Do you suffer from the doormat syndrome? Getting asked that question may feel like a slap in the face; especially if it is true. It is not easy to hear that we are a doormat, that we let people walk all over us, and that people take advantage of us. Even though it can be really hard to hear that you are a doormat, many clients appreciate the straight forward and bold feedback. It can be life changing to hear something that you do not want to hear about yourself when that something is true.
So how do you know you suffer from the doormat syndrome? Some of the signs are not being able to say no to things even though you want to say no, not having a voice in your marriage or important relationships, and getting things dumped on your plate. Often doormat’s take on extra tasks at home, work, and with friends. They often stay late, never rest or take a day off, and do most of the planning in relationships. Essentially it is when you feel like you give, give, and give some more and get very little in return. If these qualities resonate with you, than you suffer from codependency (the official name of doormat syndrome).
Codependents lack boundaries, a sense of self, anger, and entitlement. Their lives are about making others happy. Codependency is rooted in the fear of losing people in your life. Most people with codependency do not even realize this fear is present. It is deep rooted. Due to the fear of abandonment codependents constantly are trying to keep those in their live happy. It is all about doing the “happy dance” for those in your life so they will not leave you. Unfortunately, putting so much time and energy into other people’s happiness keeps you from focusing on you and your happiness.
Living this way creates pain, resentment, bitterness, and burn out. You can only live your whole life for others so long before you start to experience the pain and resentment that comes with not getting your needs met and not focusing on things in your life that keep you happy. If you are living this way, but do not feel burn out yet, it is coming. It can often sneak up on you and hit you before you know it.
So the next question on your mind is most likely, “how do I fix it?” There are four steps to start dealing with your codependency. One; you first have to admit that you are codependent. This step can be difficult. Codependents often feel more powerful than they really are or can rationalize why they do have power and why they can say no even if they cannot. Many people are shocked in my office when I first use the word codependency with them, but you cannot change it if you do not admit it. Second; you have to feel pain about it. Feeling sadness and anger for being a doormat are the feelings that will essentially help you set better boundaries, have more entitlement, and gain a better sense of self. Third, you must deal with your fear of abandonment. This is a difficult and lengthy step. Again, most people are not even in touch with the fact that they have abandonment and that it is causes issues in their life. It is important to understand your abandonment issues and where they come from to be able to work through them. Fourth, get ready for rough times ahead. As you change it can difficult for those around you. There are often rough patches that occur around change.
Codependency can be a lonely and tired place to live. You do not have to stay there forever. Even if it feels helpless you can change. You can learn to make yourself a priority. The journey is not easy, but so worth it!