The connection between debt and money shame became evident to me in 2008, when a financial planning firm recruited me to do retirement planning. At that time, my clients were mainly school teachers, counselors, and administrators in local school districts, which meant most of my clients were women.
That’s when I first saw a pattern of shame emerge around chronic debt. It didn’t matter if it was credit card, auto loan, or student loan debt. Where there was a lot of debt, shame was present, too. The two seemed to go hand in hand.
The connection between debt and shame baffled me until I learned that our unresolved emotions get projected onto our relationship with money. I now know that our relationship with money is intertwined with things like how we perceive our value, personal power, and our sense of security in this world.
Over the last thirteen years of financial coaching, I’ve seen an interesting pattern in which smart, intelligent, capable women with chronic debt issues typically carry unresolved shame. Shame around debt was undoubtedly the case with my own debt story.
What’s interesting is that the shame may have nothing to do with money. In fact, it rarely does. It’s more about unresolved childhood traumatic experiences that threatened our feeling of safety and security. Trauma causes us to feel shame.
To overcome chronic debt once and for all, it takes more than adhering to a budget and payoff strategy. If we don’t address the trauma experience or the shame we carry, freedom from debt is not sustainable. We’ll find ourselves on a roller coaster with debt where we pay it off but then run it up again. The debt cycle repeats itself until we address the underlying causes of our behavior and heal the wounds of our past.
Healing our relationship with money is healing our relationship with ourselves.
Dealing with the cascade of emotions around debt can seem quite overwhelming at first because remember, there might be a past trauma involved. Yet, healing our money relationship can be as simple as cultivating self-awareness and self-compassion. Ultimately, loving and forgiving ourselves is the key to moving forward.
We overcome debt from the inside out, and it starts with healing our money shame.
In my money coaching program, releasing shame is one of the first steps when working with women who have a pattern of creating debt. Doing so lays the foundation for profound healing and growth, and ultimately, self-acceptance.
Once we do the deep inner work of healing the shame connected to debt, creating debt becomes a thing of the past. We break the cycle once and for all.
“Love is the great healer of shame. Especially self-love.”
Hello! I’m Patti Fagan! I’m a Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, Christian Life Coach, Wellness Advocate, Ramsey Solutions Master Financial Coach, former retirement planner, and digital creator. I’m also an award-winning author and prayer warrior, serving on the prayer team at my local church.
I provide digital content and resources that support my sisters-in-Christ in their health, finances, and business, so they can share their God-given gifts with the world.
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