We’ve all come across one before. Opportunists sometimes take a while to be identified because human beings have it in their nature to want to be resourceful and seen as knowledgable. It’s not until you realize after opportunists get what they want and “disappear”, that they are what they are. But in my experience, it’s most painful when it comes from someone that’s a relative or even a friend.
These people see what you have, what you can offer, and grab on like leeches to take from it. And if you’re a clean-hearted person you continue to give them the benefit of the doubt thinking “they just need some help” or “they wouldn’t ask me if they didn’t need it.” And if you’re the person who has any sort of spirituality or faith in them, you’re screwed because you will preach some version of forgive and forget and let the vicious cycle continue. It takes a lot of self-reflection and self-discipline to understand why this is a problem.
The problem with allowing yourself to associate with opportunists is two-fold:
- This person will do the same to other people, and if the next person is someone who doesn’t know better they’ll be used to the extreme.
- You’re making it known to others around you that it’s okay for you to be taken advantage of and if you have kids, you’re setting an example that it’s acceptable for them to some day also be taken advantage of.
What I struggle with is how to completely cut off such people. Because whatever notion of a healthy relationship you had of this person before their true colors came forward are “happy memories” or “good qualities” about them that you liked which is why you became close in the first place. And when all of that gets overshadowed by the negative, you can’t help but wonder if it’s repairable.