Financial therapy

I really need a new therapist, period. I stopped seeing my other one in October because it really didn’t seem like she was helping me anymore. I couldn’t explore anything in real depth or get to the bottom of my issues, and her answers were always some variation of the same mental exercises I could do and worksheets. It was just not very helpful and I figured there were much better ways to spend $60 (the discounted rate when not filing insurance because my insurance was way too expensive to use.)

The thing I’ve figured out is that I really, really need help regarding money. Ideally, I need a therapist who can help me manage this issue better.

I’ve been fucked up about money since I was a kid. I know that being poor and going to school with really privileged kids didn’t help. But I’ve traced back most of my adult issues with money to the year I spent living with this guy named Jon.

For the first time in my life, I knew what it was like to be not just low-income but truly destitute. I was technically homeless for most of the time I spent with him in the sense that I had no real address. Twice, we lived in places with no electricity or running water.

Added to that matter was the fact that his siblings randomly stole my things and I never knew what might be there today that would be missing tomorrow. That led to a fear that’s stayed with me that I could lose everything at any moment. And now that my husband’s been diagnosed with stage IV cancer, it could really happen.

Yet the part that I really don’t understand and why I think I need a therapist to help me deal with money is because the logical outcome of fearing that I could lose everything at any moment should be that I feel compelled to save every penny.

But I don’t and in fact, it’s the opposite. I’m genuinely trying to figure out why. I have an eye for nice things (due in part to growing up around rich kids and in part due to the influence of my nearly 20-year friendship with someone who felt entitled to get whatever she wanted, whenever she wanted it.)

I don’t just want A computer or A smartphone; I want a MacBook and an iPhone. I don’t want just new makeup but designer brands that cost 2-3 times the cost of drugstore makeup. I guess it’s good that my consumption knows some limits: I’m perfectly happy with my modest five-year-old car that’s paid off and I’m not wanting something newer, and I don’t want a nicer, newer house. But still, I’m aware of this creeping sense of entitlement that’s keeping me from truly saving the money that would actually make me feel more secure, especially in such uncertain circumstances.

The real question is how do I fix this? How do I get in the mindset of saving money and saying no to myself, without triggering those feelings like having nice things is the only thing that matters, especially when I know better?

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