Ways Toxic People Take Advantage Of Your Kindness

Ways Toxic People Take Advantage Of Your Kindness

Kindness is a trait we can generally use a whole lot more of in this world, but it’s also a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it’s important to give people the benefit of the doubt and go out of your way to help those in need. On the other hand, toxic people will sense this generosity of spirit from a mile away and do everything they can to take advantage of you in these ways.

1. They constantly cross your boundaries.


They see your accommodating nature not as a trait to respect, but as a weakness to exploit. By asking for favors that stretch your limits or expecting you to bend your rules, they’re testing how far they can push before you break. This behavior isn’t just annoying; it’s a calculated move to take advantage of your reluctance to confront or disappoint. Recognizing this is crucial; your boundaries are there for a reason, and it’s not just about comfort—it’s about self-respect.

2. They guilt-trip you.

Guilt-tripping is a favorite tool in the toxic person’s arsenal. They’ll remind you of that one time they helped you out, implying you’re forever in their debt. Or they’ll weave a tale of woe that makes saying no feel like kicking a puppy. It’s manipulative because it turns your kindness—a virtue—into a weapon against you. The kicker? It makes you feel like the bad guy for setting healthy boundaries. This tactic is insidious because it dresses up manipulation in the guise of obligation and loyalty, making it hard to spot and even harder to resist.

3. They play the victim.

This move is all about redirection. Every conversation, every interaction, somehow circles back to their problems, their struggles, their unending saga of being the victim. By doing this, they monopolize your empathy and time, making their issues your main concern. It’s a clever trick; it shifts focus from their toxic behavior to your response to it. Suddenly, you’re not addressing the issue; you’re soothing their hurt feelings. What the heck?

4. They never reciprocate.

In any healthy relationship, there’s a balance of give-and-take. But with toxic individuals, it’s all take, no give. They’ll drain your resources, time, and energy without ever offering anything in return. This one-sided dynamic isn’t accidental; it’s by design. They see your generosity not as a gift but as a due, exploiting your good nature for their benefit. This lack of reciprocity isn’t just rude; it’s a red flag, signaling a parasitic relationship where you’re valued not for who you are but for what you can provide.

5. They overstep your generosity.

Your willingness to help is seen not as an act of kindness but as an endless resource to be mined. Whether it’s borrowing money without repaying, demanding more of your time than you can afford, or expecting you to go above and beyond on a regular basis, it’s clear they see your generosity as a weakness. This behavior is toxic because it not only devalues your kindness but also treats it as an inexhaustible supply, showing a blatant disregard for your wellbeing.

6. They manipulate your emotions.

By playing on your feelings, they can twist situations to their advantage. If you’re naturally empathetic, they’ll exploit that, making their problems seem like yours to solve. They’re adept at creating emotional highs and lows, keeping you off-balance and more likely to cave to their demands. This isn’t just about being manipulative; it’s about using your good nature as a tool for their benefit, often at the cost of your emotional health.

7. They use your words against you.

In conversations, they’re quick to twist your words, turning your own arguments back on you. This tactic isn’t just frustrating; it’s designed to make you doubt yourself. By questioning your statements and intentions, they undermine your confidence, making it harder for you to stand up to them. It’s a form of gaslighting, where the goal isn’t just to win the argument but to make you question your perceptions and decisions.

8. They demand constant attention from you.

Their need for your attention might seem like clinginess, but it’s more insidious. By demanding you’re always there for them, they’re not just seeking companionship; they’re ensuring you have less time and energy for yourself and others. This tactic is about isolation and control, keeping you tethered to their needs and diminishing your independence. It’s a way to monopolize your time, ensuring you’re always available for their needs, not your own.

9. They criticize you to undermine your confidence.

By picking at your insecurities or belittling your achievements, they’re not just being mean; they’re trying to make you dependent on their approval. This tactic is particularly toxic because it can be subtle, wrapped in the guise of “just joking” or “trying to help,” making it harder to confront without seeming overly sensitive.

10. They isolate you from other people.

By casting doubt on your other relationships, they’re not just being protective; they’re isolating you. Making you question the intentions of friends and family drives a wedge between you and your support network, making you more reliant on the toxic person. This isn’t about concern for your well-being; it’s a strategic move to ensure they remain the main influence in your life.

11. They take credit for your achievements.

When they bask in the glory of your hard work, it’s not just annoying; it’s theft. Taking credit for your achievements isn’t just about boosting their ego; it’s about diminishing your sense of accomplishment and worth. By associating themselves with your success, they not only steal your spotlight but also erode your confidence, making you question your own contributions.

12. They ignore your needs.

When your needs are consistently ignored or minimized, it’s a clear sign of exploitation. This disregard isn’t just selfishness; it’s a message that your needs, desires, and feelings are secondary to theirs. By devaluing your needs, they’re asserting control, reinforcing the idea that their desires are paramount, and yours are negotiable.

13. They lie all the time.

Lies and half-truths are not just about deception; they’re about maintaining an upper hand. By manipulating the truth, they keep you in a constant state of doubt and confusion, making it easier to control you. This tactic undermines trust, the foundation of any healthy relationship, turning every interaction into a potential minefield.

14. They flatter you to keep you hooked.

When compliments come your way, especially after a fight or when they need a favor, it’s not genuine admiration; it’s a lure. This sporadic flattery is designed to keep you hooked, balancing out their toxic behavior with just enough sweetness to make you question whether things are really that bad. It’s a classic cycle of manipulation, where the goal is to keep you invested in the relationship despite the toxicity.

15. They make everything your fault.

Every time they shift the blame onto you, it’s not just evasion; it’s a strategy to keep you on the defensive. By making everything your fault, they not only absolve themselves of responsibility but also make you the perpetrator, flipping the script so you’re the one apologizing. This tactic shifts the power dynamic, making you the problem and them the victim, a complete reversal of reality.

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Originally from Australia, Emma Mills graduated from the University of Queensland with a dual degree in Philosophy and Applied Linguistics before moving to Los Angeles to become a professional matchmaker (a bit of a shift, obviously). Since 2015, she has helped more than 150 people find lasting love and remains passionate about bringing amazing singletons together.

Emma is also the author of the upcoming Hachette publication, "Off the Beaten Track: Finding Lasting Love in the Least Likely of Places," due out in January 2025.