Relationships… are complex learning experiences.
We all interact with, maintain, seek to obtain, and consequently, spend money. Let’s take a moment to explore what a poor (in a literal and figurative sense) relationship with money looks like.
Britney Spears sung it best, “you know that you’re toxic“. Unhealthy interactions stand out because they simply don’t feel right. When your relationship with money is unhealthy, you may experience some of these toxic feelings:
- Control. Walking on eggshells, worrying about saying or doing the wrong things only to be interrogated about it later- oh wait, this blog is about a toxic relationship with money, not my ex… 🙂
Still, the same feelings apply. If having money, or lacking money, controls you, the relationship is unhealthy. If you generally feel powerless over your finances, you must address why. Is your rent expense too high? Is your car note, unreasonable and a large portion of your monthly income? It is so important to have and maintain a healthy income to debt ratio. To live within your means, is to have room for emergencies and some surplus.
- Anxiety. Financial anxiety manifests as worry of not having enough money or worrying that what you do have, will not last. It’s quite similar to lying next to a partner and knowing that what is unspoken, will inevitably break you apart.
It doesn’t matter if a person is rich or poor, anyone can have a toxic relationship with money that involves a chaotic cycle of financial worries. If you find yourself impulse buying “because you deserve it”, and then, worrying about how to maintain it… or even how to replace it once it inevitably breaks – there are changes to make.
- Shame. In toxic relationships, shame is a continuum. One may feel shame that they are in an unhealthy dynamic, or shame that their appearances don’t match the true reality.
Financial shame can involve avoidant experiences, such as refusing to join a family trip “because you don’t make enough” when in reality, it’s not about your salary but about how well you plan, save and budget for experiences. Another example of financial shame is refusing to ask for help, because “you work”. The working class often needs the most help in times of catastrophe, such as hurricanes and the pandemic. You should never be ashamed to ask for a loan, credit increase or to refuse an expense because you “work”. With responsible borrowing or refusing expenses, you can eliminate financial shame and make great financial progress.
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