Paso Robles, CA

“There is nothing spiritual in repressing your feelings.” – Marianne Williamson 

There tends to be a belief that, in order to be “Spiritual,” you must be all “Love and Light.”

I call Bullsh***t on that.

Continually repressing your feelings is dangerous. Are you allowing yourself to be an “Exploding Doormat?”

I was on a weekend retreat with my daughter recently. Koelle Simpson, the retreat leader, is a horse whisperer in the truest sense of the word. I believe, she’s also a “human whisperer.” A beautiful being with a gift of intuition that’s off the charts.

One of the participants was sharing a story. She’s a Mom. She’s also full of anger – repressed anger. You could feel her pain…and her confusion.

She had young children at home. She’s not only a Mom…she’s a single Mom. She loves her children yet she couldn’t understand why she kept lashing out at her kids.

It’s the first time I had heard the term, Exploding Doormat. Koelle shared that when we suppress and repress our needs over time and continually give to others while allowing ourselves to be walked over, the doormat can’t help but explode. That repressed energy can’t stay down forever. All those buried emotions inevitably come up…and it’s usually not pretty.

The term “Exploding Doormat” was coined by the Fierce and Fabulous, Martha Beck.

My experience in Spirituality suggests that only truly enlightened beings are all Love and Light. The rest of us humans are just doing the best that we can! We have issues. We have pain. We have shadows. We have feelings and emotions, many of which are buried; suppressed and repressed over time. Some because they have to be to keep us safe. Most because of fear and our internal wiring that includes unhealthy patterns and beliefs.

I had tremendous empathy for this single mother. I admired her courage in being vulnerable, allowing her facade to crumble, her shield to rest for a moment by her side.

I sensed most of us at the retreat could relate to the “Exploding Doormat” syndrome. For this woman, it was finely woven into the fabric of motherhood. For me, it was refusing to stand up to a marriage filled with deprecation and emotional abuse. It doesn’t have to be this way.

The retreat was centered around the theme of “Connections.” My daughter and I were “reconnecting.” We’ve been going through a challenging personal situation in our family over the past couple of years. We were both ready to heal.

I sense she could relate to her Mom becoming an “Exploding Doormat” in my marriage. I know I did. The cost of keeping a happy face on for years and years was much too high. I was in an extremely unhealthy marriage that was taking a massive toll on my physical and emotional well being. I was literally “dying on the inside” while refusing to let others know. From the outside, I looked happy. I looked like the woman who had it all. That wasn’t even close to my reality. My inner world was filled with sadness and pain. Most of it unconscious to me as I pushed those feelings down as far as I could, for as long as I could. And then: I would explode in anger…anger I didn’t understand. It was all I saw growing up. I learned to suppress my needs, my feelings, and any and all emotions, at any cost.

I do believe that we are spiritual beings having a human experience.

We have a spirit…a soul at our core…that is the essence of our being. It is our authentic self and it cannot be repressed or suppressed forever. We must be who we are born to be.

Living as an “Exploding Doormat” means chipping away at our soul, little by little. It means denying who we truly are. It means living out of alignment with our purpose and our desires.

You don’t have to be a doormat. Neither did I. I refuse to live that way any longer.

When we express our feelings, our emotions, our wants, our needs, and our desires, we live authentically…and we form healthy relationships through clear communication. Being a healthy human means not repressing our emotions. Being a healthy human means being real, beginning with ourselves.

Repressed anger and suppressed emotions over time lead to illness. Feelings and emotions exist for a reason. We must feel them, to heal them. We must learn to express them in a healthy way. We must learn to ask for what we need.

The human spirit is a powerful thing. We aren’t born to be doormats. We aren’t born to be walked upon. We are born to rise above. We are born to be Fierce. We are born to live and to love…beginning with ourselves.

We are born filled with Moxie.



I helped so many women see this Catherine. So great to see it published so it’s out there for folks to read…..and read again!


Of course you did sister. You are always ahead of the curve! I saw my younger self for sure!


I was a doormat for 21 years in my previous marriage – full of abuse and unhappiness. I had my baby to fill my voids. When he went to college I knew my days were numbered. Thankfully, that all ended and a new chapter of happiness began. Thank you for sharing this experience and wisdom.


Thank you for sharing. I didn’t know that part of your story. That’s my story and I can only share certain parts because of my children. I lost a child during my marriage and he could have cared less. It was brutal. I’m grateful you have found a new, empowered chapter filled with happiness, sister.


I can really relate to this post! I feel like I’m supposed to suppress all my anger and resentment towards my mother’s dementia and the toll it’s taking on me. I’ve ‘exploded’ so many times in the last few months. I feel like life will never get back to normal. Thank you so much for this post – it’s reassuring to know that I’m not crazy!


I understand that so well. My Mom passed away from Alzheimers. My grandparents too. Mike’s Mom has it really badly now. It’s such a difficult illness, especially for the caretakers and loved ones. I don’t know how you wouldn’t be an exploding doormat. The more self care the less the explosions. Try and create space for you. Sending love!


Is it okay to love a term that describes you negatively?? I hope so, because I do love the term, “exploding doormat”. It describes me so well. I do lash out, and even as the anger and frustration words are coming out of my mouth, I want to reel them back in and say, “no, I really don’t mean to yell at you!”. But I can’t. And the recipient of my anger is hurt and stunned. What I want to learn to do is NOT let the anger and frustration build in me, but express it the right way, at the time I’m feeling it. But I am a doormat so many times and tamp those feelings down, until they come out at the wrong time, to the wrong person. Thank you, Catherine, for bringing me the term, and your words of help!



That’s called awareness, courage, authenticity and vulnerability. Trust me that I believe many women can relate to this. We aren’t supposed to express anger just as men aren’t supposed to express feelings and emotions. How can we not explode? It’s impossible to suppress energy in motion over time. It’s the laws of basic physics isn’t it. Thank you for being a wonderful role model in vulnerability.


What a fantastic post Catherine. Let’s learn ways to safely detonate without harming ourselves or others in the process to reduce the collateral damage that has a high physical, psychological and emotional cost.


I think this is a post that woke a lot of people up. I also think it’s something we can write about together.


I’ve never heard this term but it describes me to a tee. Living in fear of conflict and accepting he unacceptable … and the imploding in anger at the most inopportune and inappropriate times leaving others stunned and wondering why I’m overreacting. While I’ve been fully aware this is an issue for quite some time, I didn’t know how to describe it. Thank you. xo


Thank you so much for sharing. I grew up walking on eggshells. My Father was an orphan who was abandoned. He was filled with rage. He was a walking time bomb. I couldn’t speak up. I couldn’t voice anything or show my feelings. I married a very challenging man and the pattern repeated. It was decades of holding things in. We can’t do that to ourselves. The more self care and the more awareness of our inner world, the less the future explosions. Sending you love and compassion.


Such a great post, Catherine! It would be really cool to meet the Horse Whisperer! People like that are few and far between!


I will definitely reach out. We are planning to do a show together. That would be amazing!


I can relate 💯 percent to this post Catherine. For many years I too was an “Exploding Doormat.”
No more, not ever am I going to allow this to happen to me! I’m strong, I am fierce!
I certainly have empathy for this young single mother.

Great post my friend
Barb 😘❤️


You know how much I understand. I’m so grateful to be in a different space today. Being real has major advantages as we are far more open and connected to our feelings and learning how to express them in a healthier manner. You have a lot on your plate. There is no more difficult job in the world than being a caretaker, is there. Sending you love!

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