Can anyone be “too nice” and “too much of a pleaser” in a relationship?
If someone is inconsiderate of you, or walks all over you, do you smile politely while quietly seething underneath?
Do you find yourself catering for others needs and even whims even when there is no real reciprocation on their part? (for example Angela and Allan’s romance and relationship was based on lots of give and take. Angela gave – which included back rubs, complements and gifts, and Allan took, without ever thinking to reciprocate in any way)
Why am I a doormat?
Many doormats rationalize to themselves that they are taking the moral highroad in their relationships, that if they model kind and thoughtful behaviour towards their partner, he or she might also treat them in the same way, but more often than not, this does not result in a more considerate partner, but rather a more self- centred one.
Too often long suffering partners find themselves with people who exploit them mercilessly.
An unbalanced relationship
If you find that in your relationship, you are doing all the giving and your partner is doing all the taking, you are in an unbalanced relationship.
It is important to understand why this happens for you.
While your endless tolerance might seem to be coming from a deep and abiding love, in fact it is almost certainly arising from fear.
You tendency not to say anything negative about your relationship, or to speak up about for your own needs and wants, and to just put up with what you are given, is borne of a number of fears. You can be fearful of anger from your partner, fearful of conflict, fearful of losing control, or fearful of emotional abandonment. These fears usually originate in your childhood experiences.
Having this awareness of why is the first step to doing something constructive about changing your situation.
How can you know if you are a Door Mat?
There are 2 red flags to alert you that you are behaving as a Door mat.
1. You notice a tendency among the people around you to become increasingly selfish, exploitative and unfair.
2. You notice a growing disconnection between your own feelings and your actions, directly proportional to how badly you’re being treated. For example even though you continue to tolerate bad and selfish behaviour, you are beginning to feel hurt, resentful or even seething with underlying rage.
Listen to this underlying anger. It is telling you that what you are doing is not good for you; that on a deeper level your psyche is railing against this unfair and unkind treatment.
Often those who are doormats worry that the only alternative to grovelling niceness is aggressive dominance, but this is not the case. There is a middle ground called assertiveness, which is nether passive or aggressive, and it is the only healthy way to behave in a relationship.
The way forward to feeling happy in a healthy relationship involves 4 steps:
1. Honestly assess what is happening in your relationship and whether your relationship is balanced and fair or not (whether it be your partner or anyone else in your family, your friends or at work)
2. Express your truth authentically and firmly to this person.This might be that you are having a problem with his/her behaviour, stating your needs or wants in your relationship, or your views.
3. Hold your ground. Expect that you might receive some negative emotional outburst or reaction, but stay firm and as neutral as possible.
4. Be open to feedback without collapsing or abandoning your own perspective.
5. If your partner can not accept or tolerate your truth or needs or perspective when you have expressed them in a clear and firm manner, then you may wish to consider whether this person really has your best interests at heart, and begin to question your wisdom in continuing this relationship.
Often when you are trying to break the habits of a lifetime, you can need support in doing so. Our Psychologists Australia wide, are trained to help you through these passages and into more healthier and happier ways of being and relationships.
Both Relationship and Individual Counselling is available by our trained Psychologists in 60 locations Australia wide, in Sydney and all capital and large regional cities, either In-house, by Phone or Skype Sessions – 50 mins
Phone 1300 830 552 to enquire or make an appointment.
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