I’d like to think I’m a fairly confident person.
But for years I admit that I didn’t stand up for myself or my own best interests.
In short: I let people walk all over me and determine my own happiness. It was a disaster.
If you’re in a similar position, the advice below will help you.
16 signs someone is walking all over you (and what to do about it)
1) They push you to always agree to their demands
One of the worst signs someone is walking all over you is that they push you to do what they want.
You may feel uncomfortable saying no, or their pressure and manipulation is making you believe that you not helping out will have a huge negative impact on this other person’s life.
If someone is pushing you into a position where you want to say no but feel guilty for doing so, then you know how awkward and uncomfortable this can be.
The only way out is to just say no when you don’t want to do something or have other obligations or priorities.
“The world will not end if you don’t work late every single day. You don’t have to force yourself to help others when you can’t afford it,” writes Jay Liew.
“Whatever it is that makes you feel uncomfortable, just say ‘no’ and you will thank yourself later.”
Practice saying no with small requests and work your way up.
2) They pressure you into settling for less
Another of the top signs someone is walking all over you is when they pressure you to settle for less.
It could be a salesman at a used car lot or your partner telling you why they can’t spend much time with you.
Either way, if you find someone trying to talk you into settling for less than what you want it’s a red alert.
When you agree to settle for less than what you really want, you set a very negative precedent.
What’s your superpower? Our revealing new quiz will help you discover your hidden superpower and unlock your greatest gifts in life. Check it out here.
It’s like putting a sign on your back that says “kick me,” except in this case it’s saying “let me down, I won’t mind.”
Never settle for less.
Yes, be willing to compromise: but don’t let someone talk you into why you don’t deserve to be treated fairly and considerately.
3) They gaslight and lie to you with no consequences
Gaslighting is when someone lies to you about the reason for a bad situation or even makes you believe it’s your fault.
An example would be a cheating husband getting angry at his wife and calling her paranoid or critical for accusing him of an affair.
He then goes on to accuse her of an affair or claim that her behavior makes him want to have an affair even though he isn’t.
If this kind of thing happens to you frequently, then you’re letting people walk all over you.
The correct response to lies and gaslighting is to aggressively call them out and then walk away if the other person refuses to stop.
There’s no reason for you to accept verbal or psychological abuse, even from someone you love.
If you’re being gaslighted then you have every right to head for the exit door.
Other people’s pathological issues are not your problem.
4) You allow one-sided friendships to continue for years
One-sided friendships suck.
They involve you being there for your friend and your friend rarely or never being there for you.
“If you’re being a doormat in hopes that people will change their minds and befriend you, stop,” advises Ossiana Tepfenhart.
“Friendships don’t work that way – at least not real ones.”
The best way to solve this situation is to just say no to one-sided friendships.
I’m not advising you to back out on friendships any time they’re not going perfectly or your friend is being annoying.
If we all did that none of us would have friends.
But if there’s a noticeable long-term pattern of your friend leeching off you emotionally, financially or in other ways then it’s on you to end that friendship.
5) They cheat on you in a relationship but you still take them back
In rare cases, this can work out for the best.
But in 99% of cases taking back a cheating partner is an awful decision.
No, just no.
When a partner cheats on you in a relationship they’ve made their choice.
Maybe it was a bad one, maybe you still love them, maybe you want to give things another shot.
I can’t take that right from you. But I can advise against it.
The truth is that cheaters are much more likely to cheat again than somebody who’s never cheated before.
You could end up being one of the lucky ones who will patch your relationship up and take back your cheating partner with great success, but it’s very likely you won’t be one of the lucky ones.
That’s why taking back a cheating partner is one of the most common ways that people let someone walk all over them.
6) They make you feel guilty for saying what you want
One of the most serious signs someone is walking all over you is that they make you feel guilty for saying what you want.
The goal is obvious: to get you to shut up and do whatever they want.
This is a very bad idea and leads to having a very bad life.
“It’s common for people with boundary problems to not even know exactly what they need or want.
“If you find yourself having trouble getting your needs met in a reasonable way, using clear communication, this could be you.”
Instead of letting someone make you feel bad for stating your wants and needs, take ultra-marathon runner and Navy SEAL David Goggins’ advice and say “f*** people!”
I’m not saying to be inconsiderate or not listen to others.
But never let their viewpoint control your life.
7) They take you for granted in a relationship
One of the most damaging signs someone is walking all over you is that they take you for granted in a relationship.
Relationships aren’t always glitzy and glamorous, but they should be at least somewhat fulfilling.
If you find yourself being taken for granted then you’re being walked all over.
Do your best not to let this happen. Flip the script where you need to accept less than you’re worth in order to get what you want.
“Don’t be afraid to lose him; make him fear losing you.
“He can see your fear, and it gives him power over you. He thinks he can do anything he wants, and you will stay there.”
As Pearl Nash talks about here, when your significant other take you for granted in a relationship, it makes you feel like shit.
Don’t let anyone do this to you.
It will lower your self-esteem and set you up for a string of disappointing and hurtful relationships.
You deserve better and you can have better.
8) You’re always the designated listener
One of the top signs someone is walking all over you is that they expect you to always listen to their problems.
This overlaps with the one-sided friendship point, but it can also apply to relationships, family situations and workplace dynamics.
There’s no reason that you need to be the designated listener.
This encourages two horribly toxic ideas:
One: you’re responsible for providing relief and happiness to others.
Two: your own pains and struggles are less important than those of other people around you.
Wrong on both counts.
You shouldn’t be a designated listener to the problems of others unless you’re a professional psychologist.
“Do you wish you had finished that psych degree so you could start charging and get extra income for this duty?
If you turned over your sign to say, “the doctor is in,” you are officially being skipped all over,” explains Laura Lifschitz.
9) You’re consistently excluded and overlooked at work
One of the most common places where people get walked all over is at work.
I’m sure we’ve all been there:
Overly demanding bosses, unreasonable expectations, unfair criticism, humiliation, last-minute overtime demands, you know the drill…
I was once scolded by a boss for having dirty clothes that were dirty because I’d just cleared over 50 tables of dishes after a large brunch (on her orders).
I quit on the spot.
It’s up to you to decide how much nonsense you’re willing to take at work.
You may have no option and need the job for bare survival. Sadly, this is the case for the majority of people.
In this case, try to find other sympathetic employees and allies and foster an environment of solidarity among the “good ones” at your work.
On the other hand, if you can quit and move to a job where you’ll be recognized and treated fairly, then do your best to do so.
10) You let people treat you as a last-minute option
You shouldn’t let others treat you as a backup plan.
You deserve far better than that.
From romantic partners to work to your friendships, you never want to get those last-minute texts being invited out when someone else cancels.
Those feel like shit.
You want to be someone’s first choice and who they think of when they make their initial decision.
If that’s not what’s happening then it’s not good enough.
Never let someone treat you as a last-minute option. It’s the definition of walking all over you.
“You get stood-up, or plans with you get cancelled; you seem to be a last priority.
“You still keep going back for more though,” writes dating analyst Ragna Stammler-Adamson.
11) You back down on core values when they’re unpopular
I’ve seen this happen so many times.
People who are in the minority in their views or beliefs will back down on them when they realize they’re unpopular.
If you truly believe in a cause or way of life, never let someone walk all over you.
It’s even worse when you let an entire group walk all over you.
If we just let the majority decide what’s the right thing to believe, we’re all twisting and turning with the wind.
That’s what led to Stalin’s Russia or Hitler’s Germany.
Don’t go there.
You have to stick by your values even when you’re getting slammed for them.
If you don’t stand for something you’ll fall for anything.
Don’t be confrontational or aggressive, but be firm. Your core values are yours and don’t let anybody shame you for them.
12) You blame yourself for other people’s mistakes and problems
This used to be me. When something went wrong I wouldn’t look objectively at the situation, I’d look at my own reflection.
Then I’d think of all the things I did or didn’t do that led to a disappointing outcome.
It took a long time and a bit of growing up to realize that many of life’s ups and downs really aren’t personal. They just are.
When you do your best and live up to your values, you have to basically let the chips fall where they may.
If things don’t work out, that sucks, but it’s not always on you.
“For example, if you and your family throw a party, you may end up doing everything on your own.
“When it starts to fall apart, you blame yourself for not being good enough.
“Instead, it’s crucial to understand that you were not the only person responsible for the party and that perhaps it didn’t work out because no one helped you.
“Don’t take on the responsibilities of others — decide your contribution and stick to it.”
That’s it right there!
13) You shift your boundaries to fit the needs of others
Your boundaries shouldn’t change based on what others want from you.
If you have a job or personal commitment, you should not shift these based on what someone else asks of you unless there’s a good reason.
This is even more important when we’re talking about personal boundaries.
- Being pressured into sex, drugs, drinking, or behavior you’re not comfortable with at the time
- Letting others use you to do things you consider immoral or bad on their behalf such as lying or committing fraud
- Being talked into supporting political views, gurus, religions, or ideologies which clash with your values
- Going to events or participating in jobs, activities, or causes that you are uncomfortable with or which upset you
- Letting people define and label you in order to fit in
The solution here is to just be firm in your boundaries.
It could lead to getting called a prude or friendship and relationship problems, but the alternative is to be a squish who never stands up for your beliefs and gets sucked into toxic situations.
14) You’re unclear on your goals and priorities
One of the best ways to stop people from walking all over you is to be clear about what you want.
When you aren’t sure what you want it can lead to extreme feelings of disempowerment and being dragged down into the drama of others.
Deciding what you want and going for it, on the other hand, is a great way to reclaim your power.
Sometimes writing your thoughts down can be an excellent way to be clear on what you want and how to get there.
“A great way for you to identify the things you want in life is by writing them down in a goal-planning journal.
“It clears your mind; emptying the clutters to allow room for you to start thinking big in life.”
15) Don’t let the criticism of others ruin your day
One of the saddest things to see when it comes to someone walking all over you is letting the criticism of others ruin your day.
It’s natural to want to be better and to notice some ways that we fall short of our goals.
But I’ve seen people get nine compliments and one criticism and just focus relentlessly on the criticism.
Don’t do that!
You can’t make everyone happy, and that’s perfectly fine.
Pursue your goals and work hard, letting the criticism of others fall by the wayside.
Remember that revenge is the best success to those who doubted your dreams and tried to drag you down.
16) Don’t hold yourself responsible for life’s disappointments
Life disappoints and lets all of us down at one point or another.
It’s important to do our best not to take it all personally and not to blame ourselves when things don’t work out.
Even the best laid plans often go awry, and there are strong limits to your control over external events.
Don’t beat yourself up, and live life with as much gusto as possible.
We’re only here for a short time, so take care of yourself!
Putting your foot down
If someone is walking all over you then it’s time to put your foot down and stand up to them.
I hope these signs someone is walking all over you and tips about what to do about it have helped clarify the issue for you and given you tools.
Being an agreeable and helpful person is wonderful.
But there is never any good reason to let people walk all over you.
Make this your new motto: respect for respect.