The Doormat



The doormat. There it lies with a pleasant greeting of “welcome home” emblazoned upon it and all it gets is routinely overlooked and trampled on, but it never flinches, it never backs away from performing its function. Many of our victims find themselves regarded as doormats by our kind. Not only is this evidenced by the way that we regard you but it is also as a consequence of the way that we treat you. It is not those factors alone however that cause me to ascribe the label of Doormat to a particular appliance. Much of it comes from the thinking, attitude and mind set of the relevant victim. I have mentioned my sister, Rachael previously. Whereas I trod the path that has led me to where I am today, Rachael found herself becoming a doormat. She was routinely trampled on by all the members of our family and I watched and observed as we grew older as to how this manifested. As time progressed and with the increasing awareness that I have obtained, allied with the observations of the good doctors, I identified certain characteristics that she has which I have also seen in those who have been my primary source victims. I have concluded that whilst numerous of these victims have come close to being doormats, only three have actually achieved that status along with my sister.

Now, it is a mistake to think that a doormat would be regarded as weak. Naturally my kind think this but that is part of our mechanism for maintaining our superiority by pouring scorn on your traits and how they lead you to be treated. Those who are doormats exhibit a different kind of strength. They are weak in that they fail to assert themselves with sufficient emphasis to enable them to escape the worst of out treatment, but they possess a strength by virtue of those characteristics. To be able to have those characteristics and keep them, whilst being abused, ignored, trampled on and taken for granted, is perversely a form of strength and one which we welcome. We want appliances that will keep functioning, obeying us, pouring out the fuel and complying, without breaking down and malfunctioning the first time matters become rough. Finding a doormat amongst our victims is gratifying because it means that this person will not depart us, they have no desire to do so. It goes further however because they wish to stay not only for our reasons but for their own fulfilment as well. They pour fuel in our direction, remain subservient and compliant. What are the traits that constitute a doormat?

  1. The individual is sensitive and guilt-ridden.
  2. This person has learned to survive hostile environments by meeting our need for gratification. This first and foremost applies to the provision of fuel but it also goes further. The doormat will gratify us by allowing us to do what we want, recognises our need and right to do so, allows us to utilise whatever resources we see fit and caters for all of our needs in terms of fuel, trait provision and residual benefits.
  3. The doormat’s perception of love has become skewed. This person seeks love through the excessive accommodation of another’s needs. This may not just be us when we have attached them as a primary source to us, but in respect of other individuals. Those individuals may not be narcissistic but the doormat still wishes to accommodate the wishes of other people (something which of course irritates us and leads to conflict) because the doormat regards his or her role as one of accommodating everybody because then that means that they will be loved.
  4. The doormat simply gives too much. They do not take. They give of themselves on every level, from their emotions, their dedication, their time, their energy, their thoughts and their resources. They are impressively resourced in these matters and appear to have almost limitless time, energy etc. although eventually it becomes evident that they have not.
  5. The doormat does not feel safe unless he or she gives. If they perceive that they are taking they feel alarm and distress. If they are neither giving or taking they feel restless and out of their comfort zone. The need to provide and to give allows them to fulfil their role and in turns embodies a sense of safety for them. Once they begin to feel safe they will continue to give in order to remain in this safe place. This is why the doormat is drawn to our kind because we are takers and do so on a vast scale. We are made for the doormat and even though the doormat may not know what we are, their coupling with us, provides them with an innate sense of safety and security.
  6. The doormat must meet the emotional needs of the narcissist. We are empty. We are voids and your emotional attention, your fuel, needs to be poured into us. The doormat feels a need to ensure that those excessive emotional needs are met (although fails to realise that this can never be achieved) and therefore remains hooked and beholden to us in as the doormat tries to achieve the impossible. I have watched my sister continue to do this with Matrinarc.
  7. The doormat suffers low self-esteem but this is boosted by the success of the narcissist. My victims who were doormats found that their self-esteem was increased by my achievements and my accomplishments. I watched my sister gather her self-esteem from being linked to the achievements of MatriNarc, my father and me. This is a curious behaviour and is not unlike our stealing of traits from those around us in order to add them to our construct and in turn make us look better and more attractive. The doormat does not acquire the traits of our success but the fact we are successful and they are linked with us results in their self-esteem being increased.
  8. The doormat has a high tolerance to emotional abuse. The lashing out through heated fury and cold fury from our kind against the doormat causes the doormat to realise that the emotional need of our kind has increased. This signals to them that they must leap into action. They have a call of duty and rather than find the emotional abuse debilitating (at least at first) they regard it as a useful signal for them to do something in order to cater for it. However, all the doormat is doing is allowing a pressure to build up of this repeated emotional abuse. The doormat can tolerate it for longer than a standard victim but then there comes a point where the threshold is reached, the pressure can no longer be sustained and withheld and at that point there is a substantial and serious damaging effect on the doormat from the release of this pressure.
  9. The doormat feels guilt when catering for his or her needs and therefore almost in a masochistic way will place themselves in the firing line once again with our kind in order to assuage this guilt.
  10. The doormat feels undeserving of being loved. They want to be loved for what they do, rather than for what they are. They regard themselves of fundamentally unworthy of love save when they are carrying out their role. With my sister I saw this with both my father and mother. My father emphasised how it was important to help others and my sister saw that as a clear signal to flagellate herself in catering to the needs of others and especially our kind. My sister also explained to me that in respect of MatriNarc that she never says that she is happy but that my sister knew MatriNarc was happy with her because of how my sister felt, namely devoid of guilt and valued because of her excessive giving. I regarded her thinking as deluded but I did not correct it, because it served my purposes as well.

Listen to ‘The Doormat’


25 thoughts on “The Doormat”

  1. Number 5: “If they are neither giving or taking they feel restless and out of their comfort zone.” Exactly. Even now, post-escape, with no responsibility to “do” for anyone, I’m restless. *sigh*

    HG, as to 10, is that a conclusion that you reached on your own through observation and is your understanding of it entirely surface cognitive? Interested to know how you arrived at that – not that it isn’t true.

  2. I had a conversation with a man whose adult child lives in the path of the hurricane that is about to hit land. His adult child refuses to leave, so he is making it clear that she should not call him to come get her when she may need to evacuate after the storm.
    While I understand and respect his stance due to it being her adult decision that has kept her there when warnings to leave are in effect, I cannot imagine taking that stand with my own child. I know I would try to move heaven and earth if need be, regardless of the other’s decisions.
    Is the difference of thought a simple difference of a dad versus mom thought; or is it more of a normal versus not normal thought? He doesn’t appear narcissistic.

    1. It completely depends on the context. Does his adult child usually make extremely stupid and selfish decisions? Does the adult child have children who will be hurt as well if the grandparent, as a sane adult in their lives, refuses to help? Is the adult child in the part of the hurricane’s path where evacuation would be the best move, or are they farther inland, and the father is trying to force the wrong course of action on her?

      Also, that you would ignore your adult child’s decisions means you would not respect their boundaries. Again, if there are children of the adult child, then things become more complicated, but you have got to allow adults to make decisions you think are wrong. You don’t have the power to stop them, nor do you have the right.

      1. Thank you, Christine, for your response!
        I did not think to ask about grandchildren. I’m sorry.
        I know my writing was a lot vague, and I do apologize. The adult child is in the path of the storm and has been given lots of early warnings to evacuate. The adult child says “no” to leaving. I would not be happy about that but I understand I cannot change that. But for me if that adult child changes mind later, regardless of the danger, I would go get that child however I could.

  3. HG
    Can a narc at work make her flying monkey acquire her narc traits? Even if temporarily.

    One of my colleagues (under the influence of narc team leader) has start behaving like this narc now – look busy do nothing. Now both of them attend all conferances, meetings, projects, etc. instead of working with daily chores.
    They create new projects (even when none of the old one is finished) and give all the small assignments to others and held a Meeting together with only them to discuss others’ ideas. They are self developing themselves and leaving the actual work to minions in the Office. This leader has told her boss that only her monkey will attend all the events With her and not others. Boss is easy to manipulate and she says yes to everything. She is a people-pleaser, my boss.

  4. Everything in this post is completely accurate!! It’s scary how accurate it is!! This was my life entirely. I’m a 45 year old woman, have been that way since childhood. Narc father, Doormat mother, ex Narc husband, Narc friends, and a list of failed Narc relationships. Narc magnet I was.This last Narc relationship knocked me to my knees, took the life and whatever soul/self I had and destroyed it slowly. He was the ultimate lesson in my life. Now I’m slowly rebuilding myself. I’ll NEVER be a doormat in that sense again. I may be much older than I’d like to be in starting completely over but so be it. My worst nightmare but my most victorious life lesson. So doormats can be broken to the point of a no choice resurrection. Anyone out there reading this that relates, start taking steps to do whatever you need to, to get out and stay out!!!! Don’t ever look back!!!! Except maybe to read posts like this to keep you on track. Thanks again HG!

  5. This is an eye-opener for me. I can see myself in almost everything you have written here. I already know I am codependent (not officially diagnosed) and this makes sense to me. I am hugely sensitive, filled with guilt and I have very low self esteem with no clue what love really is. Even if I knew what love was, I would not feel like I deserve it. HG, I think I need to learn more about the different types of codependent. Interesting point is I always felt better when I was doing things for him. I loved taking care of everything for him. I kept doing more and more and more. I kept returning over and over again. So, does this mean I am a doormat? I need to learn more.

    Thanks HG

  6. This is my mother. I cannot stand this type of person.

    A doormat will not protect her own children. They are enablers of abuse, because being abused is what brings them fulfillment. They’ll draw some lines in the sand — physical abuse might not be tolerated, for instance. But any level of emotional abuse will be welcomed.

    Doormats can change, with help. Not mine. I wasted enough of my life trying already.

    1. Christine…… I respect your situation, my father a narc, mother was also a Doormat and my whole life I as well. To say you can’t stand that type of person screams the pain you’ve endured and my heart goes out to you. BUT not all doormats are alike. So I must correct your statement that they will not protect their own children. That is a very harsh statement. I’m a mother to an amazing 22 year old son. I would die for him and have protected him since the day he was born and will continue to. We’re very close. He’s neither a doormat nor a narc. A bit of both in the “healthy norm” sense. I’ve taught him to learn from the mistakes of myself and his father. He has and is doing just that. If anything I suffered to protect him. I apologize if this came off as harsh. I only hope through your pain you can see that not everyone labelled are alike. I wish you all the best in finding peace. I do get where your coming from.

  7. I can relate to this pretty well. I feel the agitation till I can help in some way. It’s actually like a compulsion. Even when I’m tired, drained, running on empty and want to put myself first to re energise, that nagging compulsion to want to help in some way is still there. Before I can stop myself I am offering to babysit, to bake for the school bake sale, to pick up/drop off someone with no car etc. I regret it later because I am tired and weary to the bone.. Yet up I get to be of assistance in some way. *sigh*
    At least this helps me understand it a bit better.

  8. Ahhh the doormat but one flavor of the Codepebdent. There are many flavors of Codepebdents to include the “The Overachiever” and “The Pleaser”

  9. I love this article, HG. It goes very deep in understanding my role as a doormat and how my family broke me into that roll at a very young age. I feel for your sister.
    Thank you for always sharing the truth of things, how and what happend and happens when we are entangled by your kind.

    1. Tammy, if it doesn’t make you uncomfortable would you elaborate?
      My mother taught me that because God had made me strong, I must suffer to show my worth. “To those that much is given, much is expected and God made you strong.” It went a bit further than this, but that’s the general idea. It involved demons and things… When I suffered, endured, struggled, that’s when she would praise me. ” Youre doing good, honey.” And when i had suffered enough, she, God or the both of them, would be please and give me my freedom and the knowledge to heal myself. It was really fucked up. I believed it all my life, until my husband told me that wasn’t the way things were. It was shattering when HG confirmed that everything I’ve endured, courted even, was for nothing except her power and control. Was wondering if yours played God too?

  10. HG is this person co-dependent? Does the eventual “damaging pressure release” come from this person harboring resentment for having to cater to everyone, or a collapse from the abuse? Thank you.

      1. Thank you. I think this article actually describes me very well. I don’t feel lovable unless I am making the people closest to me happy, particularly my husband and children. I gave up on my matrinarc a long time ago, in order to keep my sanity.
        I have interpreted my “pressure releases” as moments of strength, but I can see if taken in the context of this article it is just a result of build up and it makes sense. For me, I have always acted as a doormat, but have always resented it, like I have known it isn’t right but am powerless to feel differently. I eventually get so angry (with myself and the world) that I can’t put my own needs first for even ONE LOUSY MINUTE, that I explode.
        I also have a tendency to assume everyone’s bad mood is about me, something I’ve done wrong or that I overlooked. I’ve lost count of the times my husband has said, “Please stop making it about you, I’m not upset with you!” or “Please stop saying you’re sorry, you’ve done nothing wrong!”
        I’m better than I used to be, therapy has helped, distancing from my mother has helped.

        I appreciate this piece of writing HG.

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