10 ways toxic people take advantage of your kindness

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Ever felt like some people in your life are just draining the life out of you? They’re always taking and rarely giving?

Well, chances are, there’s a reason you’re feeling this way.

You see, some people have a knack for using other people’s kindness to their advantage.

Let’s dive into 10 ways some people might be taking advantage of your kindness.

1. Guilt Trips

We all know someone who’s a master at making you feel guilty, don’t we?

Here’s how it usually goes: they’ll come to you with a problem (one that’s usually of their own making), and somehow, by the end of the conversation, you’re left feeling like it’s your fault.

They’ve transferred the burden onto your shoulders, and now you’re feeling guilty for something you had nothing to do with.

They’ll apply this emotional pressure subtly, wrapping it up with phrases like “If only you had been there”, or “You’d understand if you were in my shoes”.

And just like that, they’ve trapped you in a guilt trip, making you feel obligated to help them or fix their issues.

But here’s the truth: their problems are not your responsibility. It’s important to be supportive, but don’t let them make you feel guilty for their mistakes.

You have your own life to live, and it’s not your job to solve everyone else’s problems.

2. Always Negative

Ever met someone who loves to rain on your parade? The kind of person who always has something negative to say about everything you do.

They’re the ones who will pick out the one tiny flaw in a sea of greatness and blow it out of proportion.

Here’s the worst part: they’ll often make it seem like they’re just joking. They’ll say something hurtful or overly critical and then follow it up with “I’m just kidding!” or “Can’t you take a joke?”

This way, they can keep putting you down without facing any backlash. 

But the damage is done. Over time, their constant negativity can shake your confidence, making you feel insecure and doubtful.

But remember this: don’t let their negativity define your worth. You are capable and deserving of all the good things in life. Don’t let anyone’s negative comments dim your shine. 

3. Complaining

I once knew a guy, let’s call him Bob. Bob was the kind of person who always had a dark cloud hanging over his head, and a complaint ready on his lips.

It seemed like nothing in the world could ever make Bob happy. He complained about everything – the weather, his job, his neighbors, you name it.

And the worst part? He expected me to listen to all of it, all the time. Every conversation with Bob was like being sucked into a whirlpool of negativity. It was exhausting, to say the least.

This is a classic trick toxic people use: they complain incessantly and expect you to be their sounding board.

They feed off your sympathy and attention, draining your energy in the process.

But here’s what I learned from my experience with Bob: you don’t have to be anyone’s emotional dustbin.

It’s okay to set boundaries and protect your peace. And that’s exactly what I did. I started limiting my interactions with Bob and made it clear that I was not available for his constant complaining.

Your time and energy are precious. Don’t let anyone treat you like their personal complaint box. It’s okay to distance yourself from people who bring nothing but negativity into your life.

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4. No Respect for You

When it comes to toxic people, your personal boundaries might as well be invisible. They have this uncanny habit of overstepping lines and invading your personal space.

Whether it’s showing up unannounced, calling at odd hours, or demanding your time and attention without considering your needs or commitments – they simply don’t respect your boundaries.

Individuals who disrespect boundaries are often attempting to assert control or power in a relationship.

They ignore boundaries to satisfy their own needs without any regard for the other person’s comfort or preferences.

Your personal boundaries are important. They are the invisible lines that protect your mental and emotional space.

If someone consistently disrespects your boundaries, it’s a clear sign they’re taking advantage of your kindness.

Don’t be afraid to assert yourself and let them know when they’ve crossed a line. You have every right to protect your boundaries and demand the respect you deserve.

5. Acting Like the Victim

We all have those people in our lives who are forever the victim – nothing is ever their fault, and they are always the ones being wronged.

They masterfully manipulate situations and play on your emotions to make themselves seem like the innocent party.

With a heavy heart, you watch as they twist stories, shift blame and paint everyone else as the villain while they wear the halo.

It’s heartbreaking to see someone you care about constantly portray themselves as a victim when in reality, they’re often the ones making poor choices or treating others badly.

But here’s what you need to remember: it’s not your job to save them from themselves.

You can be there for them, offer support and advice, but at the end of the day, they have to take responsibility for their actions.

Don’t let their victim-playing game fool you into feeling sorry for them all the time or taking on their problems.

Your kindness should not be a ticket for them to evade responsibility. 

6. Making You Doubt Yourself

I remember a time when I had a friend who was an expert at making me question my own memories. Let’s call her Jane. She had a way of twisting events and conversations, making me doubt my own recall of the situation.

For example, there were instances when she’d completely deny saying things I clearly remembered her saying. Or she’d conveniently forget promises she’d made.

I found myself constantly second-guessing and questioning my own memory. This is actually a manipulative tactic called gaslighting.

The term ‘gaslighting’ comes from a 1938 play (and later a movie) called ‘Gas Light’ where a husband manipulates his wife into believing she’s losing her sanity.

It’s a form of mental manipulation that causes the victim to question their own perception or memory.

Through my experience with Jane, I learned that it’s important to trust your instincts and not let anyone make you doubt your own experiences or perceptions.

If someone constantly makes you question yourself, chances are they’re trying to manipulate you for their benefit.

7. Making You Feel Small

There are people out there who will go out of their way to make you feel ‘less than’. They’ll point out your mistakes, compare you to others, or highlight your shortcomings – all in an effort to make themselves feel superior. It’s a harsh reality, but it’s true.

These folks find a twisted kind of pleasure in knocking you down a peg or two. They’ll disguise it as ‘honesty’, ‘advice’, or even ‘for your own good’, but don’t be fooled.

It’s nothing more than a power play. A way for them to feel big by making you feel small.

But here’s what you need to remember: your worth is not defined by someone else’s opinion of you.

Your mistakes and shortcomings don’t make you less of a person. Everyone has flaws and that’s what makes us human. Don’t let anyone use yours against you.

Next time someone tries to belittle you, stand tall and remind yourself that their words are more reflective of them than they are of you. 

8. Dumping Their Problems on You

Some people have a habit of treating you like their personal diary or worse, their emotional dumping ground.

They’ll offload their problems onto you, often without any regard for your feelings or whether you’re in a position to take on their emotional baggage.

Continuously absorbing the stress and emotional turmoil of others can lead to what psychologists call ‘compassion fatigue‘.

This condition can lead to feelings of extreme tiredness, depression, and even burnout.

While it’s great to be supportive and lend a listening ear, it’s important to remember that it’s not your job to bear the brunt of someone else’s emotional turmoil all the time. You have your own emotions and wellbeing to care for as well.

Don’t let anyone treat you like an emotional dustbin. It’s important to establish clear boundaries and let the other person know when it’s too much for you.

9. Expecting Your Help Always

I once had a friend – let’s call him Mike. Mike had this expectation that I would always be there to help him, no matter what.

Whether it was moving house, fixing his computer, or even lending him money – Mike always assumed I’d be there.

But when it was my turn to ask for help? Suddenly, Mike was nowhere to be found. It was as if he conveniently disappeared whenever I needed a helping hand. It didn’t take long for me to realize that this was a one-sided friendship.

This is a common tactic used by people who take advantage of others’ kindness. They expect your unconditional help and support but rarely, if ever, return the favor.

Through my experience with Mike, I learned a valuable lesson: kindness should never be a one-way street.

If someone always takes and never gives back, it’s okay to reconsider the relationship and set boundaries.

10. They’re Never Thankful

Some people will take your kindness, your time, your resources, and never even utter a simple ‘thank you’.

They take your generosity for granted and act as if they’re entitled to it. But here’s the harsh truth – they’re not.

No one is entitled to your kindness. It’s a gift you choose to give, and anyone who receives it should at least have the decency to show some gratitude.


Remember this: your kindness is a beautiful thing, but it should never be used against you.

You deserve to be treated with respect and gratitude, not manipulation and deceit.

So stand strong, set boundaries, and don’t let anyone take advantage of your kindness. 

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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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