Whenever I frequent online groups, a common theme in them is telling the person asking a question to not be a doormat. Rarely do we ever get a description of what a doormat submissive is or how to prevent becoming one (or even if the person is actually a doormat submissive). There are many misconceptions of what a doormat in a relationship looks like and many of them are also traits of a submissive so how can you tell if you are submissive or a doormat. So let's get down to the basics and work from there, shall we?
A doormat person in a relationship, any relationship is one who exhibits no drive for personal improvement, never has an opinion on subjects, and essentially floats through the relationships passively. It can also be how you are treated, such as a partner who cares for your things less than they do theirs, who ignores your opinions and tells you that asking questions isn't allowed. Often, doormat people have very poor self-esteem, feel that they can't leave the relationship because they don't have a choice and often withdraw from social interactions. Most importantly they feel disrespected by the person they are supposed to trust most, their partner.
Every behavior, every habit, and every personality trait HAS an underlying reason or root experience that can be traced back to it. We don’t develop fears, or anxieties, or traits spontaneously or for no reason. If you are afraid of being alone, there is a reason for it. If you are afraid of commitment, there is a reason for it. If you are needy, or dependent, or insecure, etc etc… there are reasons for those too.
Disclaimer: The following thoughts are my opinion. I am not a trained professional. If you find yourself in any of these descriptions it does not mean you are a doormat, or that I'm saying your relationship is flawed. It does say that if you fit into far more of them than you realize, that perhaps you need to reflect on how you feel emotionally about your relationship and come to your own conclusions.
Traits of a Doormat:
Here are some questions you must ask yourself:
- Do you play the victim/martyr role in your relationship?
- Do you often neglect your deepest wishes and desires to accommodate and yield to your partner’s wishes and desires?
- Do you fear abandonment?
- Are you a people-pleaser, and usually worried about what other people think of you?
- Do you almost never say no, even when you don’t want to?
- Do you hide the truth about your relationship and try to protect it from exposure?
- Are you always gauging his/her moods in fear of retaliation?
- Do you lose yourself in him/her, or have you lost your identity in the relationship?
You may be a doormat if you answered yes to most of them. Did I strike a nerve? I know some of you are saying, “Waaaaait a minute lunaKM, I do those things out of my deep love and respect for my Dominant, c’mon!”
Let's not confuse the traits of a loving, unselfish and sacrificing submissive with a doormat. There is a huge difference between the unconditional love found in a submissive to bring joy and happiness to the relationship and allowing oneself to be walked all over.
The bottom line: A doormat will go out of their way to act responsibly for their Dominant to the exclusion of taking care of their own needs and deepest desires.
Getting Off the Floor
Teach people how to treat you. It's an old saying that you teach people how to treat you. So don't let someone walk all over you. If that means you pull out the selfish card occasionally then do it. If it means you sit them down and remind them of your needs and desires, don't be afraid to take those steps.
Set your boundaries.
In order not to be treated like a doormat you must not act like one. Make sure your partner is clear on your needs, and if you aren't sure what they are then taking the time to figure out where your boundaries lie. Remember this isn't just sexual boundaries. This includes time with friends and family, committing yourself to doing things for others and your own free time.
Even as a submissive there should be consequences in place if your partner crosses your boundaries. Oftentimes when we feel like a doormat it is because someone knows no consequences or can only think of themselves. Remind the people in your life that if they push you around or abuse your goodness of heart that you can and will withdraw or make them accountable for their actions.
Stand your ground with love.
When you've sent up your boundaries and let people know of the consequences for disregarding and disrespecting you, you need to stick to them. Stand up to people who continue to push you over and show them that submission does not mean pushover. If a Dominant still treats you like you have no say in how you are to be treated, and is still walking over you as if you are the doormat, leave. It’s not about you. It’s their need to be superior due to their own baggage and fears. Let go, and liberate both of you at the same time.