Why You Shouldn't Be a Doormat in a Relationship

Some people find it hard to draw a line between being a kind, helpful person and letting others take advantage. These people have a hard time saying “no” to a request from a loved one. They allow others to walk all over them; hence the term “doormat.” Doormat Syndrome, as it is sometimes called, is a common problem in romantic relationships 2.

Traits of a Doormat

Doormats are people pleasers and are usually very concerned about what others think of them. They try to make everyone happy and usually make themselves miserable as a result. Doormats hate to see their loved ones upset or stressed and take the burden upon themselves whenever possible. They almost never say no, even when they do not want to do something. They put themselves out for others while receiving little or no appreciation or compensation.

Enabling Behaviors

Doormats enable passive-aggressive behavior. They allow and, in fact, encourage their loved ones to take advantage of them. A doormat’s spouse quickly learns that he can easily get the doormat to do or go along with just about anything. The doormat does not expect thanks or reciprocation, which encourages her partner’s selfish, ungrateful behavior.

Lack of Respect

As Dr. “Phil” Phillip McGraw states, “we teach people how to treat us.” By constantly putting the needs of others before his own, a doormat teaches people that he is not worthy of their respect. Doormats often surround themselves with toxic people and users, because the people-pleaser personality type attracts people who take advantage of others 3.

Loss of Identity

Doormats, as people pleasers, feel that they must focus all their energy on doing things for others. Rarely do they do things for themselves, and when they do, they often feel selfish and guilty. They let their own hobbies and friendships fall by the wayside because they are so busy doing things for and with their spouse. This quickly leads to isolation and loss of personal identity. If the relationship between the doormat and the user deteriorates, the doormat may find herself without a network of friends to rely on.


All the negative consequences of being a doormat in a relationship eventually lead to resentment. The doormat bottles up his feelings of being taken advantage of and taken for granted. He begins to feel resentment toward his partner, but the pattern of giving without receiving is usually so firmly established by this point that it is difficult to see a way out. This can easily lead to anxiety and depression.