What is Toxic Femininity and the Doormat Dilemma?
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Can femininity turn toxic? Traits like nurturing, gentle, and sensitivity are often associated with femininity, but what happens when these stereotypes turn toxic?
Psychotherapist Dr. Karen Ruskin explains this occurs when stereotypically feminine trains result in individuals ignoring their mental or physical needs to sustain those around them.
She says this issue can cause some women to lose their voice and cage themselves when they put their needs behind everyone else's. She goes on to explain when someone is too passive they end up with the "doormat dilemma" and in addition to an individual forgetting their own needs, the people around them also do not take their needs into consideration.
Dr. Ruskin points out the trait of being agreeable might be positive in some instances. but if taken too far, someone can slip into being a doormat and not voice their thoughts and concerns, thus allowing others to dominate situations and conversations.
So what can women do to alter these passive behaviors?
The psychotherapist says they should still listen, but also express and share their feelings. For example, you might say, "I'm so glad you shared what your feeling with me, and this is how I feel." She notes being a communicator and a listener is important.
In addition to being passive, some find themselves apologizing when they have no reason to. Find out more as Dr. Karen details the “I’m sorry,” syndrome and how women can shut it down, here.