The top 3 reasons why you’re being taken advantage of & what to do about it

By: Bria Wannamaker

So, in terms of your relationships in the workplace, your family, your friends – you feel like you’re treated like trash? Like you’re not an equal? That you go above and beyond for others? That your relationships are important to you, your work is important to you, and that no one seems to appreciate the amount of work that you put in? You feel hurt and disrespected by the lack of care that others seem to give you in return? Basically, you’re exhausted because you put so much in to your relationships and get little in return. Here are some reasons why these experiences might be popping up in your life.

This article does not speak to being taken advantage of in an abusive, harmful, or neglectful way which is unacceptable, if you are experiencing abuse of any sort, click here for more resources.

1. You present yourself as neutral or indifferent…

You tell people it’s fine when they cancel on your – even if it’s not, you’re known as the person who doesn’t care or who is easy going. This trait of agreeableness was developed as a coping mechanism for you as a child and continued throughout your life to help keep you feeling safe, accepted, loved, and valued. You learned that in order to fit in and to be accepted – you needed to keep your opinion to yourself. You needed to compromise on your wants, likes, dislikes, and desires so that others around you could have their say. You don’t want others to feel bad so you take on the role of the peace keeper.

Advice: Start by getting connected with yourself. You’ve been disconnected for so long. Sit quietly in stillness or go outside in nature on a walk. Get grounded and reacquainted with what’s around you. Begin attuning to your needs. Use the bathroom when you have to go, don’t hold it. Eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full, take rest days, move your body when you need to, drink water when you’re thirsty. Begin by meeting your own basic needs. You’re allowed to bee the full range of emotions – including anger. You’re allowed to be content and joyful, and you’re allowed to be sad and furious.

2. You disregard your own boundaries…

Even if you originally say no to something, you end of saying yes because you feel bad or guilty about the initial no. You stay longer than you said that you would, give more times, energy, and resources than you said that you would. You feel uncomfortable, resentful, unappreciated and exhausted. In childhood and throughout your life you learned the narrative “other people’s needs are more important than mine.” You sacrifice your own needs (and may not even realize what yours are) while putting the happiness and wellbeing of others are the top of your priority list.

Advice: Of course you can change your mind if you want to – if you originally say no, of course you can say yes; keep in mind the reason behind changing your response. Make sure that you’re honouring your needs. Take time to pause before making decisions, you do not owe anyone an answer right away.

3. You are outwardly disrespectful to yourself…

You can say all of the positive affirmations in the world “I’m a Queen, I’m a boss, I am worthy, I am deserving.” BUT if you don’t truly believe, live, embody, practice, and integrate, what you preach – it means very little. If you keep spreading yourself too thin, neglecting to take any time for rest, saying yes to all requests, neglecting yourself, and retracting promises that you made to yourself – you will chip away at your self-confidence and others will interact with you as you present this small, meek, and inauthentic version of yourself.

Advice: Get to know yourself – who you are at your core; journal meditate, reflect, go to therapy, ask yourself meaningful questions, talk to your friends and family. Make sure that you’re getting enough sleep, leisure time, and nourishing your body. Engage in activities that you enjoy! Play around with turning down opportunities that are not for you. Embody the traits of your ideal version of self.

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