We’ve all had times when we feel like someone might be taking us for granted.
Maybe it’s a friend who only calls when they need a favor, a boss who piles on extra work without any acknowledgment, or a family member who never seems to consider how their actions affect you.
This feeling, the nagging suspicion that you’re being used or taken advantage of, can be really tough to handle.
It’s like a rock in your shoe, a tiny discomfort that grows more and more the longer it goes unaddressed. No one likes to be taken advantage of, but some people still do it – deliberately or not.
In this article we’ll talk about six reasons why people still take advantage of others despite the unpleasant feeling it evokes in others (and later one, what you can do about it).
The first driving force behind taking advantage of others is often power. We live in a society where being in control can provide a sense of security and superiority.
Some individuals crave this feeling so much that they use others to elevate their own status. The world becomes a chessboard, and people become mere pieces to manipulate for them to feel good about themselves.
In the corporate world, for example, you might encounter people who exploit their colleagues to climb the corporate ladder. They don’t hesitate to take credit for others’ work or shift the blame when things go wrong.
It’s a survival-of-the-fittest mentality, where empathy and collaboration are discarded for personal ambition.
This desire for power isn’t confined to professional environments. In relationships, some individuals exert control over their partner to feed their ego or mask their insecurities.
They make decisions for them, belittle their thoughts, and impose their will to maintain dominance.
[Related: 6 Signs Of A Toxic Friendship You Shouldn’t Ignore]
Those who are insecure often feel the need to validate their worth by asserting dominance over others.
Think about the school bully who picks on the quiet kid. The bully’s actions often come from a place of deep-rooted insecurity.
By putting someone else down, they experience a momentary sense of superiority that masks their feelings of inadequacy.
In adult life, insecurity manifests in similar ways. Individuals may manipulate others to gain approval, recognition, or security.
They might coerce friends into making choices that validate their own decisions. These are also people who will devalue their partners’ achievements to feel better about their own shortcomings.
Regardless of the age group or context, it’s clear that insecurity can lead to harmful behaviors.
But exploiting others is never a genuine solution to personal insecurities. It only creates a vicious cycle of negative behavior that affects everyone involved.
3. Lack of Empathy
Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. It’s what allows us to form deep, meaningful relationships. However, not everyone possesses this trait to the same degree.
Some individuals, due to various reasons, may lack empathy. They may not realize or care about the impact of their actions on others. This can result in them taking advantage of people without feeling guilty about it.
For instance, consider a boss who overworks their employees without considering their well-being.
They view their team as tools to achieve business goals, not as human beings with their own needs and limitations.
On a personal level, someone with low empathy might disregard their friends’ boundaries to satisfy their own needs.
They don’t grasp the emotional toll it takes on the other person because they don’t experience those feelings themselves.
Entitled people believe that they inherently deserve privileges or special treatment. This belief can, in their minds, justify exploiting others to get what they feel is rightfully theirs.
Think about the wealthy heir who treats service staff poorly. They might feel entitled to this behavior because of their wealth and status.
Or consider someone who continually borrows money from friends without paying them back, believing their friends are obliged to help.
In romantic relationships, an entitled partner might expect their significant other to meet all their needs, regardless of their partner’s feelings. They take more than they give, leading to a one-sided relationship.
Ah, greed. It’s a big one, isn’t it? Sometimes, people take advantage of others simply because they want more.
More money, more recognition, more stuff. It’s all about wanting what you don’t have and being willing to step on others to get it.
Ever heard of a friend who tried to scam others into joining some sketchy investment scheme? Greed, plain and simple.
They see a chance to make some quick money, and they’re willing to drag others down with them.
Greed doesn’t stop with money, though. In relationships, greed can rear its head in the form of always taking and never giving.
Have a friend who’s always there to hang out when they need something but disappears when you need a hand? Yep, that’s greed.
What makes greed so insidious is how it can sneak up on you. One minute, you’re just trying to get ahead; the next minute, you’ve turned into someone you don’t recognize.
It’s something that affects both the one who is greedy and the ones around them.
[Interesting: 7 Sure Signs Of Fake Friends]
6. Lack of Accountability
Some people take advantage of others simply because they think they can get away with it. They don’t believe that the rules apply to them, and they don’t fear consequences.
Ever had someone borrow something and never return it? Or how about that person who always promises to help but never follows through?
These actions may seem small, but they’re signs of a lack of accountability.
Lack of accountability isn’t always so subtle, though. It can lead to serious misconduct, like fraud or theft, in both personal and professional settings.
The problem with a lack of accountability is that it erodes trust. Once people realize that someone doesn’t keep their word or doesn’t take responsibility for their actions, it’s hard to have confidence in them.
Being accountable isn’t always easy, but it’s essential for building strong, healthy relationships. It’s about keeping your promises, owning up to your mistakes, and treating others with respect.
Without accountability, it’s all too easy to slip into a pattern of using others for personal gain, leaving a trail of hurt and disappointment.
How to know someone is taking advantage of you?
Identifying when someone is taking advantage of you isn’t always straightforward. However, certain signs can indicate this.
You might often feel emotionally drained after interacting with them, as they may regularly ask for favors without reciprocating or acknowledging your help.
They might only show up when they need something, disappearing when you need assistance or support.
Another sign is if they constantly push your boundaries, expecting you to adjust your plans or desires to suit theirs. They might disrespect your time, often canceling plans last minute or regularly showing up late.
Feeling unappreciated, used, or consistently inconvenienced are all indicators that someone may be taking advantage of you.
What kind of person takes advantage of others?
People who take advantage of others often display certain traits.
They may be manipulative, using others for their own benefit without considering the other person’s feelings or needs. This could include taking credit for another’s work or shifting blame when things go wrong.
These individuals may also lack empathy, not caring about the emotional toll their actions may have on others.
They can be self-centered, frequently prioritizing their needs above others’, and they might feel a sense of entitlement, believing that they deserve special treatment or privileges.
Such people could also exhibit traits of narcissism, greed, or insecurity.
[Read: How To Shut Down A Nosy Person]
Why is it bad to take advantage of others?
Taking advantage of others is harmful for several reasons. Firstly, it’s a betrayal of trust and can severely damage relationships.
The person being taken advantage of may end up feeling used, unappreciated, and disrespected. This can lead to emotional distress, decreased self-esteem, and even mental health issues like depression and anxiety.
Secondly, it creates an imbalance in relationships, making them one-sided and unhealthy. It’s not sustainable in the long run and can lead to resentment and conflict.
Furthermore, the person taking advantage only focuses on short-term gains, missing out on the benefits of genuine, reciprocal relationships like mutual growth, support, and connection.
How do you deal with someone who takes advantage of you?
When dealing with someone who takes advantage of you, it’s essential to assert your boundaries.
Politely but firmly let them know what you are and aren’t willing to do. Remember, it’s okay to say no if a request infringes upon your wellbeing or values.
Communication is also key. Address the issue directly, expressing how their behavior makes you feel. They may not be aware of the impact of their actions, and your honest feedback could prompt them to change.
However, if their exploitative behavior persists, it might be best to distance yourself from them to protect your emotional health.
[Interesting: 5 Signs Someone is Secretly Manipulative]
How do you stop being taken advantage of?
To stop being taken advantage of, start by setting clear boundaries. This lets others know what you’re comfortable with and what crosses the line.
Make sure to communicate these boundaries and be firm when others try to push them.
Also, learn to say no when necessary. It’s easy to want to help others, but if it’s causing you distress or if you’re being used, it’s essential to refuse.
More importantly, value yourself and your time. Recognize that your needs, feelings, and time are just as important as anyone else’s, and treat them as such.
How do you assert your boundaries properly?
Asserting your boundaries effectively involves several key steps. Initially, you need to identify what your boundaries are.
This requires introspection and a clear understanding of your values, needs, and limits.
You should be aware of what makes you feel comfortable and what doesn’t, in different areas of life, such as work, relationships, and personal time.
Once you’ve identified your boundaries, it’s time to communicate them. Clear communication is vital in this process. Let the other person know what you’re comfortable with and what crosses the line.
Be assertive, yet respectful. Express your feelings clearly, rehearse it beforehand if you have to. For instance, you could say “I feel overwhelmed when I have to work late continuously. I need to maintain a work-life balance.”
Once you’ve set a boundary, stick to it. People might push against your limits, either knowingly or unknowingly, but you should remain firm. It’s okay to say no when a request infringes on your boundaries.
- All photos from freepik.com