Monday, June 11, 2012

The Fear of Being Taken Advantage Of


Picture: http://candlebags.co.uk/multi_colour_led_candles.htm


I loved the feeling of giving whole hardheartedly and without expectations. It made my day when I saw a smile on people's faces after having handed them a gift or flowers in their favorite colors, sent them a card or helped them with their university papers no matter how stressed out about my own studies I was. I loved surprising them or offering them my undivided attention whenever they needed someone to talk to. 

Many times, my nature was appreciated and I have made many solid friendships that are based on mutual respect. But I have also been at the receiving end of insensitive actions and hurtful comments. I have been hurt when others revealed to me their selfish self-centered behaviors. And despite my mother’s advice, those actions and words rarely dampened that giving and forgiving part of me. 

My mother warned me that such actions will hurt if they were not reciprocated. She was continuously worried that I was being used and that the only reason why many of my acquaintances were contacting me was because they needed help for some reason; that I was remembered only in time of need because I never refused them. She advised me to taper down my giving nature to protect myself from getting hurt. Being a giving person herself and having been hurt many times before, she advised me to give those who are worthy of my generosity. But I never took her advice. 

I should have…

because she was right about the hurt that came with sharing a piece of my heart with undeserving people. She was right about the confusion that I felt after having thought of unresponsive others placing them ahead of myself. Being the protective caring mother she is, she was always worried about me getting hurt by others and changing because of it.

After over 15 years, I started to realize that she was right about the hurt; it does blur one's vision and turns them sour. I was stupid not to notice things early. Immature at times to let such incidents slide passed me, not paying close attention to the details of relationships, never thinking about the true intentions and selfishness of unworthy people. I never thought about it before, never even thought that I should give them the benefit of a doubt because I NEVER doubted their intentions.  

After realizing that this was indeed happening to me, I began to develop a fear; the fear of being taken advantage of. For many years after ‘the awakening’, I began to build a fortress around the walls of my heart especially with new acquaintances. I constructed it brick by brick, stopped going all out and worried about protecting everything I had; my emotions being one small part. I mean, who would want to get used again? I kept telling myself that I would be a fool not to learn from my past mistakes. 

BUT…

This fear only screwed things up for me. I stopped being the all-out person. I ceased to generously share a part of me and my worldly possessions with others no matter who they were. I sometimes escaped that protective barricade and returned to my old giving self again but was later pulled back by invisible hooks that cautioned me about the hurtful wave which might crash into my walls soon after. It sometimes made people feel a little uncomfortable asking things of me and I would only hear that from my husband. It made them a little cautious approaching me, something that I never had to think about before as people knew the answer to every request or question was a yes. 

My husband is of the same giving nature and is many times confused by my attitudes towards others. He understands my fear and the history behind its birth but he says that it is never bad to always be the giver and be good even if I get hurt. I am still fearful of being taken advantage of but I am just starting to let go. It will take time to bring down that wall brick by brick but I know that I must persevere as the feeling that lingers, after I deny my giving self a chance to show its true colors, is way worse than actually being hurt.

10 comments:

jan said...

Oh Lana. I am sorry you have been so hurt.Your hubby sounds like a gem and very wise, you are blessed to have him with you to help you to open again. I cannot say i have noticed you being ungenerous or guarded - here in blogland you always seem such a giving, honest and open soul. Your thoughts remind me of how I can sometimes still feel about sharing myself and my feelings.

Tabouleh said...

Thank you sweet Jan... I am on the way back to my old self again but it is taking time and yes you are right my hubby is a gem since he is teaching me to trust again... much love to you!

Isa said...

This post could have been written by me, honestly... I am on the same path, though I am still a giver, I don't do it like before. I think better now... I lost my spontaneous me...

Don't worry you still shine like the Sun!!!

Anyway, there is something for you in my blog:)

Kiss

Haya said...

Hi Lana i just read your blog, i can relate to that, when i was young i used to trust and help anyone,mom did also warn me about people taking advantage. As i grew older, and especially after starting work,i started to think alot,before trusting or concider helping,because of the shock, of actually being used, or had a hurtful reactions. it took a while to trust again, though i am still sceptical sometimes of people, but not like the first time i realized of being used. i don't think about it, just be alittle cautious. i am glad that u have support from your husband and that your back to your old self again.

Birdie said...

I totally and completely understand this post. I still let people take advantage of me. My heart is always open and I trust far too easily. It seems there are a lot of wolves in sheep's clothing out there. This post is very timely as I am just dealing with getting stung because of trusting someone. I think I am finally learning my lesson in the instance as it was someone from work. I need to go to work and realize my co-workers are not friends. I can be friendly but I need to guard my heart.

db said...

Hey, back to having a bit of time to read blogs.

All I would say is there is some truth in both perspectives. People will indeed take advantage, but that shouldn't stop you. Just dole it out in amounts you can manage, feel good about, and then be fine with that, whatever it is at any point in time. Do so with eyes open, accepting that it is OK that some of your kindness is taken advantage of.

What good would it be if it wasn't?

I am especially happy Aaron is a big help for you. :-)

Paula Devi said...

Hello dear Lana, I, too, lived like this for many decades and it was, and stil is, my nature to want to share something good, surprise people with something that will bring them a smile and a good feeling. But after so many hurts I realized that one needs to have boundaries even with giving. Now I wish good things in my mind, think of all the things I see or have that I want to share and imagine them spread throughtout the word. Now I use much more discretion in giving and sharing and even helping. I don't need to trust anyone else but myself and to follow my instincts in protecting myself. Giving and then being hurt causes harm both to the giver and the receiver (even if that person doesn't understand cause and effect). Of course, there are different levels of giving and offering and it is up to us to know how much of ourselves to give and to whom.

Lana, I am back attempting to blog again. I;ve done a few posts. I miss our interaction.

Isa said...

Where are you?

I miss your posts...

Birdie said...

Just wondering where you are. You haven't posted in a while so I am hoping all is OK with you.

Tabouleh said...

Dear All, So wonderful to come back to Jordan and read all your warm comments... i apologize for not writing sooner or posting anything for a while... I have been in Canada for four weeks and have not had long and regular access to the Internet... I am doing well and miss reading your blog posts too... it is a little crazy now with ramadan starting today and so family time is busy... I promise to find the time once I get back to Thailand... I hope you are all doing well and keeping happy ... I miss you all very much too. Love and peace to every one and your family.