So I have been debating whether or not to do this post purely on the fact that I don’t know what kind of feedback I might get, or that people just won’t take it seriously.
But I feel as if I need to get this out because if not, I don’t think I will be able to move past it. Or I might even explode.
Now you’ve read the title of the post, you know that it is about shopping addiction. Before you go, “All women have shopping addictions.” That is certainly not true. Shopping addiction is just like all other addictions. Something triggers it and the people can not control themselves.
While at work on day, a while ago, another associate had admitted that she had a shopping problem. She would go out shopping everyday. Her credit cards were maxed out and she used up her husbands check to buy stuff. When we talked about her just cutting up her cards, she freaked on us. Almost had a panic attack just thinking about. She had a true shopping addiction. I thought to myself, “Man, how can someone do that, especially to her husband.”
Well let’s fast forward to now and I realize that I too have a shopping addiction.
The main characteristics for shopping addiction is as follows:
- Compulsive buying
- Fear of being discovered
- Feeling lost without credit cards
- Getting a rush from spending money
- Hiding evidence of purchases
- Juggling bills to get money for shopping
- Lying about spending patterns
- Regular pattern of behavior
- Shopping alone
- Shopping when angry, depressed, bored or lonely
- Spending even if you can not afford the item
- Thinking about shopping in between trips
Now I don’t fit every category, but most.
I often feel like I have to hide my purchases. Which if you look into my closet you can clearly see that I’ve shopped. I have clothes out the ying yang. Most with the tags still on them, that I do not wear. Shoes that I’ve told myself I can’t live without, all still sitting in their original boxes. Makeup palettes that I haven’t even broken the seals on.
I buy things thinking that I need them and then once I’m in my vehicle driving home, the regret hits. I could return them… but I never do. I try to justify my purchases. I’ve had a bad day… I’ve had a good day… I went to the gym… Anything to prove to myself that it was worth it. But deep down inside I know that it never was.
Now you might ask me, “Why don’t you just stop?” I’ve tried… I swear I have. It was easy to hide it when my husband and I had separate bank accounts. I would go on buying binges, we lived apart, he wouldn’t notice. However now, it can’t be like that. We’ve pulled our money together… we’re trying our hardest to get things paid off but seems like it will never happen because I feel like my spending is completely out of control.
It’s not even on just clothes and makeup… it’s on food as well. I buy breakfast every morning and lunch as well. Something that could be avoided if I just bought some groceries for the week. I did really well with that when I would make fruit smoothies every morning. But instead of buying the frozen fruit that I would need to make them, I bought a couple of clearance dresses… go figure right?
I finally came to the conclusion that I really had a problem I had gone to CVS to buy makeup… why? Boredom. I was all alone. My husband was in town with his friends and I was by myself, so I went bought a couple of items and came home. Again on the ride home I kept thinking… why did I buy these? Then I started doing some research on shopping addiction and it started to make sense. I ended up sitting at my computer desk, reading all these things on shopping addictions and then I just started crying… cried myself to sleep and then on the drive home from work the next day I cried. I’m emotional just typing this up.
Some of the psychological conditions associated with compulsive shopping are:
- Emotional deprivation in childhood
- Inability to tolerate negative feelings, pain, loneliness, boredom, depression, fear, anger
- Need to fill an inner void – empty and longing inside
- Excitement seeking
- Approval seeking
- Genuinely impulsive and compulsive
- Need to gain control
To that end, some behaviors and emotions have been associated with as potential causes of shopping addiction, such as:
- A reaction to disappointment, stress, anger or fear by shopping
- A feeling that one’s spending habits are out of control and are causing friction or conflict in one’s family, relationship
- Feeling a sense of euphoria as well as anxiety while shopping
- Experiencing a sense of getting away with something forbidden while shopping
- Feeling severe guilt or remorse about having gone shopping, especially if it contradicts promises made to one’s self or a loved one
- Buying things that are never or almost never used—in other words, buying for no reason other than to spend
- Lying about one’s extensive shopping habits to friends and family
- A preoccupation with credit cards and finances built around how much one has spent, how much one will have to spend on shopping, and creative juggling of various accounts to make shopping possible.
**info taken from addictionhelpcenter.com**
Now don’t get me wrong, my husband and I spend a lot of time together. One day out of the week he goes and hangs out with the boys [I encourage it]. So him being gone that one day was not what triggered my emotional side of wanting to buy something to make myself feel better.
I feel as if my addiction stems from the fact that I feel like a failure in life. Yes I married the man of my dreams but every single goal I made for myself has gone down the drain over the years.
I know some people might still think that this is something silly but it’s a real problem. It is a strain on our new marriage. It’s like being a smoker. You smoke when you are bored… you smoke when you are angry… you smoke whenever you feel the urge to smoke. The temptation is hard to suppress… and all you want to do is give into that cigarette because for those few minutes it will give you some kind of pleasure.
Just typing this up, I feel somewhat better. I know the things I need to do to help myself stop this. First, I need to gain some confidence in myself. Low self-esteem is a key factor in depression and the fact that I feel as if I am a failure, keeps me in a pit of self-doubt. One of the things I will do to try to help myself along is not keep my debit card on me. Knowing that I have money on me is what keeps me on the road of spending. If I don’t have it, it won’t lead me to temptation. Only pay with cash, which means putting myself on a strict allowance.
I know what you are thinking, what if there is an emergency, I always have someone to call. I know it sounds stupid but I have a husband and his family in one town and my parents in the town that I work. So I should be okay with that.
Whenever I get the urge… push myself to go to the gym. Win win… I’ll be getting some much-needed excercise and it will keep me distracted. Read the hundreds of books I own. I have paperback books and ebooks that still need to be read. So there is definitely no excuse to not just sit around and read instead of thinking about things I could buy. Erase all temptation… no more blogs, youtube “hual” videos or weekly ads to look at that could encourage me to buy something. One of the really hard things is that I work in retail, but that one could be easy… go to work empty-handed… leave empty-handed.
It wasn’t always this bad… only the past few months. But I’m ready to change. I acknowledge my problem and hope to overcome it. Shopping addiction is considered a lot of different things by different experts. Some say it is an obsessive compulsive disorder… a impulse control disorder… mood disorder or just a regular addiction. Either way, it is a problem that affects a lot of people.
I apologize to my husband for causing this kind of stress. He works like a dog and I’m spending our money like some kind of psycho that comes into our store on a daily basis. That’s no way to start our marriage, if anything it’s going to end it as it’s just beginning. The guilt cuts deeper when I see all the things I’ve bought and then see the look on his face whenever we see that our bank account is dwindling. The justifications and excuses are a lame way of trying to cope. I thought that I could handle trying to work through it by myself but let’s face it… it is hard to tell yourself no sometimes. I probably should say these things to his face, but I tried to talk about it and it just didn’t get through because of embarrassment and judgement that I don’t think I could face. I really hope that he will forgive me.
Making this public is hard, but there might be someone else like me that is the same way out there. There are ways to get through it. I feel like if its public, there will be more help from my friends to get me through this. Or even strangers who have gone through it and made it to the other side. Yes, I know it sounds like I’m talking about something serious like drugs, but shopping is my drug.
I hope that you, reading this, will not judge me as well. And if you are one of those who have a shopping addiction, there is help out there. You just have to know where to find it.