I guess many of us have had similar experiences that all amount to being suprised, let down or even totally devastated by the unexpected betrayal of our loyalty by others.
All sorts of questions relate to this particular phenomenon, "how do you avoid people who put you down?" , how do you know if your partner is lying to you?", "how come I was made redundant after 15 years service?" In all forms these questions are manifestations of a social phenomenon that involves a 'guller' - someone who deliberately leads someone on, usually through some form of misdirection, and a 'gullee' the victim or target. We all know this type of inter-relationship in the fun form of stage magic.
For the more serious stage of 'life magic' What I would like to do is suggest an alternative way of seeing the situation, or at least the situations that lead to the crunch point. As we all know, when the crunch/ revelation happens we are usually very confused uttering things such as 'how could they, how dare they, if only I'd known etc etc etc. (See C.Jung, J.Mezirow, Beck and Cowan for ideas on 'crisis points, disorientating dilemmas, gamma phases)
This moment of disorientation is the moment when we realise our expectations have been dashed. Instantly we displace the responsiblity entirely for what has happened onto the 'guller'. Now, and you might not like to hear this at first, ask yourself 'who owns the expectations?' - well of course YOU and I do, and very often expectations are based on assumptions that began as very innocent and simple beliefs and we've simply added to them as time has gone by until we've duped ourselves into believing they hold some real substance.
One way to avoid being taken advantage of is to stop believing your expectations of others. This doesn't mean stop dreaming, and aspiring, it means thinking critically (i.e.testing for evidence)about the expectations you hold. This is not our normal everyday mind-set. Usually we coast along taking things on face value. What thinking critically involves is a bit more personal mental effort. It also means setting and keeping some standards and objectives of your own. Instead of abdicating responsibility for the achievement of your life goals to someone else, set and achieve them on your own. Go on - be brave! (educationalist call this becoming an independent learner, Jung talks about 'individuation')
Now becoming independent might seem strange, if you want to be with someone, or work for a company, however falling unthinkingly for the mantras and PR of others can only lead to tears. You and your aims count, and there's room enough in any balanced relationship for both parties to flourish. Even if one party complains that you should be 'all for them' (witness any biassed contract)this can usually be interpreted as 'all for them' until they decide to make the changes.
So, how do you avoid friends taking advantage of you? Scarcity is a good thing, make sure they ask for your help/advice/ opinion, more than once before you give it. In giving it don't expect anything in return (unless you are consultant in which case you probably know your value) - you have made a conscious decision so live with it. If a pattern emerges - believe the pattern not your expectations and act on it.
How do you stop people taking advantage of you? - simple don't let them.
To learn more about cheaters, con artists, bullies, betrayers, and traitors there are lots more resources to be found here:
How To Stop People Taking Advantage of You
There's no place more suited to friends taking advantage of you than the workplpace. Here's some stuff on Organisational Learning in business. This philosophy lies behind alot of the Human Resource approaches that we see in business. It basically promotes the idea that we should all be repsectful and collaborate in the workplace. In principle its a great idea. In practice it seems rather idealistic and is misused by people to take advantage of the ideas and efforts of others and yet there is pressure on all of us to conform to its ideals.
Th problem with this is that 'friends' at work might not necessarily be 'friends' when push comes to shove. Organisations are places where politics and power are always around. So be wary of the 'lets hold hands and love each other' brigade because they are simply trouble . In this world 'there are those that care' and 'those that don't' for me its that simple, you can only be one or the other - think about it!
Make no mistake, there is a huge gulf between the 'rhetoric' of the friendly workplace and the reality. Check out The Fish Rots From The Head for more about the reality of organisational life and how the people at the top are always the mailed fist in the velvet glove. I would also recommend the following because they are helpful in making sense of how and why people take advantage of others and what you can do about it: