There will always be opportunists that will exploit a young person who is almost always willing to please others, even at their own peril. Healthy people allow other people to think for themselves, to follow their own ideas and notions. Crucial to these assumptions is the right of everyone else to do the same. It can be a real epiphany to understand that each of us controls our thoughts and actions, no one else. We cannot control what others do and we cannot control what they think of us.
I am not suggesting carelessness, but rather an adaptive indifference to that which is unalterable. In other words, if you know someone that is a jerk to you, avoid them if possible and if not, dismiss their impact on your life. You do have control over how you feel. Sometimes it is okay to just say, "Who cares." Remember, all kids count.
Scot Hurlburt can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org