When you are done being the perfect doormat, give me a call
Perfectionism has lead me to being the perfect doormat
When you walk around believing that making mistakes, doing things half-assed or disappointing people is basically the worst thing than can happen, you can bet that you are a perfectionist. Perfectionism has it’s upside, it’s true. It can been a motivator to achieving goals and doing things really, really well. The downside, however, is not worth it’s benefits.
Perfectionism has caused me to believe that I need to be all things to all people
I grew up believing that the people in my life needed me to provide stability and support. I learned wonderful listening and problem solving skills that have made me the therapist I am today. But it also caused me to believe that I need to put my own needs aside in order to promote the well being of others, including the adults in my life. I can remember as a young child not telling my parents when I was sad, scared or lonely because I didn’t want to burden them.
When you learn to neglect your basic needs as a child, it can be difficult to recognize the continued patterns into adulthood
Throughout my lifetime I have felt the burden of other’s emotions and needs because I thought that setting a boundary would make me less of a friend, daughter, sister or wife. I had a hard time making a connection between my emotional pain resulting from being perfect in a relationship and the self destructive thoughts, feelings and behaviors that affected my functioning. I have experienced significant digestive issues my entire life as I swallowed down my own needs and feelings. I have suffered with teeth grinding as I constantly kept my mouth shut. I have laid in the darkness with overwhelming migraines while I struggled to find a way to calm the storm within my brain.
Although I try to come off as strong, confident and in charge, I have always been a doormat
I couldn’t handle the idea of letting someone down or watching someone be sad as a result of something I said or did, even if saying or doing the thing would make me well. Even when I have tried to set boundaries in the past, I was never good at standing strong as I was challenged by someone who I love dearly. I have given up so many nights attending events I didn’t want to go to and countless hours on the phone listening to others who don’t wait to ask how I am before getting off the phone. The most pain comes from the times I have made myself smaller to help another person glow brighter and the times that I have apologized when I wasn’t wrong because it would create a fuss otherwise.
When I turned 40 I decided that my days of being a door mat were over
I was sick of feeling sick over what others thought of me and of attempting the impossible job of making those around me feel comfortable. I started to say no. I started to use my voice. Slowly but surely, I began to actually believe that I had a right to live my life on MY terms. Relationships around me had to change as a result of a my change. There are those that want to grow with me, that are okay with being uncomfortable so that I can choose myself over them. There are those who have tried desperately in different ways to keep me in my place.
I have fought long and hard and am now an actual full-sized, hard wood door with a brass knocker
If you want to be close to me you must respect my boundaries. I won’t be stepped on anymore. You need to knock on the door and ask permission. It is then that I decide if I want to let you in or not. You don’t have to like me or agree with me. You don’t have to approve of my choices or think I am a good person. I know the truth as do those in my life who truly respect me.
I want you to be a full-sized door as well!
Take it from me, it isn’t your responsibility to fit in, to make yourself smaller or to quiet your voice. Are you a door mat who wants to pick themselves off the ground and transform into a door with clear boundaries? Do you want to unlearn the ways of perfectionism, people pleasing and self deprecation?