January 8, 2022

You’re Not a “Pot de Fleurs”: 6 Ways to Stop Being a Doormat in our Relationships.


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When he wrapped up his concert, I was waiting for him with our flatmates to go back home.

As usual, we lost him. To be honest, I was no stranger to finding him backstage, flirting with women after the show (or every day).

And after every concert or any regular plan, one of our flatmates would tap me on the shoulder and sarcastically say, “Pot de fleurs!” Pot de fleur is a French term that means “flowerpot.” At the time, I didn’t read between the lines, and I hated it when he called me that.

I broke up with that guy many years ago, but the voice of our flatmate calling me pot de fleurs stuck with me. It was true that I loathed being called a “flowerpot,” but if I want to be completely honest with you, my nickname was on point. And I think I always hated it because, deep down, I knew he was right.

Let’s dissect the flowerpot term and reveal the truth behind it. A flowerpot is just a…flowerpot. It doesn’t move. It looks pretty on the outside, but on the inside, it needs lots of sunlight and water.

That was me. I looked okay on the outside, but on the inside, I needed lots of love and attention. For the sake of getting them, I stopped moving; I only wanted my source of love.

Pot de fleurs is another term for doormat—and this might ring a bell.

We’ve all been doormats, and I think it’s okay to admit it. It’s okay to admit that, at one point in time, we gave up who we are for the sake of validation and love.

At one point in time, all that we learned to say was “yes.” All that we learned to do was to stick around and accept being treated poorly.

When we’re doormats, we’re blind—and it’s not our fault.

When we’re doormats, we give people the power to put a blindfold over our eyes and trust them into guiding us toward the most convenient path—and it’s not our fault.

Especially when it comes to romantic relationships, it is easy to glide into becoming a doormat without realizing it. The first couple of months when we were independent, detached, and strong rarely last.

Then our traumas and childhood wounds take possession. We transform from independent to codependent, from detached to attached, from strong to weak. We transform into people who only want to please their partners, afraid of cutting the cord that destructively binds us together.

But it’s never too late to own who we are and stop letting those we love to walk all over us.

Here are six ways to give up the doormat status—once and for all:

1. Boundaries. When we have no boundaries, it’s much easier for people to take advantage of us. The fact is, no one can cross their limits unless we let them. So if we feel we are being treated unfairly, we need to question our own stand.

What are you accepting? To which extent are you agreeable in your relationship? Reevaluate your personal boundaries.

2. Caring. Caring is beautiful, and it’s a must in all our relationships. But sometimes we care a little too much and lose our sense of pride in the process. Caring out of love is good. Caring out of fear is bad—and unhealthy.

Do you care this much because you genuinely love your partner? Or do you care this much because you’re afraid to lose them? Know the difference.

3. Saying no. If we are constantly saying yes, we might be falling into the pit of people pleasing. Learning to say no reinforces our limits and helps us establish better choices we are satisfied with.

If it feels wrong, don’t say yes, and you don’t need to offer any explanations that might frustrate you. Contrary to what you might think, saying no empowers us and allows others to see us as worthy and respectable.

4. Communicate. How do you want to be treated? What are you expecting from your partner? How do you feel? What would you like to change? Communication is a healthy way to reestablish lost boundaries and claim our needs and wants.

If you feel you’re being used or taken for granted, stand up for yourself. If you feel you deserve better treatment, say it.

5. Compromise. Are you slowly becoming a doormat for the sake of keeping the relationship going? Compromise is an essential component in relationships, but if it’s not working out, we should consider another alternative.

On many occasions, we stick in unhealthy relationships because we’re afraid of failure. Know that ending a partnership doesn’t mean we have failed—it’s only a transition, and it might be painful at first.

6. Traumas. Don’t take them lightly. If we are being treated like doormats, there is a reason we are allowing this behavior. And the reason is almost always our traumas. Identify what’s making you stagnant and work on it.

What problem is revealing itself through your relationships? If we heal it, we’ll regain our self-worth again.

Remember, you’re not a “pot de fleurs.” I know it can be difficult to suddenly switch gears, but it’s for the best, I promise.

When we give up the doormat status, we will learn to love ourselves—fiercely and unconditionally. Don’t be afraid to go there; it’s a beautiful place.


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