Being a doormat
The possibility that I may be a doormat has been occupying me a lot recently. Where is the line drawn between caring, considerate, helpful and just being seen as an ‘easy touch’?
I have become rather fed up recently with some of my friends. One of whom is almost family. You see, it seems that I am constantly running about looking after them, helping out with their problems, offering to pick things up for them when I am in town. And yet, I have noticed a dearth of assistance from those same people, a lack of calls to socialise, to spend time with them when they don’t need something.
Logically I can explain this in a number of ways. For example, take friend A. I’ve noticed that we don’t go out together much anymore. Arguably, she has not been out much at all. But she does have a lot of friends drop round for spontaneous nights in, to which I am never called over to join in. Yes, I live further away and the others just walk over. Yes, I have much younger kids and for the last year or so have had to refuse more often than not. But now they are older, now I am free to leave the house more. But it seems I have been left behind.
Now take friend B. I have picked her up after various break ups numerous times over the years – often the same man. I have driven over on my day off and brought her home, drunk and hysterical and given her a home to calm down in, while looking after her child and making sure that little girl didn’t have to witness any more. She has spent many weekends at my home, being part of my family, because she didn’t want to be alone whilst her daughter was away at the father’s. And yet, now she has found a new friend who is single and child free and able to go out drinking with her every weekend. Now I am rarely asked, because I do have a family and children and often have to say no.
I worry that I am a doormat. I get angry, with myself and them. But still I hear myself offering to help as soon as I know there is a need. I say yes when asked for a favour, before I hear what it is? Am I really so needy, so desperate to be wanted, to be useful, that I let people carry on using me?
It is hard to know where to draw the line between compassion, caring and supporting friends and the tip over into weakness.