“Being taken for granted is an unpleasant but sincere form of praise. Ironically, the more reliable you are, and the less you complain, the more likely you are to be taken for granted.”~ Gretchen Rubin
No one likes to feel like they are being taken for granted and are not appreciated. And, assuming you’re human, chances are you have felt unappreciated at one time or another. This may have happened in a toxic relationship, but it can even happen in otherwise healthy relationships.
For the sake of clarity, the difference between a toxic person (in some cases, a toxic narcissist) and a healthy one is empathy – or lack thereof. The narcissist lacks empathy and behaves from that perspective. So they don’t CARE about your feelings and they show it in the way they act. A narcissist will not be willing to modify their behavior meaningfully (partially due to being overly self-focused, and partially related to the lack of empathy), while a healthy person will.
Read about the difference between healthy narcissism and toxic narcissism.
For this article, let’s assume we’re talking about an otherwise healthy relationship.
5 Things To Do When You Feel Unappreciated
You have gone out of your way to help someone and they don’t thank you or show any gratitude. That hurts, and parents often feel this way when they are spreading themselves too thin with kids. Young children or kids with disabilities will not know to appreciate the efforts that the parents have given them which is another aspect of why parenting can be difficult.
Additionally, spouses often feel they are not appreciated by the other. And one thing that many people do when they are not feeling appreciated is that they tend to clam up, display passive-aggressive behaviors, and can be hostile to those who they feel have taken them for granted.
There are much better ways to address the situation than that.
Let’s go over 5 things to do when you are feeling unappreciated:
1. Communication Is The Key
If you feel that someone has taken you for granted for something you did, instead of displaying passive-aggressive behaviors towards them, tell them how you feel. Explain to them in a non-confrontational way that you are upset because you felt that you had been taken for granted for something you did for them. Chances are they will realize this and apologize. There is a good chance that they were appreciative but they may not have expressed it. Communication can help resolve hard feelings. This is critical for keeping marriages sustainable and maintaining relationships with your family and friends.
2. Know Your Own Worth
There may be times when others will not appreciate what you have done for them, even if you were to say something to them about it. Yes, that will hurt but you need to not allow your sense of self-worth to be defined by how someone else responds to your act of kindness. In fact, don’t allow anyone to define your self-worth at all regardless of how they feel about you.
3. Manage Your Expectations Of Others And Use It As A Learning Experience
You need to ask yourself honestly why you do things for others out of kindness. Do you want to do it because it makes you feel good, or do you do it expecting to get a thank you out of it? If you are doing things to help others for the first reason, then keep doing it. If you do things for others for the second reason, then stop doing it. Only do things for others if you want to do it and it is okay to say no if someone asks you for a favor that you don’t want to do either.
4. Accept Your Role
If you are a mom that is feeling unappreciated or a caregiver to an ailing parent, this is the role you have. You will need to put out more than you give back. When you remind yourself of this, it will make it easier to accept that your efforts will not be appreciated by the child or the care recipient.
5. Show Gratitude For Others
While you are feeling unappreciated because you don’t feel your efforts were acknowledged, you need to ask yourself if you at one time did the same thing by showing someone a lack of appreciation. If you feel that a friend or a spouse did not appreciate something you did for them, then perhaps you one time did the same thing without realizing this. This point goes back to point #1.
Was there a time recently where you did not feel appreciated? How did you respond to it?