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Spending/Shopping addiction

(5 Posts)
standsonshiftingsands Fri 16-Nov-12 13:55:27

I wasn't sure where to put this one, so sorry if this is the wrong one.

I'm going to try and be very honest here as I haven't really been honest to anyone except my husband.

I have had a spending/shopping problem for years now - probably close to 15 years. Its odd because when I left University all those years ago,, I was the only one with not even an overdraft. I'm prepared for some 'cop yourself on' replies here.

I have got into terrible debt in the past and got out of it by either taking out a consolidation loan or with help from husband. It usually reaches a crisis point and then crumbles - we clear it up, I promise, but then I lapse again. Its only fortunate that my husband has a good job and I work full time too or I don't know what would have happened.

Of course its not really seen as an addiction in the way alcohol or gambling is - I've rung a few helplines and they seem bemused.

I've had one period of counselling which really helped and things were under control for about 2 years, but then I became ill (physically ill) and things seemed to kick off again. I have suffered from depression but am no longer on medication for that. I'm not sure if I'm depressed - hopeless yes.

the counselling does treat it as a sign of something else - I don't even know whether to believe that mysefl or am just a selfish cow. I know I shop - mostly for clothes - to make me into this 'perfect person' I know there isn't such a thing of course - but somehow if I buy that dress, I might become it. Only, I never do, so I have to keep buying. But, I overspend on other things too - food, household stuff.

I'm trying some more counselling now - it might help. My husband is understandably fed up, and probably has come to the end of his patience with me. We have 3 children. Nobody knows - I don't have many close friends, and anyway I'd be too embarrassed to admit to my stupidity. It has been particularly bad lately because I just feel my life is a bit out of control - 3 kids, work full time, job is hard, home is hard, I had a major brain operation last year. But lots of people have this and don't rack up debt on the scale I do.

I don't suppose there is anyone as stupid as me out there, but I wondered if anyone had even heard of anyone like me, and what they might have done.

ClareMarriott Fri 16-Nov-12 16:23:32

There is no need to think of yourself as stupid as you are not, but I do believe you need to look back over those 15 years and see whether there was a trigger ( and is it being repeated ) after which you felt you needed to constantly shop. I'm glad you are having another go with the counselling as you do know that anything you say to the counsellor will not be repeated by him/her and will remain within 4 walls.

standsonshiftingsands Fri 16-Nov-12 17:06:07

thanks - I think the counselling is helping a bit. I have even felt my urge to spend curb over the few weeks I have been seeing her, so that must mean something.

ClareMarriott Fri 16-Nov-12 18:30:40

Great - Good luck !!!

NulliusInBlurba Fri 16-Nov-12 18:50:43

I think you've taken the most important step by acknowledging responsibility for your addiction. But realising that only you can change yourself is not the same as beating yourself up by calling yourself stupid - that can only be counter-productive.

Let's take another more commonly acknowledged addiction - alcohol. An alcoholic knows s/he will never be able to drink alcohol again and there is always a risk of relapse. You have the problem that you can't just say 'I will never shop again' because you will always need to buy food and some clothes - everybody does, even if it's Iceland and charity shops. So you can't avoid your addiction - you have to learn to control it instead, which is surely much more difficult than absolute abstinence. Have you tried the obvious restrictive measures - cancel your credit card, only go shopping with a certain amount in cash so you can't spend on even debit cards?

Best of luck anyway!

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