If people are always taking advantage of you! And while a lot of that’s on them, it’s time to take a step back and look at the reasons why this keeps happening to you.
What I’m sure you’ll find is that people take advantage because you let them.
Are you too nice or too meek to stand up and say enough is enough?
Whatever it is, it’s time to say goodbye to these eight behaviors to let people know you’re not going to be used and abused any longer!
1) Falling for flattery
It’s really easy for people to grease their way into your good graces.
All they need to do is give you a few flattering compliments, and you can become putty in their hands.
If this constantly happens, it’s because you’re constantly seeking validation from others.
When you get it, you feel like you owe them something in return.
And guess what?
They often take no time trying to get it. That’s because so many people who hand out compliments do it because they’re trying to manipulate people so they can use them.
If you walk right into their trap, that’s because they’ve pegged you for someone who’s easy to manipulate, and then they’ll walk all over you.
If these circumstances describe you all too well, it’s time to focus on building up your self-esteem so that you can leave this damaging behavior behind.
And then it will be that much harder for people to take advantage of you in the future.
2) Too easily trusting others
They say that dogs can smell fear.
Whether that’s true or not is still up for debate.
But I think there are some people out there who can likewise smell an overly trusting person a mile away.
Are you one of them?
It’s great to give people the benefit of the doubt, but that’s very different from blindly trusting absolutely everything that they say or do.
Giving someone the benefit of the doubt is about holding on to your gut feeling that they’re not being honest but giving them a chance to prove you wrong.
But you still need to let your instincts protect you.
If someone has a history of lying or using others, they’ll probably do it again.
Go ahead, give them a chance to show that they’ve changed, but not the kind of chance that puts you into trouble.
If a friend has borrowed money before and didn’t repay you as you had agreed, could you let them borrow from you again?
“This time will be different!” they’ll plead, so let them be right.
If they ask for R500, let them borrow R100 first to prove they’re not just trying to mess you around once again.
3) Being blinded by authority
Sometimes people are quite good at setting boundaries and knowing when others are trying to use them, but then this flies out the window when authority figures are involved.
And we’re not just talking about police officers or your high school principal.
Authority figures can include bosses and supervisors, civil servants, doctors, teachers, and even people with expert knowledge, which can give them power over others like mechanics or IT specialists.
Some people have true phobias of certain authorities, which may stem from childhood experiences or even traumas.
But most of us are simply deferent to authority figures because we’ve been taught to be since we were young.
The danger is that many people of authority know this and are happy to take advantage of their positions of power to use others.
Look at your patterns.
If the people who are constantly taking advantage of you are all or mostly authority figures, then you may have a specific social phobia that you might need to work through.
4) Feeling insecure in your relationships
If you don’t feel secure in your relationships with your family, friends, or romantic partners, it becomes almost a self-fulfilling prophecy that you’ll be taken advantage of.
People with insecurities will do whatever they can to please others and try to make themselves seem to have more positive attributes.
So, of course, they’ll lend money or cover for others at work.
They want to seem generous, dependable, helpful, and worthwhile, but to users, they just end up looking like easy targets.
And I know this all too well.
One of my ex-girlfriends was extremely vivacious and beautiful. Everywhere she went, she drew people to her with her incredible magnetism, and of course, that included other guys.
It just made me feel insecure because she always had so many options.
So I’d skip out of work early to drive her around, take her to parties where she flirted with other guys, and basically do anything she wanted.
I think that’s why she got together with me in the first place – to have someone she held sway over so that she could feel powerful.
With the help of friends, I very luckily came to realize how much she was really taking advantage of me and managed to get myself out of that lopsided relationship.
5) Being afraid to stand up for yourself
If you don’t stand up for yourself, how will others ever know where your boundaries are?
When you’re very shy or timid, it can be hard to let people know when enough is enough for you. You might be afraid to speak up, voice your disagreement, or seem like a troublemaker.
But people who want to take advantage of you will exploit this and use it to focus on you over others who might offer more resistance.
To say goodbye to this behavior, you have to learn self-confidence and to put respecting yourself above your fear of other people’s perceptions of you.
6) Thinking this is how relationships work
My friend Jeanie is incredible. She’s smart, caring, kind, and gorgeous as well.
But again and again, people treat her like a doormat, especially in her romantic relationships.
I’ve watched her go through a string of boyfriends who simply use her and take advantage of her generosity and trust.
The last guy cheated on her three times (that she found out about), and they still only broke up when he finally left her.
Why did this keep happening to her?
Despite her current success in life, Jeanie had a really bad upbringing. She was raised by a single mother who, just like her, had a string of sleazebag boyfriends, some of whom were also abusive.
So to her, this is what relationships are like.
She hasn’t had enough good examples of respectful, loving, and nurturing relationships in her life to help her break out of the pattern she’s in.
If this is relatable for you, it’s going to be valuable to take time and nurture yourself and seriously look at examples of good relationships so you can learn how they’re managed and what kinds of foundations they’re built upon.
7) Being unable to say no
There are certainly some people out there whole will take a mile when you give an inch.
And if that happens to you all the time, then they’re taking advantage of you, and it’s actually because they’re not able to say no and stop them at the inch.
Being nice to others is wonderful, but only when it’s not at the expense of being nice to yourself.
It only shows that you don’t respect your own boundaries.
And then it ends up hurting even more than just being taken advantage of – you also know that what’s really happened is that you’ve let yourself down.
It’s crucial that you say goodbye to this behavior if you want to be able to keep a balance between being nice to others and also respecting yourself.
8) Pitying others
This is one behavior that can have an extremely negative impact on your life, even though it seems, on the surface, like a very positive thing.
But is pity the same as empathy or support?
Imagine a hard rain suddenly starts falling. You quickly pull out an umbrella, but you notice the person next to you doesn’t have one.
“I’m cold and wet,” they might say. “Let me have your umbrella.”
You could give your umbrella away because you feel sorry for your neighbor, and that might seem selfless. But then you miss out yourself.
Pitying others doesn’t mean you have to choose between yourself and others.
There’s a better way – why not invite them under your umbrella instead and offer support without losing out?
Leave these behaviors behind!
When people are constantly taking advantage of you, it’s time to re-assess your behavior and figure out why. I’m convinced that users look for easy targets who show themselves to be easy marks for exploitation.