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7 Ways to Stop Being Treated Like a Doormat

7 Ways to Stop Being Treated Like a Doormat

Being treated like a doormat sucks.

It can happen for no apparent rhyme or reason; people using you, treating you like a dogsbody, walking all over you or not thinking about what you want or what’s best for you. The trouble is, the more it happens, the more you feel like you can’t change it; the more it happens the smaller you get.

Here are some practical ways that you can stop being treated like a doormat, and start being treated with respect.

you deserve better

    1. Start With You

    If someone else is devaluing you there’s a good chance that you’re doing the same thing, so change has to start with you. Be radically honest with yourself—do you feel like you deserve to be treated with respect? Do you feel worthy of respect and do you feel good enough to fit in?

    Change starts with you dialing up your self-worth; something that can be started in the following ways:

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    a. Really give yourself credit for your achievements—all those things you’ve done and gone through in your life.
    b. Get to know your values—those things that are woven through you and are the cornerstones for who you are.
    c. Prioritise the nourishment of your body, mind, and heart—nobody else can keep you nourished and caring for yourself.

    2. Start Teaching Others

    One of the best things I heard from TV’s Dr Phil was “You teach people how to treat you“.

    That’s bang-on.

    Your response to someone’s behaviour teaches them what is and isn’t acceptable, so if you roll over and take whatever they give, the message is that it’s okay for them to do that. And people will always do what works for them until they have evidence that it doesn’t work, or that there’s a better way. We’re kinda dumb like that.

    If someone is regularly treating you like a doormat, their behaviour is not okay. Your task, and I get how scary this might seem, is to change your response to start giving them that message. This doesn’t have to be a big, dramatic showdown; it can be done gently and with the same respect that you want. You might be scared, but you know what you need to do.

    As the famous line goes, help them help you.

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    3. Stop Being a Bottomless Pit

    It’s great to do things for other people, unless the act of doing things for other people is how you get validation, of course.

    Being a people-pleaser might begin with the best intentions, but if you’re not careul, you keep on doing so because you want to see how pleased they are with what you’ve done or even to hear those magic words: “Thank you”. Being a people-pleaser can turn you into a bottomless pit—that not only sees others take advantage of you, but seriously damages your self-esteem.

    People-pleasing is not a selfless act; it’s a selfish one.

    It’s a flawed way to feel good about yourself, so stop it. How can you be more generous with yourself? And how would it be if you could be generous for others, not because of any validation but because there’s value in the very act of giving?

    4. Apply Confidence

    If you’re used to people walking all over you, it’s likely that you’re not used to asserting yourself. You might even feel like you’re powerless, but I guarantee you that you have natural confidence that you can apply to start effecting change.

    Think of something you do, where the question of whether you can do it or never arises. This might be doing something you do at home (like cooking a meal, laughing with your partner or decorating a room), it might be something at work (like taking part in a meeting, writing a report or seeing a way through a problem) or it might be something you do socially (like chatting with a friend, ordering wine at a restaurant or meeting someone new).

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    Natural confidence is being able to trust your behaviour with implicit faith in your abilities, so when you’re doing something, there’s no doubt about your ability to do it—you have full confidence. Applying that same sense of confidence to a new situation is what allows you to operate right at the edge or just out of your comfort zone, and this will feel uncomfortable.

    That feeling of discomfort isn’t the enemy and it doesn’t mean you don’t have confidence, it just means you’re someplace new. Trust yourself to do what’s best.

    5. You’re Not Alone

    If your ill-treatment has been happening for some time you might be feeling isolated in your experience, so it can be extraordinarily useful and important to talk about it, or even to ask for some support or help. Other people are going through what you’re going through, and you don’t have to do this alone.

    Asking someone you trust to talk about what’s happening is not only a great way to offload a little, it just might allow you to step back enough to see a fresh perspective or another way through. You don’t need anyone to fix things for you, so don’t let that be your motivation here—the point is to connect with another human being so that you’re supported through this.

    Think about this way: if a good friend of yours was going through the same thing, wouldn’t you want to hear about it and support them in attaining something better?

    6. Raise Your Expectations

    An easy life is one thing, but sticking your head in the sand and hoping things will fix themselves is crazy—as is setting your expectations so low that you expect to be treated like a doormat. There’s a massive cost to lowering your expectations to that kind of level, and the act of lowering your expectations and accepting bad treatment can be more damaging in the long run that the bad treatment itself.

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    Don’t ever make assumptions about what you should put up with or what you should expect. If you’re going to have any expectations about how things should go, base them on what you’d love to see happen, not what you wish wasn’t happening.

    7. If All Else Fails

    If you’ve truly done all you can to change things and to stop being treated like a doormat and nothing seems to work, then get the hell out. Life is way too short to have your experience of it and your self-esteem damaged by someone else, and sometimes you need to make a brave choice.

    If you need to, be willing to remove yourself from the situation or relationship and start building the kind of life you’d love to live.

    You Deserve Better

    You don’t need to “keep on keeping on”, and you don’t need to put up with being treated like a doormat.

    You deserve better, so make a start.

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    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    No!

    It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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    But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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    What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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    But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

    1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
    2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
    3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
    4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
    5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
    6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
    7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
    8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
    9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
    10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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