Signs of Financial Trauma
by Deniss Pleiner, M.A.
Financial trauma is often experienced by BIPOC communities-- particularly Black and Brown Communities-- because we are also forced into poverty or low socio-economic standing as a result of oppressive and racist systems. In the past, we have talked about what financial trauma and how to manage it but today we are diving deeper into some often overlooked behaviors that we develop as a result of financial trauma.
Thoughtless Spending: Buying things because now you have the ability to do it and consistent “splurging” following by guilt and anxiety about your debt. When you grow up with very little, seeing a paycheck makes us feel like we have more than what we do. We want to reclaim and enjoy all the things we couldn't before.
Anxiety when Spending: On the opposite end, you may feel anxiety when you spend (scarcity mindset). Any amount of money is too much to have to pay-- even when its for necessities, it still hurts to see the money go. Because you grew up with very little, you may often have anxiety about not having any reserves.
Hoarding: Not wanting to let go of things for fear that you may need them: sometime, maybe, in the future, perhaps? This is often seen in older immigrant populations (i.e., your parents, grandparents) who tend to fill their homes with things.
Buying Extra : Because you are afraid that you may come to a point again in your life when you don't have money to buy this again, you buy a few at a time when money permits.
Feeling Guilty: Guilt when charging more for your services or asking for more pay/benefits at work. Guilt for having more than your siblings, parents or grandparents-- or even extended family.
None of these behaviors are inherently "bad". Remember that when we engage in generational wound healing, we must acknowledge how some of these behaviors helped our parents/grandparent survive.
I hope this reminder helps you contextualize your behaviors and patterns so that you can be more compassionate and aware of where they are coming from.
And lastly, we can't address something we don't even know is happening– and once we do, self-compassion is what will drive out motivation for change. Now that you have identified some behaviors connected to financial trauma, you can work on healing the ones that you feel are no longer helpful.
If you would like more support in this, request a free consultation with one of our clinicians below: