The Emotions of Debt

Debt is a burden on many levels. Not only is it a financial burden placed on your young family, but it’s also an emotional one. As the expenses mount and the money to pay them all continues to dwindle, negative emotions can come to the surface and cause unneeded strife. Sadly, if the debt and emotions are too hard to handle, a young family can be broken. The good news is there are ways to hold some of the more powerful emotions in check. Below are a few examples and the best ways to counteract them.

DENIAL

Many families keep spending money as normal while debt continues to grow. Unfortunately, the denied debts can come out of hiding and bite you when you least expect it, resulting in creditors or bank officials putting liens on your finances or repossessing a car or home.

The Fix: Commit to the truth. Get together with your spouse, review your finances, and come to an agreement that your financial health is not the best. As they say in other situations, admitting you have a problem is the first step toward a solution.

DESPAIR

The repeated glances at the balance sheet can send you and your spouse down a spiraling tunnel of hopelessness. This is especially true if they’re so unmanageable that your regular income doesn’t make a dent. The belief that your family will never get rid of the debt can cause a deep sense of despair.

The Fix: Debt is a definite weight, but it needs to be pushed off in order to come up with a game plan to dispose of it. Some of the despair you feel may be lightened by listing all of the debt from smallest to largest. Seeing the figures in a new setting may give you a feeling that it isn’t as hopeless as you first thought.

ANGER

The constant flow of red ink matches the shade on your face every time you go over the finances. You fume at the situation you’re in, and then turn it on your spouse or your children. In turn, they get mad at your response, resulting in a growing tension among all family members that can bubble over at a moment’s notice.

The Fix: You can certainly be angry at your financial situation, but you aren’t permitted to take it out on friends and family. The most likely scenario is the debt was incurred over a long period of time; therefore, there is no need to get frustrated at past events. The anger needs to be fed into a constructive plan to help you attain a stable financial toehold.

FEAR

As the letters and calls from creditors increase, the sensation you’re about to lose something can begin to bubble. In these situations, you and your spouse’s thoughts may turn apocalyptic, conjuring up horrible scenarios of not being able to afford food, utilities, or even they place you now live. This abject fear can prevent you from coming up with viable solutions to your issues.

The Fix: Don’t panic. Even though you’re in financial trouble there is a way out. Instead of obsessing about scenario ZZ, start with the next logical step in the plan to get you out of debt. Contact the creditors and your lending companies to see what can be done to reduce payments or put them on hold until your financial situation stabilizes. This will help ebb your fears and provide a feeling of control over the situation.

4 Responses to The Emotions of Debt

  1. There are a lot of emotions that come with debt but sadly a lot of people don’t pay attention to them and most don’t know that the debt is causing them. Too often people will put a strain not only on themselves but the people around them as well.

  2. Right on. Panicking should never be an option. We are allowed to feel that way of course. After all, we are human beings. But we should never let that cloud our judgement. We should learn how to overcome that emotion and work on a way out; to solve the problem.

  3. This is so spot on. Moving past the denial is scary because of all the emotions that come afterwards, but financial problems have to be looked at head on; otherwise you’re just making everything worse for yourself as it will eventually come to a head. Better to face it early on.

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