Another thing for my therapist

I guess it’s a good thing that I have a therapist again because I’ve realized that I do have a problem I can’t solve on my own. In short, I can’t stop spending money on things I don’t need.

Admittedly, I have a lot more self-control now than I did when I was at the peak of my Abilify days. I only bought two things from Amazon Prime days, and the total was $30. (One was a Buddhist tapestry for my office and the other was an odor remover for pet stains.)

I really wanted to buy a new Amazon Kindle while they were 50% off, in part because it’s hard to read e-books on my phone and in part because I’m a sucker for the pretty plum color they have now. But I put it in my cart and intentionally didn’t end up buying it before the sale was over. (And for whatever it’s worth, I’m still wishing I had bought it today.)

I do have a ton of e-books I want to read but they’re all on my phone, which is very inconvenient. But as my husband pointed out, I have a sizable backlog of physical books to read, too.

I do a regular tour of the same shopping websites several times a week and usually don’t order anything. But I need to figure out why I still look at all, so that I can stop doing it. I told J last night that I’m like an alcoholic who allows herself one or two drinks a week but still spends every day looking up drink recipes.

Obviously, I’ve cut down significantly on what I actually buy compared to what I was doing before, but it’s still a problem. I have to find out what’s making me continue to look there when I know that I don’t need anything, and pull the whole damn thing out by the roots. That’s what I need a therapist’s help with figuring out how to do.

Ironically, the same reason J gives me for why I need to get this under control is part of why I’m doing it, though. He says that I won’t be able to spend like this when he’s gone and I already know that. A big part of me feels like I’d better do it while I still can, because I’m going to be so poor in the future that I’ll never be able to get this stuff again.

Of course, the real issue is that I really shouldn’t be getting it now, either. I should be saving all my money for the future in hopes that maybe I won’t be so poor when he’s gone.

To be fair, we’ve gotten a lot of nice things already. We have two new-ish reliable cars, a great house to live in, and got new mattresses for everyone. I got a beautiful diamond anniversary ring. And we ordered a really nice new sofa, thanks to the generosity of my mother-in-law. I shouldn’t continually need new purses and blankets and shoes, too.

In truth, I don’t know where the limit is of what I want. I’m scared that maybe there isn’t one, which is surprising because I’ve always thought of myself as anti-consumerist and minimalist. I guess that self-perception wasn’t very accurate. I went from being fairly satisfied with spending $25 a week to spending at least $100 per week, which obviously isn’t sustainable.

I think in part, I’m spending to make up for all the things I never got while growing up, which is dumb because I can’t fix the past.

But that brings up a whole lot of big things in their own right, though. Like that maybe I should have resigned myself to the fact that I wouldn’t ever be able to shop for nice things, at least not on a regular basis. The way I grew up was the way I can still afford to live, period. I’m not rich now and never was.

Yes, we can technically afford these things now, but shouldn’t be spending our money on them. I was supposed to go from too poor to shop before he got this job to living as though I’m still poor, because now he has cancer and I have to prepare myself for life without him.

I don’t want to deal with any of this but I’m going to do it anyway. I need to change my mindset so that saving makes me feel secure and spending has the opposite effect.

3 Comments

  1. I remember Gabor Mate pointing out that he himself has an addiction: buying classical music that he never gets around to listening to. As the “drug” was the experience of browsing and then spending. It definitely serves an important psychological need and I hope you can pull out the roots. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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