What to do when you feel like you’re being taken advantage of

Sometimes we all feel sad, unhappy and upset over people’s behavior and ponder over their actions and feel disappointed. It happens when we put other’s need before our own and do not take care of our emotional needs.

I can recall one such instance from one of my recent counseling sessions when my client was feeling miserable and needed help with her ordeals. She expressed her concerns and quoted that “I am so sad and disappointed, there is no one who really cares about me. I have always been a giver all my life. I am the one who helps and listens to others whenever they need me. But whenever I need someone they just ignore my needs or simply give me an excuse. Sometimes I wish I should also stop being caring and just become selfish. But I fail to do so, the moment someone asks me for a favor or needs me I cannot stop myself from helping. I even go out of my way to help. What should I do? It’s so frustrating and irritating.”  

Is this sounds like you? Or someone you know who feels the same way.

If yes, then chances are you may be very good at listening and a natural giver. You may be someone who is always there for others. Family and Friends turn to you for help when they are going through life’s ups and downs or simply need help with their chores. You are helping your family and friends and always there for them, listening to their negative experiences or sorrows or simply be walking alongside them in their ups and downs.

You are the person who is always there for others, and you might be more than willing to give your time to others and help them. You have been doing this all the time and it was easy but now you have come to a situation where you find it hard to always be there for others. The feelings of anger, irritation, unhappiness, and resentment start to grow in you.

Why your positive quality of helping others and always be there for them, makes you feel sad, unhappy, irritable and angry?  

It may be because you may feel emotionally drained by giving others all the time and not taking good care of your own needs. You may have neglected your own needs and they aren’t getting met. You feel less taken care of. When your needs are not getting met, and you do not get any help and support from others, you start feeling miserable. You start thinking that people in your life are taking advantage of you and act selfishly, and it is natural for you to feel upset.

But due to your nature of being a giver, you want to be there for others. Because this is who you are it is a real part of you.

But in this situation, you are at a point where you need to pause and think about ‘Yourself’,  your own life and your own needs. Before helping others, you need to listen to your own voice that calls your attention and love. If you always put everyone else’s needs before your own, it leaves you tired, worn out and even resentful. So it is very important to take care of yourself, otherwise, you may feel burned out and exhausted.

Here I am sharing few key points that may help you continue to be there for others while taking care of yourself first.

Setting some boundaries are very important

Well! we all have encountered people who take advantage of us and expect us to give them our time, attention, and energy but when we need them they just don’t care and never return favors. Some of us know how to set boundaries and how to stop giving in to demands of others.

But for people who by their nature are helpful and supportive, feel helpless and cannot stop themselves from giving in to the demands of others. They may also not be assertive in communication and may fear of being called selfish. They just feel helpless and do not know how to stop giving in to demands of others.

We should always be willing to give to those people who are close to us, but there comes a point when saying ‘yes’ to others ends up making us feel pressurized. Some people may make us feel guilty for not cowing to their wishes.  But it is not a wise thing to always oblige them just because they play with your insecurities to get what they want.

It is good to help and listen to others but before investing your time and energy for others, ensure your own convenience, commitments, and duties towards your own life. Charity begins at home so attend to your needs first.

Keep this in mind that no one understands the value of your time and effort. People start using you for their own goals and needs. Once their job is done, they move on and become indifferent to you. So do not go out of the way to fulfill other people’s expectations. Setting some boundaries are very important before you help others. It will make you feel in charge of your life and empower you to create a life you want.

Make sure you are not neglecting your own needs 

Your natural instinct of giving becomes a trap for you when every time you feel the urge to give in to the demands of others, ignoring your own comfort and even postponing your own important tasks. When you realize that how people keep on changing their behaviour towards you and use you for their own purposes, it makes you feel sad. So make sure you are not neglecting your own needs when you tempting to help others.

You need to put yourself first and prioritize what is really important to you and try to re-focus on your own needs. You cannot able to help others if you do not take care of yourself first.

You do not need to stop helping others but before doing so, prioritize your own needs and do not neglect your own health, relationship and those things you value the most.

The chances are your needs are simple and more attainable to give you peace, happiness, and satisfaction in life.

Yes, it is equally important to fulfill your commitments to others and help and support them when they really need you. But if you feel that other people are taking advantage of you, then it is time to change your way of living and put yourself first and learn the ways to negotiate skillfully to ensure your needs are met.

Share this on: