How To Stop Being Treated Like A Doormat After Divorce
Last Updated on 12 months by Iva Ursano
It happens all the time and you’re probably not even aware of it. Or you are aware of it, but you’ve just accepted it as a way of life. Being treated like a door mat.
Your boss just *assumes* you’re going to work late…even though you already made plans.
Your ex texts you, saying how sad he is, although you asked him to quit contacting you.
Your adult daughter hangs up on you when she gets a call from a friend.
At this point in your life, after your divorce and as you work to move on, you may have just shrugged it off, accepting the fact that people are going to walk all over you, treat you like a door mat, and there’s nothing you can do about it.
The time for being a door mat ends now.
So, if you’re tired of being treated like a door mat. I’m going to show you how to easily stand up for yourself and show people how to treat you with the respect you deserve. Remember the feeling you had after divorce? Your self worth hit bottom and you had low self esteem?
These two factors play a huge role in the way people treat us. If we don’t respect or love ourselves, how will anyone else?
But first, we gotta talk about some ugly truths. They’re hard to read, but you need to know them.
3 Ugly Truths You Need To Know
Ugly Truth #1. Many of us were conditioned to be “nice” and to not make a scene.
Many times in childhood, adolescence, and adulthood that you were taught to play nice, to be “well-behaved, and to not make a big deal out of something, society was conditioning you to be okay with not having your voice heard.
You were being conditioned, little by little, to accept the fact that people could walk all over you, like a door mat and take advantage of you. And you were being conditioned to think it was socially unacceptable or “bad” to voice your opinion that something was wrong, or if you didn’t like something.
And that being “nice” and being “the good girl” meant that you had your voice taken from you.
It’s infuriating, isn’t it?
Ugly Truth #2. Many of us were not raised to establish strong boundaries.
A result of being raised to be “nice” and not make a scene meant that plenty of people—whether it was your ex, your family, your kids, your friends, your coworkers–probably asked too much of you, intruded in personal business, treated you like a door mat or took advantage of you.
And since you were never given the tools to say, “No,” or “I’m not comfortable with that decision,” you maybe not have learned how to establish strong boundaries for yourself. It was like the concept never even existed.
Healthy boundaries is a critical skill to establishing your confidence…but many of us were never taught that we had a right to boundaries and to say “no.” This is why so many of us to this day struggle with self worth and low self esteem.
Ugly Truth #3. We were taught by society that our needs didn’t matter.
Many of us over the age of 50 us have felt this insidious pressure to be the perfect wife and the perfect mother. Even as early as elementary school, I remember teachers saying, “Well, you’re certainly a headstrong little girl, aren’t you? None of the boys will like you if you’re so stubborn and loud.”
Now if that wasn’t a kick to our self worth then I don’t know what is!!
This probably happened to you as well—whenever you voiced that something wasn’t fair, or if you got angry that you didn’t get what you wanted. But that constant failure to acknowledge the things you wanted, even when you were little, conditioned you to think that what you wanted—even what you needed–was never a priority.
Your voice didn’t matter and because of that our self worth and low self esteem were prevalent growing up.
This is why so many of us have a hard time advocating for ourselves. And then we blame ourselves for not knowing how to do it.
And it usually takes some life-shattering event like a divorce to wake us up.
But think of that divorce as a blessing in disguise, because now you’re presented with an opportunity to find your voice, build up your self worth, ditch your low self esteem and reverse course on the disrespect.
I want you to take everything you’ve been taught about “not making a scene” and “being nice so that people don’t think you’re a witch…” and throw in in the trash. Because your newest challenge is here.
Take the “Not a Door mat” Challenge
The next time you sense like someone is about to walk all over you and treat you like a door mat, do the following:
- Ask yourself:
Is doing this thing something I’m comfortable with? Is it something that inconveniences me?
- Ask yourself:
What’s in it for me?
- If there’s nothing in it for you, don’t do it.
And there’s no need to feel guilty about this either. Remember your self worth!
- Remind yourself that your needs matter, too.
Yes. You matter and your needs do too.
- Communicate your boundaries.
Use your voice and let people know you aren’t a door mat anymore. Draw your boundary line thick.
- Communicate your expectations moving forward.
Be clear that you are making changes and you aren’t tolerating crap anymore.
You may also enjoy these blogs about self love and self care.
5 Beautiful Ways to Put Yourself First
How Being More Assertive Will Boost Your Self Confidence
5 Steps to Loving Yourself Again
Be prepared for resistance!!
As a heads-up, the people who treat you like a door mat may push back a little when you stand up for yourself. They may call you selfish, or whine and “what’s wrong with you? Why are you acting like this?”
When this reaction happens, remember, this negativity has nothing to do with you. This reaction is the manifestation of the fact that they cannot handle your new strength.
People who are worthy of your time and attention will adjust to you finding your voice. And if they cannot or will not, you don’t need them in your life. It’s as simple as that. And as you navigate the next chapter in your life, always remember:
You deserve better. You deserve to have your voice heard. You deserve to have your needs communicated. Your voice matters. You matter. And don’t let anybody try to convince you otherwise.
So, today, what steps will you take to find your voice and communicate that you will no longer be treated like a doormat?
Martha Bodyfelt is a divorce and recovery coach whose website, “Surviving Your Split,” helps divorced women get their confidence back after divorce so they can move on with their lives. Stop by http://survivingyoursplit.com and sign up for your free Divorce Goddess Recovery Guide or say hello at [email protected].