When you transition to living a life free from allowing folks to take advantage of you, it’s a liberating experience. It’s not about revenge against those individuals who have used you; it’s about giving yourself a chance to be, to live, to breathe. If you’re living a life where you’re constantly serving every beck and call of others, then it’s time to stop. In fact, it has been time for you to end such an unhealthy, unproductive lifestyle.
Recognize that people will continue to take advantage of you as long as you allow them. You must muster the will and courage to stop doing this to yourself. After all, those people who have used you could only do what you permitted.
Once you close the door to users ever being able to use you again, leave that door closed forever.
When you’ve truly given yourself an opportunity to live free from leeches, folks always with their hands out looking for what you can do for them, it’s time for you to celebrate. Celebrate what? Celebrate your newfound freedom, or the rediscovering of such freedom. You deserve it!
You don’t have to announce you’ve closed that door to those individuals forever. Let your actions inform them. When they see your actions speaking, they will see your new liberated self.
People will start to realize they need to give you something before you continue to pour into their lives. This new liberated self isn’t about embracing selfishness—it’s about granting yourself the right to experience personal equity and justice. One shouldn’t passionately fight for equity and justice for others and not extend that same equity and justice to herself or himself.
Yes, those who have used you will begin to make some of the following comments: “You’re acting funny now,” “You’re acting brand new now,” “You weren’t really for me in the first place,” and “You weren’t doing things for me out of the kindness of your heart; you were always looking for something in return.” That last comment really strives to make you feel guilty and compel you to return to a life of bondage.
Never taste the sweet nectar of freedom and then revert to bondage.
Fight for you; fight for your freedom.
If people who have only taken from you want something now, respond to them by inquiring about what they plan to do for you in exchange for what they desire. This dramatically changes the power dynamics: it moves you from being a pushover to the person who holds all the cards.
When you understand that you hold all the cards, you will exercise your power to thwart attempts to victimize you.
Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels
University of Wisconsin-Madison