How to Fight Shame Related to Debt and Finances

Finances are a touchy subject, but they don’t have to trigger uncomfortable emotions like shame, embarrassment, or negative feelings about yourself…

Lincoln Park Therapy Group founder Nicolle Osequeda, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and member of the Financial Therapy Association, is featured in this Vox article talking about the emotional response to debt and other financial stressors. How to Change the Narrative Around Your Relationship With Money explores the not-so-great stories people often create about themselves when they have debt and how those negative narratives can create or exacerbate a negative sense of self.

As Nicolle states in this article, “incurring debt is something people feel really embarrassed and shameful about”. She also explains how as a society, we categorize things into “good debt” (like a mortgage or student loans) and “bad debt” (like credit card balances or personal loans) and emphasizes that carrying debt doesn’t mean you should feel bad about yourself.

This article explores how people can break unhelpful narratives they have about their money or spending, including:

  • Identifying the narrative you’ve written about yourself and your relationship with your finances
  • Starting with small goals to help get yourself on track financially
  • Challenging your negative self-talk about money, especially once you’ve started meeting your goals
  • Starting to talk about your financial situation
  • Exploring how you incurred the debt and what having debt brings up for you

In the article, Nicolle also talks about the reality that using credit cards might be necessary at times, like if we have an accident or lost a job. She also offers helpful tips on how to get a handle on spending and paying down debt, including this list of online resources and nonprofits who offer financial coaching. To read the full article, How to Change the Narrative Around Your Relationship With Money, click here.

If you’re an individual or part of a couple who is struggling with a negative narrative around finances, schedule a time to come in and talk with one of our therapists. We’d love to meet you.

Photo by Antoni Shkraba from Pexels.


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