Are You on Your Mobile Phone? Click here for 2800+ mobile optimized, self help and self growth articles.

Addiction to Spending

By Dr. Margaret Paul
March 15, 2010



Discover what might be fueling an addiction to spending, or any other addiction, and how you can heal from all addictions.



shopping addiction"I keep getting into more and more debt, but I can't seem to stop. I do great for a while, and then I just have to go shopping and buy stuff. This is going to ruin my life if I don't stop, but how do I stop?"

Mary Beth is addicted to spending. What does this mean and how can she stop?

Mary Beth's compulsive spending does not come out of nowhere. It is rooted in her fear of feel feelings that she believes she cannot handle. In her mind, it is easier to handle the anxiety of debt than to feel the deeper feelings - the painful feelings of life such as loneliness, heartbreak, and helplessness concerning others and events - that she believes she has to avoid.

Here is what happened that triggered Mary Beth's last spending spree.

"I went home for Christmas and it was awful. I guess it's always been awful, but this time seemed even worse. There was nothing I could do right in my mother's eyes, and my father was, as usual, completely emotionally absent. At one point my mother screamed at me that I am hopeless. I thought I managed it all at the time, trying to not take it personally as she treats others this way too, but when I got home I went on the spending spree. I thought I did a really great job of not reacting to her and taking care of myself, so I don't understand the spending."
 

The Underlying Cause of Most Addictions

Mary Beth is missing a major aspect of taking loving care of oneself in the face of another's unloving behavior. She is bypassing the painful feelings of loneliness, heartbreak, and helplessness over her mother that she feels when her mother yells at her and criticizes her.

Since Mary Beth's mother has always been like this, Mary Beth had to learn as a child to not feel the deep pain of her mother's unloving behavior. As a small child, she could not feel that much loneliness, heartbreak, and helplessness and survive. So she learned various ways of not feeling these feelings. She learned to disconnect from her body and stay in her head. She learned to turn to sugar to self-sooth. The problem is that these protections created an inner emptiness, so as she got older and started to earn her own money, she learned that buying things temporarily filled the emptiness that she was creating by her self-abandonment.

Now it was habitual. She automatically disconnected from herself when anyone was in any way unloving to her with their anger, blame, criticism, or withdrawal. It was no longer just about her mother - it happened all the time at work and with her boyfriend. Each time someone was in any way uncaring with her, she would shut down, go for the sugar, and then go out and buy stuff. While she felt better for the moment, she found that she was feeling more and more empty and needing more and more sugar, junk food, and things to fill her up.

Now, as an adult, Mary Beth needed to learn to feel and manage the loneliness, heartbreak ,and helplessness she felt when others were uncaring.
 

Lovingly Managing the Painful Feeling of Life

"Mary Beth," I said to her in our session, "please imagine being back with your mother at Christmas. Remember her anger and criticism. Imagine that you go into anther room so that you are not near her. Now put your hands on your heart, acknowledging the loneliness, heartbreak, and helplessness that we all naturally feel when others are unloving and uncaring. Breathe into your heart, being very kind, tender, gentle and compassionate with these painful feelings. Give yourself the love that you wished someone would have given you as a child when your mother was being mean to you. Stay with these feelings with deep caring and understanding toward yourself until they start to move through you."

I gave her a few minutes to move through these feelings.

"How are you feeling now?"

"Wow! I feel so much lighter!

"Are you willing to practice this every time someone is uncaring to you and see how this affects your spending?"

Mary Beth reported that, each time she remembered to do this for herself, she had no desire to shop and spend. Her addiction surfaced only when she forgot to lovingly attend to her feelings.

Join Dr. Margaret Paul for her 30-Day at-home Course: "Love Yourself: An Inner Bonding Experience to Heal Anxiety, Depression, Shame, Addictions and Relationships."



Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs
CC BY-NC-ND


Send this article to a friend    Print this article    Bookmarked 5 time(s)
Bookmark and Share    Share with Del.icio.us    submit 'Addiction to Spending' to digg Share with Digg    Share with StumbleUpon
There are no videos, Click to add one to the gallery!
There is no audio, Click to add audio to the gallery!
There are no pictures, Click to add one to the gallery!

Comments


More Help

Looking for help with Addiction to Spending?

Search for solutions on Addiction to Spending within the InnerBonding.com website using Google's Site Search.




 
 



Daily Inspiration

Who are you giving yourself up to in order to avoid rejection? With whom are you not fully yourself to not face a lack of caring and support if you are all you can be? Are you keeping yourself small to avoid knowing the truth of who really cares about your highest good and who will not support you in being all you can be?

By






Explore More Inner Bonding

 

DAILY INSPIRATION

Who are you giving yourself up to in order to avoid rejection? With whom are you not fully yourself to not face a lack of caring and support if you are all you can be? Are you keeping yourself small to avoid knowing the truth of who really cares about your highest good and who will not support you in being all you can be?

By

INNER BONDING EVENTS

Inner Bonding Events

12/08/2022 08:00 AM
4-Day Virtual Intensive
Victor Granville and Grace Escaip

02/01/2023 06:00 PM
4-Day Virtual Intensive
Stel Fine and Grace Escaip

All Inner Bonding Events