8 signs someone is taking advantage of your kind nature, according to psychology

If you’re reading this, you’re probably a good person—or at least you try your best to be. You’re always there for others, always ready to lend a hand or a sympathetic ear.

But lately, something feels off.

You’ve had this gnawing suspicion that someone in your life might be taking advantage of your kindness. It’s not always overt, not always glaringly obvious.

But deep down, you just have this uneasy feeling that your good nature is being used for someone else’s benefit. 

Let’s dive into the signs that someone could be taking advantage of your kind nature, all backed by psychology. I’m going to debunk the notion that being kind means being a pushover or that it invites exploitation.

So, without further ado, let’s begin.

1) They are always in need but rarely return the favor

It’s a scenario we’re all familiar with: someone close to you is in a bind and you’re more than willing to help them out. That’s just the kind of person you are.

But here’s the catch: it seems like they’re always in some kind of trouble and you’re always the one they turn to. It’s as if their life is a constant state of crisis and you’ve become their personal emergency service.

The thing is, when you’re in need, they’re nowhere to be found. They always have an excuse, or they dismiss your problems as minor compared to theirs.

This is a classic sign of someone taking advantage of your kindness. It’s not about mutual support or reciprocity, it’s all about them and their needs. They’re using your good nature for their own benefit, and that’s not okay.

It’s time to recognize this for what it is: exploitation. It doesn’t mean you’re weak or gullible, it just means that you need to set some boundaries and protect your own well-being.

2) Your feelings are often dismissed or invalidated

We’ve all had those moments where we open up about our feelings only to be met with a dismissive response.

For me, it was when I shared my concerns about being overworked and was told, “Well, everyone’s busy these days.”

It felt like a slap in the face. My feelings, which were very real and very valid, were brushed off as if they were nothing.

This is another telltale sign that someone is taking advantage of your kind nature. When you express your feelings or concerns, they’re belittled or dismissed. You’re made to feel like you’re overreacting or being too sensitive.

The truth is, your feelings matter. If someone consistently makes you feel like they don’t, it’s a clear indication that they’re not respecting your emotional needs.

This imbalance isn’t healthy and it’s definitely not fair to you. It’s time to take a hard look at this and decide if it’s something you’re willing to tolerate.

3) You’re constantly feeling drained and unappreciated

A few years back, I had a friend who seemed to need constant cheering up. Every conversation we had revolved around her problems, her worries, her life.

It was as if I were a free therapist, available around the clock.

I put in all this effort to support her, to make her feel better, but it felt like it was never enough. What’s worse, my own needs and feelings were hardly ever acknowledged. I was giving so much of myself but getting nothing in return.

The worst part? I felt drained. Emotionally, mentally, even physically. It was like all my energy was being siphoned off to fuel her needs, leaving me empty.

This is a glaring sign that someone is taking advantage of your kindness: when you’re constantly feeling drained and unappreciated despite all the effort you put into the relationship.

It’s not reciprocal, it’s not balanced. It’s just you giving, giving, and giving some more, with very little in return.

This isn’t just unfair to you; it’s unhealthy. Everyone deserves to be in relationships where they feel valued and appreciated. If you’re not getting that, it’s time to reassess the relationship.

4) They rarely express gratitude for your help

Gratitude plays a crucial role in our social interactions. It not only strengthens relationships, but also fosters mutual respect and understanding.

Now, think about the person you suspect might be taking advantage of you:

How often do they express gratitude for your help? Do they genuinely appreciate your efforts, or do they simply expect it to be your duty?

If you’re constantly helping someone and they’re rarely expressing gratitude, that’s a red flag. You’re not being valued for your kindness; you’re being viewed as a resource to be used.

Appreciation is a fundamental aspect of any healthy relationship. If it’s missing, it’s time to question if there’s an imbalance.

You deserve to be recognized for your kindness and generosity, not taken for granted.

5) They manipulate your guilt and kindness

classy ways to put a manipulator in their place without losing your cool 8 signs someone is taking advantage of your kind nature, according to psychology

This is a tricky one because it often masks itself as a cry for help.

You might hear phrases like “I don’t know what I’d do without you”, or “You’re the only one who understands me”.

On surface, these statements seem innocent, almost flattering. But look a little closer–they’re designed to make you feel indispensable, to guilt you into continuing your support even if it’s draining you.

This is manipulation, plain and simple. They’re exploiting your kind nature, playing on your guilt to keep you entangled in their web of needs.

But you are not responsible for anyone else’s happiness or well-being. It’s not selfish to prioritize your own needs and emotional health, and anyone who makes you feel otherwise is not respecting you as they should.

This kind of manipulation is not just disrespectful, it’s damaging. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s time to take a step back and reassess the relationship.

6) They only show up when they need something

Here’s a scenario: a friend or relative who’s been MIA for months suddenly pops up in your life.

But it’s not to catch up or ask how you’re doing. It’s because they need something from you—a favor, some advice, or maybe just a listening ear.

This is another potent sign of someone taking advantage of your kindness. They’re not interested in building a mutual relationship; they only appear when they need something from you.

Relationships are about give and take. If someone only shows up in your life when they need something, that’s not a relationship, it’s a transaction. And you’re being used as a resource, not valued as a person.

Nobody deserves to be treated like that. You deserve relationships that are balanced, reciprocal, and respectful of your boundaries.

7) They create an unhealthy cycle of dependency

This can be a subtle one, but it’s incredibly damaging.

Some people will deliberately create a cycle of dependency, making you feel indispensable to their life.

They might constantly talk about how they can’t cope without you, or how you’re their only support. Subtly, they start to erode your boundaries, making you feel guilty for wanting time to yourself or for pursuing your own interests.

This is a clear sign that someone is taking advantage of your kind nature. They’re using guilt and obligation to bind you to them, creating an unhealthy cycle of dependency.

But being kind doesn’t mean sacrificing your own needs and boundaries. If someone is creating an unhealthy cycle of dependency, maybe it’s high time you cut them off.

8) Your self-esteem is being eroded

This is perhaps the most important sign that someone is taking advantage of your kind nature.

Slowly but surely, you start to feel bad about yourself. You might feel inadequate or even start to believe that you’re not worthy of better treatment.

They may not outright insult you, but their actions and behavior can subtly undermine your confidence. 

If you find yourself feeling worse and worse because of someone’s constant need for you, that’s a huge red flag. Nobody has the right to erode your self-esteem.

The takeaway

If these signs strike a chord with you, it’s possible that someone in your life is taking advantage of your kind nature.

But here’s the silver lining: recognizing this is the first step towards change.

Being kind doesn’t mean you have to be a pushover. Your generosity and compassion should not be exploited or used against you.

It’s crucial to establish boundaries and protect your emotional well-being.

Start by acknowledging these situations where your kindness is being misused. Take note of moments where you feel dismissed, unappreciated, or manipulated. Be conscious of instances when your self-care takes a backseat to fulfil someone else’s needs.

With this awareness, it becomes easier to assert yourself.

Each time you choose to prioritize your needs, voice your feelings, or say ‘no’ when it doesn’t align with your happiness, you’re taking a step towards reclaiming your self-respect.

It might feel uncomfortable initially, but remember, growth often happens outside our comfort zone. Each small step towards setting boundaries and respecting your own needs is a victory worth celebrating.

Picture of Ava Sinclair

Ava Sinclair

Ava Sinclair is a former competitive athlete who transitioned into the world of wellness and mindfulness. Her journey through the highs and lows of competitive sports has given her a unique perspective on resilience and mental toughness. Ava’s writing reflects her belief in the power of small, daily habits to create lasting change.

Enhance your experience of Ideapod and join Tribe, our community of free thinkers and seekers.

Related articles

Most read articles

Get our articles

Ideapod news, articles, and resources, sent straight to your inbox every month.