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How to Handle Relatives That Take Advantage of You

by Emile Heskey

Being taken advantage of is a slippery slope. It often begins with a few simple, isolated requests, which become more common until they are regular occurrences. Empowering yourself to stop being taken advantage of is tricky, particularly with family members who hold an emotional sway over you. However, once you do start to be assertive, you will earn the respect of your family, and they will stop taking advantage of you. Your relationship with them will become more healthy, and you will have learned self-respect.

Identify the ways that your relatives take advantage of you. Think about times that you have been forced to do something you didn't want to do. Do your relatives group up on you? Consider situations where your family members assume you will do something you are not happy with. Thinking about these will help you when you need to be assertive. Write the occasions down.

Speak to a trusted friend about the times your relatives take advantage of you. Finding someone who agrees with you will improve your confidence and will reassure you are justified in your opinions.

Be assertive with your relatives next time they attempt to take advantage of you. According to Diane Mazzey of Mihaylo College of Business and Economics, assertiveness means stating your thoughts clearly, openly and rationally. Be confident and firm. For example, when your relatives ask you for a favor say, "No, you ask me for too many favors. I can't help you this time."

Wait for the relative to talk. Allow silence if necessary. Continuing to talk is a sign of weakness. The less you say, the more firm you seem. Even if they try and persuade you, remain firm. To go back on what you said will undermine the whole process.

Avoid being dogmatic. If your relatives have a genuine request for help, help them. Remaining firm at other times when they are trying to take advantage of you will make them more appreciative when your help is forthcoming.

About the Author

Emile Heskey has been a professional writer since 2008, when he began writing for "The Journal" student newspaper. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in modern history and politics from Oxford University, as well as a Master of Science in Islamic and Middle Eastern studies from Edinburgh University.

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