I realized that I have various conflicting thoughts and emotions about my credit card debt.
1) The most obvious is that I feel shame about it. I didn’t want to have debt. I wanted to earn enough to easily pay it off each month and then some. I feel shame that I didn’t earn that amount.
T: I should have earned more than I did
A: not bring it up with my husband and just deal with it myself; spend time feeling bad about the whole debt and lack of enough income situation; not make offers
R: Each month I pay off some but not all of amount owed; debt goes down slowly; no new clients
2) I feel misunderstood, not appreciated. I have a strong reaction against telling my husband because it feels like it’s not ‘just’ debt. I’ve spent on things he thinks are not important, or that were not right choices, and he would have made different choices regarding which clients to pursue and how much time to spend volunteering vs. doing client work.
T: Husband disagrees with spending and earning choices
A: There is action that almost feels… righteous, maybe?… in a kind of “Even though you don’t understand me, I’m still going to be me anyway,” kind of energy, and I continue spending and earning decisions
R: Debt goes down slowly
(Do the T and the R above match? This may need some work.)
3) When I saw that I wasn’t earning enough to pay it off each month, I didn’t curb my spending that much. I did what I would caution other people NOT to do: continue spending more than they earn. I feel embarrassment and shame around all these things.
T: I’m making choices that are irresponsible, regardless of my ‘good reasons’ for making those choices
A: Hiding, not facing reality of financial situation, spending energy feeling bad about that and not on generating more income
R: debt goes down only slowly
4) This is the odd one that was hiding beneath the surface: I feel protected and supported by my two credit cards. (What??!!) Like they understand me. Every dollar that is on those cards represents a creative spark that I had, that no one else in my environment saw or understood. I thought of the perfect gift for a friend, or the easy fix for our daughter, or warm pajamas so that I won’t hate cold mornings so much. These were my insights and desires. Me. No one else’s. And I acted on them. Part of me doesn’t regret that at all, and in an odd way I think I may feel ATTACHED to the debt. (What??!!) Or kind of like, “See? Look at that credit card balance. THAT is how much I’m misunderstood and not supported.”
T: Debt gives me the understanding and support I wish I had in my relationship
A: I continue my spending and earning decisions
R: debt continues in its current role of sole support for me, and goes down only slowly
Until yesterday, I thought my lack of new clients and continued spending was a result of needing to generate more feelings of willingness to feel discomfort in making offers. But I think it may be more about me craving understanding and support, and subconsciously going to the credit cards for that instead of me generating understanding and support for myself in other ways that have better results for me.
What are some thoughts to help get me rolling in the direction of creating that support in healthier ways?