Are Your Emotions Keeping You Broke?
edited: Wednesday, May 26, 2004
By Blondie Clayton
Rated "G" by the Author.
Posted: Wednesday, May 26, 2004
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Hidden roadblocks to your financial freedom.
Statistics show that the amount of personal bankruptcies and household debt has climbed to trillions, further evidence of a growing problem. Credit counseling agencies have helped some to make the corrections but for those caught up in the emotional attachment to money, few ever look beyond bad management to ask: What’s behind this need to spend one’s self into debt and financial ruin? Where did these destructive patterns originate? What drives you to spend until you get in over your head? Why do you wait until it’s too late to seek help? Is it possible these fears, anxieties and the negatives associated with money have caused many to end up on skid row, sabotaging their careers, marriages, etc., while this secret demon is at work and the spender is none the wiser?
If you have been on that long path of trying to achieve financial freedom, yet it seems that it is a never-ending journey of ups and downs financially, perhaps there are some emotional cobwebs that you need to remove.
Start with the following questions. Take them one by one. Jot down your feelings. Sort through and identify each feeling individually. Is it guilt? Then ask yourself “Why do I feel guilty?” Who is responsible for you feeling this way? Keep asking the question until you get the right answer, the one that sets you free. Don’t be discouraged if it is not right away. It has been buried a long time.
1. Are you uncomfortable accepting money from your spouse?
2. Do you feel every time you get paid, you have to buy something for yourself because you worked hard and you deserve it?
3. Does your spouse have to give an account to you for every penny spent?
4. Does spending money make you happy but after it’s gone, you feel sad?
5. Do you feel angry when you shop and don’t have enough money?
6. Does handling large sums of money make you feel anxious, uncomfortable, or fearful?
7. Do you feel powerful, high, and confident when you have money in your
8. When you receive your paycheck do you feel disappointed?
9. After you spend money, whether for dinner, or something else, does it make you feel guilty, undeserving?
10. Are you afraid to handle your own money? Checking account, etc.
Whether you answered a clear “yes” or you struggled to resist the rollercoaster of thoughts and feelings in and out of your mind and body, there just might be something to this idea of an emotional attachment to money.
In her book “The 9 Steps To Financial Freedom” Suze Orman gives an example of a man who had an experience with money at nine years old, that carried over into his adult married life, leaving him refusing to have a joint account with his wife. Why? Because his sister had stolen money he had been saving to buy a trampoline as a child. He held those feelings way into his adult life, affecting his financial decisions and his relationship with his wife.
For years I, too, struggled to understand this force behind the shame and guilt related to my handling of money. A desperation that forced me to take the journey through the maze of past experiences with money, ending up with bizarre behaviors like my grandfather putting dimes in brown paper and placing them in his shoe to ward off evil spirits; or listening and watching my grandmother manipulate neighbors and friends to empty their
purses to her tales of woe. A childhood experience, which translated into confusion, guilt and shame connected to those acts involving money.
Philosopher Jacob Needleman wrote in his book “Money and the Meaning of Life: “If only we would step back and look at the emotional and spiritual effects money has on us, the green stuff could serve the aim of self-knowledge and become a tool for breaking out of our mental prison.”
In order to understand the role of emotions, and money, we must first translate the word “emotion” into its definition of “feelings”. And just like feelings for people and situations in life go up and down, money can have that same effect. Those feelings connected to money, become an emotional attachment that can have a negative effect on your life.
Suze Orman put it this way: “In our culture it’s okay to talk about therapy we’ve gone through, marital problems we’ve had, our deepest intimate secrets—but telling the truth about money, confessing our worries to our children, our parents, our friends, just isn’t done. Money is our secret both in private and in public.”
According to George Kinder, a Harvard trained Certified Financial Planner, in his book The Seven Stages of Money Maturity: Understanding the Spiritual Value of Money in Your Life, demonstrates how we can literally transform our lives emotionally and financially by achieving “money maturity”—a full understanding of the spiritual and psychological issues surrounding our money lives.
Achieving true financial freedom means striving to balance money, emotions and the spirit. The worship of money can be destructive in your pursuit of freedom if you do not have an understanding of money from a spiritual perspective.
As you move through your roadblocks, one step at a time, remember you are trying to achieve “Money Maturity”. If you discover it is a person you haven’t forgiven, forgive them. Oh, and don’t forget to forgive yourself. Keep in mind your goal is to turn those unhealthy emotional attachments into detached healthy mature feelings.
Search for your truths, face them, and begin to balance and experience the liberating results, which will far outweigh your pain and discomfort.