by Andrea M. Darcy
Work hard, but can’t seem to get ahead? Opportunities arrive but seem to fall apart every time? Just can’t get out of debt?
The way we think and feel directly affects all of our decisions and behaviours in life. So it could be that it isn’t money that is the real problem, but a psychological issue it’s time to deal with.
Psychological issues that cause money problems
So what sorts of issues might behind your money problems?
1. Negative Core Beliefs.
- Is it hard to keep a job when your employers and colleagues always hate you?
- Do good things like having money happen to other people but never you?
Core beliefs are the unconscious assumptions you make about the world, others, and yourself that influence each decision you make. If your core beliefs are negative, you’ll make choices to suit. For example, if you have a hidden belief that ‘I am not worthy of love’, you’ll find it hard to let good things happen to you, which can mean you choose low-paid, difficult employment.
2. Low Self-Esteem.
- Never apply for promotions because you are sure someone better will get the job?
- Hate calling the bank because it makes you nervous to talk about money?
- Think investing is for ‘smart people’?
For most people, money is a good thing. Low self-esteem, however, means you think you are not worthy of good things. This can lead to sabotaging financial opportunity or being too under-confident to take it.
- Find getting up and going to work is like dragging yourself through sand?
- Sure you have no future anyway, so can’t be bothered to care about your finances?
What people who have never experienced depression don’t understand is how physical it can feel. It can be as if bags of sand are weighing down your limbs, making normal day to day living exhausting. You might want to sleep all the time, and your mind can feel completely blank or foggy. Obviously such symptoms make it very hard to keep on top of things, including money and work.
- So many things racing through your mind you put off your finances?
- Or does the word money make your heart pound so fast that you can’t bear it?
Anxiety can have the opposite affect of depression at first, putting you on an adrenaline high with racing thoughts and high energy (although with time, it often leads to depression).
The problem is that your thoughts might be about random, exaggerated things, such as excessive worry about whether you left the iron on, or if the person you sit next to at work really likes you or is faking. This can leave you too distracted to actually deal with practical things. Or, money will be the thing that you obsess on, meaning you avoid it as it makes you too anxious.
4. Sleep problems.
- Just you too tired to even care about your finances?
Without proper rest it’s very hard to be organised and practical. Over time you can slide into ‘survivor mode’, just dragging yourself through each day trying to get by.
Sleep problems are an underrated reason for career decline and redundancy and can also lead to depression and anxiety, which both just exacerbate money issues.
- Do you mean to concentrate on making more money, but you don’t have time because ‘you are in love’?
- Did you give all your money to your partner because ‘he needed it more than you?’
Unfortunately, spending all your time pleasing someone else leaves very little time for things like moving forward with your career or finding new avenues of wealth. Codependents lack boundaries, so struggle to say no if their partners ask for money. Or, your need to please might mean you overspend on credit cards to keep your partner happy.
- Is there something in life you pay for no matter what the cost?
- Have you sacrificed opportunity to hide a bad habit?
Whether it’s alcohol, drugs, high grocery bills from overeating, or gambling, addictions are very expensive.
Even if you outwardly seem to have a normal life and hide your problem well, your thoughts are always partially on your addiction, meaning there is little headspace for planning your future. Of course the anxiety that comes with hiding an addiction doesn’t help.
7. Adult ADHD.
- Start projects that could make you money, but then quit before they do?
- Keep delaying things like applying for a better job?
- Always losing jobs because of an impulsive temper or always being late?
- Find an unopened bank statement a month after it’s been mailed to you because you must have just put it the drawer an forgot about it?
Adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) means you can’t stay focussed or organised. ADHD affects all areas of your life, including your bank statement.
8. Personality disorders.
- Always in conflict with others, including employers and colleagues?
- Spend money compulsively and simply can’t control yourself?
- Think you are above working for a living?
Personality disorders mean you think and behave in ways that differ from the norm. This can mean an ordinary lifestyle, such as going to work, don’t make sense to you. If you have a personality disorder you will also find it very hard to fit in with others, which can make finding a job that suits you more of a challenge.
9. Bipolar disorder.
- Go on wild shopping sprees, then later have no idea what you have done?
- Have troubles at work because others find you ‘too intense’?
Bipolar disorder means you swing into manic episodes which see you acting very impulsively and losing your usual inhibitions, including personal boundaries.
But surely counselling can’t help my money situation?
Working with a counsellor or psychotherapist can help you identify how your thoughts, feelings, and behaviours are combining to hold you back in life, and that includes your finances. A good therapist can also help you set goals and finally move forward in life, whether that is finally applying for your dream job, or just having the courage to call a financial advisor.
Harley Therapy puts you in touch with some of London’s best counsellors and psychotherapists. Not in the UK? online therapists can help you no matter where you live.