15 ways to ensure you don't get taken advantage of

People may be taking advantage of you without you realizing it. Be aware of the signs and what you can do to stand up for yourself.

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  • Strength of character is a difficult thing to acquire. This might be why so many are prone to letting people walk all over them. "Pushovers" give up their will to someone else, and feel miserable in return. They are afraid to say no, or do things they feel to be wrong. They get taken advantage of and are often emotionally and physically wounded, and too often have difficulty bouncing back.

  • Here are 16 ways to build that inner strength so that you can stop letting people take advantage of you.

  • 1. Look for signs.

  • If you are wondering about a person's true motives and intentions, study them. How do they act? Do they sometimes seem like they're hiding something? How do others see them?

  • 2. Learn to say no.

  • This is harder than it seems, but practice with small steps first. Say no to things of little consequence, like if you don't want extra dessert, and move up from there.

  • 3. Know what rights you have.

  • In more serious cases, you need to be informed of how the legal structure works so you are not left in the dark in an already vulnerable state. Companies like Avvo are meant to help you find the help you need, providing information on legal issues and avenues to learning more.

  • 4. Believe in you.

  • If you don't believe in yourself, you are already giving others ample opportunity to take advantage of you. It is not a prideful thing to have confidence in yourself. You won't get very far without it.

  • 5. Speak up.

  • Find your voice and your opinion and never be afraid to share it. But don't get angry and defensive.

  • 6. Keep your calm.

  • In situations where opinions do clash, stay calm, but firm.

  • 7. Know what you want.

  • This goes back to having an opinion, you have to know what you want first. If you don't, then you can be more easily swayed giving room for others to do with you what they want.

  • 8. Know what you need.

  • Sometimes you can be a little more lenient with what you want, but with what you need there should be no room to sway. Write a list of what you want and need and stick to it.

  • 9. Take courage.

  • This doesn't mean that you aren't afraid. Fear is normal. Fear of losing a job, or fear of not pleasing a loved one. What matters in these situations is if your desire to stand up for yourself overcomes that fear.

  • 10. Recognize what your instinct says and follow it.

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  • Trust yourself and what you believe to be right. Recognize when you don't agree with what others are saying or doing, then don't push it away as okay.

  • 11. Stick to your guns.

  • If your intuition told you something and you believed it once, why not believe it now? The situation may change, but go back to that gut feeling, especially in extreme situations.

  • 12. Don't hold on to past mistakes.

  • If you are letting yourself still feel bad over past failures you've had, then you are more likely to be in a vulnerable position. Others can recognize that and will be more willing to walk over you, because they know they can.

  • 13. Avoid the situation.

  • If you find yourself giving up your will continuously in certain environments or with certain people, then take them out of your life. Your well-being is worth more than whatever they are offering.

  • 14. Carry your own weight.

  • Give yourself chances to be self-reliant. In doing so, you will find the strength within you needed to not let people take advantage of you.

  • 15. Don't underestimate the worth of a support system.

  • Not to contradict the last suggestion, but there are some situations that you can't do on your own. You may not know all the answers. Ask. You may not be able to stand on your own. Ask for help, and reach out your hand. There will always be someone who cares, a loved one, a forgotten friend, even companies, if you just ask. Avvo specifically provides a database to find lawyers and legal help best suited to your situation, and is just one means of support. Look around and you'll see many people who want to take advantage of you, but even more who want to help and love you.

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Emily interned as a BrandView content writer with FamilyShare.com. She has also worked as a writing tutor and a volunteer creative writing editor. But if you want the more honest answer as to who Emily really is, she would describe herself as an avid bacon lover and film buff, with Grace Kelly class and an irrational fear of stairs.

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