If you choose to GO ALONG in order to GET ALONG, only do it long enough to GET AWAY.

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“Rat” in the comic strip Pearls Before Swine by Steven Pastis can be very nasty. But he has a place in the world. People don’t like it when we set boundaries. Too bad. We can’t all be the Buddha.

I wanted this post to be something happy and bright for the holiday season. But other stuff is in my head, and so you get something a little more sobering today.

Some interesting choices are in my path for 2017.

I’m not here today to talk about them, not yet. But it’s interesting to contemplate the insights and “aha!” moments I’m holding as a result of those choices.

The exploding doormat.  People are surprised when I finally blow up at somebody. But it never comes out of “nowhere”. When I first heard the phrase, The Exploding Doormat, I felt like the veil had been lifted from my face.

I still struggle mightily with setting boundaries. But when I do, and it works, it is amazing.

Setting boundaries carries its own hard places, like being accused of being “selfish” and “uncaring” and “a sorry excuse for a human being.” But that’s still a heckuva lot better than trying to scrub shoe prints off my face.

Sitting with uncertainty until clarity presents herself.  I first heard this phrase from an incredible woman with deep life wisdom, Sheri Gaynor. It was profound. Sheri and I crossed paths this year, and our journey was filled with insight and miracles. She has since returned to her beloved Colorado, but I have a feeling our paths will cross again someday.

I’ve noticed that when I decide something has to happen, I waste an inordinate amount of worry, and pushing, and hammering square pegs into round holes–which only exhausts me, frustrates me, and ruins the pegs. This simple phrase reminds me that when I let go, many things fall into place–or don’t, but for very good reasons. It may sound New Age and karma-laden, and the pragmatic side of me complains–but it’s true.

do believe that you can’t just sit still let the universe barge in through your front door, because that rarely happens.

But taking one small step outside your comfort zone–taking a class with a friend, going on vacation, being open to possibility, taking a little chance on some small thing–this is often just enough for something new to cross your path.

Protection through rejection. So many times, the things we desperately want, and don’t get….well, it often turns out to be a good thing. When we look back, we see we narrowly missed walking into a quagmire beyond belief.

Note: This isn’t a reason not to “go” for things. Being afraid to try something new is stifling. But it can help me get on track with “the next thing”, instead of living in the past, and wailing about it. (Some people might say, “Not so much…” but pooh on you. I am getting better.) (A little better.)  (Sometimes.)

Going along to get along.  (See also: Exploding Doormat) Trained from my infancy to “be nice” and “get along”, I am still addicted to this behavior. And it’s led me down some downright scary paths. I’m getting a little better at this, too. But I will always, always, have to actively think about not doing this. My new mantra is, “Go along to get along, until I can get away.” It’s working.

Suffice to say, this year has been baffling and puzzling, with strange, frightening behaviors in some people who I thought were friends, a lot of pompous posturings from same, many micro-aggressions. (One tip: If someone gets upset and starts making pointed and repeated remarks about “rape” in your presence, that person is no friend of mine. Or yours.)

The last insight has many permutations. This ain’t your first rodeo, you don’t have to be the clown. (Thank you, Melinda LaBarge!) You don’t have to do stupid stuff to be part of the group.)  Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys. You don’t have to take on other people’s issues if you don’t want to. And someday, take half an hour to read The Nibble Theory by Kaleel Jamison. You won’t regret it. (Explains why some people behave the way they do, in simple, beautiful, enlightening prose.)

And my absolute favorite, from Dr. Maya Angelou::

When people SHOW you who they are, believe them.  

It is astonishing how much bad behavior we accept from others, and the incredible stories we make up to explain it away.

Don’t do it anymore. You are just prolonging the agony. Every single time we look back on our interactions with toxic people, we realized we had willingly overlooked all the ‘tells’.

We’re getting better at this, too.

I really do hope your holidays are filled with love and joy and family and friends. But remember, sometimes you just have to add a lot more rum to that eggnog.








Author: Luann Udell

I find it just as important to write about my art as to make it. I am fascinated by stories. You can tell when people are speaking their truth--their eyes light up, their voices become strong, their entire body posture becomes powerful and upright. I love it when people get to this place in their work, their relationships, their art. As I work from this powerful place in MY heart, I share this process with others--so they have a strong place to stand, too. Because the world needs our beautiful art. All of it we can make, as fast as we can! Whether it's a bowl, a painting, a song, a garden, a story, if it makes our world a better place, we need to do everything in our power to get it out there.

27 thoughts on “EXPLODING DOORMAT”

  1. Oh Luann, as usual you twanged a nerve with me in your post. I grew up learning the get along, don’t rock the boat theory and boy did I learn it well. And like you I can be pushed a long way until I explode but then you better run for the hills. But the part about when people show you who they are, believe them, brought up a deep hurt from a few years ago where I missed (or didn’t want to see) the tells, made up all sorts of excuses until I blew up. It has taken me almost 10 years to work through that situation and I am still baffled by how absolutely trusting I was even in the face of a thousand hints to what was real versus what I wanted to be real. Thank you for sharing your journey. It helps to know I’m not the only one fighting this battle. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year!


    1. There are so many life lessons, and yes, some take YEARS to untangle. But you’ve kept trying, and most important of all, YOU LEARNED. (Me? I have to “learn the lesson” over and over, it seems. Still learning.) :^)

      Sometimes triangulation helps, especially when I run into difficulties wiith a specific person in a group. Almost always, when I check in with friends, real friends, I find I’m NOT the only one having issues with this person–just the LATEST one. Some people have a history of blowing up bridges, and they often have subtle mental health issues we overlook. They can’t help it or they can’t see it in themselves. We can’t be blamed for lighting a candle in the dark, only to realize someone’s poured a can of gasoline on the floor.

      Hope this helps, Deb, and as always, I so appreciate your good cheer and your generosity. Merry Merry to you, too!


  2. Wonderful insight Luann and thanks for sharing at this particular time of the year – Oh the proverbial mouse may not be stirring on the eve of Christmas, but those repressed demons sure have a party! And, as if our own demons aren’t enough, this time of the year often unleashes those of our parents and grandparents, though these original hosts have long been “resting in peace”; all sorts of hidden dysfunctions come riding along on the sleigh of memories propelled by the age-old carols. But, as you so well advised, there’s tremendous freedom in uncovering our own truths and living authentically. Here’s to a fresh start in 2017! Blessings to all.


    1. OMG, Gaelle, I am SO GLAD this resonated with you! I really did hesitate, it seemed so….Scrooge-y. But also from my heart. Thank you for letting me know, and for your comments.


  3. You are ALWAYS right in the forefront of a blessed river of insight and support! Have just signed up for a self-help therapy to get over several of the examples you’ve mentioned, was about to begin plundering my soul in response to excellent questions to which I probably could have saved thirty dollars by just chanting the GREAT quotes you’ve sprinkled your post with. Will tattoo them on the back of my eyelids as I continue onward this morning. Such a blessing, Luann. Whatever changes you are making, I’m sure they will continue to light the way for others as well as yourself.


    1. You are living proof that when I write what is in my heart, there is somebody else out there who will relate. Diane, I’m glad you’ve reached out, to me and to your therapist. (I am NOT a highly-trained professional, and she will be better equipped to help you work these things out.) As for the eyelid tattoo, let me know how that works out. Although having them tattoed on your arm will be just as helpful, and a lot less painful, I think! :^D
      Big, big hugs to you this holiday season!


  4. Just took another look at this woman’s blog post–she is ALWAYS so inspirational–and again she’s set the tone for me to be able to start exhuming my feelings/thoughts about how stop wondering what the heck happened with Doug and to move onward with my life –I am sure you will enjoy reading her post, also, when you have time…

    From: Luann Udell To: poolpilardiane@yahoo.com Sent: Sunday, December 25, 2016 3:36 AM Subject: [New post] EXPLODING DOORMAT #yiv3465352697 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv3465352697 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv3465352697 a.yiv3465352697primaryactionlink:link, #yiv3465352697 a.yiv3465352697primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv3465352697 a.yiv3465352697primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv3465352697 a.yiv3465352697primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv3465352697 WordPress.com | Luann Udell posted: “If you choose to GO ALONG in order to GET ALONG, only do it long enough to GET AWAY.I wanted this post to be something happy and bright for the holiday season. But other stuff is in my head, and so you get something a little more sobering today.Some” | |


  5. Well, I guess you can say that not everyone you meet is going to be your friend and sometimes those who have been friends take a turn and you have to either “unfriend” them or at least step away and move them to the periphery of your life. Or maybe you never really knew them before. And you know, there are a lot of crazies out there. We are to accustomed to everything having to happen right now, I think little bumps in the road can cause people to spin out of control in proportion to the situation. Happy New Year.


  6. I love this line: Sitting with uncertainty until clarity presents herself. Thank you Luann! Merry Christmas!

    Hugs from Kara


  7. Thank you, Luann. I too learned to always ‘get along’, so well that I stifled a lot of myself in order to do so. You have always been a well of thoughtfulness.


    1. I know this is a hanging sentence, but I was all ready to say, “Well, I never had either til this year!” :^)
      The blessing in this situation is, I soon recognized this for what it was–a hideous, dangerous attack, not to be swept under the rug.
      I couldn’t act in the moment–I was too devastated.
      But I knew instantly that it was not something to “make up a story about”, and excuse or overlook. It was simply a deal-breaker.
      And the other blessing was, when I let someone else know how much this had upset me (given the horrible events many, many women have shoveled in their past at some point), someone stood up for me. It was amazing, and I will love that person forever.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I always hope I will have the presence of mind to step up.in a situatiom like that, but one just has no idea til it happens. Because I found it so shocking, ai wanted to reply to your post quickly, without taking the usual care I would- hence doing so on my phone and thumbing send instead of the backspace!
        I can only hope that should I be in the position to be the equivalent of your pal, I don’t fall short. 🌼


  8. Oops. Sent that before I had finished! I am grateful not to have experienced quite everything you mention! I had a FB pal send me a message, back in 2013 when I first started with social media. I has incredibly miserable amid a failing restructure at work…the ceo had arranged for consultants to come in and review everything-that would be good, except these were used to private commerce, not public sector and ran roughshod over our legal responsibilities. It meant I regularly had staff phone me in tears becasue they knew they were working using processes that were illegal. Not my circus, not my monkeys was something my staff and I used to say to each other, between the comfort eating! I hope that you find 2017 a happier year, and yes…shed those people who proved they are not characters with whom you wish to spend time. Unless they are sick, and you love them -and can help by supporting them – they are just poaching your clean air. Great article. Thank you.


    1. Dawn, I’m so glad you persevered in your post, because it’s an excellent example of how “going along” can destroy everything a group hopes to accomplish. And also how corrupt corporate actions come into being–small, retreating steps that lead to crossing legal, ethical, and moral lines.
      And I LOVE your comment about poached clean air–what a great metaphor! Thank you for your thoughts!


  9. It is hard sometimes when people change from what we perceive as normal and all of a sudden, they are overcome with paranoia, and start doing really unusual things. At first you wonder, because we are taught to be nice, what you did and eventually you have to come to the conclusion that sometimes somewhere, people are having times when they are going a “little haywire” and– you can’t fix it so the best thing seems to be to either remove them or yourself from the situation – whichever is necessary and expedient to the greater cause. It is not easy though – whether it is social or business or a group that you are volunteering with — your survival and the group’s survival is what matters. I have seen groups and clubs fall apart because all of the people were so nice – they let the “haywire” person take it down — they forgot that the survival of the greater cause is more important that a single person’s viewpoint and they failed to see that viewpoint as being what it was — just plain wrong! Similar to what is happening in politics right now……And you are free to delete this entire post if it is inappropriate.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Delete it?? No way!! It’s PERFECT.
      And you have helped ME today. Because you’ve validated MY observations on this baffling social meme.
      I see this phenomenon all the time. Someone in a group is behaving like a complete jerk, and not only do people overlook it and accommodate it, if we do speak up, WE become the “problem.”
      I’ve had this happen over and over in my life. For years, people would say I just wasn’t willing to “get along.” It took years of small insights and a few people who were willing to “triangulate” and validate what I was seeing, to realize this for what it was.
      I still don’t understand why social groups do this. I’d LOVE to hear from an expert on social dynamics who has thoughts about how to handle this. The only solution I’ve ever found is to diplomatically withdraw from the group, and continue on my own path. And over the years, this willingness to set out on my own has only strengthened and empowered me in my artwork and writing.
      I am so glad you shared this today, Marjorie, THANK YOU!!


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