Sometimes it’s hard to know if you’re being kind and loving in a relationship, or if a man is using you. How do you protect yourself from being walked all over — especially when you’re in love? Love is blind; you can’t see as clearly and you’re less able to make rational, level-headed decisions.
That’s what I’m here for! To help you make decisions that help you blossom and flourish into who God created you to be. These tips are inspired by a reader who couldn’t find the strength to leave a manipulative man. She says:
“Some married men are extremely manipulative with vulnerable women, and will keep using you until they’ve had enough,” says a reader on How to Break Your Addiction to a Toxic Relationship. “Most women (like me) will stay in affairs with men, not finding the strength to leave until the cold hard truth hits home. Or, something shocking and heartbreaking happens – and the men don’t chase you. It saddens me that so many amazing women on this blog (She Blossoms) are still being manipulated. They stay in affairs for months and years, waiting for the man to commit. Instead, they should focus on their own lives so they aren’t being used in relationships with men.”
First, how do you know if you’re being used? Being in a relationship involves lots of giving and sacrifice, and the “give and take” isn’t always equal.
Second, how do you put your rational mind above your normal, natural desire for love? Let’s see if we can uncover a few ways to guard your heart without protecting yourself from falling in love.
5 Ways to Protect Yourself From Being Used in a Relationship
These five “Blossom Tips” are divided into categories: spiritual, heart, soul, body and brain. This will give you a holistic approach to protecting yourself in a relationship with the wrong man. Warning: just because I’m all about blossoming doesn’t mean I only offer roses. Indeed, this article may have a few thorns attached.
1. Grow your spiritual strength
It’s not enough to believe in God or a Higher Power. Even the devil believes! Your faith has to be developed and strengthened by building a relationship with Jesus. When you have a strong, vibrant relationship with Him, you won’t find yourself feeling desperate and needy for a man’s love. Spiritual strength offers a source of peace, joy and freedom that worldly problems can’t touch.
If your strength and self-image is based on your relationship with Jesus, you won’t keep struggling to protect yourself from being used in a relationship. You’ll have a strong, firm foundation of faith that will see you through the most difficult relationships…and even the saddest breakups. The “secret” is to build a relationship with Jesus first, and allow your other relationships to fall naturally from your spiritual strength.
2. Learn how to see past blind love
Not only is love blind, it’s also deaf, dumb and often mute! This means you overlook relationship problems others may see, you believe lies or half-truths you’d otherwise catch, and you don’t speak up for yourself when you’re being mistreated. Learning how to protect yourself from being used in a relationship involves being aware of your tendency to make mistakes and overlook bad behavior when you’re in love.
Here’s how to know if you’re being used by a man: you can’t tell your friends and family about the relationship or how he treats you. Whenever you have to keep someone’s behavior or words a secret, you know you’re being used. If you can’t be honest with your loved ones about your relationship, then you’re in an unhealthy or even abusive relationship.
If you know you’re blinded by love, read 6 Reasons You’re Stuck in an Unhealthy Relationship.
3. Find a relationship you don’t have to hide
You can protect yourself by relying on the strength and smarts of people you trust. This is hard. First, you have to share the honest truth about how you are being treated in your relationship. Hopefully you can talk to someone in person; it’s more difficult and real to share the truth face-to-face.
Second, you need to be willing to change. Maybe you need healing in some aspect of your life. Why are you prone to being used by men in relationships? What are you looking for that you’re not getting? When was your last healthy relationship, and what happened with it? Dig into yourself. Look for the answers, and you’ll find them. These truths will help you heal.
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4. Challenge yourself to rise above your emotions
Here’s how to put your rational mind above your natural desire for love: stop living out of your emotions. Yes, you love him. Yes, he’s manipulative and controlling, perhaps even narcissistic. Or, he’s simply leading you on because he’s not interested in committing to you. Yes, he’s using you in this relationship, and you’re struggling to protect yourself. It’s all true.
Now that you know the truth, you need to stop following your emotions. You aren’t a child; you are a grown woman who has power, intelligence, and choice. You can rise above your feelings, and start living a life you’re proud of.
Don’t let him control you by continuing to use you. This isn’t his problem; it’s yours. You are more powerful and strong than you think!
5. Decide how you want to be treated – and accept no less
Sometimes we shift the blame to men instead of taking responsibility for own choices and actions. Whether you’re walking with God or not, for example, you know that having an affair with a married man is destructive. Deep down (or maybe not so deep at all) you know he’s using you in this relationship. You know it isn’t right, and you know you’d be destroyed if your husband was in an intimate relationship with another woman.
So, why aren’t you using your brains to protect yourself from “being used in a relationship”? Why aren’t you taking responsibility for your actions? Because you’re in love. You yearn for a romantic relationship, and you’re attracted to this man. You’re allowing yourself to be manipulated — and you’re following your emotions.
It’s normal to be interested in men who aren’t available. The problem arises when you ignore your values, vows and beliefs. You turn away from your convictions and self-respect, you find yourself vulnerable to the whims and choices of others — including men who will use you in relationships.
You have the power to change your life. Don’t give that power to a man who will use you.
What do you think? Your comments – big and little – are welcome below! I read every comment, but don’t worry: I won’t lecture you on how to protect yourself from being used in a relationship. Now’s your chance to respond.
You have a source of wisdom that goes far above me, and you’ll listen to His voice when you’re ready. Then, your faith will give you the strength and courage you need to walk into the next season of your life. You’ll learn how to protect yourself from being used, and you’ll blossom into the woman God created you to be.
You’ve already started.
Laurie's "She Blossoms" Books
Growing Forward When You Can't Go Back offers hope, encouragement, and strength for women walking through loss. My Blossom Tips are fresh and practical - they stem from my own experiences with a schizophrenic mother, foster homes, a devastating family estrangement, and infertility.
How to Let Go of Someone You Love: Powerful Secrets (and Practical Tips!) for Healing Your Heart is filled with comforting and healthy breakup advice. The Blossom Tips will help you loosen unhealthy attachments to the past, seal your heart with peace, and move forward with joy.
When You Miss Him Like Crazy: 25 Lessons to Move You From Broken to Blossoming After a Breakup will help you refocus your life, re-create yourself, and start living fully again! Your spirit will rise and you'll blossom into who you were created to be.