn’t mean you have to cut everyone off, but you should slowly cut their dependency on you. I had to suggest therapy for some and I stopped dating guys who seemed like a good candidate for my therapy. I no longer want to fix anyone. I still try to help friends with problems but limit time spend with them. But since I developed strong self-love and self-esteem, I no longer need to feel needed the way I used to. I still help people but not to feel good about me. I do it because I care.

If you want to turn off your magnet but  like helping people, a healthier way to gratify your need is to do volunteer work for a cause that matters to you. That’s what I do now. Find a cause and do what you can for them. It’s more worthwhile than attracting damaged people and trying to fix them.

Join The Self-Love Movement™! Take the 31 Days of Self-Love Commitment“I commit to do my best to do something loving for myself, however big or small, for the next 31 days. and get my book, How Do I Love Me? Let Me Count the Ways for free at Read my 2014 31 Days of Self-Love Posts HERE. Join the Self-Love Movement™! on Facebook. Watch the video made with Hoobastank’s song–The reason–that illustrates the power of self-love.

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