No one ever thinks that their relationship is a reason for their financial troubles, but when you’re involved in a toxic relationship, many factors affect your financial decisions.
Oftentimes, overt and covert manipulation and sabotage stemming from one partner lead to the other finding themselves at a crossroads in life. To save a sinking ship, the victim overcompensates, trying to avoid conflict, but becomes the worst version of themselves in the process.
They find themselves stuck in financial abuse or abuse in general. And the worst part is that the victim often has no idea that their relationship is mainly responsible for their financial woes.
Needless to say, breaking up a toxic relationship is one of the best things you can do for yourself and everyone involved. The real question is, when and how do you call it quits?
Rebeca Elizabeth, a single mom of three boys and a Trauma-informed Mindset Coach, explains that getting out of the vicious cycle, as hard as it may be, is the first step to restoring your life, and it starts with taking control of your finances.
Rebeca spent many years trying to find her voice in an abusive relationship that affected all aspects of her life, including her financial decisions. Yet, despite all the hardships she faced, Rebeca persevered, knowing that one day she would turn her pain into purpose by helping many other women in a similar position.
It wasn’t until she realized the way out of her abusive cycle was by taking control of her finances that she started getting her power back. When Rebeca began educating herself on financial management and mindset using free resources, such as YouTube, audiobook trial memberships, and books from the public library, she immediately began seeing changes that set her on a path to massive success and improvement in her life.
Today, Rebeca is a successful entrepreneur, a healthy and happy mom, sharing her story with the rest of the world and helping single moms like her make the right decisions.
Are you also looking for financial freedom? According to Rebeca, here are 5 ways toxic relationships affect your financial decisions and what to do about them.
They leave trauma that affects your confidence
Regardless of the nature of abuse one is put through, confidence ultimately suffers the most. Whether it is from being gaslighted, isolated from family and loved ones, constantly insulted and put down, belittled, betrayed, sabotaged, manipulated, or made to feel responsible for the abuse itself, the scars left are deep and lasting.
The amount of stress that the brain and the body are put through during prolonged unhealthy relationships can negatively affect your mental health, ultimately affecting your confidence and your ability to make sound financial choices.
People with a history of trauma often find themselves in toxic work environments and are unable to stand up for themselves or choose a healthier workplace due to lack of confidence. Asking for a raise or standing up to a boss or a toxic colleague is so daunting for someone with a history of trauma that they just find themselves repeating that toxic cycle.
On the other hand, spending money on themselves for self-development or making any other financial investment is shrouded in fear and lack, because their confidence has been beaten down for so long that they can’t trust in themselves to make such decisions, either.
Many who’ve experienced trauma from toxic relationships are so affected that it takes them a lifetime to return to the person they once were as they work on improving their mental health.
This is why Rebeca advises you to take notice of the telltale signs of abuse, whether physical, emotional, psychological, or financial, and acknowledge that you are in a toxic relationship as soon as you start seeing the red flags. If you can’t get out of it alone, seek help from someone you can trust.
They are distracting
Distractions typically come in two forms, good and evil. Loving relationships are distracting in a good way, especially when you find yourself going through common difficulties in life, such as working hard to advance yourself in a career or any other normal issues that come up, and someone good is by your side supporting you and bringing you joy during your hardships.
But when you find yourself sacrificing your time, dreams, and goals for the sake of someone else, and you are constantly being made to feel miserable no matter what achievements you reach, you know you’re involved in something toxic.
The amount of mental energy this process takes is incredible, leaving you totally depleted and exhausted, so you now find yourself unable to focus on anything productive.
The misery you constantly feel when in a toxic relationship keeps you from concentrating on your day-to-day tasks, much less making sound financial choices. You may find yourself making more mistakes at work or even losing interest in what you used to love and enjoy doing.
Rebeca knows too well how all that goes and feels, and that’s why she advises that the best thing you could do after leaving the toxic relationship is to forgive yourself. You didn’t know any better, and you did your best to try to make things work. Even though healing will take time, you can now put your efforts and focus toward improving yourself, your present, and your future.
They are time-consuming
All relationships are hard work, but a toxic one consumes time, effort, and energy. Toxic relationships with narcissists make you feel like you have to spend all of your time meeting your partner’s needs. As a result, you start finding yourself having less time to work towards your goals and even less time taking care of yourself, which will ultimately affect your ability to perform financially.
The hours you could spend focusing on creating goals and working towards improving your future, you instead waste on ruminating, trying to figure out what you did wrong, trying to understand the other person, or trying to fix the problem, only to end up feeling hopeless and lost as to what to do next.
When you look back at the amount of time, you spent just thinking about how to solve whatever meaningless problem that often comes up during your fights, it’s overwhelming and frustrating.
Toxic relationships are so stressful that they can consume your entire day, month, or even years. You get consumed with trying to fix the relationship, keep it together, or make the person happy while sacrificing your own happiness. The constant breakups and makeups, crying, cheating, lying, and manipulating consume years of life, and by the time you realize you have wasted a lifetime on this person.
This is why Rebeca encourages women to go no-contact or limit contact with the toxic person to free themselves from the time-consuming drama that the toxic person perpetuates in their lives.
And if you are forced to have contact with a toxic person in your life because the circumstance does not allow you to block them, Rebeca advises that you educate yourself on narcissistic, psychotic, and sociopathic behavior patterns. This will help you fill your toolbelt with neutral ways to respond, such as gray rocking, so that you can spend less time trying to put out useless fires and more time working on your achievements.
They influence your decision-making due to fear of what the other person will say or do
Stress and anxiety caused by abuse create different types of fear, such as fear of uncertainty or fear of retribution from the abuser. This impacts your mental health in a way that keeps you from staying on top of many areas of your life, including managing your finances.
Toxic relationships affect your decision-making, period. They make you self-doubt, even in other areas outside the relationship where there is nothing to worry about. Oftentimes, the abused in the relationship is afraid to speak out of fear of what the partner will say or do, so they keep walking on eggshells around them.
The victim is afraid to make any choices, especially about finances or work, due to the control the abuser has over them. They fear the consequences they’d face for deciding without their partner’s consent if they use a certain amount of money, make a purchase, or even open their own bank account.
They are made to think that because they are in a relationship, everything they own and work for has to be shared or decided with someone else, and they lose their sense of financial independence.
Rebeca knows this all too well because she went through it. This is why she advises women to educate themselves on financial management and never to surrender their financial power to anyone in any relationship, even in a healthy situation.
Rebeca also advises that you begin by setting apart a minimum of 10 percent of what you earn until you build a reserve for yourself big enough to help you establish your financial security. This will prove beneficial for you, especially when you leave that toxic relationship and restart your life.
They hijack your self-esteem
People can’t predict their relationship will turn into a nightmare. Many toxic relationships start healthy and happy, but a number of factors can change people and their behavior. It can happen even to the strongest people.
Living in an unhealthy environment daily will eventually take its toll. Regardless of your strength and vibrancy, a toxic relationship can and will contaminate your self-esteem and the way you see yourself and the world.
As a result, you start feeling incompetent, worthless and unloved, constantly worrying about making a mistake, be it financial, work-related or letting people down in general.
Research shows that decreased self-esteem affects numerous areas of life, but in the financial context, a person with low self-esteem is highly unlikely to take financial risks, save for retirement, do proper financial planning, and take full control over their finances.
One of the main reasons many women remain stuck in toxic relationships is financial security.
Whether it is a stay-at-home mom who has chosen to devote her life to taking care of her children instead of her career and finds herself fully dependent on her partner’s income or a working mother who works multiple jobs to support her family but has little to no say in what happens to her money, there are multiple reasons why a woman could find herself in such a difficult financial position.
While in a healthy relationship, a nurturing mother raising her children with her partner being financially dependent on him is perfectly normal, it all goes downhill when the relationship is toxic, and the mother starts to feel trapped.
Whether or not you are already financially independent, being involved in a toxic relationship is detrimental to your finances, but the good news is there is a way out. Followed by Rebeca’s example, you begin by becoming aware of how your relationship is affecting your financial future and then make decisions to free yourself from the influence that toxic person has in your life.
One way to regain control over your finances is by gaining the courage to educate yourself on managing your money to better understand your goals and needs. This will help improve your confidence when making decisions, and seeing the positive results of your choices will raise your self-esteem.
Once you have accomplished that, you can continue creating a realistic budget and a financial plan that will help you save in the long run and turn your goals into reality.
And even though the journey can be long and challenging if faced on your own, you could find an experienced coach like Rebeca to help you through it faster.