Friday, August 05, 2011

How Not to be a Doormat without being a Bitch

I think I will write a book with the above title.  It will, of course, be only for women.  I don't think men would relate.  I know from what men tell me that they do worry about being a doormat.   And it's been my observation that they worry incessantly about being controlled by women.  Sometimes it has seemed to me that just asking a guy to change something triggered his fear of being controlled and so he just went into automatic pilot and refused on principle.  Made me nuts.  I told my dearly beloved husband that I thought he didn't feel like a real man unless some woman somewhere was mad at him.  He didn't deny it - he said he thought I might have something there.  I knew I did.  But the guys don't seem to worry about being a bitch or a sonofa...  In fact they seem to collect points for being "tough" (hard to get along with).

On the other hand, us girls seem to want to please (doormat?), until we don't, and then we blow up (bitch?).  I'm guessing - from my own experience and from talking to other women - that our minds seem to be set in a way - maybe by mother nature - to be kind and nurturing.  We feel guilty if we are some other way - which we frequently are.  Being a doormat used to make me really angry which led to throwing big fits.  Finally I've learned that giving in to someone else's wishes doesn't make me a doormat unless I'm going to come to some harm by doing so.  Other people don't know what I want unless I speak up.  But asking for what I want is way different from throwing a fit.  There a million different ways to deal with people who don't want to do what I've asked for - and, of course, acceptance is one way.  Sometimes, however, it's necessary to do something else.

One of my favorite memories is of one of my ex-husbands building a fire in a fireplace that was a gas fireplace.  Sparks and smoke came through cracks in the upstairs closet because the fireplace wasn't built to have a real fire in it.  I carefully explained that fact, but it made no difference.  Then I began throwing fits because I was so afraid the house was going to catch on fire.  Now that I've learned that taking care of problems myself is sometimes the only answer, I would just call the fire department.  I don't think I would be that popular with the person building the fires if I did that, but I would not be a doormat and I would not be a bitch.

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