Does your family only call when they need something from you?
It sucks, doesn’t it?
Sometimes family members become complacent, expectant, demanding, and even outright rude and inconsiderate.
This doesn’t mean you should cut them off or get into an argument though.
I always think it’s worth trying to make needy family members see how their actions affect those around them.
If they still don’t change after that, maybe it is time to distance yourself a little!
What To Do If Your Family Only Calls When They Need Something
If you’re starting to feel like you’re being used by your family, here are some steps to follow:
1. Communicate Your Feelings to Them
It’s important that you tell your family how you feel when they only call when they need something.
They might not be aware of how it makes you feel or that they’re even doing it – which is typical for selfish people who think of themselves first.
Be sure to tell them exactly how it makes you feel, but don’t get angry, flustered, or say anything you’ll regret later.
2. Don’t Drop Everything for Them
Up until this point, your family members might have been able to call and ask you for something and you’d drop what you’re doing and make it happen.
That needs to stop, no matter how desperate they are.
You need to take care of yourself first, and if you’re not happy with the position they keep putting you in you need to change that, too.
Don’t let them take advantage of you or make you feel bad, it’s time to start setting boundaries.
3. Set Realistic Boundaries
Talking of boundaries, family members need to be mindful of what they’re asking of others, and not take advantage of the fact that you’re related by blood.
The only way to make clear what you’re willing or not willing to do is to set boundaries and stick to them.
Be proactive and don’t be afraid to say ‘no’ if you feel like they’re taking it too far.
4. Give Them Some Tough Love
This might be the hardest step.
Sometimes, family members need to be given tough love and reminded that they don’t own you or have a right to your time and resources.
This means you shouldn’t feel bad about saying no. You still love them, and in fact, you’re doing the right thing for your relationship by saying no.
It’s not easy to do that with some family members, so if you’re struggling find a supportive friend who can help you stay strong.
5. Don’t Get Into Conflict
Things might get ugly, but no matter how much you think you’re in the right and a family member is in the wrong, it’s not worth engaging in a conflict.
If things get out of hand it will only cause further damage to your relationship, so do what you can to avoid that at all costs.
You might have to distance yourself from some of the more needy and demanding family members, but that’s better than being taken advantage of. I’m sure you’ll agree.
How Do You Tell if Your Family Is Taking Advantage of You?
There are some warning signs to look out for if you think your family might be taking advantage of you.
If they only call when they need something and never call to catch up or have a chat, that’s one sign.
Another is if they always ask for more than you feel comfortable giving them and never offer to help you in return.
Finally, if they make you feel guilty for not doing what they want or demand that you do things, that should be a clear warning.
Everyone has their own tolerance when it comes to helping others, whether you give a lot or a little, that’s up to you.
It’s more about how you feel, and how one-sided the relationship with your family members is.
If you feel like you’re being taken advantage of, you need to say something.
Will Selfish Family Members Change?
I always believe that anyone is capable of changing.
That said, some people will never change and continue to take advantage of others, while some will quickly learn from their mistakes and be more open to seeing things from your perspective.
That’s something you can’t control, so don’t put too much pressure on yourself to make them change.
Focus on taking care of yourself first as that’s something you can control.
If they do come around to seeing things your way, apologize, and change how they’re treating you, that’s all you can really ask.
Never Feel Bad About Putting Yourself First!
I just want to end by saying that you should never feel bad about putting yourself first.
No matter what other people say or try to do, you always have the right to stand up for yourself and take care of your own needs first.
Selfish people tend to not only try and make others do things for them but also make them feel bad when they don’t.
Don’t let that be you, stand strong and remember to prioritize your own needs first!
Family or not, you should be treated like a servant or a doormat, you deserve respect and should have healthy relationships where others reciprocate.
Image credits – depositphotos.com/stock-photo-beautiful-woman-indoors-in-home
Phil lives in England, UK, and has around 20 years experience as a professional life, career and executive coach. He started this blog to help others find and define their own self development journey. Blogging about a wide range of topics to help facilitate a better future.