We Ask, You Answer: How Does Money Make You Feel?

Last Sunday, I was sitting in my bedroom, emotionally drained from a conversation I had with my husband about budgeting. Over homemade pancakes and chai lattes, we discussed our previous expenses and set a budget for next month. It was a fairly harmless conversation but it depleted me, on every single level. 

Ten minutes later, my husband walked into our bedroom room and asked me to go for a walk. I resisted, but he wouldn’t take no for an answer. “Come love, it’ll do us both some good,” he encouraged me. 

I dragged my feet but went anyways, and a few moments later we got to talking about money again. “What’s going on, love?” he asked gently and curiously. “Why does money make you shut down?” 

I couldn’t answer. Instead, I spent most of my energy trying to fight back the tears streaming down my face.

I don’t know why I have such a block around money. I’ve read countless books from financial gurus, and I try to educate myself as much as possible on everything money related. But no matter what I do, I just can’t seem to shake the long lasting scars money has left on me. Messaging around money in my childhood was fairly confusing and shaped the blocks I carry within about anything related to money. 

Growing up, we either lived in a five-bedroom mansion or a run-down motel. We were either eating oysters at the nicest restaurant in town or I would go a week without seeing my mom because she was working four jobs to keep us afloat. We either had money or we didn’t. Money was never something I could rely on, and every single time I thought we were good—stable—money would prove time and time again that it could be taken away from us, and from me, at any time.

Money also included lies. My dad would ask me not to tell his wife about the money he gave me, and she would ask me not to tell my dad about her newly purchased sweater (she had a pretty massive shopping addiction). And don’t even get me started on conversations from both parents regarding child support. 

“I think I fear money,” I silently admitted to my husband. “Everything about it makes me feel so small. Making money is terrifying to me.” 

I’ve tried to write several articles on this topic, but if I’m being honest, I don’t even know where to begin. I normally try to leave some type of positive spin on the ending of articles, or at least some type of resource for you, our readers, to be able to take away. But the reality is that I’m operating at kindergarten-level when it comes to money. And I think most of us are, at least a majority of people I know. There seems to be a common struggle with money and worth, and just managing money period. 

So the only thing I know how to do at this very moment is to start a conversation. 

How does money make you feel? Does it make you feel small, too? Do you equate your worth with the amount of money you make? What were your first memories around money? Comment down below.

LET'S TALK: how does money make you feel?

87 Comments

WHAT READERS ARE SAYING ABOUT THIS ARTICLE

  1. Money makes me feel anxious and fearful. I want to hide quite honestly when the topic comes up or just not check my bank account for months on end. I think mich of it has to do with my father having a gambling addiction growing up and being anxious about whether rent was gonna get paid.

  2. It makes me feel safe, but also very “dependent”. I know it all started when my parents got divorced and everything about money had to do with my dad. To sides completely different.. my mom wouldn’t save, because she wanted to give us everything she could, but then would find herself depending on her ex husband for money, which he would not happily give. We were always in the middle. I’m always finding myself at the 2 ends of the spectrum, either making enough money, feeling safe and abundantly giving, or super short, barely making ends meet, in debt and feeling “tied”. As an entrepreneur, starting my own business, in a new country, with debt, it is always a carousel of emotions. I know I’m abundant, I know my worth doesn’t depend on how much money I have, yet I still don’t feel “safe” or “free”. I was just having a situation like yours with my husband and asked for a signed – I saw your post on Instagram and decided to go for it! I want to heal my relationship with money.

  3. Really anxious! Terrified actually! I feel ashamed of consumer debt. I feel nothing positive about money even when I have it.

  4. Money makes me feel intimidated. Small. Scared. Sometimes I get to feel hopeful and supported, but it doesn’t last long.
    Lately it mainly makes me feel frustrated. Frustrated for not understanding how it works, for all the blocks I can’t get rid of… for feeling it’s not enough.

    I acknowledge I’m doing the best I can to heal this aspect of my life, but I need some insights to get to the root of it.

  5. Wow thank you for this! Money brings up so many feelings. Many of those from childhood. Shame, guilt, fear, excitement. Like another commenter, I grew up with two close family members (my mother and grandmother) who both had gambling addictions and there were a lot of lies in our home on where time and money was being spent- as a young kid, I was often the blame for missing money. “She needed money for soccer fees” or “we had to buy her a new back to school outfit”. These were all said with me sitting quietly knowing the truth, that the money wasn’t spent on me but went down the drain on VLT’s instead.

  6. It makes me feel guilty having money/ being privileged and living in a country such as South Africa where poverty is such a huge problem. Being confronted daily with homeless/ starving people who beg for money, and then driving away in your car to your nice/safe home with food in your fridge, running tap water, and a nice warm bed makes me feel very guilty. Also, a lot of my friends have much less than me and it also always make me very aware of my privilege and leaves me feeling spoilt/bad/ guilty.

  7. Money honestly makes me feel sick. I don’t recall anytime during my whole adulthood so far that I’ve felt I had enough of it or a reliable enough way of earning it that my intense anxiety around it has ever abated. I’ve lost many nights of sleep over money. Cried many tears over money. Thrown up over money. Indeed, my money trauma is real and a massive obstacle to my ability to thrive.

    1. Money makes me feel anxious. I never feel like I have “enough” and even when I do have an abundance I still feel anxious about what to “do” with it. Growing up money was spent freely, and then we were always in debt. I have many memories of my mom having to call the bank because her card declined so I have a lot of fear about there never being enough. I notice myself not wanting to check my online banking and then feeling shame when my money has “disappeared”. It all feels very overwhelming, and I would love to get to a place where it feels empowering!

  8. Omg, same. I feel scared and insecure and like I’ll never have enough to live on comfortably. I absolutely get this from my parents, but some of my siblings don’t seem to have the same issues, so I don’t get it! It’s just constant stress.

  9. Oooooofff! Many makes me feel many emotions on the spectrum. Mostly, in control, safe, not enough, frivolous, doubtful, powerful (ego), generous, joyful.

    1. Money “use to” make me feel controlled, my mom would use her power of buying us things to keep her in control because we couldn’t afford a thing without her for some time. “I bought this for you so you shouldn’t blah blah” “Give me back the car I bought” until one day I stopped accepting gifts and bought my own car. Money use to always be taken and then given or required me to sacrifice time with my family missing holidays and birthday parties just to keep the bills paid. Let’s not forget college where I wanted to make a future but yet the $60,000 in loans after we’re killing me.

      Now I have fun with money, I know its “needed” but I don’t “need it”, it’s a game I play to not become hung up on money running my life. Making money is fun, I do it through my creative work and it feels like ease to receive it. I honestly had a talk with money, “We can have a great connection but I don’t want to feel like I have to loss me to have you.”

      Change your relationship with money one step at a time, I work a lot with healing work and to be honest I realized it’s another part of healing. Good luck everyone, you got it!

  10. In a word—panicked. Talking about money, thinking about money; it all makes me feel panicked. I don’t feel my worth is defined by or tied to money necessarily, but I feel it dictates what my options in life are. My earliest memories connected to memory are rooted in control. My dad controlled all the money and doled it out at his discretion. I learned controlling the money gives you the upper hand, and every one else is essentially at the mercy of the money controller.

  11. Money makes me feel fear – when I have it I’m on a high and I’m fearful I’ll impulsively spend; when I don’t have I have fear that the things I consider necessities won’t be met

  12. Money makes me feel uncomfortable, stuck and shameful for what I do and don’t have. Money brings up my feelings of unworthiness and lack and I know it goes back to my own parents beliefs and ways with money.

    1. Can so relate to ALL of this. I received so many mixed signals around money as a child. Things like being made to feel guilty that my parents couldn’t afford something that I wanted but then them buying it anyway. Feeling like a burden when they paid for things like therapy to get me through some rocky teen years. And going from solidly middle class to really struggling when my dad suffered a disabling injury. I feel constantly on edge about it but also feel shame about being in “scarcity” mode. My family was never transparent around finances so the handling of money is like this ephemeral thing I can’t quite grasp.

  13. I had an interesting relationship with money as a child. I remember hearing my parents scream and fight with one another about money and it scared me. I remember getting money in birthday cards as a kid. The cards without money weren’t as exciting. My dad worked constantly and chose money of being in my life and money was what made other people think that we were happy. We had a nice house full of nice things and wore nice clothes. We ate out all the time. When I started living on my own I quickly realized that there wasn’t just an unlimited flow of money and being 18 with my own apartment, trying to go to nursing school, working three jobs was incredibly overwhelming. I felt like I had to keep going because I needed money. I had to keep up the lifestyle I had under my parents so they wouldn’t know I was struggling. By the time I was 20 I was in $35k of credit card debt. I filed bankruptcy shortly after my 20th birthday. I have had NO MONEY. I don’t like being there, feeling completely helpless, depending on others, a failure, and like you will never be able to get out of the hole you are in. It’s the worst kind of prison. Money to me is a cause of anxiety, fear, and with my compulsive debting and spending problems, a constant battle to stay in a safe place with money balancing. I’ve found that my perception of my self worth is something that is completely dependant on how much money I’m bringing in. A slow week at work sends me spiraling. I’m currently trying to accept time off as a need that is just as important as working.

  14. For me money had a range of feelings attached to it. There’s a lot of guilt for feeling like I should be better with managing it. I feel good when I’m able to confidently spend it and not have to worry if there’s enough. And on the flip side, I feel incredibly shameful in instances where there never seems to be enough, and I’m barely scraping by.

  15. Money makes me feel anxious. Money makes me feel unequal. I most definitely equate my worth to the amount of the money that I make. I’ve never made more than $35k a year and I pay almost $800 a month towards student loans. I simply cannot afford to contribute to the mortgage, insurance, or much of anything in my household. I feel like I can’t call myself a feminist because I’m financially dependent on my husband. He is gracious, generous, and kind yet I always fear he will resent me because he has supported me for so long. Last week, my husband and I attended our first couples counseling session and we talked about money for the entire hour. My first memories around money are that we didn’t have any. My mom didn’t work, was on welfare, and loves to gamble. She took a student loan out in my name when I was 18 and it’s always so awkward trying to figure out if she’s going to help me with the monthly payment or not. I’m pregnant and all I can think about is how I’m going to afford daycare or a nanny or if not going back to work will even be an option. Money makes me fear the future. I feel like the crying the way I did in therapy just writing this!

  16. I fully shut down when my fiancé brings up money. They could be super positive conversations about how the money he’s invested is growing and his plans to adjust investments for additional growth so that one day we might be able to do more than just dream our dreams; or they could be more constructive and serious, like about my student loans and credit card debt (which really is just the face of more student loans for extended education amidst a sharp career change). No matter what the conversation I feel my blood go hot, I unknowingly but habitually start holding my breath, and my forehead vein starts throbbing which always gives me away. I don’t know what or why it happens, but without fail it always does.

    I distrust money. I despise how the world clings to it, and how it defines and separates people. I often feel like a fraud masquerading amongst wealthy friends, who dine and shop and travel as they please. I teeter on the line of resentment, even though simultaneously I’m truly happy – living a very full and humble life with my fiancé. I have everything I need or want, but for some reason feel ashamed or embarrassed that my needs and wants are so much less than the company I keep? I use the question mark because it’s unclear to me if that’s how I even really feel, as I let my thoughts unfold here. I can’t tell if I feel judged, or if I’m projecting my own judgment onto myself. Likely the latter, but why?!

    I don’t like that I feel divided, and if I feel that way as a working middle class individual amongst upper/middle and affluent company – though I look and walk the part of that upper and blend in as best I can – how does anyone with less than what I have feel?

    Is this tension and anxiety a form of class warfare? I want nothing more than to free myself from the cycle and social pressures.

  17. Money is the one of the biggest battles I struggle with mentally and emotionally. It makes me feel anxious, small, and helpless at times. Especially after leaving a corporate job with a stable income, to trying to make it on my own as a freelancer/entrepreneur. It’s a constant struggle to keep the faith that abundance is on its way. Thank you for opening this conversation! It helps to not feel alone.

  18. This is the exact topic my fiancé and I have been discussing the past few weeks and it’s been stressful. I shut down too when we talk about it but I do my best to push through because it’s something I know we have to discuss.
    Money feels like handcuffs. Or, really, lack of money does. It’s like flood gates – either closed and blocked or open and gushing out. We’re trying to find that happy medium… but haven’t tapped into that sweet spot just yet.

  19. I have a toxic relationship with money, and it is the BIGGEST BLOCKAGE in my life stopping me from loving myself(to invest in health, to invest in myself), or to reach my full potential (business, wisdom). The above statement might be obvious but gosh it took me a lot of sitting alone and journaling with no where to run to even get close to what’s going on.

    I have so much to share, I wish I could take a photo of my journal page to upload. I use the word toxic because I’ve ruined relationship & friendship due to money, and have been called out on it. I wasn’t stingy, but I was careful with money. I was good with savings, I bought my own apartment that I could hardly afford, and now I am trying to start a business with a saving.

    My dad only knows how to love me with money. It’s literally his love currency. If I call my mom and cry about having a hard time at work, he will send me money the next day. I hated it, and this may sounds ungrateful, but it triggers me and also makes me feel guilty at the same time for rejecting the only way he loves, so I accepted it shamefully. My family went through bankruptcy when I was young- I remember tearing a napkin into quarters to share amongst my siblings after meals- and then the next year, it was the talk of town how my dad bought my mom a Sports car for her birthday out of pure love.

    I’m jumping everywhere, but this is my state of mind when it comes to money. I get anxious, And I don’t know what’s right or wrong. “Too expensive” was labeled on things like: organic groceries, health course, nutritionist help, therapy sesssions, physio visits, etc. “too much money” was any amount of money to invest in my new business that I really want to sprint out of bed with joy as a full time job.

    Something needs to change. I don’t like being a victim of money, or being judged to have too much or too little. I inherited this massive fear from my dad, where I worry that if people know how much savings I have, that they will take advantage of it- so I always want to be seen as “struggling & poor”- so toxic, even the closest tribe I have that I trust!

    I could never talk about money with my ex partners- the thought of bringing them up drains me, so I always “chicken out” and not talk about it.

    I could never talk to my employee about money without emotion- I cry in every money meeting. As a young female in a male dominated industry, I was underpay for 10 years, even when I risk anxiety attacks to have multiple pay meetings with my employer, even if I was the ONLY person in the company that bring in new work, and wear 4 hats at the same time. I was AMAZING at my job. The outcome? I had to quit the professional industry, and I now work for half the rate I used to earn, at a yoga studio to “have a break” from whatever that is traumatizing, haunting, and honestly terrifying me.

    The scariest truth? It rules my life every day, and I turn up at work when I’m feeling unwell because “i don’t have enough money”. That reminds me- I had 4 sick days in the last 5 years, and that includes going through PTSD at the Bourke St Horror incident, mental health breakdown, Influenza, and a devastating seperation with my partner of 8 years. All because I am owned by money.

  20. When I have it, it makes me feel in control. I make healthier choices as far as food & lifestyle, and I’m also very giving. When I’m low on funds, I feel completely out of control, my mood is lower, I’m very self-critical, and it can sometimes lead to a downward spiral. I was never taught how to budget and grew up with parents who spent money they didn’t have, which lead to living paycheck to paycheck. My partner has helped me refocus a bit, but I have a lot of emotional baggage around money. I am also in the midst of changing careers and am back in school as a working adult (2 jobs + school).

  21. This conversation comes at a very timely time in my life – money is something I think about all the time. I recently tried having a conversation with my mom about my issues with money and it didn’t go very well. In fact it left me feeling even worse. Growing up I was very lucky and I am very grateful for that. I wasn’t spoiled, but I did have almost everything I could need and want- a nice house, nice clothes, family vacations, a family cabin, nice cars etc – needless to say I never worried about there being a lack of money at all. I did however grow up being told I need to save save save. I started working when I was in grade 5. By the time I finished high school I probably could have put together a 5 page resume with my job experiences. I am grateful that my parents taught me a good work ethic and the ability to save but in my adulthood I constantly live in a state of fear and anxiety around money because through my upbringing the values and beliefs I took away from it were that how much money you have is the ultimate measure of your success and worth. I also feel a great deal of pressure to raise my family in the same way I was raised (mostly because I feel that this is what my parents would expect from me (my story, not theirs). With this belief in mind I am constantly stressing that I don’t make enough, or that there just won’t BE enough. That my parents will not see me as successful unless I make a certain amount of money to be able to buy the ‘right’ lifestyle and that I need to give all of that to my family to be successful. Pair this with the fact that I have a more unconventional life of living in a ski town and have chosen to work from home doing a few different things. I constantly feel pressured to make more and more money and consistently live in scarcity rather than abundance – something I am working on shifting.
    Anyway I tried to explain this pressure to my mom and rather than being compassionate or understanding she was defensive and tried to tell me that what I was feeling wasn’t correct, leaving me feeling more anxious and stressed. I acknowledged it wasn’t anything my parents did specifically (that it wasn’t their fault) it was just a result of the environment I was raised – and that I created this pressure for myself.
    I guess money makes me feel safe (when and if I feel like there is enough) but than I often feel like there is never enough. It has caused me stress personally and also with relationships I have had which I hate. I try hard not to project my story on to my partner but it is very difficult and has been the source of many fights (especially with partners who are more of the spend spend spend mentality) i.e. my anxiety level goes through the roof!
    I know I have enough right now, without these beliefs and the pressure I put on myself I know I would be happy. My goal for 2020 is to shift this state of mind and live with more abundance and less scarcity. To recognize that my worth is not a direct correlation to my wealth and to be grateful for all the amazing things I do have in my life and the lifestyle I have chosen to live.

  22. Money makes me feel insecure. My parents always gave us both what we needed and asked for including private school, but with deep debt with a lot of anger about money from my dad and ignorance from my mom. I think using the term trauma is so spot on because I definitely feel that from money and have been working to overcome. Thank you for always sharing so vulnerably to open up the opportunity for others to do the same.

  23. I think money makes me feel complicated. I have many old stories from my childhood based on my parents habits. But I have done some work on it as an adult and shifted some of the “stuff.” But I don’t feel confident in my relationship with money – yet. I feel like there is much more to unpack and explore and re-evaluate. My overall view on money these days is that it is something I need to pay attention to and give it my time and effort – and also that money = choice.

  24. Whoa. This one hits the gut. Money feels scarce and limiting, even though I know an abundance is out there waiting for me. Being a small business owner who does well for her first years in business, it’s been so overwhelming and I’m really, really trying to make some groundwork around scarcity mindset to impact more women on their journeys through fertility, hormone + pregnancy. ✨

  25. honestly — it makes me feel naive. i feel like i should be old enough to have my finances under control, but i have a small (relatively) chunk of credit card debt, and often spiral out of control with my spending if i’m not super on top of my budget (which ultimately feels empowering, but takes so much energy). i feel like it shouldn’t be this hard for me, which comes with a lot of shame.

  26. Money makes me feel completely helpless and out of control. I am in graduate school, and I have yet to experience a time in my life where I’ve had my “own” money. I am completely dependent on other people and loans to support myself, even for the most basic necessities, and there’s nothing I can do about it at the moment. It makes me feel ashamed in a society that glorifies having money, ashamed enough I won’t check my bank account for weeks at a time. I dream of the day when I finally have my first real job and get it’s first paycheck.

  27. Money makes me feel out of control and fearful, like I’m always trying to catch up. Even though all those exercise for abundance and manifestation help with the language I still feel this resistance to work for money.

  28. Money is a love/hate relationship for me. As much as I want to believe the LOA there’s still so much shame and fear surrounding money. It’s something that I am working at unlearning and moving through.

  29. When I watched your story today and saw the word Money and Trauma together, I was shook. I had never thought of it like that but that’s exactly what it is, or at least what I’ve experienced. My whole life, I’ve watched my parents struggle living paycheck to paycheck. My first memory with money was late elementary school, my dad was still working for my mom’s parents at the time, he was handed paychecks every 2 weeks but was told not to cash them, for nine months. We lived bare bones for a few years during this time to recover and be able to pay off credit cards. They went on to start their own business but this is my first memory yet since we were young they always tried to give us as much as they could, while instilling in us to spend money on quality purchases even if it meant you had to save a little longer than I wanted. That lesson alone, I’m so happy to have carried into being an adult. Sometimes I’m thankful for how open they were with us about what was going on, and sometimes I wish I could have been a kid like my other friends. I recently learned this with my business coach that I have mental blocks about money resulting from how I grew up. I now feel guilt when I buy myself nice things. I think being self employed (like my parents) plays into this because sometimes things are tight and I really don’t know how I’m going to make my car payment or pay a bill and then other times of the year are better and I find myself buying the things I wanted when I didn’t have the money a few months ago. I look forward to the day that I have a better relationship with money. I know this means I have to put in work, but I’m still in the stage of not checking my bank account for days at a time because I’m scared.

  30. Money makes me feel powerless. I was just talking about this with my therapist not even 3 hours ago. My dad made a great living, was a parter in his business and my mom stayed at home to take care of me and my 2 other siblings. At some point there was a rough patch with my dads work that led to debt. I had never known my parents to struggle with money and we lived very comfortably. One day after a financial discussion between my parents my mom frantically typed “NO NEW DEBT” on printer paper and taped it above every mirror in our bathrooms as a reminder. Every time I walked into the bathroom I was greeted with this bizarrely anxious message that stuck with me through my whole life. I struggled through college to be financially independent and make sure that I could support myself to the best of my ability but always had (and continue to have) the looming fear that all my savings will eventually slip through my fingers without warning. I don’t know exactly how it happened with my parents for the short period of time that they worked to rebound this debt issue but I will never forget the impact those words and the anxiety around the situation left on me as an adult. So so many of us are struggling and have found ways to be resourceful and hustle to make a living. I just told my boyfriend LAST NIGHT that it’s hard to picture a world where we are all comfortable and stable in our financial health.

  31. It stresses me out and makes me feel worthless when I don’t have “enough” of it. I’ve put myself in dangerous and compromising positions to get it, and have spent it carelessly when trying to fill a void and impress others. I’m done with those negative and traumatic events affecting my life and I’m done with the stupid programming my parents crammed into my mind about money. I want to change so badly and be confident about my future.

  32. Money makes me feel anxious, uncomfortable, confused. In many ways because I don’t know at what point I’ll feel comfortable about it. How much do I need to live comfortably? How much do in need to retire? How can I not feel guilty when I spend money that I’ve saved? It’s something that takes up a lot of brain space. I use Mint a bit obsessively categorizing my expenses, shifting budget lines, checking net savings on an almost daily basis. I never feel like I know enough (WTF stock market? Why?) and would love to be comfortable with my financial aptitude and actions. Financially empowered!! That’s what I want to be.

  33. I feel anxious thinking about money most of the time. When I don’t have it, I worry about getting it. When I do have it I worry about how to spend it or where to put it because I can’t bare the thought of losing it. No matter what I seem to have a lot of fear associated with it.

  34. Money makes me feel ashamed. I often feel like I’m living a false sense of reality when it comes to how I speak and live in regards to my money situation, and deep down inside it’s causing a lot of challenges in my life and my ability to trust myself.

  35. Money makes me feel insecure. I always feel like I have to “carry my weight”, so I feel extremely guilty when someone buys me a gift or pays for something that I couldn’t afford to buy them in return, even though that’s not why they’re doing it or what they’re expecting.

    It also makes me feel scared. Like I’ll never have enough to feel safe, or I’ll never know enough about it to be able to live comfortably.

  36. This is an amazing article. And it’s true what they say, the teacher appears when the student is ready… something along those lines.
    Recently this topic brought me to my knees. I honestly can’t live in these cycles of fear, anxiety and lack anymore.
    My belief around money has always been “it always leaves” which funnily enough has been the same belief in love.
    Growing up my parents were very young and did went through a divorce, bankruptcy and intern this showed me I have to work really effin hard for money. Like hustle until you’re completely burnt out and your health is at risk. I learned that when I don’t hustle like that the money just leaves and doesn’t come back in. This has made me feel like maybe I’m not worth more. Like it’s a toss up between my health and money. It always seems to be an either or thing.
    It’s a VERY hard pattern to set myself free from.
    But I’m learning and so grateful that people are being so real with their answers here. Makes me not feel so much shame around these deeply rooted beliefs that I’m ready to look at and change.

  37. Money makes me feel small, intimated, terrified. I’m most often stressed and exhausted when I have to think about money or finances. I often equate my worth to the amount of money I have and how well I do or don’t manage my money. My first memories around money were being told that we never had enough and couldn’t afford the “extra” trips, spendy activities or name brand anything.

  38. When I went to university I had no idea how much I was spending and wasting my student loans. Now I feel like I can never catch up to what I owe and it is on my mind all the time. My earliest memory of talking about money is pocket money for chores and I could never save it, there was always something to buy. And I carry that with me now a bit, but I want to be able to manage money better and be able to make a plan but have no place to start and it’s overwhelming.

  39. My main trauma with money comes from spending too much in university and wasting my student loans. I had no understanding of the repercussions of what that means. Now I feel like I cannot get ahead and am so overwhelmed with making a plan and getting back on track. My past is dictating my future and present, I am money hungry because I’m hoping it will help me pay things off, but I also spend when I’m stressed and I end up spiralling financially .

  40. Fearful. Worried, never can have or earn enough. When I have ‘extra’ I fear losing it or not having enough when I need to have it/unexpected expenses. When I manage to make more money my expenses rise and the days I want to quit my job I literally cannot because I make an above average hourly wage and in order to make ends meet with my current costs I need to make at least as much as I am…LET’S HEAL THIS TOGETHERRRRR

  41. Stressed, empowered, anxious, proud, limited, in flow… The only consistent aspect of my relationship to money is that it’s complex. I feel like even when I make more, my issues and fears around it are still ingrained deep inside me. I would love to unpack my relationship to it and find new ways to shift my internal narratative surrounding it.

  42. I was super intrigued by all of these comments & want to wish you all the best with your money thoughts going forward! 🙂 I genuinely think that money occupies 90% of my thoughts. I feel safe when I have money & I feel frustrated and jealous of those who have never known the struggle of having no money. However, knowing what having no money feels like makes me endlessly more grateful for everything, more frugal, creative & compassionate, so despite the painful associations, I wouldn’t change a thing. ♥️

  43. Money makes me feel stressed and unworthy, limited and fearful. It also makes me feel desirous of a life of ease. When I have just enough to go beyond my basic needs, I feel powerful and free, if only for a moment.

  44. I racked up a lot of consumer debt living beyond my means in my early 20s because no one really talked about money in my household. In lieu of showing emotions and having conversations, my parents bought us things to show us love. I didn’t learn the value of a dollar and what it meant to budget for things. I ruined my credit and when I finally began taking my finances seriously in my late 20s, I felt ashamed, anxious, hopeless. I felt like I had failed. I yo-yo’d for a bit (would pay down all my debt, only to rack it right back up) and so the cycle continued.

    I have since paid down my debt and I finally feel I have a better handle on my finances but the anxiety surrounding it doesn’t go away. I feel instant guilt for every purchase I make. Money… stresses me out.

  45. Money makes me feel anxious! My parents were never good with money and we never seemed to have enough. I was never taught about money, how to save, how interest works etc as a kid. The whole topic is kind of scary. I was terrible with money for a long time, now I am overly protective of it for fear of not being without. I am hoping to slowly find my way to an abundance mindset with it.

  46. Money is tied to a generational scarcity mindset. So I feel constricted and fear around money vs freedom and possibility.

  47. PHEW just reading this gave me chills and a tear or two. I can relate to this so much. A while back, I was having monthly panic attacks around the time I’d pay my credit card off each month. I concocted several different more emotional reasons as to why I was upset; exams, holiday stress, etc., but my boyfriend asked if I minded if he shared what he observed and thought it might be: Finances. “I’ve noticed when you reach these lows, it’s usually right around the time you’ve just spent a lot of money on yourself or paying your credit card payment.”
    I started looking back over the messages I received about money growing up. I watched (and enjoyed) my father live in the thrills of making great money to living in a barn, clinging to a small savings to get by. My mother, meanwhile, clung to what she earned every month and guarded it fiercely. Writing this, I can remember my child self sensing her stress pheromones being released when spending.
    I’ve been paying more attention to the spiritual laws that encompass money and realizing that the energy I wrap around it today has a direct correlation with how I feel. I have a lot to rewrite/relearn for myself. A great friend once said to me in the midst of one of my financial related modes of panic, “Money is energy. If you spent a lot of it, necessary or frivolous, you are expending your own energy simultaneously when you spend. It is okay to feel that, but check in with yourself about it.”

  48. I struggle to not equate my worth to money, usually when I feel ease with money I don’t have worth issues and can easily let myself feel my worth. Money and the lack of it can make me feel so inadequate and like what I want to achieve isn’t possible. It’s a constant race that I sometimes loose the urge to win

    1. I feel anxiety. I feel like I was never truly educated on how money works… maybe that’s why I’m in so much debt from school and credit cards. I grew up in a household where my mom worked full time to support our family and my dad slept in and worked odd jobs, barely supporting himself. I NEED more stability and clarity when it comes to finances, it would be nice to hear the word money and not gulp afterwards because I have no clue what I’m doing.

  49. My parents never talked about money, they say cause we never had a lot of it. but I think also cause they don’t know how to handle it. but for sure even as a kid that time I noticed that there were times we were running out of money and how hard these times been for my parents. And that was what made me feel bad about having money when I started becoming more successful in my job. In the first year where I earned more money than my parents, I felt like I didn’t deserve this, and I was afraid of talking about my success. So in the past I never had a good relationship to money. there were a lot of bad feelings about it. And every time someone asked me about my saving plans or so I just shut down. Money was something I never wanted to talk or think about too much. but that changed a few years ago when I met my fiancé. he grew up with parents who taught him how to save money, how to plan your expenses and he also learned a lot about it on his own. So, he taught me the same, step by step. And till today it became kind of normal

  50. Money makes me feel tight in my chest. It triggers a shame response in me because I feel no control over it, yet it is ever-present in my thoughts. I do weird things with money – withholding from myself things I really want/need but my brain considers extravagant so I try to compensate by buying something not quite right but costs less, then buying several of those things trying to get the ‘right’ thing and spend more than if I had just bought what I wanted in the first place. Then I feel stupid and begin the cycle again.

  51. To me, money equals a scary power. After being in an imbalanced relationship where my partner had much more financially than I did, I was left feeling inadequate and less simply because I wasn’t privileged from birth. He made all the monetary choices and kept the financial part of our relationship hidden away from me. Now as a single woman I find myself trying to find my voice and stand on my own two feet regarding my own finances and it’s incredibly overwhelming.

  52. Money makes me feel scared. I don’t want to become a person that money chances my true being. I just learn this when I receive donation to help ppl less fortunate.

  53. We were a fairly well enough family by the time we were in our late teens, but money was also very secretive. There was an underlying expectation that it was very important to make money, have a good job and ultimately, be successful… but there was no clear understand as to why any of that was important.

    When we were in high school, my mom expected us to get jobs at age 16 and she took 1/2 of every paycheque and saved it. At age 19, she gave our savings back to us, and that was the beginning of us learning about money. I spent my entire savings on a 5 week Europe trip in university. A lot of it went to shopping at H&M lol.

    I have been in credit card debt, avoided creditors, not filed my taxes for years, and also saved a heck of a lot of money, bought a house and made big money. Money stability and “success” had not made my views on money any less confusing.

    I think my confusion now comes from, yes, you can make good money, but does it really matter if you don’t understand your why?

  54. Money makes me feel stressed and anxious because I often find that I measure my self worth with the amount of money in my account. When I am struggling with budgeting and saving, I beat myself up over it and often regret spending money because I feel I have so little to begin with.

  55. I lost father when I was kid, and saw mother raising two kids by safe planning. Since then, we were living on strict budget, gradually until we made decent wealth. Now I am 30 years old, recently quit my corporate job. I see savings as an important tool, in my case achieved by sacrifice of unwanted luxuries or traveling, being disciplined. Now I admire a person and set my life free to travel ❤️

  56. I came across your post yesterday in what felt like serendipity because the night before I was crying in my boyfriend’s arm having a breakdown about how much of a failure and imposter I felt like based on the results I was/was not getting in terms of money. I told him I felt useless and I was able to connect that to how growing up, depending on if I did something that brought in income or used it, my parents would say it would useful or useless. Thinking about money now makes me feel anxious, my chest tightens up, I feel like I’m physically bracing myself for rejection. Talking about money makes me feel numb and shut down. I’ve done a lot of work on myself the last few years but my relationship with money continues to haunt me especially as I see my parents still struggling with it. It’s something I consciously know i can work on and have power over, but it feels as if the chains of intergenerational trauma and poverty +survival consciousness is keeping me held back. My relationship with money is a continual practice of feeding the conscious empowered wolf over the fearful scarce wolf inside of me. I know that if I am able to breakthrough this, I will be able to support hundreds of other women to come with the same thing. That is what empowers me, but the day to day feels very much like a heavy burden and energy suck.

  57. Money makes me feel anxious as ever. It has always been a point of obsession for my parents and a point of contention between us. I actively avoid logging into me online banking and i’d rather estimate my accoutns than actually check in with whats going on in there and with myself.

    Money has been equated with autonomy, independence, and happiness, and it’s diffcult to think of it otherwise when these narratives are so endoctrinated.

  58. It makes me feel unworthy and incapable because I don’t make enough of it. I love that it enables me to live my dreams but I feel guilty when I spend it, especially on myself. I come from a family that views spending as bad, and I perpetuates this myth in my daily life in spite of my reason that knows it is not true.

  59. Money, right now, makes me feel constricted and trapped. Nervous. I feel scarcity and not enoughness around money often. I haven’t made enough to make ends meet in almost a year and have put quite a bit on credit cards. I’ve had debt for most of my adult life (the past 20 years). I definitely inherited a lot of this from my family, who were working class.

  60. Money makes me feel anxious. I feel like even though I’m doing well now, I could lose it all any second. I obsess over my finances, and not in a healthy way.

  61. Whew…this one is deep! Money always makes me feel scared, anxious and ultimately angry. My mother was never good with money, and still now she is 72 with no retirement, savings and massive debt. I’ve become so scared and paralyzed by her behavior that I’m now convinced myself there will never be enough money.

  62. Money makes me feel mad/sad/frustrated. I feel dread talking about it, organizing stuff around it, thinking about it, and I hate the way it has this control over my life. I’m getting too creative in figuring out ways to avoid the topic and facing up to it. The topic of money makes me tired. Spent all our married life never getting a grip on how to talk about money. Can’t agree on how to approach it together. Trauma on both sides. Ready to give up.

  63. money makes me uncomfortable- within my body, in relation to others in my life. I don’t trust money, or my ability to manage it. The idea that my trauma and nervous system responses may be playing a part in how I relate to this energy of money was mind blowing. I can see how recognizing these responses would help immensely with releasing the shame and guilt I have about my money habits, while helping to regrow a foundation in terms of financial literacy. Our ability to feel safe and secure can be influenced greatly by our money situation and how we give our attention to money. My feelings about money are influenced also by the financial dynamics of my parents and I see how their habits have become my habits. I remember going to the store with my grandmother just riding the high of purchasing little things for myself, how it lit me up and made me feel like I belonged? That feeling and connection of bonding to the greater community through commerce is something I struggle with to this day. I would love to take this course for myself, for my family and to be able to share it with my clients. Thank you for this opportunity!!

  64. Money feels like both a prison and the path to freedom. I have a lot of debt as a result of trauma and divorce and I’m learning how much this impacts my ability to build wealth. I want abundance- and my nervous system is more comfortable in debt. HELP.

  65. The first thing I feel when I think about money is shame. Money definitely makes me feel small too.

    I think I harbour a lot of guilt and shame around how I’ve managed my money in the past 3-4 years since branching off from my parents support and relying on my own income to survive. I feel upset and ashamed with myself for the ways I’ve chosen to manage my money, and the debt that I’ve dug myself into. Then when I begin to thin about creating a plan to manage it, to get back into a “better”, more successful place with money, I feel crippling stress and anxiety. I also shut down. Money is a problem that I never solve. It’s always a weighted thought in the back of my head that I don’t deal with.

    It feels unnatural to talk about money, in an open, logical way. All of my discussions about money feel heavy and emotional, rather than rational and straightforward. I definitely attach a lot of my self-worth to my “problems” with money, and it effects the way I communicate about money. For as long as I can remember money was talked about in hushed tones by both of my parents. Problems with money were viewed as shameful and to be kept a secret. My mom was always open about wanting more money and there was definitely an unequal balance between the amount of money that each of my parents make, and that caused a lot of stress that was never really addressed using words, only understood by the way they acted towards each other when it came to money.

    These childhood memories of money 100% stick with me to this day, and I’m very committed to unlearning the behaviours and attitudes that I’m holding towards money right now. I would really truly value and appreciate being given more tools on how to keep moving forward with this type of healing.

  66. I have always held a lot of shame towards money, I came from an extremely poor household with an alcoholic drug addicted mother. I had to find coins on the street to buy food or ask local shops for hand outs. I spent a lot of money trying to hide the insecurities caused from this.

  67. Constricted. Like I’ll never be able to “do it right”. Not “as good as” other people. Ashamed. Hopeless. I have used different coping strategies throughout my life in response to my feelings about myself and money, and the last few years, I’ve been working to detox from those, gently… to find my own way to a sustainable relationship with money, not just another system someone is selling. I’m realizing I’ve become paralyzed by not wanting to repeat past mistakes. And I now resist making money or invoicing for things because I fear my own choices. “Trauma” definitely feels like it applies!!!

  68. Trauma, the exact word to describe my relationship with money. There truly isn’t a better word. As I wrote my intentions for 2020, big on my goal board were the words ‘relationship with money’. Find someone to speak with about your relationship with money, a bullet point that made its way on my to do list once a week.
    I have two relationships with money. One, I feel powerful when I spend money on things. Materialistic things. Second, money makes my heart melt so deep into my stomach, I feel as if I’m going to pass out. I haven’t shared this with anyone but I have this fear that my card is going to be declined every time it is ran, even though there’s money in my bank account.

    I remember being in 4th or 5th grade when our house was foreclosed. My dad was out of work for two years after that. Showering at the local gym was the norm as our water and electricity bills weren’t paid. I remember my mom asking a neighbor to borrow their washer and dryer as ours was ‘broken’. The stealing and selling of moms jewelry to pay bills was a usual fight. The money raised for a cheer competition for school, that money was used to pay a car payment.

    Money will not define me. It is just one part of me. It was designed to help me better educate myself and live a different life than how I was raised. I am grateful for the lessons I have learned and that I am learning. But my fear around money stops now. My trauma with money will be one of the biggest lessons I learn in life.

  69. I have so much shame around money. I’m in the midst of negotiating a new salary, and there’s part of me that just wants to accept it so that I don’t even have to think about the money part. Just talking about it makes me anxious.

    I have thought about it so much in my lifetime and I’ve never been able to find the deep connection to the shame. Ugh.

  70. Wow it could have been me that wrote that story 🤦🏼‍♀️🤦🏼‍♀️

    I work as a financial adviser and so day in and day out I struggle with seeing wealth all around me.

    I feel like a fraud because I can’t hold on to money. I have panic attacks on pay day, because I’m terrified it won’t cover my bills.

    I misuse drugs and alcohol from the stress of thinking about money, and the panic that comes with it all.

    I am re-training as a financial trauma expert. I want to help other women recognize that this is a thing 🤦🏼‍♀️

  71. It’s both frightening and comforting to read this post and the responses below.
    I hold these exact truths:
    Jordan: I watched (and enjoyed) my father live in the thrills of making great money, in my case he now has not a cent to his name and many more years to his life. My mother, meanwhile, clung to what she earned every month and guarded it fiercely and enables my dad.
    Maya: I feel anxiety. I feel like I was never truly educated on how money works… maybe that’s why I’m in so much debt from school and credit cards. I grew up in a household where my mom worked full time to support our family and my dad slept in and worked odd jobs, barely supporting himself.
    Christina: I struggle to not equate my worth to money, usually when I feel ease with money I don’t have worth issues and can easily let myself feel my worth. Money and the lack of it can make me feel so inadequate and like what I want to achieve isn’t possible. It’s a constant race that I sometimes loose the urge to win
    Vanessa: My parents never talked about money, they say cause we never had a lot of it. but I think also cause they don’t know how to handle it. but for sure even as a kid that time I noticed that there were times we were running out of money and how hard these times been for my parents. And that was what made me feel bad about having money when I started becoming more successful in my job. In the first year where I earned more money than my parents, I felt like I didn’t deserve this, and I was afraid of talking about my success.
    There is so much work I need to do around money and the limiting beliefs I have around it.

  72. Money makes me feel inadequate. I’m either not making enough, spending it poorly or running a stacked race against debt I never seem to come ahead on no matter how much I throw at it. It was a source of conflict, distrust and separation in my childhood. I want to heal this trauma so badly. My childhood traumas, and truly my husbands money traumas, are haunting our marriage.

  73. Money and everything depending on money makes me feel desperate, angry, sad.
    I was born in Ukraine in early 90’s and my family was considered as wealthy comparing to the vast majority of families in Ukraine. We used to travel a lot, had everything that a person needs for living and even more.
    But my parents divorced when I was 9. My dad left us without child support, he helped when he remembered about me or when his new wife didn’t know about that. And my mother had to work where she didn’t want to, so we could live somehow. She was crying a lot. I was growing up thinking that you can only stealing or work at 10 jobs at once in order to afford a good life. In fact, it was true in Ukraine.
    But time changes. There are many ways to earn money legally not being a salve, but living a happy life. But I work and the awful job which I hate because the only thing I can get here is money. And nothing more. And I want to earn money doing something that makes me feel happy and useful for people, nature, planet earth etc. I love art. With current job I don’t have time and energy for it. And this job also doesn’t make me wealthy.
    Money is also can spoil my relationship with my partner because we arguing a lot about it.
    I hope one day I can change the way I feel

  74. I feel I have a scarcity mindset about money. I grew up with parents that showed their love in money/gifts but were always needing more money and had to say no often. So maybe I have my value wrapped up in it as well? I rarely spend money. Surprisingly I feel I have a good idea how to manage money but it’s different when you’re living with a family and you’re not the only
    one who decides how money is spent.

  75. Fortunately I don’t personally have big traumas about money.. my parents always gave me money when I asked for it.
    I don’t judge people’s value on the amount of money they make, for sure! However I begin to understand that often people self love and confidence are closely related to the capacity of making money.
    And to the capacity to accept the money they would deserve.
    I am still on my path to show to my self that I am totally worthy of being financially and personally wealth..

Get Our New Stories
In Your Inbox