I was speaking with a client the other day, and she was very emotional and distraught.
We have been working together for a few months to help change her relationship with money and get out of debt. She has significant debt - over 70K in credit cards alone, and it can be overwhelming at times.
During our call, what became apparent to me was how she was suffering from the emotional side effects of her debt. We worked through a few issues, and she was able to leave the session feeling more hopeful than when she started.
So I thought maybe you too suffer from one or two of these side effects and so I thought I'd share them with you.
Often we spend compulsively or just overspend while ignoring our deteriorating conditions. We put off dealing with problems until some outside event – credit denied, the threat of foreclosure, legal action, harassing phone calls from debt collectors – forces a change.
Some of the symptoms of debt denial are:
- Underestimating how much you owe.
- Not answering the phone when you suspect a collection agency is calling.
- Leaving bills unopened or just stuffing them in a drawer.
- Opening a new credit card when your old one is maxed out.
- Telling yourself that everyone is in the same situation.
Our behavior just leads to more debt as interest charges and late fees pile up. But ignoring reality is a handy defense mechanism for the brain. It’s a way to rationalize mistakes and protect your ego. The problem is reality always sets in.
I want to encourage you if you suffer from this particular side effect you remove the blinders and start facing your reality. I know it can be scary but almost every person I've ever helped past this denial felt better after they knew the reality of their situation. Don't be afraid! I'm here to support you.
72% of Americans say they feel stressed about money, according to an American Psychological Association study. And 22% say they feel“extreme” stress over their finances. Translated it means you hyperventilate when the Mastercard bill arrives.
Stress may be hard to define, but it manifests itself in obvious ways – lack of sleep, loss of focus, nagging worry.
It can affect big things like your job since you fear losing it would make your financial situation even worse. It can affect small things like lunch since you feel guilty for ordering a $2.19 iced tea instead of water. You don’t need me to tell you that’s no way to live.
I know you're still going to feel stressful, at least for awhile, but putting a plan in place and working towards your goals is a great stress reliever because you can see the progress you're making and that feels good!
Instead of panicking or denying, victims got mad. They were mad at creditors who continually sent them bills; mad at the mailman for delivering the bills; mad at their bosses for not paying them more; mad at their spouses for not making more money; mad at their kids for needing new braces; and mad at themselves for getting into this fix. In short, they were mad at life.
When the economy tanked in 2009, anger issues rose. The phenomenon got its own name in medical circles: Debt-Anger Syndrome.
Sure get mad if you want but don't stay there. Instead, take that energy and funnel it towards paying off debt.
People deny, freak out, and lash out over debt. After they work through those stages, the bills are still staring them back in the face. That’s when depression sets in.
The good news about getting out of debt is the solution is pretty simple. Easier said than done, of course. But it can be done if you get a plan and stick to it.
Whatever the cause of you plunging into an uncomfortable level of debt, your goals should be to reduce your expenses, increase your monthly payments to creditors, reduce interest rates and pay off your bills by a set date.
The mere act of starting to dig out of a financial hole is a positive first step that will make you feel better.
In a couple of weeks, I'm going to share with you a solution to end your debt and improve your life if you're open and willing. So watch for an email titled, This Could Change Everything For You!
This was the same system I used to end my personal debt side effects.
Until then, keep at it my friends! I know you can do it and I'm here to help you any way I can.
Have a great weekend!
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