People spend most of their daily lives in the pursuit of money, thinking about money or spending money. It's tied into a sense of self-worth and happiness for most people, so when there's a problem with money, it can impact their emotions negatively.
While everyone has money problems at one time or another, the majority of people in debt find themselves under huge pressure. Serious debt is a big problem, and some people don’t learn how to manage it until it’s too late. Recognizing these emotional signs of debt can help you acknowledge the problem so you can get back on the right track to financial success.
Denial is the easiest way to deal with any problem. It's a coping mechanism that allows people to look past many problems, including debt. It can be too difficult to deal with the consequences of bad spending, so people rack up high credit card debt and use various ways to avoid paying their old debt. They'll borrow from one person to pay another and believe they have it under control. They may not look too closely at their expenses or may deliberately avoid facing their problem head on and dealing with it.
Signs of Denial
- Not having exact numbers of what's owed
- Rationalizing the debt and purchases made while in debt
- Paying the minimum on credit cards without having a budget
- Not opening bills
- Avoiding disclosing purchases to friends or family
A person in denial has to learn how much debt they actually have. Before they can hope to dig out of the hole of debt, they have to know how deep the hole actually is. A listing of the bills and amounts is the first step to confronting the debt. This will involve dismissing the habits of denying the amount of debt and that there is a problem.
Anxiety and Fear
As a person in serious debt tries to confront their debt, they might experience anxiety and fear. They'll see the problem without the shroud of denial. It can be a daunting and scary task to confront the debt. They fear that the debt is too heavy, and there won't be a way out of it. This can cause them to move back into the stage of denial.
Signs of Anxiety and Fear
- A feeling of hopelessness and the desire to shove more unopened bills out of sight
- The inability to dig deeper into the level of debt
- Unwillingness to call creditors with repayment plans
The level of debt can be overwhelming when it's been ignored for so long. Most people have no idea where to start, and they'll want to go back to denying the debt exists. It's hard to confront failings, but there are ways to make things feel more manageable by creating a budget based on a realistic accounting of what's owed. A budget is the first step. Canceling credit cards is another step in the road to financial and emotional recovery. If buying excessively brought about the debt, selling most of those extra things can help pay off some debt too.
Stress and Anger
Once a budget is in place, the stress of sticking to that budget and finding ways to make repayments can be extremely stressful. Many people don't want to face the fact that they created this situation themselves, and want to find another to blame.
- The urge to throw up their hands and go back to what's easier
- Each bill adds another bit of stress to their lives
- They start to take out the stress and frustration on others
It's hard to analyze the anger while still in the middle of it. Anyone angry about bills and money should take a moment to think about why it's been a problem in the past. It's important that anyone who is that angry not to take it out physically or emotionally on those around them. It's stressful for anyone associated with the person in debt, especially family members.
When living in a state of negativity for a length of time, the weight of it can cause depression. Money worries are depressing for many people. There's a feeling of hopelessness like the debt will never be lifted, and it will last forever, and while that may be an exaggeration, it feels very real to the person impacted by debt. The thought of bad credit for the rest of their lives can bring about depression too.
- The person withdraws from their friends and family
- They turn to drugs or alcohol to numb the pain
- They sleep more than normal
- It's hard for them to drag themselves out of bed
- The person doesn't care about things they once loved
Depression treatment for debt is the same for any other reason for depression, and the person may need to seek professional help. They should see their doctor to discuss the depression and talk about solutions. If a family member sees a person who is depressed, they should intervene and discuss seeking medical help. It can help to set small goals and stay positive in the face of debt.
The fifth emotion is relief. After all the stress, depression and struggle, there comes a point when there's a light at the end of the debt tunnel. It could come when the person feels like they have a proper plan in place, or when they are almost free of their debt. They have happier and healthier interactions with family and friends. There's no more denial of the debt because the debt is close to being repaid. They have a proper plan in place, but they also have the tools to keep themselves out of further debt.