To walk all over a carpet or some kind of tiled floor would be normal. This is because the floor has no feelings and very few wants and needs for example. If the floor was used too much it may wear out; so it will need to be cleaned at certain times and it might even need to be replaced after a while.

But other than that, there is not going to be much concern. And yet when it comes to a human being, having someone walk all over them is going to create problems.

As human beings, we have: feelings, emotions, thoughts, wants, needs, preferences and desires and a physical body. So this means that one will need to protect themselves and to listen to what their body and mind is telling them.

The Human Doormat

However, even though this is something that is vital for ones survival and wellbeing, it doesn’t always take place and one then becomes a human doormat. Saying yes when one should be saying no is part of life. It could also result in one saying no when they should be saying yes.

And this can relate to specific areas in one’s life or it can be something that has affected every area of one’s life. This person is wide open to anything and everything and is unable to set their boundaries.


For some people this may be something that occurs most in relationships with the opposite sex. Or it could be a challenge one has with friends, family members, colleagues or their manager.

There may be certain settings and contexts where one allows themselves to be walked over and in others it could be fine. But it could be so extreme that one feels that they have no choice, no matter who it is or where they are.

The Outside Observer

To someone who has boundaries and can therefore say yes and no at the right times, this scenario can be hard to comprehend. Logically it doesn’t make sense, because they are continually being taken advantage of and their own voice is not being heard.

And through seeing another behave in this way, it is unlikely to make sense. That is unless one has a deeper understanding of what is going on. While the behaviour is causing them to compromise who they are, it is there for a reason.

The Inner Experience

When compromise takes places, anger is not going to be too far behind. This person may question their right to exist and wonder if they have a right to have needs or wants for instance. And while others can stand up for who they are; this is not something that one feels safe to do.

So along with anger, can be feelings of powerlessness, feeling invisible and the conclusion that one is unworthy of life itself. And the only way they can survive is by pleasing others and doing exactly what they want and expect from them.

Two Sides

On one side this is causing endless suffering and compromise; so it is clearly dysfunctional and unhealthy. At times one can please others without compromising who they are, but this won’t always be the case. There will be moments when one has to say no and to set their boundaries in order to protect their personal space.

And on another side, this is what feels a comfortable and safe. To say no is not something that one can say with assurance; it is something one avoids at all costs. So even though it may be creating a life that is not worth living at times, to do anything else can cause one to feel incredibly vulnerable and guilty.


It could be that something happened in ones later life that made them conclude that it wasn’t safe to be who they are. And yet in most cases, it will relate to how one was treated as a child by their caregivers.

This will typically come down to whether ones caregivers had boundaries or not. If they did, it would be natural for them to respect their Childs personal space and if they didn’t, then it would be normal to overwhelm and smother them.


As a child, one has: wants, needs, feelings, emotions and thoughts. And if one is brought up by a caregiver that is emotionally undeveloped and unaware, it will be normal for the child to be used to take care of the caregivers needs.

When this happens, a role reversal is taking place and the child becomes the caregiver and the caregiver has to become the child. So instead of the child being taking care of, the child has to deny who they are and be who their caregiver wants them to be.

This is a matter of survival and while the child may be angry about it, there is very little that they can do. And as this is so, it can lead to the child coming to the conclusion that it can only survive by pleasing others.

Here one may have been used to fulfil their caregiver basic needs and this could also have gone as far as being abused in some way.


What was learnt in this early environment can them become how life is perceived. And as pleasing others and doing whatever they wanted was the only thing that felt safe as a child, one can continue to behave in this way. One can also end up feeling guilty for putting themselves first.

The ego mind came to associate these early experiences as familiar and therefore safe. And to go against these associations can feel like death to the ego mind. The feelings and emotions that were experienced during these early moments would also have been pushed into one’s body.


Inherently, one deserves to exist and to say yes and no when it is appropriate. And in order to realise this truth, it may be necessary to let go of the emotions and feelings that have been trapped in one’s body.

This can be done with the assistance of a therapist or healer who will allow one to release their feelings and emotions. As this happens, one will start to feel safe in their body and realise that they deserve to exist.

Author's Bio: 

Prolific writer, thought leader and coach, Oliver JR Cooper hails from the United Kingdom. His insightful commentary and analysis covers all aspects of human transformation; love, partnership, self-love, and inner awareness. With several hundred in-depth articles highlighting human psychology and behavior, Oliver offers hope along with his sound advice. Current projects include "A Dialogue With The Heart" and "Communication Made Easy."

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