Sometimes we don't want to acknowledge the patterns preferring instead to remain ignorant to the truth and this is the one of the reasons why so many people struggle to recognise when they’re being used. A person is using you when they avail themselves of something or someone as a means of accomplishing their chief aim. They exploit what they perceive as a vulnerability in order to gain an advantage.
While there are instances when it’s quite obvious that you’re being used, like when somebody suddenly starts spending a lot of time around you and then asks you for something and then once they’ve got it, they are nowhere to be seen.
Being used is like the boiled frog syndrome (if you were to drop a frog into boiling water, they notice and hop out, but put them in a cool pan and turn the heat up slowly). It is similar to abuse, it can creep up on you and catch you unawares. When you recognise it, you may doubt yourself, and put it down to you imagining things especially if you tend to "see the best in people", or maybe you are like me, with too much honour inside you to ever conceive of dishonor in anyone you would care for and call friend.
Most users when accused of this behaviour, won’t hold their hands up to it simply because it’s not how they want to be perceived, this is not a side of their personality they want to face or even think about. They see their actions in a more benevolent light as if to say that they’re doing you some favour, giving you an excursion away from your humdrum life or giving you a dose of their magical charm that for some reason they think you should be thrilled to get.
They rationalise their behaviour and justify it to themselves by kidding themselves into believing that you’re getting something out of it, even if what it is, isn’t much, or not what you wanted, or isn’t on mutual terms and has been "given" in a manner that allows them to "profit" from you even though you’ll feel increasingly drained.
They overvalue what they think that they’re "giving" you, but it’s not "giving"; it’s a hidden agenda. It’s also exceedingly patronising.
If you challenge them they say that they "aren't that bad" or they try to reset the relationship to different rules. It's all got to be on their terms. They aren't someone who responds to real life, if you go for an interview they don't ask how it went, if you were a good Samaritan they don't recognise it and all the other joys of life's trials and tribulations. You have to realise it has nothing to do with you as a person it is just quite literally that life is "all about them". This is because from their perspective your life exists solely to provide whatever it is they want. You are not a real person to them, just an object to be used for their self gratification.
You’re being taken for a ride, possibly literally…
Users are distinguished from people who maybe did start out with "good intentions" and have screwed up royally. These people recognise they got it wrong and seek to make amends or at the very least stop the behaviour.
The user will veer between seeking to get their needs, wishes and expectations met aggressively (by force), possibly with a smile on their face telling you how you’ll both benefit, or passive aggressively, through obstruction and basically saying one thing, doing another. They will not care about the impact on you because they will continue using until they’ve got what they want or you cut off their supply.
If you feel like you’re being used, you’re very likely being used – friendship or a relationship feels and looks like friendship or a relationship. Using, looks and feels like using.
Every relationship has some hope in it but not all relationships have reality in them. Choose to enter into and copilot one that has both.
Once you suspect or know that you’re being taken for a ride it is time to, stop, look, listen and step back and adjust your boundaries.
When it comes to boundaries it makes me think of every Englishman's home is castle. So what better way to remind myself of the value and importance of boundaries than to wear my beautiful country cottage print dress by Bernie Dexter. I love these printed dresses, I have the winter one they are just so much fun I can't help but smile when I wear it. It is a happy dress.
Dress: Janice in Country Cottage print by Bernie Dexter