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Respect Yourself: Stop Letting Others Take Advantage of You

Everyone needs to learn to respect themselves and stop letting others take advantage of us. Just the other day I noticed that I was about to let someone take advantage of me. It may not have been on purpose, but the gal at the checkout overcharged me for an item. I felt this strong sense of unfairness and asked her nicely to change the price. She apologized and fixed the mistake.

This may sound like a simple example, but the truth is, each time you stand up for what’s fair, you respect yourself. When you stop allowing others to take advantage of you and respect yourself, your self-esteem improves

When others take advantage of you, it can do one of three things: one, tick you off, leading to aggressive outbursts or internal anger at yourself (and them); two, feelings of hopeless and reinforcing the false belief that you don’t deserve respect; or three, guide you to act assertively and stand up for yourself. Clearly, the third will help you develop strong self-esteem and more self-respect, but it can feel uncomfortable at first.

Stop Letting Others Take Advantage of You in 4 Steps

It’s likely that you are a helpful person by nature, and sometimes you allow people to take advantage of you, because you’re nice and you want to please others. Stop this pattern; it’s killing your self-respect. You can be kind and nice and have boundaries. Learn to value your own schedule and plans as much as you value others.Learn how to finally stop letting others take advantage of you. Here are 4 simple steps that will help you respect yourself and build self-esteem.

Respect yourself step 1: Think of a time that you were treated unfairly. What did that feel like? Perhaps it was your colleague dumping a project on you at the last minute, the waiter bringing you the wrong food, or your mother calling and keeping you on the phone for an hour. Think about how this situation made you feel physically and emotionally. Did you want to fix it but just didn’t know what to say or were you afraid to say something in order to get what you deserved? Think about the feelings and thoughts that come up when you recognize someone is taking advantage of your time or kindness. This feeling is important, it will push you to use the following skills.

Respect yourself step 2: Figure out what you value. Is it your free time, workouts, Netflix binges on the weekend? As a therapist, I have people emailing me at all hours of the day and calls that “need to be answered” at all hours of the night but I can’t be available 24/7. That’s not fair to me and it isn’t fair to my clients. If I’m annoyed, angry, or frustrated, how am I going to be serving them? Instead, I decided to set hours, and let my clients know these were. This helped me spend my time with family and friends

Respect yourself step 3: Start small. Pay attention to the details. Did your cab driver keep the meter running or your friend keep you waiting for an hour? Notice the small things that take advantage of your time, kindness, or your lack of attention.  If I wouldn’t have been paying attention, the checkout girl would have unknowingly taken advantage of me, and I would have been upset with myself and her if I noticed it later on. Be aware of your interactions and if people begin to make you feel like you are being taken advantage of, then you can act.

Respect yourself step 4: Act. Say something, speak up for yourself. It may just be a question to confirm that your needs are being met, but their answer will also keep you feeling confident and in control. Be nice and polite when you are asking for what you want to be fixed or inquiring about it. Here are some examples:

  • Excuse me, I thought the price was lower; could you double check for me?
  • I have other plans that I can’t change. You’ll have to find someone else.
  • I only have 10 minutes to talk; how’s it going?

Look, at the end of the day, it is you who may be taken advantage of, so you have to step up, be brave, and respect yourself otherwise it will keep happening. The more you practice saying “no” or standing up for what’s right for you, the higher your self-esteem will become.

Emily is the author of Express Yourself: A Teen Girls Guide to Speaking Up and Being Who You Are.You can visit Emily’s Guidance Girl website. You can also find her on FacebookGoogle+ and Twitter.

Author: Emily Roberts MA, LPC

Emily is a psychotherapist, she is intensively trained in DBT, she the author of Express Yourself: A Teen Girls Guide to Speaking Up and Being Who You Are. You can visit Emily’s Guidance Girl website. You can also find her on FacebookGoogle+ and Twitter.

44 thoughts on “Respect Yourself: Stop Letting Others Take Advantage of You”

  1. My family is letting us stay in their house while my grandmother stays at her moms until the unfortunate day she dies. We are living rent free and only pay utilities but my grandma(her house) wants to have a bunch of stuff done. Renovations and what not. At first my GMA didn’t want us staying in the master, I got her to let us stay there but she only wants us to stay for a year in the room. And then move to a different room. My husband says they are taking advantage of me because my GMA didn’t make my mother and her kids do any of that. My husbands says they keep taking advantage. And I know they do but my family prides on family cpmming first and you just do stuff for them. They’ve helped me out in the past. I don’t know what to do or what to thinn

  2. I have my mother in law staying with us and it was suppose to be temporary few weeks, which turned into months and now over a year and few months! I have talked with my husband about how she should be helping with hydro, tv and internet if she wants to continue to stay. she always pulls the pitty me card ” I just need to catch up”. seriously im going nuts inside 😕. she comes and goes when she pleases and likes to drink whenever now. I feel like I’m gonna be forced to do a b**ch card. I want my own space and privacy back. I’ve dealt with in-laws enough now. even my own mom stayed her but she didn’t even wanna impose more than a week. I feel lots of frustration and anger every time I see my mother in law and that’s not the way I wanna feel. she makes good money and choose not to do anything.

  3. I have neighbors who enjoy taking advantage of my kindness every time they park in my driveway and expect me to excuse them and say: “Oh, that’s alright”. When I get mad about the problem they immediately place a guilt trip on me by calling me a “bad neighbor”. Another incident is using my outside water faucet when they hook up their own hose and wash their car in MY driveway. Another incident occurred when it was pouring rain outside and the 29 year old male neighbor parked his car in my driveway because he didn’t have any rain gear. I said to move the car out of my driveway. He called me a bad neighbor because it was raining really hard and I wasn’t feeling sorry for him. Boo Hoo!

  4. Everyone needs someone but when there’s no one around it’s impossible. I agree we have to respect ourselves. That being said what happens when you are only surrounded by users and didn’t realize that they were? What about those that just refuse to respect you no matter what boundries you set up? Also what about those who you thought were friends but decided they couldn’t help due to their conclusions of you being capable to solve the issue or didn’t have time in their life to assist you? What about those, hmmm? What if there were absolutely no one there to help you What then? Face it, we are all users and are only after what “we want”. Everyone needs someone but when there’s no one around it’s impossible. Inner strength has it’s own limitations. To many give advice and don’t help with the action part. There are people out there that need help with the action part too. Oh another thing! Why is it that the issue is always with the person seeking help? They are at least trying to resolve the situation. Respect comes in many forms that have yet to be discovered.
    If I’m missing the message that you are trying to convey in this blog I’m sorry.

    1. Right on. About the people who tell you you can handle it….even tho they know you need help…. Or the pnes who dont have time …Or who listen ..tell you what to do but dont have time to take action. Forexample to go with you. Or come over..or whatever action.would help
      Worse yet wont even think the situation through with you..
      Yet these people ..call me for a ride when car breaks down…cuz I offer. (No more) soak up my encouraging words etc when they call me with a problem etc… It takes a while to see these people are like that…….Then comes the deep hurt I feel. I get over it with time….but until then. Peole like me put out signals to “predators” for lack of better word right now… Wanting to find out what those signals are…

  5. I also have multiple people taking advantage of me! I know he is bad 4 me! Just when he holds me it feels so amazing nothing else even matters!

  6. Ive let all the people around me, make me believe that they need me because i was smart, always know the answers. But listen to me when i tell you that all they did to me was make me feel burnt out and stupid. They now have someone new to screw, to let believe that they are needed, that they are all they have. All that they are users…. Im telling you. Im all messed up because they made me believe i was the answer to all their problems. All i was to them was “a roof to have over their head, a blanket to make them feel warm, and a restaurant open 24/7”. Im getting up, they might have beaten the hell out me, but ill be standing once again, and it will be without them around me…

    1. Same issues here! Thank you for sharing. It helped me to see myself. I’m a strong independent person and got the royal screws done 3 times…I’m WAY TO NICE! DONE!

  7. the cashier did not mean to take advantage of you. she gets paid minimum wage and does not profit at all from overcharging you. you should have asked for the manager to correct the price in the system, because the product wil only be the same incorrect price when the next person buys it. I think you article is very helpful. You even provided us with what to say in common situations, which is helpful too.

  8. I recently found myself in a relationship with 3 different people. It was chaos. Trying to fit everyone in and trying be a different person for everyone involved. Then things took a turn for the worst, when I began sleeping with 2 of them.

    My heart ached for those 2 months because I knew what I was doing was wrong and it was below my standards of values. Although there wasn’t any psychological recourse. What I encountered was a breakthrough. I had decided that in order to be involved in a successful relationship, I had to stop gambling my time between 3 people. All of which I knew weren’t providing anything other than space fulfillment in there prospective time slots.

    The most exhausting matter of all my actions above all, was that I had made myself to believe that no one could see the mess that I was creating within. And that everyone I had chosen to have a relationship with, was only offering me a negativity that I had fled from in a previous relationship that was with one person: the father of my son.

    My sons father was an abusive user, that only wanted to control me. He was controlling in that he wanted to decide who I could talk to while I was with him (like family). Or what I could do while he was away.

    I had began to think that in order for someone to prove they loved me they had to buy me something. Which often times was what my sons father would do when he had done something to cause friction between us that he ultimately wanted to dissipate.

    I’ve spent a very long time trying to suspend the cycle of arguing, debating, hurting, crying, living in disappointment and depending on that man. ONLY to allow him to sprinkle a few sweet words in my ear about his redemption to our relationship and within a snap was having sex with him one minute and watching him walk out the door the next. – This left me heart broken. And very empty. Don’t ever do this. Don’t reverse the clock on a decision you KNOW is a bad one. It will only fester into dissatisfaction over your actions and alienate you from your goals as well as your purpose. Live your values.

    Now- I’m at the place where I could cut off the other individuals, but couldn’t cut off my sons father.

    Then suddenly I said, yes I can.

    I can and I will cut him off- even if that means I won’t be able to see my son for some time (as I gave him full custody after we split, because he wanted to control me with paperwork) Which means ALL the horror stories you hear about women not allowing fathers to see their children and cutting fathers completely out- my sons father has done that to me. And yes, I am a woman (obviously).

    You may say. You’re nuts. You’re not responsible. You don’t care about your son. But I do. I love my son immensely. And even if I didn’t see my son for 1000 years he will always know I love him and at some point he will seek to find me. I just have to give it time.

    But between then and now I simply have to isolate my sons father from my life as he is counterproductive. He is a cancer that if you allow in, will spread like wild fire. He is toxic. He is insidious.

    I am on a serious journey to ‘stabalize’ my inner peace so that I may radiate it with out and attract the things that I know I deserve. And I’m hoping that allowing some time to pass undistracted from negative people and situations will bring; solitude, harmony and peace to all that have been involved.

    Please share your thoughts. I would love to hear them. Thank you for reading.

    1. I do u understand me too I had to let my son go not because I did not love him I had to so he got to raise him and his family after 21 years he came back into my life the sad part is I could not really tell him what happened he said he already knew but he didn’t because they had told him a bunch of Lies just got to do a lot of praying and hoping we started having a relationship again as mother and son but the problem is again more lies set in and he believed them the only thing I can tell you is that your his mother and only one person can be his real mother no one else can be so just hold in your heart that one day he will come to you I just hope and pray that he listens to your side of the story I never got a chance to tell my son my side I’m 56 now and he’s 34 but I hope I’ll be able to have that chance before I die and leave this earth that he will give me the time to tell him or something will happen where he will see the side that he should have known a long time ago just remember you can’t change people and what they do just for their own satisfaction you just build yourself up and you’d be the person that you are and you need to be and in the end I’m sure things will work out fine

  9. Thank you so much for sharing. I have someone taking advantage of me right now and I need to get rid of him…..This information is so helpful, thank you.

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