How To Tell If You’re… In A Toxic Relationship

Wondering if your relationship is it? I have a few questions to ask yourself to see if it's true love or a toxic relationship.

Wondering if your relationship is it? I have a few questions to ask yourself to see if it’s true love or a toxic relationship.

Up until a few years ago, I consistently found myself in some bad relationships. Bad relationships with family members, boyfriends, friends, bosses, etc. It felt like I was a magnet for people who wanted to be mean. Want to walk on a doormat? Call me, I’m here 24/7! But I’ll be the first person to tell you when I see others are taking advantage of you. It was one of those “Do as I say, not as I do,” life situations.

When I was 28 and finally started taking some personal responsibility for my life, mainly my relationships, I realized through therapy I was a codependent. Never having heard the term before, it was the clouds parting from my eyes as I checked off all of the characteristics. Poor at setting boundaries? Check! Dependent on controlling others for my own happiness? Check check. Consistent fear of being abandoned? Grab me that red marker. A lot of people pleasers are actually codependent, out of fear of abandonment. 

Tons of therapy and years later, I’m happy to say I’m now more than ever in positive and healthy relationships. I have such a close knit of friends that I’m forever grateful for. My dad and I can actually talk without screaming at each other. And my boyfriend and I can actually go a few days without talking now! I’m not perfect by any means. My relationship with my cat is full on serious and I can be self-focused at times without realizing it. I have a hard time listening. But I’m working on it and I’m working on letting people know not to talk to me or if I don’t want to do something.

I tell you all this dear reader because as women, and especially Latinas, we carry the world on our shoulders We run our households thinking we must say yes to everything and be the rock, just like our mamis. The reality check is,

'We will never be everything to everyone and if we try, we’ll run ourselves into the ground.' @accordingathena Click To Tweet It’s up to us to decide who is on our team and to let the others go. But we don’t know who to let go because half of the time, we don’t even realize it’s toxic. That’s why I want to share the following questions with you to help you decide just that.

How does this person make you feel?

First things first, nobody is perfect 100% of the time. This includes you (I know, don’t cry.) There are days where I’m snappy and I need to give myself a time out. But for the most part, I try to be kind, listen and be my fun-loving self. This is the same for everyone.

In the book “Every day Is A Friday” by Joel Osteen, he shares that you must have a wide support system because we can’t always be there for others. As someone who used to be all about other people, and never about myself, I was consistently let down by others until I learned that it’s impossible for one single person to always be there for you.

On the flip side of this, if someone is never there, or makes you feel like shit 95% of the time, why bother having them in your life at all? You don’t need anyone being rude to you or taking out their own issues on you for whatever reason. You deserve to surround yourself with people who are happy and make you feel the same.

Are there things you don’t tell this person?

I remember having lunch one day with my friend and expressing my anger over a friend who gave me her unsolicited opinion about a relationship in my life.

My friend, chewing on her salad, swallowed and said, “Athena, don’t talk to her anymore about your relationship. There are certain people who you talk to about certain things and others you don’t.” As a chronic oversharer, I nodded and really thought about what she said. And then I decided that I wasn’t going to share anything else with that person about that area of my life.

I was hurt more than anything in the situation up mentioned above but I learned that other people can project their issues onto you and can make you feel like shit. What I learned, even more, was life’s too short to have to walk on eggshells around people who are supposed to be your friends and watch what you talk to them about out of fear they’ll be nasty to you.

Do you catch yourself lying to them?

I don’t like the outdoors. I don’t like renaissance fairs. And I don’t like watching sports UNLESS it’s a Notre Dame or Dallas Cowboys football game. There, I said it. But for the longest time, I’d pretend to like everything someone else did too out of fear they’d leave me. Now, I happily tell people my hobbies include hanging out with my cat, drag queens and serial killers. I also enjoy drinking at my local dive bar and taking over the jukebox.

The point is, we lie to ourselves and we lie to others. We’ll lie about stuff we shouldn’t lie about, such as our wants and likes, because we’re afraid. We lie about our opinions out of fear people will talk shit to us. We lie to protect ourselves and we lie to keep the peace so the toxicity stays in. Guess what soul sister? There’s no band-aid big enough for that.

Is this person judging you or are they supportive?

Everyone has a different approach to how they think they should interact with others, especially those they care about. For me, I joke with you if I like you because I feel comfortable. If I really care about you, I’ll call you out but I would never intentionally be spiteful. And if I hurt feelings, I always am sure to apologize.

So, how do others make you feel when they talk to you? Are they really motivating or hurtful? Do they say spiteful things to make you feel bad? When you confront them, do they make excuses for their behavior or try to deflect? Not everyone communicates the same way and that’s fine, we are all different. But what’s not fine is someone in your life talking down to you and making you feel worthless.

Relationships are a two-way street. No one is ever going to be 50/50 in a relationship either. People go through things and sometimes, that person may take up more of the relationship. But a relationship should never be one-sided and equal effort must be on both sides.

You should always strive for relationships that help you feel secure, calm and inspired. Don’t be with others who make you feel less than. People need you to wake up and be your best self. And you owe it to yourself to do the same.

A Pretend Minimalist Or, How I’m Practicing Minimalism

As a rookie to minimalism, I’m not perfect. But, trying to practice minimalism in all areas of my life has been helpful and I hope my examples can help you too.

Since the beginning of the year, I’ve made an active attempt to practice minimalism in my life. I’ve always been a regular dabbler, but since one of my New Year Resolutions was to be a more mindful consumer, it’s been a lot more deliberate. I’ve continued to declutter my personal belongings (now at 205/3000 for my Project 3000). My hoarder stash of beauty products and candles is slowly dwindling (good bye hand soap collection from 2017!). I’ve also been more mindful when shopping and bringing new things into my home (sorry Target).

Since practicing minimalism can be in all areas of your life, I’ve recently decided to see what can go and what can stay. Despite having my non-profit career, my growing online business and a jam packed life, I crave being home with my cat drinking tea and reading a book. I know, I’m really 80 instead of 33 but if I can mainstream my life to allow me more time to pursue what I love, it’s a win. So here’s how I’ve been doing it.

Friendships

Last year I realized I lost a friend. Being chronically ill, I cancel. Depending on what’s going on, sometimes a lot. It’s hard to determine how I’m going to feel the day of. Also, I’m bad at attending multiple events in one day. I just don’t have the energy I used to and I know this about myself so I will decline. This has led to me no longer being invited to events because I’m “flakey.’ Taking a step back, it might seem that way. But I’ve expressed it’s not intentional.

I know it sounds cocky, and maybe I say this to feel better about myself, but I decided I’m okay losing a friend I’m not that close to. Now that I’m older, I know stuff happens and people grow apart. I also now realize people are in your life for a season. So with that in mind, I’m learning to be okay. I have a ton of friends and the people who accept me and my limitations are the ones I want to keep. By allowing certain friendships go, I can continue to nurture my friendships that are already strong, and keep them that way.

Work

Maybe it’s because I’m finally more confident in other areas of my life but for some reason, my fear of abandonment and being left out now happens here. This isn’t good for someone who’s trying to mainstream their life. But now, when I perceive situations of being passed up for opportunities, I’m learning to stay in my lane.

My bosses know what I excel and don’t excel in. They play to my strengths. If I feel truly left out or looked over I can say something. But the feeling usually passes and then I focus on what I’m already doing. And by accepting this, I can make it home at a reasonable hour to spend time on Money Smart Latina.

Food

I contribute my success with weight loss last year to incorporating smoothies into my diet. I’ve loved smoothies since I was little but making a conscious effort to have one every morning for breakfast I think helped. It also frees up brain power because I’m making less decisions. (Decision fatigue is real. I’ve also decided to start eating salad for lunch the days I’ll be in the office all day. Bagged salad comes with toppings and I can buy a bag of frozen chicken strips to throw for protein.

I know not everyone can eat the same thing every day but it I can so I figure I might as well. It makes life easier on me and saves my evenings for other projects or time with friends instead of additional meal prepping.

Money

I’ve been regularly tracking my spending again which is nice because I know exactly where my money is going. It also sucks because I know exactly where my money is going. I can’t do anything about my extravagant health expenses (being chronically ill is EXPENSIVE), but I can do something about all the money I spend on eating out during the workweek and drinking with friends on the weekend.

Swiping my card makes my spending mindless so I decided to start doing cash envelopes again. Once it’s gone, it’s soup for me. I don’t have to track down receipts to see how much I spent in the categories mentioned above because what I can spend will literally be in my hands.

Besides cash enveloping my biggest money wasters, I’m also focusing more on earning more instead of cutting back an already stretched out budget. Due to health expenses and COL going up in the general Phoenix area, I just can’t cut much more. Earning more also allows me to do more of the things that bring me joy such as traveling and saving for the future.

There you have it. Minimalism isn’t something that has to do with your physical space. You can practice focusing on what truly matters in all areas of your life so you can turn off the noise that doesn’t.

Tell me, do you practice minimalism in any areas of your life? Are you liking your results?

As a rookie to minimalism, I'm not perfect. But, trying to practice minimalism in all areas of my life has been helpful and I hope my examples can help you too.

How To Go On A Date With Your Dinero

Does your dinero make you feel yucky inside? Mine did too until I started I went on a money date! I’m going to share what a money date is so you can go on one too and make your dinero your boo!

When I first started taking my dinero seriously, I didn’t realize how emotional it really made me.

I had originally used my money as a tool to “feel better” in the form of shopping, collecting crap around my casa and partying. Since my ways of trying to feel better about myself were failing, I assumed it was my money’s fault and not on my own.

I never had enough of it and making more seemed like a pipe dream. Where would I even start? What if something happened and I couldn’t make it anymore? When I started taking my money seriously in the form of learning how to budget, cutting costs and actually working on fixing what I needed to fix, aka me, I learned my money wasn’t the malo I had made it out to be.

One of the ways I’ve been able to become comfortable in my relationship with money, and not be emotional about it, is by going on a “money date” with myself. Once a week, I light candles and pull up some spreadsheets. It probably sounds goofy but I really enjoy this time in my week to focus on myself and my finances so I can be the independent Latina I want to be. I’m here to share with you today a few reasons why this can work for you and then some tips on how to get the mood right for you and your MCM, money.

Dates aren’t just for your friends and boyfriends/ They are for your new boo, money, too!

Why go on a money date?

The number one reason why I recommend going on a date or spending time with your money is simple. It’s to get rid of any negative energy or feeling towards it. I know it sounds counter productive, spending time with something that makes you feel bad but hear me out.

Money is an inanimate object yet we project a lot of emotion into it. And no, this isn’t our fault. From the time you were a baby in your mommy’s belly, you were being conditioned to believe a money script by all the people around you. It’s no one’s fault, but you have probably taken on the beliefs of your friends and parents, whether those beliefs are good or bad.

For example, one common belief I heard growing up was “when money’s gone, it’s gone.” Umm, okay. Where did it go and why is it not coming back?! No one ever explained to me that you can always earn more money so until recently, I’ve been trying to cut back on my already cut back expenses. This belief I had taken, by no one’s initial fault, really roots itself in scarcity so it never occurred to me to ever earn more. And so, I was always upset I couldn’t save what I wanted.

Do you see how easy it is to make money become emotional?

Anytime you feel a certain way about your money, or anything in general, you’ve given away your power.Click To Tweet
Money isn’t a person, it’s just an object. And you are giving it more money and energy then you need to. In order to break away from this nasty cycle, it’s important to spend time getting to know it and build a healthy relationship with it.

You need to just get to a place where you feel comfortable with your money so you can feel empowered, not stressed. So, how do we get started?

Step 1- Pick A Day 

Pick a day and time where you can’t be interrupted. For example, my money date day and time is Thursday evening. I have no outstanding appointments. It’s also the day before payday so I can make a list of financial to dos such as throwing extra towards debt or schedule my online bill pay.

By picking a set day and sticking to it, it also helps you build a routine. It’s easier to stick to something when it’s a habit and becomes less intimidating too.

Step 2- Set The Mood

Anytime you are doing something you don’t want to do but know you need to, make the environment safe and comfortable. This will keep you from being overstimulated in general and relaxed during task. Not only is this a good rule of thumb for your money date, it also works in a lot of situations.

Grab a glass of wine or hot tea, light a candle and put on some comfy pajamas. II also put on a television show which doesn’t need a lot of attention for background noise. I’m currently working through reruns of RuPaul’s Drag Race (Team Shangela 4 EVA).  You’re going to be taking care of business so you might as well get comfy and relax as much as you can.

Step 3- Sit and think . Set the intention.

It’s time to now ask yourself a hard question.

“How do you want your money to make you feel?”

Do you want to feel excited about your money? Do you want to feel accomplished? It may be hard to answer at first and the answer may change. Once you’ve realized how you want your money to feel, what are some steps you can think of to help move yourself there? For example, maybe you need to make more money. Think of some ways you can earn more and get a to do list started. Maybe it’s an annoying expense that keeps making you crazy? Come up with an action plan to take care of some business!

Step 4- It’s Business Time

 

Anyone else a Flight of the Conchords fan?

Even though you may have an actionable plan to get where you want to be, you still have a current situation that needs to be dealt with. Make sure bills are caught up.  Reevaluate your current spending. Update the budget. Then start on your actionable plan to get to where you want to be with your boo money.

You want to get to the place where you have no overwhelming emotion when it comes to your money. It’s something we can find again and again. It is a renewable resource and is indefinite. Turn the noise off in your head Latina and go get it.

Does your dinero make you feel yucky inside? Mine did too until I started I went on a money date! I'm going to share what a money date is so you can go on one too and make your dinero your boo! | money date | latina money | money anxiety | financial anxiety | money mindset | https://moneysmartlatina.com/moneydate/