Doormats Anonymous

Welcome to the first meeting of doormats anonymous. My name is Kaycie and I am a doormat.

Hi, Kaycie.

I have been a doormat as long as I can remember. It’s like I was born with a sign on  my forehead that reads “Complain here and I’ll try my best help.” Over and over again I listen to people’s problems and try to offer suggestions, things I think they could do to be happier, more balanced, healthier, or more joyful. I might even offer to do things for them if I think they need it.

I have good intentions. I want to help people. In fact I love helping people. Sometimes I think was born to do it! Unfortunately, there is a slippery slope between helping and enabling:

Perhaps years of unintentional enabling have led to my current doormat problem. I have learned to measure my value based on how much I believe others need me. I have picked up a desire to control other people’s behavior because, afterall, they need me to intervene and help them. Then, I go overboard trying to help them, effectively making their problems my own.

Here’s a great diagram to help clarify my problem:

Yep, I’m a classic codependent enabler.

But, that’s why I am here at this meeting. I don’t want to be anybody’s doormat. I don’t want to be codependent anymore. I want to learn how to help others without enabling their bad habits or dis-empowering them.

Now that I have identified my addiction I want to stop giving in to it. I want to live a healthy lifestyle. I want to measure my value by my own standards and not by how I perceive others think of me.

I would like to invite all other codependent enablers to join me and create our own 12 Step Program.

A twelve-step program is a set of guiding principles (accepted by members as ‘spiritual principles,’ based on the approved literature) outlining a course of action for recovery from addiction, compulsion, or other behavioral problems.

The world needs healers, not doormats, meddlers and enablers. I want to learn to use my gifts of empathy and compassion wisely and appropriately and it starts by identifying my problems and working through them one at a time.

Who’s with me?!

 

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18 responses to “Doormats Anonymous

      • I had many. I quit drinking when I found reasons to be wiser. I still would drink. But I know. Can’t have family and drink. Addiction is part of all of us. We can’t always be wise and perfect.

      • Thanks for sharing, Johncoyote.
        It’s true we can’t always be wise and perfect. Perfection is an unrealistic goal. I think seeking wisdom is a worthwhile goal however, so although we can never be wise all the time, we can always choose to learn from our mistakes and hardships and thus increase our wisdom. What do you think?

    • Thanks Liz! I printed this out and I’m highlighting the patterns that I notice in myself the most. It’s a great place to start reflecting.

  1. Nice post Kay! The concept of doormat is very appealing and I think people with more empathy tend to get carried away with other people’s problem and go overbroad. Those people are very kind but this habit is not in their own best interest and the best example here I can give you is of a doctor. They cure people but don’t treat the people as their close friends but as patients.
    I am on the same page as you.

  2. I just came across this quote and find it helpful in my “recovery” process. I wanted to share this with other doormats out there!

    “I’d gone though my life believing in the strength and competence of others; never my own. Now, dazzled, I discovered that my capacities were real. It was like finding a fortune in the lining of an old coat.

    ~ Joan Mills

  3. I too am a doormat my friend. I realized this pattern when I left my past relationship. I think I actually stayed so long because I thought I was “needed”. It is something I need to work on. I need people to need me. I want to be the one with all the answers. It makes me feel like I have a purpose and then eventually I exhaust all my energy taking care of everyone else and end up frustrated with where my life is at. I have realized I need to spend a little more time helping myself and less time helping people i think need it. There is a fine like between being support system and being an enabler.

    • Sara, I have the same tendencies. It’s so obvious it’s an obstacle in my self growth. I need to learn when to act and when to not act on someone else’s behalf. I have been seeing it in my Tarot cards over and over again. I think that following my breath and listening to my body is one way I can determine whether action is needed or not. Last night I felt my self swept away with enthusiasm, love and excitement. The energy I was getting from others had me “high” and they seemed to be enjoying themselves too. In that scenario I feel like healing was taking place. By making each other feel lighter, freer, happier we were allowing laughter to be our medicine. When i feel tight, constricted, nervous, anxious, etc…I realize that what I am doing is not in line with my higher self. My mind may be telling me “this is a nice or proper thing to be doing” but my body doesn’t lie. When I’m enabling someone, for example my dad, my body tells me. All I have to do is listen and change my actions. It’s kind of incredible really…the body just knows….

  4. hi guys my name is fatima and im a doormat,I agree with everything that u said and I feel the same way.I’ve been a doormat for as long as I can remember,and im 20 years old now,I think I need help

      • well my problem its the same as yours,im the kind of person that loves friends more than everything,I would do anything for them,whenever they have problems Im there listening,helping and making them feel better,but I feel like they dont do the same,If I do something that hurts their feelings I feel bad and I feel the need to apologise over and over,but if they do it sometimes they dont botther to say sorry and worst they make me feel guilty,I really need help

  5. I love to be needed,to feel like im a huge part of someones life,but these last few years have proved to me that im not needed,im not a significant part of anyones life,just by seeing the way that my friends behave,I feel like(and I’ve proved to myself)that I can be gone for days,weeks,months and no one will try to reach me,so I would star the conversation but the conversation dies within seconds,most of the times talking to some of my best friends feels like talking to a stranger

    • Fatima, first of all I want to say that there is nothing inherently wrong with loving our friends or being there for them when they need us, it is when the behavior becomes compulsive and we become dependent on being/feeling needed that is the problem. It is not only a problem for us, but our friends can usually pick up on it too (usually in a subtle, or unconsous way). They may feel we are clingy or needy for their attention which I have noticed can keep people away in times of real need (kind of like the boy who cried wolf).

      When I wrote this post I knew I would have to learn to overcome my insecurity. Being insecure in my myself was the biggest cause of my codependent behavior. I have improved a lot in the past many months by practicing meditation and yoga…but mostly by learning how to be alone without feeling sad, scared or uncomfortable. On my journey journaling and keeping a blog has helped tremendously. Reaching out to people on the internet can be truly healing and take some of the burden off of our friends who are physically close to us. I know my husband gets tired of hearing me talk about the same problems over and again, so I get online to vent a little and then meditate to clear my head and finally (hopefully) let it go. Learning to let go of my need/desire to control other people’s behavior has helped a lot but I am always working on it and find some people harder to be close to than others.

      At the end of the day Fatima, you gotta learn to love yourself whether or not people reach out when you want them to, no matter what they do! Acknowledge that you are a valuable, beautiful person! I recommend trying daily self affirmations. I can send you some examples if you are interested.

      Much love and peace to you,

      Kay

      Ps you don’t have to pay to leave comments here ❤

      • Thanks kay really wise words,I completly agree with you in every way,for me being needed is like a drug and like every other drug is really hard to go a day without it,especialy when the person who is kind of ignoring me is someone who was extremly close to me,someone who couldn’t stay a day without talking to me,so it hurts a bit.Im trying my best to slowly let go of that compulsive need to be needed,and I have dicided to not reach out to them all the time,your words touched me in ways u cant imagine thanks for real,any help is welcomed.I was wondering if we could talk somewhere private because there are things that I would like some help with that are private.kisses

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