I am not a big fan of Dr. Phil, but he did say something that I firmly believe in: We teach others how to treat us. By the way we treat ourselves, we show others what we expect in return. If you are feeling that people take advantage of you, the problem is not just them; it is you too.
Setting boundaries in relationships tells friends, family, spouses, what you will and will not tolerate. This is your responsibility. Without using your own personal power to set boundaries, the people in your life will test you to see how far they can go – sometimes without even realizing it. It is up to you to let them know!
Self love is the key here. And that is often a difficult thing to do. It takes work and practice and a daily commitment to yourself. Kelly-Ann Maddox, that wonderfully wise, witchy woman, says that for her one of the things she does on a daily basis is to use the four elements to give herself everything she needs to deal with the day and the people in it. Earth is the physical world. How you treat your body is important. Good food, some form of exercise, even a manicure and pedicure, show that you care for yourself. Fire is your creative self, your passions. Write a poem, crochet, bake something, do collage – use your creativity . Water is your emotions. Check in with yourself to see how you are really feeling about things and people. Journaling is often helpful here. And Air is for mental stimulation. Read a book. Learn something new, teach yourself another language.
If others are walking all over you and showing no gratitude, it is up to you to remedy the situation by setting limits and changing your behavior. And have a talk with the people who take advantage of you. Confrontation can be awkward for some of us, but the people in your life who take you for granted have fallen into the habit of doing so, and can often be unaware of their own behavior. Sometimes it needs an intervention and you are the only person to do that. Calmly explain how you feel, and let them know what you need from them. This will redefine and balance relationships in ways that are helpful for everyone. Also, if you are not used to speaking up for yourself, this is good practice.
When others take advantage of us it means we have given away our own power. It is important that you reclaim it by changing the way you behave, and by asking for what you want from others. You can’t expect people to read your mind.
The bottom line is that it takes two people to make a relationship, and someone cannot take advantage of you unless you allow them to. So take responsibility for your part and ask them to take responsibility for theirs’.