If you’re like most people, you have a complicated relationship with money.

Either you don’t have enough, have too much, or simply anything money-related makes you feel uneasy.

No matter what your relationship with money looks like, it’s safe to say that money does cause a lot of problems. Not only is it the number one cause of discord in relationships, but it is an enormous player when it comes to anxiety as well. In fact, many people suffer from money anxiety disorder and don’t even know it. Here’s what this disorder is and what to do about it.

What is Money Anxiety Disorder?

Simply put, a money anxiety disorder is when you develop negative money-related patterns in your life. These patterns are usually self-destructive. Also, they can easily put a limit on who you are as a person as well as your financial success.

Money anxiety disorders tend to stem from negative money-related experiences in your life. These experiences are usually so emotionally impactful that they leave you with a distorted view of finances altogether.

The root of a money anxiety disorder could be an event like losing your retirement in the market or even childhood poverty. Sometimes financial ideals imparted to you by an authority figure could cause a money anxiety disorder.

It’s a way of thinking and feeling that can often sabotage your financial security. And money anxiety disorder can impact anyone. It doesn’t necessarily matter how much money you have or don’t have. The successful recovery of this disorder depends on how you approach your finances.

Examples of Money Anxiety Disorder

Money-Worshipping Disorders

This sub-category is characterized by overspending, gambling, hoarding, workaholism, and compulsive buying. If you’re struggling with these symptoms, then you learned from early on to use these activities as an escape from money worries. But the “fix” is temporary and leaves you with bigger worries than before.

Money Avoidance Disorders

You might avoid taking financial risks and frequently underspend. People suffering from this sub-category often try to lessen the impact of money issues by avoiding bank statements or refusing to acknowledge bills. With this disorder, it’s not uncommon for you to feel guilty about having extra money, too.

Relational Money Disorders

Hiding your spending from your loved ones is a common element in this sub-category. You might resort to lying about going over budget or even hide secret accounts. Adult children who are capable of financial independence but who are still depending on their parents fall into this category.

What You Can Do About Money Anxiety Disorder

Once a money anxiety disorder has been identified, you can begin to take active steps to mitigate your financial situation. One of the most important steps to take is to be honest about your behavior and preconceived ideas.

There is an abundance of great financial advice on the internet from experienced money coaches. From Dave Ramsey to Suze Orman, there is a strategy for everyone. Find one that speaks to you and formulate a recovery game plan.

Find a confidante to whom you’re accountable. This person could be a friend, financial coach, or therapist. The most important thing is that you trust telling them about your financial struggles. While it’s still your money, checking in with someone you trust can help shift your negative money-related patterns.

Be sure to make plenty of short-term goals. This might mean reassessing your progress every 30 days or so. Then, regrouping to make new goals for the next 30 days. Progress often comes in baby steps. Learn to see the positive in moving forward at a slow pace.

Take the first step…

If you’re struggling with anxiety issues around money and you’re ready to take the next step in resolving those issues, I would like to help. Please contact me via phone or email so we can discuss how we might work together to achieve your therapeutic goals as quickly and effectively as possible.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Linda K. Laffey, MFT

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