Unacceptable behavior by others can catch you off guard. You may not know how to respond. Below are a few tips about what to do if you find yourself in this situation.
I’m thrilled to be a weekly guest blogger at The Society for Recovering Doormats (thesocietyforrecoveringdoormats.com) for the remainder of 2016. Ivy Tobin, Thought Leader, Founder of The Society, and whose alter-ego, Rose Gardner, authored the book, My Life As a Doormat, has invited me to help her followers feel empowered and tranquil as we move through the busiest and most stressful time of the year. You, of course, dear Enchanted Journeyers are along for the ride. Here is the guest blog post:
With a Ph.D. in Energy Medicine, nearly 30 years of experience as a psychotherapist, public speaker, author, and mixed media artist, I’ve discovered several avenues through which we can banish stress and create life as an enchanted journey. To learn more about me, please visit my website at www.drterrysegal.com, sign up to receive my weekly Enchanted Blog, and get your FREE Place of Peace meditation.
Let’s get started. I’ll address one issue per week from 10 Signs That You Are A Doormat.
For our purpose here, the situations presented are not life-threatening.
#1-Accepting and justifying unacceptable behavior.
The unacceptable behavior is displayed by someone else. It’s the huge elephant that just entered the room. Maybe you feel stunned by the person’s rudeness. Perhaps they are drunk, inappropriate, using foul language, or violating personal boundaries. It may not even be directed at you, but you get that familiar knot in your stomach, racing heart, clammy sweat, dry mouth, and frozen deer in the headlights stare. This sets off the stress hormones in your body. The dilemma is to fight or flee. Neither feels doable. Your default is to make excuses for them, even if you don’t know them, but especially if you do.
WHAT TO DO
–Breathe. Everything starts with your breath. It will seem like an eternity, but inhale deeply and slowly through your nose, and then exhale through your mouth. Repeat.
-Silently, command your body to release tension. (You need to be flexible enough to move or speak.)
-Take a stand for yourself. Just like the oxygen mask on the airplane, you must stabilize yourself first.
–Assess, in a flash, whether it serves you to speak up or leave. Leaving is not just for cowards. Sometimes it makes the best sense.
–Don’t make excuses for the bad behavior of others. You’re only responsible for your own actions.
WHAT TO SAY
-Today, choose an empowering statement or two to use when needed. You might say, “This is unacceptable to me.” That can be followed by leaving. If you choose to stay, you’ve at least empowered yourself by taking a stand with your words. Try on different sentences until you find ones that fit for you.
–Rehearse them so that if your mind goes blank you can at least utter those words.
I’VE BEEN THERE
In my early 20s, in NYC, as a young professional model, actress and dancer, I was a background dancer in a film starring Hollywood legend, Lauren Bacall. Due for our union break, the dancers all crammed into an elevator. Last in, I pushed the button to close the doors. From the outside, Ms. Bacall, pushed the button to open the doors. Having had no previous interactions with her, she leveled her gaze at me and said, “Step out, A**hole.” Shocked, I went to step out, only to be pulled back by a fellow dancer who reached over me and pressed the close button. Everyone cheered. Without him, I would’ve allowed myself to be invalidated, insulted, and abused. From the break room, we watched her exit the next elevator and head into her trailer. Not another word was spoken about it when we returned to the set, but what a valuable lesson that was for me. We all need to advocate for ourselves at the highest level.
Have you ever felt like a doormat in the presence of unacceptable behavior? Please leave a comment to let us know.