5 Ways To Tell If Someone is Manipulating You

manipulationI used to be a super gullible person. I really always believed that people are good…even after they have shown me a million times that they didn’t care about my feelings at all. I always try to give people a chance and believe that most people mean well and are sincere. I mean, if you are always good to people, listen, and help them out when they need it, why would they ever want to hurt you deliberately? But I have grown up and now more than ever, I realize that people are going to do what feels good to them and they want you to do the same for them….forget about how you feel in the midst of it.

I was naive then but we cannot believe that everyone in our lives is on our side. It is hard to believe but they are not! Not all of them anyway and we need to see that and change how we respond to them to keep peace in our own lives. I have had my feelings hurt manipulation1many times by people who claimed to love me but the love came with conditions. We are all going to run into fake and manipulative people every now and then so we have to keep our eyes peeled. We have to protect ourselves…that is what they are doing. After all.

So in my experience, I have seen a few things and realized that I was being taken on a ride and either changed the dynamics of our relationship or dissolved the relationships altogether. I have read a few books as well that have helped me to spot a person that does not have my best interests at heart.

If they have ever……try to demean you or undermine your confidence

Emotional abuse is one of the most common tactics of manipulators. They try to leave you emotionally weak and feeling insecure. They know that you will cling to them more and it will make them feel stronger. They may also make you believe in them and become more intimate so that they can get you to open up to them and give them information. They will use it against you at some point to benefit themselves, believe that.

They pressure you into making decisions that you don’t wanna make.manipulation2

They make you feel like you have to hurry to make decisions and you feel like you don’t have time to see if the decision will benefit you or not. They start off with small favors and slowly work their way toward sometimes very unreasonable demands. This is so that it does not raise suspicion.

They act dumb and unknowingly. Some of us tend to trust people that seem to be unknowing and well, for lack of a better word, dumb. They can see that and use it to get you to do what they want you to do. They feign weakness but they are really smart and dangerous in that way…..think Machiavelli.

They are always playing the victim. They make it look like they are the ones being used, abused, hurt, and harassed so that they can get the pressure off of themselves and you will feel sorry for them and give them what they want.

manipulation3They invoke the silent treatment to get you to talk or do what they want. First of all, this is a very immature behavior….and I am guilty of this at one time in my life!!! When I noticed it, I was upset with myself because although it was subtle, I was still doing it and I really did not want that to be part of who I was. I was doing it to avoid confrontation and drama but, it is really telling the person that you do not feel like working things out, therefore you are choosing to punish them by withholding love. Mature people know how to use their words to settle an issue or fix a problem. They also do not avoid having a difficult conversation. This is me now…Thank God!

Once you notice these people around, you have to set boundaries in order to protect yourself. Stand your ground! You have to let people know what you will tolerate and what is not going to work for you. Some of them will still try you but most will just leave you alone. Remember who you are and the fact that you should always be treated with the utmost respect.

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There is nothing wrong with doing it alone

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In the past few years, I have taken the initiative to start doing things on my own and frankly, my experiences have been amazing! I spent a lot of time (and money) asking people to go with me places because I thought I would look weird hanging out alone. I mean, I admit, the first few times, I was uncomfortable and felt weird but once I got past all of that BS, I enjoy every moment I am hanging out with me!

I believe that I enjoy it more now because I have been spending so much time alone getting to know me. My boys are older and have their own things going on now so I have time to spend with myself learning what I really enjoy (and do not like at all) and trying new experiences which have been absolutely amazing. I look back on the time I spend with me and I smile because I was able to truly be me, listen to me and be in the moment with myself. There is nothing like listening to your own heart so that you can take care of and love yourself more fully.

DoingitaloneI take myself to lunch, I have done movies, shopping, spa visits, beach trips, and a host of other things by myself and I enjoy it. I meet people and talk… even those experiences are fun and entertaining. I do not think there is anything wrong with getting “alone” with you to do something you enjoy or even to try a new thing. If you can’t stand to be alone with yourself then you may need to take a look at some changes you may need to make.

Are you afraid to be alone? Is that out of your comfort zone?

I think being able to be and go places alone is something that really shows you how independent you REALLY are. As far as my personal growth is concerned, my solo experiences are where I really get to see how far I have come because there are no distractions and no one to convince me of anything. In order to grow, we have to come out of our comfort zone. We should all take time to date ourselves. I have built up so much confidence the more I spend time with myself doing things. I get so much out of it but the most important thing is I get to see who I am and fall in love with me more and more as I grow.

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I love people so it was so easy for me to rely on others to do something with me and I

would work around their schedule when looking at my social life. What?! Yes, I did. If they could not go, I would not go. That got me to the point where I did not do anything but work and go home. That is when I took the time to look at me and what I wanted for my life and I took the plunge to start going out alone and I have had so many experiences since.

 

And guess what? You do not have to be a bold, confident, and independent person to do things alone. You can be an insecure person…just like the rest of us. You just have to make the decision to LIVE…on your own terms and timing. You have to ignore that little voice in your head that tells you to be afraid or worry about what someone else will think about it.

 

doingitalone1The more you hang out with yourself, the more you will want to hang out with yourself! You will get to know you better…your likes and dislikes. You may even build up the confidence to only allow what’s good to enter into your space. When you learn how to love you thoroughly, you can show others how and your other relationships benefit from you spending time alone.

 

Now I am not saying that you should ONLY spend time alone. Like I said, I love being around people. I really have just learned to value that time I spend alone to get refreshed and filled up so that I can be my best around the people I choose to spend time with.

 

img_1108We should not sit around and wait for people to choose to help us fill our social calendar up with fun things to do. You need to take control of your days. If you follow me on my social pages, you see that I go do things and I have no one with me …I just go and live! I work hard and I am loving me (most days) so I challenge myself. I look at what is going on around town (or out of town) that I may be interested in and I explore. Hanging with me has never been a boring time and I find out more and more about myself each time. More of me to love…..or change……growth ……

 

Unique gifts for him

We are just days away from love day…are you ready?NoSlaveNovember

I didn’t want to buy anything common so I was trolling for some things that were unique and customized for a particular loved one. I found some pretty cool things, some may not make it for Valentine’s Day but we can keep it in our back pockets for birthdays and other special occasions.

I found something that is great for the sports fan in your life. It is called a Fan Chest and you can find them at FanChest.com. Sports fans love anything that has their team’s logo on it and here you will find it all. They have boxes that are full of licensed memorabilia for NHL, NFL, and NCAA teams and the prices are reasonable.

I love Amazon so when I saw this, I knew it would be a great gift for any man. It is a smart USB car charger with Alexa! The device will charge his phone and answer a few questions for him at the same time. Alexa, what is the weather? Alexa, give me a traffic update….whatever he needs. She will save you some time and headaches and keep your man safe.

Massages feel so good and they are the gift that keeps on giving for us ladies. So why not give the same gift to your man? I am sure that as much and as hard as he works, he would really appreciate a professional massage for an hour or so.  If you are anything like me, a few minutes in….my hands are cramping and I am ready to stop. That’s bad I know so I am so thankful that I can pay a licensed professional to do what she (or he– even though most men are not having it!) get paid to do.

I know there are plenty of statistics out there that say that men are not readers, not many of them anyway. There are men out there that love to read. When I am on the go and do not want to carry too many things, I have my Kindle and plenty of books on it for me in between times. Even if you read a chapter a day, eventually you will finish that book. The Amazon Kindle Paperwhite is excellent for the man who loves to read. AND it is now waterproof, as well as it being thinner, lighter and you can store twice as many books.

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If you are short on funds but still want to show your honey a great evening, you can cook his favorite meal…in his favorite “outfit” (if the children aren’t home) and make it a romantic evening at home. You can have a sweet dinner by candlelight, a beautiful bouquet of flowers and his favorite wine with his favorite woman…..nothing better than that…unless you do some of his favorite things when its time for dessert.

 

Click the links to see the Amazon products!!

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6 Ways To Say I Love You To Her This Valentine’s Day

valentinesdayforher1It comes every year and yet some men still wait until the last minute to scape the almost empty shelves for something your wife/significant other isn’t going to eat, use, or want to smell like. You can ruin the whole day if you do not put a little time and effort into your gift giving. I am not much of a Valentine’s Day person because I did not get to celebrate many of them as a military spouse. I also believe that I would rather be loved eloquently the whole year than have a quick shower on one day. But anywho…

wantsneeds1I think if you are going to spoil your lady on Valentine’s Day, you should show some thoughtfulness and class. One thing you can do that she would appreciate is planning ahead, somewhat. We can tell when you have put some thought into your gift-giving as opposed to you running to the gas station or those people on the side of the road with the teddy bear inside of a giant balloon… what are you supposed to do with those anyway? Whether you are doing something with the whole family or just her alone, put some thought and preparation into it for goodness sakes….or even surprise her! It truly matters and it is the thought that counts.

  • Do something leading up to Valentine’s Day. Planning something special for her like a dinner, massage, buy her a dress for the upcoming dinner even… make it extra loving. Get her excited and have her anticipating the day. Just do not forget to have something for her to expect on February 14. Even if we say we do not want anything…we do!
  • It is not about how much you spend! Why go out there buying teddy bears, chocolates and flowers that are expensive when you can do something for her that can last the whole day long. Let her lock herself up in the room for a day while you take care of the home, errands, and the children. Peace and quiet (and a nap) is always a lovely gift for a hard-working mommy.
  • Write her a letter. I still remember a love letter that I received that was straightvalentinesdayforher3 from the heart and full of his personality. When we see that you sat down and took the time to share your heart, it means the world to us. It is rare to have a man that gets completely “naked” about his feelings and trust you with them. As long as you are being honest about it and not copying from some Hallmark card or Google, it would be much appreciated it and you are sure to have a good night.
  • Cook dinner at home for her and set up a nice scene. Cooking is not a hard thing to do. You just have to follow directions which may be the hardest part if it is something that you have never cooked before. Just send the children to grandma’s house, plan and make a menu, flowers on the table, dessert…..and dessert (hmm). Pull out the stops for her…and do not let her clean up afterward PLEASE!
  • You can start early in the day by going to have breakfast or lunch, or even just coffee. You may have to be creative because most of us have families and jobs but it is just one day if you have to put off something to give her your attention, she will see it and appreciate the effort. Sometimes things like this mean more to us than the pricey things.
  • valentinesdayforher2Put friendly reminders of your love where she can find them. Your wedding photos by her makeup, pictures of you on your first date, a few sexy pictures sent to her phone throughout the day, love notes in her purse, in her car, her desk at work. Speak to her with love on your mind and the little things will be huge, trust me.

Take things back to the beginning. Where you met, why you fell in love, how you really feel when you think about her and what makes her so beautiful to you. If you are going to celebrate Valentine’s Day, make it a sweet and thoughtful one….then continue to show your love and appreciation every day. These are things that you can do often to show her that you are Blessed to be able to call her your own.

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I’m an Independent Thinker…My Bad

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From the earliest times that I can remember, I have always been very independent in my thoughts. That is probably why I was never part of a clique. I like everyone and didn’t mind having friends from different cliques. I am the same way today. I attempt to get along well with everyone for the most part. Not all of the people I talked to like each other but that is not something that I worry about. I am only concerned with keeping balance in my life and when an individual no longer fits into my journey, they fade…that’s it. I don’t love someone because someone I know loves them, nor do I hate someone because someone I love hates them. I have so many other things going on in my life and that seems like something that I do not have time to keep up with.

Like I said, I have always been an independent thinker, but there were times when I was younger that I relied on the opinion of others when I wanted to do something. As I got older and realized that I had been living other people’s lives and not my own; I have been retraining my brain so that I could rely on me ( and my God, of course) to act in my best interest and follow the dreams that I have for me.

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One thing that I have started to do was to let go of the beliefs that others have that I decided to adopt solely because they did. I think rationally and stay away from believing out of emotion. Our parents and grandparents…and other family and friends have pretty much taught us our reality, but that does not mean that it is right. I live for myself now. I read self-help and thought-provoking books. I even read history and some philosophy…whatever I feel like learning more about. The more we know, the more insightful our opinions and thoughts shared will be. Along with that, we have to question everything! Just because something is done one way, and it always has been, does not mean you should not ask why it is done that way. When we question why things are the way they are, it helps us to become aware of the hypocrisy that surrounds us and others. What do you REALLY know?

You also have to surround yourself with intelligent people with similar values. What’s that saying? “If you are the smartest person in the room, you are in the wrong room.” When I heard that the first time, I walked away from the podcast that I was listening to. I had no idea that I had been doing this the wrong way all of this time. I am a helper by nature and I always felt drained after that kind of get-together because I spent so much time and energy pouring out. Then what?! Who is replenishing this woman? I had to do it alone! That is when I found out how much of an introvert I really am…and how much I truly love my own company. If we are pursuing knowledge, we should search out those on the same journey. These are the people who will listen to us as much as we will listen to them.

I mentioned it above…I also listen to podcasts…like every day! There are so many out there. I will list my favorites so far at the end. Whatever you have an interest in and do not have the time to read about, there is probably a podcast out there for you to listen to.

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On the way to work, dropping kids off at school, on lunch breaks, anywhere, I am trying to gain more knowledge on how to live life in a way that helps me be my best and protect my peace.

We have to make sure that before we share our thoughts, we have done some research that will enable us to have an educated and informative conversation. We should always try to be fair in our judgment of a subject or thought of another. We can have great conversations where we can all sharpen each other and healthy debates that can have us laughing, crying, and learning. For some of us, that is what we call a good night with friends.

Another thing that has helped me become a more independent thinker is all of the travel I do. We have to get out of our little space in the world and see things that we do not see every day. You get a different perspective on life and love. You get to see the other people live and see how privileged you really may be. Just because we are used to seeing and living a certain way, does not mean that it is that way for everyone and we won’t find that out unless we venture out.dsc_2694

Those podcasts I currently listen to….

  • Having it A.L.L. with Matthew Bivens
  • The Overwhelmed Brain with Paul Colaianni
  • The Lifecoach School Podcast with Brooke Castillo
  • The Potter’s Touch with Bishop T.D Jakes
  • Elevation with Steven Furtick
  • Cocktails and Confidence with CeCe Olisa and Chastity Garner (Cofounders of the CurvyCon)

Satisfied

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We work hard. A lot of us go beyond our “day” jobs to look for the next big thing to work on or area to improve in our lives. This can be in our professional or in our personal lives. Does this sound like you? I believe this is a lot of us. The question is, are we going about it the right way?

img_4075Being happy and satisfied is all in the attitude. We can be in pursuit of things that make us happy, but we should also learn to be happy where we are…right now…today, at this moment.

So what do you want to do? Do you want to learn how to play the piano, learn a new language, or even write that book? Because of how our minds work, we think about these things and sometimes move on to the next thought so quickly that we do not even take the time to put a possible plan in place. If you are like me, you do not want to waste any of your days doing things that don’t get you moving in the direction of the things that mean the most to you.

Every little step we take toward our ultimate goal is one that should be celebrated. We should think about and celebrate every win. Take a moment to appreciate your effort, soak in the accomplishment. Be happy with what you have done at that moment.

If we are always looking at what’s ahead (or what we want to be/have in the future), we miss what is happening today. This means that we are not even living in the present. WeIMG_6426.JPG do not have the future yet, and the past has already come and gone. The present is what we know is guaranteed so we should want to be in that moment; enjoy and be present in this very moment. You are missing out on the beauty of today is you spend every moment thinking about the future.

Being in the moment isn’t saying that learning new things is unnecessary or telling you not to look forward to your future, because you really should.  I am just saying that if we forget that we are living life right now, not too many things can change in the future. Who wants to spend all of their time just chasing something better? That means you will never be happy and “happiness” will always be a moving target for you.

What have you really worked hard for recently? Once you had that achievement under your belt, did it feel as good as you thought it would? Is it because you were already working on the next step and did not pause to celebrate your accomplishment? We should be happy with what we have at this moment while we are working toward what we ultimately want.

Those small wins may not seem too important because they are a means to an end but we should make an effort to appreciate those steps toward our ultimate goals. When negative things occur, we should try to see the lessons, not blame ourselves or others, img_6031and find ways to succeed at that thing the next time.

We have to do some self-evaluations. We should take time before our day really starts to think about what would make “this” day perfect. (note to self..and you…do not let the opinions of others matter too much with this though). Write down what you are working on that is a step in the directions of your goals. How do you spend your day and who do you spend it with? What truly can you say makes you feel content/satisfied?

Every year I sit down and evaluate my year. I do not make resolutions but I do look at my life and how I spent my time. Just like you balance your bank account, we need balance in our lives. We can see what/who is adding to our accounts (emotional, physical, spiritual, mental), what is taking away. You can ask yourself what you need to do more of, less of, completely stop or add something totally different to increase your happiness and satisfaction.

However you decide to balance your life, do it for yourself. Yes, self-awareness and how others see us is important to our growth….we also had to make sure that we do not do things to make others like us or be accepted in a circle. Work on you because you really want to see you in a different light. While you are working on improving, make sure to stop and enjoy the sunshine on your face….today. Be satisfied with what this moment has for you.

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Two-Faced

twofacedI have to admit, some years ago, I changed up who I was depending on where I was….. two-faced. When I say two-faced, I do not mean that I smiled in someone’s face, then talked about them behind their backs…that’s not me at all. I mean that I was a different person when I was at work than I was at home or church or out with the girls. I put on a front, or as we say it now, filter so that I can seem more professional and capable.  I was managing so there had to be a certain “air” about me so that the clients and employees would take me seriously and things would get done.

twofaced3I learned quickly that not being my authentic self was boring me and the people that I worked with. I learned that showing my employees that it is ok to laugh and joke at work and be who they truly are (to a degree of course) was the best thing that could happen in a work environment. This helps to accelerate personal development because it breaks down the walls and awkwardness, then everyone is open to striving to be more successful. So…lighten up!

I believe we should laugh and joke more…in general. At work, we need to because we have enough reasons to NOT smile. With all of the pressure on you to meet deadlines and please this person and that one, laughing and joking a little can lighten things up as you get these things accomplished.

Now, I know that you have heard the saying, “laughter is the best medicine.”…I think it is img_7173so true. I recently saw a show on Discovery Channel that talked about a woman who started a laughing yoga class and it has become a very successful business. I thought that it was strange when I first saw it but when you think about it, just the sound of someone else laughing can put you in a good mood.

I go to stores and restaurants and there are so many people that are at work and they do not want to be there. I say QUIT…or make the day go by smiling and laughing and joking a little. I cannot stand being served by someone who hates their job but can’t leave. They make my food taste bad, clothes a little tighter (joking), you know what I mean; everything just feels wrong. Do us all a favor, know your “why” and adjust your attitude or leave!

Joke around, smile, and be goofy sometimes, even at work. You can be the same person that you are in and out of work. I believe that when you are your authentic self all of the time, it draws people in and creates a connection. That gives you an opportunity for growth personally and you never know what other opportunities will come.

Just be YOU!

twofaced2And don’t feel bad about it. And poke fun at yourself as well. We spend over 2000 hours a year at work. That is a lot of time to hate work. Use that time to build character and relationships, and opportunities for personal growth and smile a little. Forget the work filters and be who you are when you are at home.

Ever since I realized how boring being extra serious all day at work could be, I stopped! I try to create a more comfortable environment where I can get things done and laugh while working. Work feels less like work when you can laugh and joke around while producing.

Be who you are all of the time! Why not? It is freeing for one and the work day goes by much faster. When you spend your day at work miserable, it spills over into what times you are not at work. Who has time for that?!

So don’t be two-faced! Be you, all of the time. If you are funny, goofy, or silly, let your co-workers see that side of you. You never know who may need to see that to brighten up their day and make life seem a little easier to bear. Don’t go crazy and do it when you are supposed to be a little more serious, but do not deny yourself a smile or a little laughter and make yourself uncomfortable in your own body. Be you, release yourself from the filter and take the pressure off of everyone else. If you are a naturally quiet and serious person, you should probably try to lighten up too! twofaced1