Things to Say When Someone Feels Used

Feeling used or exploited can make someone feel unimportant and damaged. Having supportive people remind us of our worth during these painful times makes all the difference. This article explores thoughtful responses when someone you care about feels taken advantage of.

What is the first thing to say when someone shares they feel used?

The most vital initial response is simply to listen. Let them fully share feelings of anger, hurt and betrayal without defending yourself or others. Ask clarifying questions if needed to better understand their perspective.

Withhold your own viewpoint for the moment and focus completely on providing them a space to feel heard and validated during this difficult revelation.

Once the person feels the comfort of being truly listened to and understood, that laying of emotional groundwork will organically allow for a thoughtful discussion about next best steps.

Best Supportive Responses When Someone Feels Used

“I’m Here to Listen”

Letting someone feel used or exploited can leave them feeling isolated. Simply being present as a listening ear reminds them they don’t have to carry this alone.

Other good options:

  • “Talk to me. I want to understand.”
  • “Take all the time you need. I’m here.”
  • “You’re not alone in this. I’m right here with you.”

“This Sounds Really Hard”

Validate that what they’re going through is genuinely difficult and painful. Don’t try to silver lining or make light. Meet them in their experience.

Other good options:

  • “I can only imagine how frustrating this must feel.”
  • “You have every right to feel hurt. I don’t blame you.”
  • “I so wish you didn’t have to go through this.”

“You Deserve Better”

Affirm their worth. Remind them that they deserve mutual care and respect, not to be used.

Other good options:

  • “You matter. You shouldn’t be treated this way.”
  • “You have so much to offer. You don’t deserve this.”
  • “No one has the right to take advantage of your kindness.”

“This is Not Your Fault”

Many feel responsible when things go wrong. Make clear that just because someone took advantage does not make it their fault.

Other good options:

  • You did nothing to deserve being treated this way.
  • “The blame lies entirely with the person who used you, not with you.”
  • “Don’t take on guilt that doesn’t belong to you.”

“Do You Need Space or Support?”

Rather than assuming, check in on what would help them best – space to process, or your company and support? Let them guide you.

Other good options:

  • “Let me know if you need someone to talk to. Or distance if that’s better.”
  • “Can I offer a hug, or would solitude be better right now?”
  • “I’m here for whatever you need, even if it’s space.”

“You Have Every Right to Feel Angry”

Name, validate and normalize their anger, hurt and sense of violation. Assure them their feelings are justified.

Other good options:

  • “Of course this makes you angry. Anyone would be upset.”
  • “Your anger shows how deeply you were wounded.”
  • “It makes complete sense to feel violated right now.”

“I Wish I Could Make This Better”

Express your care and concern for them, and sorrow you can’t instantly take their pain away. Just being there is what matters.

Other good options:

  • “I desperately wish I could fix this for you.”
  • “My heart breaks knowing you have to carry this.”
  • “If I could take away the hurt I would. Since I can’t, I’ll sit with you in it.”

“You Still Have Worth Beyond This”

Painful experiences don’t define someone’s whole self-worth. Remind them this too shall pass, and their value remains unchanged.

Other good options:

  • “One experience won’t diminish the incredible person that you are.”
  • “This doesn’t define you. Your radiance and talents still shine through.”
  • “I know it’s hard right now, but the real you – everything good, smart and kind – is still in there.”

“I Will Help With Next Steps”

Let them know they don’t have to figure out next moves alone. Offer to help lighten the burden in any way you can going forward.

Other good options:

  • “You can lean on me as you figure out what to do from here.”
  • “I’m here to lighten your load with next steps in any small way.”
  • “We’ll take this one day at a time. You don’t have to plan it all now. Let me help.”

“You Still Deserve Joy”

Pain can dull someone’s natural radiance. Gently give them permission for moments of lightness amidst the difficulty.

Other good options:

  • “Laughter and joy don’t betray what you’re going through. You deserve carefree moments too sometimes.”
  • “It’s okay to still feel happy at times. It doesn’t minimize your hurt.”
  • “The heaviness will pass. In the meantime don’t deny yourself little bright spots along the way.”

How to Comfort Her When She Feels Used

If she’s the one who’s feeling used, take the supportive listening role. Don’t try to problem solve or make it better yet. Focus on making her feel seen and cared for.

Remind her of her strength, talents and worth. Share experiences where you’ve witnessed her stand up for herself in the past. Offer to role play with her to practice setting boundaries should she want to.

Some responses:

  • “You are so strong, and so very loved. We will get through this.”
  • “I’ve seen your courage and conviction so many times before. You can handle this too when you’re ready.”
  • “You shine so brightly in this world. I’m grateful that light hasn’t been dimmed.”

If she asks what to do next, resist the urge to take over. Rather than telling her, ask her what her instincts are saying. Help draw out her inner wisdom. Support her in claiming her power again.

How to Comfort Him When He Feels Used

It can be hard for men to open up when feeling used. Check first if he wants solutions or just your ear. Don’t minimize how difficult this is for him.

Acknowledge the discomfort admitting vulnerability brings. His willingness to share this with you is a profound act of trust; honor that.

Remind him that everyone needs help sometimes. Getting support when hurt doesn’t make someone weak. Reach out so he knows asking for help is always okay.

Some responses:

  • However hard it was for you to tell me this, I want you to know that takes real courage. Thank you for opening up and trusting me with this.
  • Getting support in hard times makes us human – not weak. Everyone needs somebody sometime. I’m honored you felt safe to share this struggle with me.
  • The people who should have treated you well let you down. But know there are still plenty of us who never will. We’ve got your back, man.

Key Takeaways

  • Listen first rather than giving advice right away
  • Validate their feelings and affirm their worth
  • Offer practical support regarding next steps
  • Remind them this painful chapter will pass
  • Your steadfast friendship is what matters most

In Closing

Someone feeling used often just needs to know they aren’t alone. Listening without judgment, validating their emotions, reminding them of their strength and worth, and offering practical support can help immensely. With good people by their side, they’ll get through this difficult season and thrive again.

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