People are naturally selfish. We all gravitate towards people or systems that benefit us. Make no mistake, there is nothing wrong with being selfless or reliable but people who take advantage of you have no regard for you and at best, they do not care about you.
Do you know there are attributes you exhibit that make people take advantage of you? If you find it difficult to say “NO” to the demands of your friends, family and colleague, they will drain you and in some instances make you feel that you are not kind enough.
Regardless of how kind you are, you cannot satisfy all the needs of people who need a favour from you. And even if you try to satisfy all the needs of a person who asks for help, they’d still need another favour because the needs of humans are insatiable.
Imagine that you are living in a shared apartment with a senior colleague. Would you feel good if you are the only person who pays for the gas and electricity despite earning lesser than your colleague? You should be nice but do not be too nice for your own good. If you are kind, it means you have a level of empathy for others.
Even though it is important to be kind and empathetic towards others, you should know when to stop.
Why People Take Advantage Of You
Low self-esteem is when you have a poor opinion of yourself or an overall poor sense of self-value. People who have low self-esteem always fail to stand up for themselves.
For example, you led a marketing team to convince a high-net-worth individual to invest in your company. You are expected to take the credit for bagging the deal but it is your colleague who has taken the credit and you refused to speak up because you feel you don’t deserve any credit despite being the team lead.
People will always take advantage of you if they realise you don’t think it’s necessary to speak up when you need to. You’ve got to call out people when it matters, else you may never get the due credit you deserve.
There is nothing wrong with being generous. In fact, you may not be a happy being if you do not practice any form of generosity. However, this is also one of the reasons why people can take advantage of you.
Generous people are appealing and attractive. If you easily deep your hands into your purse for people who make demands, they will keep coming back because you would seem reliable. For example, your former schoolmate is still searching for a job and you offer to accommodate him pending when he secures a placement. He secures a day job but refuses to get his own apartment because you continue to provide for him. Such a friend knows you are empathetic and generous, and it would be difficult for you to ask them to leave because you want your own space.
Do you find it difficult to say no to people who need your help? If this is the case, some people are going to take advantage of your nature. There is nothing wrong with putting your needs aside to attend to that of someone who needs help urgent. But if you attempt to outdo or outgive yourself, people who always run to for help when you do not have the capacity.
Truth is, you cannot please everyone because there is no human messiah. If you are always making an effort to please people, they will take advantage of you. You can be empathetic but you do not have to be overly empathetic and do things at your own expense.
History Of Abuse
If you have suffered any form of abuse or not, it will be obvious in how you relate with people. For example, if you grew up under parents who are loving and kind, chances are that you will grow up as a kind person. And if your parent were violent towards each other, it might be difficult for you to know what a healthy relationship means.
Therefore, if you are unable to spot anomalies in the behaviour of people you relate with, they will take advantage of you. And the moment people realise you do not see or understand red flags, they will take advantage of you.
If you are too reliant on people for some of your needs, they will likely take advantage of you. For example, if a woman allows a man to pay most of her bills, she may not have the guts to say no if he demands romance. This is exactly why you must strive to be independent instead of partly depending on someone for something.
How to Deal With People Who Take Advantage of You
Start acknowledging your true worth
If you acknowledge your true worth, nobody is going to take advantage of you. For example, if you do not go to a place to which you are not invited, your absence is enough to earn you respect and space. Ironically, if you are always present, chances are that you will be used for any purpose.
Knowing your true worth means, you know where to be at specific times and what to do too.
Learn to say no
If you can’t tell people “no,” they will always take advantage of you.
Some people will ask, take, and take again and again until they get what they want. People who want to take advantage of other people often keep asking for more and more. People like this are most likely to take advantage of you if you don’t know how to tell them “no.”
Stop assigning people higher values than they deserve
When you care about someone, it can be tempting to go out of your way to make them happy because you think that will make them more likely to stay in your life.
But you’re not more or less important than anyone else. You can escape being influenced by other people if you know this and never give another person more value than you give yourself.
Acknowledge that relationships of all kinds are transactions
To keep good relationships with other people, it’s important to find a balance between giving and receiving. It’s just the right thing to do. You decide what to do with the last ten pounds.
People won’t be able to use you as a pawn if you always ask for what you deserve with confidence and remember that respect for each other is the key to a good relationship.
Stop being afraid of breaking the peace
All human connections, whether they are friendly, romantic, familial, or professional, want to keep the peace. However, if someone is taking advantage of you, it can be hard to stop them without causing big problems.
The problem comes up when you want to make sure you don’t get taken advantage of, but you know that doing so might upset your peace. If you are afraid of upsetting the apple cart, you can’t stop people from taking advantage of you. It’s important to get over your nerves so that no one can use them against you.