Change Being Taken for Granted
Edited by Kathy McGraw, Maria Quinney
Feeling like you've been taken for granted by the important people in your life is not a pleasant feeling, and sadly, it usually happens to those who are the most open, giving, and generous with their time, resources, and emotions. If you are the person who is always on the giving end, it's natural that at some point, you are going to start to feel used and disregarded. That's the bad news. The good news is that you don't have to feel that way. You can make changes to how you relate to family, friends, spouse, and co-workers to make sure that you are not overextending yourself and that you get what you need from them as well.
What Does Being Taken For Granted Mean?
Not everyone has the same definition for what being taken for granted means, but in general, it involves the following elements:
- Feeling forgotten and disregarded
- Feeling like you are doing all the giving in a relationship
- Feeling unappreciated
- Feeling unsupported
- Feeling like it's always you who has to change or adjust your plans around other people
Being Taken for Granted in a Relationship
When love's first blush fades away, and we get bogged down by the bills, kids, our jobs, and the other details of life, it's easy to become complacent about each other. And, the thing is, it usually isn't intentional; unless your partner is a sociopath, they don't intend to hurt you or have you feeling like you don't matter to them.
- 1Take time to reconnect with each other. Make sure to set aside time every week where you're spending quality time with your spouse. It can be as simple as sitting in bed and talking to each other about your day while cuddling, or making sure that you eat dinner together at least twice a week.Advertisement
- 2Communicate. Communication in relationships is so important because everyone is different and it is so easy for misunderstandings to crop up and resentments to fester. In the case of feeling taken for granted, it's key to understand that not everyone has the same measuring stick. For instance, you may use physical affection to show your appreciation while your partner prefers actions. So, you need to explain to your partner what you need to feel loved and appreciated.Advertisement
- Make sure that you use "I" language and that you own your feelings.
- Avoid beginning sentences with "you." It's accusatory, and it will only anger the other person and shut down the conversation.
- Make concrete suggestions for how you would like to be appreciated. Give them something to work with. You can say something like "I would love it if you would clean up the kitchen after I cook" or "I would like more hugs." Be specific: the more specific you are, the greater your chances of getting what you want.
- Ask them what they need from you. Every relationship is a two-way street, and it's important to acknowledge our partner's needs, as well.
- 3Determine if you are giving too much. It's easy to fall into patterns where one partner always accommodates the other or does the majority of the caring, and when that happens, an imbalance occurs and the person who is always giving starts to feel resentful. If that's you, then it's time to pull back and stop. Realize that you don't always have to bring your partner drinks or plan a party for them and their friends. You can say no, and it's okay; they won't stop loving you if you do.
Being Taken for Granted by Family
It's very common for parents to feel taken for granted by their children, or for one family member to be the "go-to" person when anyone else needs something and not feeling appreciated for the things they do. For parents, it's almost natural because they're expected to care for their children, and it's not expected that children will think about or even value it, even though they really should.
- 1Learn to say no. Stop going out of your way for your children or your family members. If your grown child calls you to ask for money, you don't always have to give it. Of course, if you have it and they really need it, then by all means, help them out, but if you are struggling yourself, it's no longer your responsibility to support them.
Being Taken for Granted by Friends
When it seems like out of your circle of friends that it's always you that's there to lend a hand while on the flip side, no one is ever there for you, it's natural to feel unappreciated and like your kindness and giving nature is being taken advantage of. Here's how to fix it:
- 1Talk to your friends. They probably don't realize that you're feeling taken for granted, and it's not out of malice or a desire to hurt you. It's a consequence of a relationship where one side (you) is doing all the giving, and the other side is doing all the taking. If they are truly your friend, they will feel bad and try to correct the imbalance. Just as in a love relationship, be careful to use "I" language and not to accuse.
- 2Stop giving so much. Take time for yourself. Learn to say no when you can't or don't want to do something for someone else. It's okay, and if the worst comes to pass and they stop being your friend because you are asserting the importance of your own time, then they were never really your friend in the first place.
- 3Value yourself. It's common for people who give too much of themselves to not value their own time or efforts. Learn to value who you are and the contributions you make to your relationships, family, romantic, and friendships alike.
Being Taken for Granted at Work
Whether you feel like your coworkers, don't appreciate your contributions, or you feel like your boss doesn't recognize your talents and Is passing you buy for promotions and rewards, being taken for granted at work not only sucks, but it also affects your bottom line and professional progress.
- 1Stop volunteering for projects. If you're a giving person, it's easy to become overloaded. It may be that you are taking on too much responsibility and it's possibly making you feel resentful of your coworkers that they aren't doing their part.
- 2Speak up for yourself. Even if you've been taught to remain humble, you can stand up for yourself and make sure that your boss and co-workers recognize your contributions. Good work should be appreciated and rewarded, and it's not wrong or bragging to take credit for a job well done. Another way to make sure that the boss notices you is to ask questions during meetings and to contribute to the discussion.
- 3Ask for a work evaluation. Sometimes, the boss doesn't recognize your contributions because they don't know about them or they haven't had to the time to think about who is doing what in the office. In a busy office, it's easy for individual contributions to get lost in the relentless shuffle of daily tasks and problems to solve. At your evaluation, make sure that you
- Bring a list of accomplishments. Itemize your contributions and be ready to enumerate them for your boss.
- Bring copies of your work and give them to your boss. This will give them some concrete examples of your contributions and will help them to remember that it was you who made them.
- Ask your boss how you can improve. Asking for ways to improve lets your boss know that you want to do your best for the company, lets you know where you stand, and gives you something to work on.
- Let your boss know where you want to go in the company. Sometimes, people are passed up for promotions because the higher-ups don't know that they are interested in advancing. Let your boss know where you see yourself in the company and ask them to keep you in mind for future promotions.
A Final Word
Whether it's your spouse, your kids, or your friends, It's true that when you give so much of yourself to others that it's easy for them to take advantage of you. However, you can still be the giving person you are while asserting yourself in a healthy and balanced way. If you feel like other people are taking you for granted, then it's time to put up some boundaries. When someone is asking too much of you and not giving you enough in return, it's okay to tell them no and to ask them to reciprocate once in a while. If you do this, you will find that you are happier and that the people who stick with you are more than just fair weather friends.