There aren’t many things worse than getting taken advantage of. You are kind and want to do nice things for others but it can be difficult when people just want to take and take. If you are getting used and you have had enough, this article is for you. Stop letting others exploit your good nature.
“There comes a time when you have to stop crossing oceans for people who wouldn’t jump puddles for you.”
Signs You Are Getting Used
You Feel Depleted
It is important to realize that people who use others can deplete more than just money, resources, and time, but they can also deplete energy and emotions. Energy and emotional vampires invoke powerful emotions in others such as stress, worry, fear, frustration and anxiety. Each of these emotions can drain you to your core.
They may need your constant attention or advice. They may want to drag you into every issue or piece of drama they are dealing with. Whatever it is, it can be tiring. If you often feel depleted after being with certain people, chances are you are getting used.
Nothing is Ever Good Enough
If you feel that nothing is ever good enough, you may be getting manipulated in some way. No matter how hard you try and no matter how much effort you put into something, the other person doesn’t ever to seem to be appreciative. Sure they may thank you, but in the end it is never enough. They always expect more.
There is No Reciprocation
When someone is taking advantage of you there is no give and take. There is only take. They will want you to adjust your schedule for them. They will want you to listen to their problems or hear about their successes. Perhaps they want to borrow your things or expect financial support. All of these things are expected but no attempt is made to reciprocate.
They do not want to hear about your issues and especially your successes. They never lend a hand or help out when you need it. The bottom line is that you never get the same support that you give in return.
You are Made to Feel Guilty
Guilt is a major factor when you are being manipulated. If you feel guilty for not doing something for someone, chances are you are being used. Master manipulators will use these feelings against you to get what they want.
How To Stop Getting Used
Here are some effective strategies to stop getting used.
1. Be Clear and Direct About Your Feelings of Getting Used
This strategy is difficult for many but it is also the most effective. Be clear about your feelings and how their actions and behaviors are affecting you. It’s important to be able to communicate in a clear way to others if you are getting used and want things to change. Do not assume that people know the impact of their actions. Most people do not.
When you are being clear and direct, spell it out for them. Say something like, “I feel I am getting used because … and it makes me feel sad, angry, and frustrated. I need you to …” This way the other person knows exactly how you feel and what you need them to do.
2. Set Boundaries
Decide that there are just some things that you are no longer willing to take from others and from yourself. Sometimes you have to put your foot down and draw a line in the sand. The key is to make that line as clear and defined as possible.
What kinds of things frustrate you? What triggers your emotions? The answers to these questions will help you define and set boundaries.
Here is what some boundaries may sound like when you are getting used.
- I can’t lend you money but I can help you another way.
- We may disagree but I do not deserve to be disrespected.
- I can lend this to you but I need it back by the weekend.
Spend some time thinking about what you are no longer willing to tolerate. Once you are a clear on what those are, articulate these clearly to others.
3. Let Them Go / Cut Them Off
If being clear and direct has no impact and your boundaries are still being crossed, it may be time to let them go. These are signs of toxic relationships and continuing in these types of relationships is unhealthy.
Think about how the person(s) make you feel? Consider whether the struggle is worth it? What are you giving up by being around them? Peace, happiness, success? Sometimes the best way to avoid getting used is to step away completely.
4. Limit Your Resources and Access
If cutting them off completely is not in the cards for you, then limit their access to you. For instance, if you have a friend who asks for money every time their rent is coming up due, take longer to respond to their texts or voicemails. Perhaps you can avoid places these people are. Make it difficult for manipulators to have access to you.
Here are some things you can do to limit your resources and access:
- Never respond immediately to their texts.
- Avoid places they frequent.
- Spend time with other people who value you.
- Say, “Let me get back to you,” every time they ask you something.
- Have somewhere else to go planned before meeting with them.
5. Realize You Deserve Better
Many people continue getting used because they have low self worth. They feel that in order to be a valuable person, they must continually do for others. True value comes from within, never from someone else. Realize that you are enough and you deserve better than to be used.
You are valuable all by yourself. If someone belittles you, walks away, or tries to make you feel guilty when you stop doing things for them, then that is a reflection of them, not you. No one who really cares about you, and truly appreciates you as a person will take advantage of you.
How To Get Over Getting Used
Getting used hurts. Here are some strategies to move forward.
Learn From It
Getting used can have many effects on you physically and emotionally. Depending on the severity, being taken advantage of can stick with you for a long time. One way to let it all go, is to focus on the lesson. How can you use the experience to your advantage?
Perhaps some clear healthy boundaries can come from it. Maybe you gain some clarity about the types of people you want to in your life. Or maybe you can determine if there are some things internally you need to work on like your confidence or self-esteem. There is always a lesson to be learned.
Forgive (yourself and others)
Avoid beating yourself up for getting used. It happens. We are all human and most of us just want to be appreciated, loved, and helpful. It’s not our fault that some others want to take advantage of that. Practice self-forgiveness and let things go.
In order to move on, it may also be helpful to forgive them as well. This does not mean excusing their behavior or letting them back in your life, but it does mean practicing a little bit of compassion. Walk in their shoes and try to understand why they do the things they do. This is not appropriate in all cases. Just remember that forgiving others is more about you than it is about them.
Focus on Self Love and Self Worth
The more you focus on self love and self worth, the less likely it is that you will be used in the future. You are important, and you matter. The self love workbook below is a valuable asset to have in your personal development toolkit.
Quite frankly getting used sucks. If you feel depleted, that nothing is ever good enough, you are made to feel guilty, or there is no give and take, you may be getting taken advantage of. If you are, be clear and direct about how things are affecting you and set some healthy boundaries. You can also limit their access to you or cut them off completely. The important thing to remember, however, is that you are enough and you deserve better.
How has getting used affected your life? Let me know in the comments below.