Money - how's your relationship to it?

Money can be one area that really poses problems for people and for their relationships. Have you noticed that money has been an issue for you? If you are in a partnership - are you one of those rare couples who have been able to work out their money together? Work together to plan and save or spend on an equal footing?

Who earns the most money can be one issue, sometimes in relationship one of the partners may like to spend, spend, spend, while the other is left to juggle payments and try to keep the finances afloat. It takes two in relationship to consider what money means, to work towards common goals. We can easily fall into parent/child dynamics easily around money.

You see if money were just money we wouldn't really have the problems we do with it. Money is also a symbol - and it can stand for love, joy, power and control. If it were only 'money' our problems would be easily solved. To understand issues that we experience as adults, it can be very helpful to revisit our family of origin. The attitudes that our parents had about money shaped our beliefs and attitudes.

Thinking back to your family...

  • Was money used to show love?
  • Was money used to control another person's behaviour?
  • Was money saved?
  • Was money spent freely?
  • Did money cause great concern?
  • Was it a topic that you heard talked about regularly?
  • Was money used to change emotions? Retail therapy?
  • Thinking of your present day life...

  • Do you use money to change your emotions?
  • Do you earn 'enough'?
  • What would be 'enough'?
  • Do you have a spending plan?
  • Do you give money to charity?
  • If you find that money issues are a regular 'problem' it could be that money is tied up with issues around power, love and control. Looking at the issues around money and facing them, you start to get insights around what is driving your spending or saving. You can take control once you can sort out the difference between feelings and facts around money. It can be helpful to have a counselor work with you to start to learn how to identify the issues around money so that you can move into a successful way of handling your money life.

    © Kareen Fellows

    Reacting in Anger

    How often do you get angry? Do you know what sets you off? Do you remember what you were taught about anger when you were growing up? Were you taught that it was unacceptable to feel angry? Did you learn to suppress angry feelings and stuff them down inside? Or were you taught, perhaps by example, that it was OK to explode with anger and attack others, verbally or physically? Or were you fortunate enough to learn that while it's OK to feel angry, it's not OK to hurt others, and it's not OK to blame them for how you feel? If you were taught to take responsibility for your emotions, to communicate feelings calmly and clearly, and to value both your own and other people's rights, you probably don't have much trouble with anger. Now the reason we just asked you what you were taught, while you were growing up, is that anger very seldom has anything to do with what is happening right now, because there are so many other ways to respond. People with high self-esteem aren't interested in blaming others for things that go wrong. Instead, they accept accountability for their lives and know that if things outside them are to change, they must first change internally. For people with high self-esteem, change in themselves or in others isn't threatening to them. They embrace change because they believe they can handle it. So if you find yourself feeling a lot of anger, perhaps some work on your self-esteem is in order. The Pacific Institute