Are You in Financial Denial?

Financial denial is a money disorder not unlike other problems that people suffer from on a daily basis. I have encountered quite few people from all walks of life who have been in deep financial denial.  It can be so easy to just  throw away bills or not open them because you don’t want to see how much you owe, or not answering the phone when creditors call and downplaying the significance of your debt. These actions are all signals of financial denial disorder, among others.

This disorder can impact areas of your life such as your job, relationships, your health and your all-around well being. This happens because you spend so much time and effort trying to hide your financial situation – like substance abusers try to hide their addiction — that other crucial aspects of your life are disregarded – sometimes without you even knowing it. You might be the last person to find out about the consequences of your actions and when you do, the damage is already done.

So before the damage is done let’s drill down and take a look at the other symptoms of financial denial.

Denying the reality of your situation — You can decide to put blinders on but that’s like putting a bandage on a bullet wound, it won’t help. You must confront the reality before you can do anything about your financial condition.

Rationalizing – Anyone that’s in denial, from a drug abuser to a gambler, is excellent at rationalizing. Think WINNING! They can come up with an excuse or a story to explain away any of their actions—and it makes perfect sense, but only to them. If you find that your friends and family don’t understand the rationale to your excuses, you better take a closer look at what you are doing.

Claiming victory – Just because you may be successful in one aspect of your life doesn’t mean you shouldn’t analyze other parts of your life. You can be doing great at work but still can’t pay the bills because you spend too much money or use credit cards to finance a lifestyle you really can’t afford. Concentrating on the good parts of your life and ignoring the bad parts will only make the bad worse.

“Life is short” syndrome – You want to live life to its fullest because you won’t be on this earth for long. So you spend as much money as possible, leaving barely enough to pay the bills. But what happens if you get sick or a family member has an emergency? And spending money doesn’t really equal to living life to its fullest. Enjoying family and friends and helping those in need usually offers the best rewards over buying a new handbag, pricey designer shoes or going on that expensive vacation (although I do think travel is important if you can afford it!)

Not being truthful – If you are married and you’re not being honest with your spouse or if a family member asks if you are okay and you simply lie to them about your financial situation then you need to reevaluate your situation and you may need help. It’s okay to reach out for assistance; it could be a new beginning. Lying and denying only makes matters worse, and if you are lying you probably feel the guilt building up inside.

Financial denial, especially during these turbulent economic times, can literally wipe out all the good that you’ve done in your life. It can destroy families, alienate friends and deplete your life savings. If you believe you are in denial talk to someone about it and get on the challenging road to recovery. It won’t be easy but you’ll feel better about yourself.