Assuming Responsibility for the Bad Moods of Others


Assuming responsibility for the bad moods of others may make you feel like a doormat.



Greetings, Recovering Doormats and Enchanted Journeyers,

I congratulate you for reading this. It means you’re self-aware and looking to improve.

The world needs more people like you.

I’m honored to be here as a guest blogger for my second of ten weeks through to the new year. May you arrive less stressed and more empowered. Thank you to Ivy Tobin, Thought Leader, Founder of the Society For Recovering Doormats and Author of My Life As a Doormat.

Each week I’ll be tackling one of the ways that people are doormats.


#2-Assuming Responsibility For Others’ Bad Moods

Are you someone who feels responsible for the moods of others? If so, you likely did not come to this on your own. Look back into the family dynamics that were in place during your childhood. The purpose of this is not to blame others but to be a loving guide to yourself as you own the process that lead you to behaviors you may still have today. It’s never too late to change.

Adult children of alcoholics, (ACAs), or those whose parents were addicted to other substances, had to gauge the mood of their authority figures and act accordingly, in order to feel safe, accepted, or loved. Is that you? If so, it was more important to observe and calculate the moods of others than to experience your own. You had to ditch your feelings in order to survive. The fallout is a lack of awareness of how you actually feel about things. You may be judged for being indecisive, slow to communicate, a people-pleaser or suffering from low self-esteem. You may also be vigilant about saying or doing the right thing.


A young, hard-working, female, high school student, strives to get good grades. She comes right home after school, let’s herself in, because her parents work, and sets about studying. Her father enters the house at 4 p.m., drunk, slurring his speech. As the target of his displaced anger, he yells at her for sitting around while he’s earning money to support the family. He calls her “lazy” and demands that she get up to make him something to eat. She complies, not wanting to anger him further. He sits down, takes one bite of food, insults her cooking and throws the plate against the wall before storming out of the house.


-When he enters the scene she abandons herself.

Assesses his mood 

-Makes his needs her focus

-Tries to anticipate what will calm him, keep him from escalating

-Displays people-pleasing behaviors

Receives his insults without reply

-Remains vigilant, on high-alert until it is safe (he leaves, falls asleep)

-Perhaps chooses a life partner that “feels like home” and the pattern repeats itself. The opposite response can occur, when the abused become the abusers in an attempt to gain power and control.


If you recognize any of these behaviors in yourself now, use the acronym “I Matter.”

I-Inhale/Exhale deeply a few times. (Always start with the breath.)

M-Make your needs your focus.

A-Assess the situation and get to safety.

T-Tranquility: Remain calm.

T-Train yourself away from taking responsibility for other adults.

E-Express your emotions in a safe environment.

R-Reclaim your life.


If you or someone you know is in a domestic abuse situation, get professional help. There are local hotlines and national organizations to assist you. Here’s a link to resources through the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence:

DISCLAIMER: Information on this site is provided for informational purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by your own physician or other medical professional.

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