As you have been diving into what YOU really want in your relationship with money, you’ll discover that there are a number of things you’ve been given that you don’t want. That’s why this episode is titled “so your family gave you money issues.” Let’s get into it!
Family, in all of its shapes and sizes, is one of the first places you learn norms and values from. What is good. What is bad. How you are or aren’t allowed to be in the world. And so on.
When it comes to money, it is the same thing.
If your parents worried about money a lot, said things to you like “we can’t afford that,” and seemed anxious when bills came – you probably learned that money was a finite resource. One that other people could have, but not you. And that you had to struggle with it.
If your family never spoke about money, you learned something different about money. That it was a secret thing. Something that existed everywhere and was a part of everything, but not acknowledged. You may not have learned much about having a relationship with money leaving money to be a bit of a mystery.
And if you grew up during the Great Recession, from 2007 to 2009, you learned a markedly different relationship with money.
I remember as a teenager hearing about pink slips being handed out in various companies, including my father’s workplace. This was a man who worked for the same place my entire life. Suddenly a job wasn’t guaranteed. The company didn’t owe you anything. And money was no longer seen as secure. Even though my dad was kept on at his job, it still shook what I learned about money.
Maybe you learned something similar during that time. You know, if you were alive, if you were a teenager. Maybe you had a different understanding if you were an adult going through that.
But, these aren’t the only things you could have learned. And different family members may have had differing relationships with money, so you may have even learned conflicting things.
And while you are changing your relationship with money, spending time with family can bring up those old patterns. As well as even just reflecting on what you want to change.
How do you deal with this?
First and foremost, before anything else, you have to survive. If that means keeping your mouth shut and nodding your head, then so be it. Because, at the end of the day, you have to survive. As you continue to listen to this episode, I want you to keep that in mind.
Otherwise, there are two main pathways to handling the fact that your family gave you money issues –
- Dealing with it internally, or with just yourself.
- Dealing with it externally, or with your family.
So dealing with it internally, is very much like following the Evaluate, Shift, Heal framework. Actually, it’s not just very much like. It is, that’s what you’re doing. You are currently evaluating your relationship with money. What it is currently like, what you want it to be like, and what things support or don’t support that growth.
When you’ve identified a pattern, thought, or belief that doesn’t support that growth, you shift it. That means, reframing it into something more supportive, even if that is only 10% more supportive. We’re not aiming to go from 0 to 100. We want something that feels doable, plausible, but still somewhat more supportive.
If we use my experience above, I had learned that money wasn’t stable. It wasn’t guaranteed even if you put 18+ years into a job. And the reality is for many people, they were cut. They were let go.
So 1. I’m not denying reality. But also, honoring my feelings. It isn’t right. And people deserve guaranteed income. That’s why I am a supporter of Universal Basic Income.
That was my shift. I didn’t jump to “money is always 100% all the time there for me” – because while we were okay, my father didn’t lose his job, many people still did. Many people lost their homes. Many people struggled to find jobs for years. And it left a whole slew of people, including myself – or my generation – in a position where we could never be at the same place that we were expected to be had the Great Recession not have happened. Like, job wise, income wise, etc. And definitely left its mark. So to jump to that new belief would actually not recognize the privilege in that experience.
Instead, I recognize that changes need to be made in reality for that to be completely true. And I am here for those changes.
So the Shift wasn’t necessarily just in reframing the thought. It was also in changing my perspective. Going from this sort of “business as usual” supporting the system as it is, to like “oh! Okay let’s change this.”
After Shift, comes Heal.
In the experience of mine that we are using as an example, I had to do a lot of healing in there too. This didn’t just involve self forgiveness and self compassion, but also coming to terms with privilege. I am white. My family was solidly middle class if not bordering upper middle class. The fact that my dad was not let go did improve our socioeconomic status, not just at that time, but provided generational wealth of socioeconomic status – my brother and I were both able to go to undergrad without taking out loans.
And this cannot be healed, without being recognized and addressed.
And I also firmly believe that if this isn’t recognized, addressed, and healed, we will continue to perpetuate the status quo – the former system. And since I recognize that something needs to change, this was a necessary part of that.
Of course, all of this is done while holding yourself with compassion, which does include accountability.
But what about dealing with it externally, with your family? How do you deal with the fact that your family gave you money issues?
This definitely depends on the family.
Again, first and foremost, before anything else, you have to survive. If that means keeping your head down and your mouth shut, then so be it.
But this, or any other dealing with you do, is about boundaries. The one above is more one that you set with yourself, but you may also set boundaries with your family.
This can range from, saying “Hey, I’d rather not talk about this.” to having a full conversation about where you are at, what kind of relationship you want to have with money, and inviting them to support you in that change.
Personally, I never had a talk with my family about my change in my relationship with money. I just started doing me. It helped that we never really spoke about money on a routine basis. So there wasn’t even a conversation to be had, even when my mom even helped me publish the Limitless Money Mindset Journal.
It probably also helped that I’m an adult – at the time of this recording I’m 32. So there just wasn’t that sort of conversation to be had. There was space to be an adult and make my own decisions.
And in general my family has pretty much been supportive of what I’ve wanted to do, without many questions asked.
However, I do recognize that this isn’t everyone’s experience. But it can still sometimes be easier to just do you.
And sometimes that doesn’t work. Sometimes you have to be more direct and let them know that you’d rather not talk about it or set some other boundary.
So if you are going to have a conversation, take the time to prepare yourself for that conversation. Know the key points that you want to convey, you know, the boundary. Try your best to listen with a compassionate ear. But know that if it isn’t reciprocated, it is okay to end the conversation.
Again, if it isn’t reciprocated, it is okay to end the conversation.
And 100% take care of yourself afterwards.
If you have a therapist or trusted mental health professional, and you know this is going to be a reeaaally difficult conversation, or if it’s even going to be difficult for you to have the conversation (you might feel nervous, you might even feel physically like you want to throw up at the thought of this conversation) do utilize that therapist or trusted mental health professional. They can help you to formulate your boundary, practice communicating it, and help you process it afterwards.
Additionally, here is a worksheet from Therapist Aid on boundary setting that you may find helpful – https://www.therapistaid.com/therapy-worksheet/setting-boundaries. Take it with you to your therapist, work on it yourself, practice using it with your new boundary, whatever you need. It’s there to support you. If you don’t use it, no worries.
At the end of the day though, remember that none of these patterns, thoughts, or beliefs are a reflection on you. And your family was probably given them too – those patterns, thoughts or beliefs. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t have boundaries and change your relationship with money.
You deserve good things, and a good life. And definitely take care of yourself. ❤️
So hang in there. Use your resources. And I wish you the best of luck for setting those boundaries and having those difficult conversations.