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?
- The individual is sensitive and guilt-ridden.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
19 thoughts on “The Doormat”
This makes me so, so sad. I can’t even imagine what this is like. It’s easier for me to imagine being a narcissist.
Carpet burns galore…..
“ Carpet burns galore ….”
Right at the bottom of your spine? Nightmare. Try Witch Hazel.
Ah bless TS for that – I’ll keep that in mind.
I dislike the word ‘doormat’. Reading this article brought back many horrible memories of mistreatment and the time I spent accommodating people. Eventually I got fed up with wasting my time on people who treat me like I am unimportant.
HG one of my sister’s is also a ‘doormat’ to her husband mostly and at times to her kids. However it’s confusing, she is NO empath. I would have said a ‘normal’ at one point but ever since she and her
husband (a narc) retired and he finally has her isolated she had changed into a narc. Now I know that is not really the case she did not all of a sudden become a narc but it seems that way. We were very close for years then when I would not agree with her treatment of mother narc (in serious cognitive decline) which was not empathic to keep it short. She devalued me and all the narc behaviors started..Very weird …never saw it coming…last person I thought would act that Way. I attribute it to isolation with husband narc. And I mean ALL the narc behaviors..Can normals dim their empathic traits and behave like narc’s?? ? Appreciate any input Thanks
Please see “Understanding Emotional Empathy” in the Knowledge Vault which will answer your question Francine.
That Understanding Emotional Empathy was really informative! It wrapped up a lot of questions for me. I think understanding the empathy part is crucial, as it really is at the basis for all of our interactions with others. No one was able to explain it to me. I had been trying to piece it together for YEARS. It really helped me understand normals too and why the ones I know never seemed to care about larger humanitarian issues in society, in other countries, etc.
Good, it is a very effective tool for explaining the differences between people through the differing responses concerning emotional empathy.
I just finished the empathy cake. I found that extremely helpful. I’ve heard HG touch on the explanation but this really systematically explained it. There is no on and off switch Yes you have empathy, then you switch to normal then you switch to low then you switch to off That would be great but that’s not the way it works It really is an observation of the person’s behavior. But once you understand what to look for you can pretty much figure it out.
I am pleased you found it helpful.
Interesting article. I feel for your sister as I was very much like that for a long time before learning self worth. I used to think I only had value if I was doing things for others. Of course my borderline/narc grandparent put that into my head and let me know I was doing a lousy job at it too. I see why I was attracted to the ex narc in the first place as I had not fixed this part of myself yet.
I read Chained the other day. I loved it. HG gives more information about his sister in this book. Her behaviours and those of the Codependent are discussed in detail. It might be one to put on your shopping list. Definitely in my top 5.
I’m pleased you found it interesting.
“I’m pleased you found it interesting.”
I did. I wish I had read it sooner. I could see elements of myself in the CoD but more of me belongs to my lead school.
It gave me a really good feel for the strength of a minority school and how that minority was enough to slow my departure from the narcissist. That slow departure injured my pride but I’ve made my peace with it now.
An important book for me. I’m thankful you wrote it.
You are welcome.
Thanks TS. I’ll look into that one. Just finished the sex book and have read Fuel so far.
You have started with the key two books. Everyone should read those without doubt. They answer so many questions in themselves. Sitting Target for me was another must read in terms of understanding.
Then it becomes a little more personal. All of HG’s books have furthered my understanding. My favourite two would have to be Exorcism and Chained. Those just spoke to me on a more personal level. I saw myself in them and they made a marked difference to my personal recovery. Your earlier comment made me think of Chained for you. Xx