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Becoming a shopaholic

Old 04-14-2014, 12:50 PM
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Becoming a shopaholic

Ok I need help! I have been on a spending spree lately. Mostly buying clothes and replacing junk in my drawers but I also find myself desiring to find time to shop. I am not spending thousands and I still bargain shop and use coupons, etc, it's just that I am developing a bad habit and it is really starting to bother me, big time.

This has been going on for about 6 months now and is increasingly getting the better of me. I have been trying to figure out if is is just an f you to my AH, if I'm just bored, if I'm trying to fill a void, if I'm trying to stockpile my closet for the days when I know I will be broke and single.....ugh! I have been working with my therapist on trying to figure just what is is I feel when I spend but I find that it's all those things I mentioned above.

I know it needs to stop. I know I need to start putting away more resources for the future and say 'screw the clothes, who cares what you dress like?'. It's truly a compulsion. I have tried to use program tools but find that I justify it by using my excuses above. It's sad and it's depressing me. Great, so now I'll be the best dressed depressed person in my circles of friends, lol.

Just looking for ESH on this. I am going to contact my program friends and try to find an accountability partner. I only talk to my sponsor once a week and with 15 sponsees I find that she's too busy for daily check ins. I have also been contemplating finding a new sponsor, as well, because I just feel that I need more connection. I think this is something I need to bring up to her soon and if she can't be available then I might need to move on. Anyway, if you guys can shed some light on this, I'd truly appreciate it. I feel like the fact that I just put it out there is a start.
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Old 04-14-2014, 01:01 PM
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I use to do that all the time.
I read somewhere that it was due to trying to fill something that was missing from my life.
AH is gone and I look back at all the jewelry I have and realize I spent a lot of money and don't need any of it.

I'd suggest journaling instead of shopping.
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Old 04-14-2014, 01:03 PM
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Liz, I would imagine that this particular issue is arising in part out of ALL of the possible causes you listed. You have so much going on, and have pushed so much down for so long...the feelings push themselves up to the top in weird ways, for sure.

I know there are a lot of tools to curb overshopping (things like always waiting 24 hours to make a purchase over a certain budget, unless it is a true emergency), and I think it's GREAT that you are looking for an accountability partner. I have always struggled with food and sugar, and finally started posting regularly about it in one of my Facebook groups so I would have some meaningful accountability regarding my quest to stop drinking soda and take better care of myself...and I've already lost 5 pounds.

Don't underestimate the importance of the fact that you are so self-aware about this. Just think how many people live that pattern to a much greater extreme than you've described, for YEARS, and still live in denial. I've seen that on those hoarding televisions hows, and those home organization shows--people who have spent tens of thousands of dollars and gone deep into debt to fund a rampant shopping addiction, and still refuse to admit they have a problem.

Remember that you are hyper-tuned to these things right now. I think it's great you've identified this as a potential problem, since it is bothering you. But always remember to be gentle with yourself, too. You've been dealing with some seriously heavy stuff, you've built a bunch of healthy, positive coping mechanisms, and this one snuck in there, too. You know what some of the sources might be, and you know how to get at the roots of those fears and work through them.

I've heard the "wait 24 hours" guideline, and also the "write everything down that you buy" guideline. I have also heard that some people also write their feelings before, during and after they buy something for a week, to get a handle on some of the triggers.

Good luck finding an accountability partner (and a new sponsor, if that's what you decide to do). I'm pulling for you!
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Old 04-14-2014, 01:05 PM
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liz, you sound pretty dang self aware and you've already pulled your own covers. this is good. there's often a delay between Awareness and Action. so today you are in Awareness.

when we shop we either doing so out of NEED or WANT. both have a HUNGER quality to them. is it a true physiological hunger (need) or more of an emotional hunger (want)?

might be time to review Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs and see where you are?

1. Biological and Physiological needs - air, food, drink, shelter, warmth, sex, sleep.

2. Safety needs - protection from elements, security, order, law, limits, stability, freedom from fear.

3. Social Needs - belongingness, affection and love, - from work group, family, friends, romantic relationships.

4. Esteem needs - achievement, mastery, independence, status, dominance, prestige, self-respect, respect from others.

5. Self-Actualization needs - realizing personal potential, self-fulfillment, seeking personal growth and peak experiences.
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Old 04-14-2014, 01:06 PM
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Where do you live? We have a great store in the UK called Primark and can buy a whole seasons wardrobe for less than 50 quid. Nice stuff is nice. Don't beat yourself up xxxxx
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Old 04-14-2014, 03:14 PM
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I try to damage control my shopping by sticking to Big Lots and Kohls.

Last year I shopped some high end stores while H was in rehab. It was not lost on me that suddenly I needed some more decent clothes. I got a lot of compliments though on what I bought (all of it I could wear to work), so maybe it was wise to dress up a bit more at work! Maybe I had gotten too casual!?
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Old 04-15-2014, 08:29 AM
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I have done that very thing, Liz.
I still do it to some degree. I think it's an emotional response to an out-of-control life.

If I have my "things" around me, I won't be so cold, empty, lonely.
If the world caves in, at last I can look good while it's happening.
I have the money now, who knows when I ever will again?
And of course the same old attempt to fill up that whole in my heart with material goods.

I also think there's an element of barricading ourselves against the inevitable pain and suffering with cozy stuff.

There's some pathology there for sure. I question my habits about buying and spending in this way all the time. It's one area that I know needs work on my side of the street.
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Old 04-15-2014, 08:48 AM
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What if instead of shopping, you take the money you would spend and set it aside for yourself for "later." You could set up a nice nest egg in an account that appreciates in value vs goods that will be used and depreciate in value.
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Old 04-15-2014, 09:04 AM
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Here's what I covet lately:
1. eyelash extensions
2. a certain dress in a pricey boutique that I think would just complete my life.
3. more manicures.
4. a boob job.

When I look beneath the surface of all my have-to-haves, I see a desire to be attractive to other people.

Could that POSSIBLY be related to being divorced? To being invisible to my husband for 14 years? To being told I was sexually undesirable?

Is there a better way to get those needs met? Definitely.
Do I still want and obsess over those things? Yes.

This is how I know I have a problem.
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Old 04-15-2014, 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by MissFixit View Post
What if instead of shopping, you take the money you would spend and set it aside for yourself for "later." You could set up a nice nest egg in an account that appreciates in value vs goods that will be used and depreciate in value.
Well, this IS actually my plan, I just don't do a good job of putting it into action. So far, I've saved enough to pay cash for my lawyer's retainer fees if I ever need her.

I even tell myself: hey, this 20 bucks would be better saved, you'll need the cash in the future, too. I hear it, I talk out loud if necessary, and then I blow it off. I justify just like the alcoholics do and that's why I posted it here. I know it's alcoholic thinking, just a different scenario. The good news is; I'm still a frugal person and I don't spend $500 at a time and I plan my purchases along with sale prices, clearance items, etc. I just know, though, that it's still wasteful. I need to get a handle on it, and soon!
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Old 04-15-2014, 09:14 AM
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I did that for a while. And spent endless hours online (uh) and started to have hoarding tendencies. And when younger, had other bad habits. Overate (mostly sugar). Also drank for a while. And smoked. And, and, and. Good news is I've stopped all of those. Alcohol was the latest and I've now stopped that for 42 days, too.

They are all part of the same compulsive thought process.

To stop the excessive shopping I stopped shopping. Seriously, I only bought food and necessary toiletries for six months. I would repeat to myself "Nothing can go into my house. I don't need anything." It worked, just like stopping all the other destructive behaviors. Gotta just stop. Now I can't remember the last time I bought clothing or unnecessary items.
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Old 04-15-2014, 10:32 AM
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One trick (technique?) I use to not buy stuff is to make lists of the things I want/need. I then look at the prices and decide, okay, this will be for my bday, this is for easter (the easter bunny visits me still), this is for mother's day (from my dogs), this is for xmas. I wait until that month to buy whatever. Sometimes its groups of smaller items. This gives me something to look forward to and keeps buying under control. Also, something I think I love, I find that by xmas, I don't want, so that is good too. Fewer useless items.
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Old 04-15-2014, 10:44 AM
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I sweep a chunk into my savings acct automatically every month. Some months I need it, but it does add up. I also stash pretty heavy into my retirement. I guess overall I am more frugal and get most of my shopping hits via cheap sources.

As for plastic surgery, I've decided I might get that mommy makeover bc if I divorce I need to share my retirement! F that! I'd rather look good! I need to kick my sugar habit first.
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Old 04-15-2014, 01:15 PM
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Originally Posted by CodeJob View Post
I sweep a chunk into my savings acct automatically every month. Some months I need it, but it does add up. I also stash pretty heavy into my retirement. I guess overall I am more frugal and get most of my shopping hits via cheap sources.

As for plastic surgery, I've decided I might get that mommy makeover bc if I divorce I need to share my retirement! F that! I'd rather look good! I need to kick my sugar habit first.
Ok, I gotta comment on the boob job thing: I have often thought I should get it done. I had a friend, who had hers done after her second child was born, actually ask me if mine were real while we had the kids at a swim park. I was like, "No way, baby, these are real!" It was then that I decided it was my low self image talking and that I was Ok in that department, LOL.

Now, if I could just lose those last 5 pounds, I'll be bikini ready in the next month or so! I have contemplated liposuction but I hate surgeries, I hate spending big money, and I loathe anesthesia so I guess I'll just have to love myself the way I am and hope that someday I find someone to love me for just being me. My AH claims he loves me for me but alcoholic thinking and quacking doesn't seem to offset the way he proclaims his love. The scale always tips in the negative direction after years of crap thrown my way. While I don't doubt he loves me, I am beginning to learn that I filled a void in his heart and soul and that I was his vision of an idol blow up doll wife and I'll never truly live up to her. Like the fantasy that he created and I worked hard to fulfill, trying desperately to be something that I wasn't. God, it was exhausting. So glad I have learned that I don't have to be that for anybody, I need to learn to love myself at this point and this spending is just doing a bit too much LOVING, LOL!
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Old 04-15-2014, 01:35 PM
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I can tell I'm anxious because of the way I'm spending money. Nothing really major, except clothes, eating out, crap I can't afford. I've been anxious lately. At least I'll look cute in debtor's prison.

I am all experience and no advice. This is my vice.
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Old 04-15-2014, 02:42 PM
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I hate shopping. Hate it with a vengeance. Hate it so much that if I ever get rich, I will hire a personal shopper to take my measurements, buy my clothes, and deliver them to my house. I think I would want that more than a house cleaner. That's how much I hate shopping.

DESPITE THAT, there was a period of time -- before AXH's drinking got totally out of control and we barely had money for food -- when online shopping was a passive-aggressive way for me to get back at him. My justification was that he spent over $600 a month on booze (that's only what I estimated based on the bottles I actually saw in the recycling) and so I deserved something too, dammit!!!

When I left him, I pared my wardrobe down by 90%. And I still wasn't lacking for clothes. It wasn't addictive behavior for me, it was "F YOU!" behavior. If he could waste money, then so could I.

That's the only ESH I have on the subject... I think codependency makes us crazy in different ways -- I know codies who have tried to drink with their As to show them how unattractive a drunk is; I know codies who have eaten themselves to 350 pounds; I know codies who have cheated on their A with really disgusting men... we just get a bit crazy. In different ways.
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Old 04-15-2014, 03:24 PM
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I agree, lillamy. the important thing is to recognize the crazy for what it is.
there was a time when I drank with my XAH just in hopes that it would be fun/good/possibly going to be okay if I were on the same wavelength (drunk, duh) as he.

But then I had children and I stopped. He didn't.
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Old 04-15-2014, 04:07 PM
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Hi, my name is Jackie and I'm a shopaholic....I have always had an addiction to fashion. I look back now and it's def. tied to my past. I believe to comes from my lack of self esteem growing up as a child in an alcoholic home. looking back at my childhood, my parents were very fashion forward. A real "hot" couple! I love looking at my childhood pictures of the holidays and "fun" times (eye roll). There is one picture that love to just stare at. I remember it like it was yesterday! It's my dad's birthday and he was obviously s*it faced and trying to hug me and look on my face is priceless....I hated that he was drunk! But boy were we all dressed to kill! Ok, I'm rambling, back to the matter at hand. I wasn't valued by my dad, I was skinny and not cute. So I became a fashion plate. I grew up with a sense of "I suck but I look good". Clothes, shoes, makeup, you name it, I had to have it.....My xabf would say " you have a problem" I looked at him and said "Really? You love vodka and I love shoes, what's the difference." None, there is no difference. Its deff something I'm aware of and I'm working very hard....Now if only I would stop getting sale flyers and email notifications of a sale. My bank account would look better! Self awareness is key!

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Old 04-15-2014, 04:40 PM
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Originally Posted by jacrazz View Post
Hi, my name is Jackie and I'm a shopaholic....I have always had an addiction to fashion. I look back now and it's def. tied to my past. I believe to comes from my lack of self esteem growing up as a child in an alcoholic home. looking back at my childhood, my parents were very fashion forward. A real "hot" couple! I love looking at my childhood pictures of the holidays and "fun" times (eye roll). There is one picture that love to just stare at. I remember it like it was yesterday! It's my dad's birthday and he was obviously s*it faced and trying to hug me and look on my face is priceless....I hated that he was drunk! But boy were we all dressed to kill! Ok, I'm rambling, back to the matter at hand. I wasn't valued by my dad, I was skinny and not cute. So I became a fashion plate. I grew up with a sense of "I suck but I look good". Clothes, shoes, makeup, you name it, I had to have it.....My xabf would say " you have a problem" I looked at him and said "Really? You love vodka and I love shoes, what's the difference." None, there is no difference. Its deff something I'm aware of and I'm working very hard....Now if only I would stop getting sale flyers and email notifications of a sale. My bank account would look better! Self awareness is key!

Jackie, I can relate! I have unsubscribed from the sale emails from Ann Taylor, Sports Authority, Banana Republic, and the Gap so far today. If I don't get the emails, then I won't know about the sale, right!

I was always skinny and my mom was ALWAYS smaller than me. I started putting on weight over the past few years and 'weight' to me means I gained 10 pounds. I was horrified a few months ago that I weighed 10 pounds more than I did when I got pregnant 16 years ago(I'll be 44 next month). Yep, that's the crazy in me!

Even today, I will see myself in the mirror and be disgusted by my bloated belly, love handles, etc. Luckily, I love food and would never develop an eating disorder. So, to help me feel better about myself I shop. If I can find the right shirt to just cover this belly that hangs over my waistband, then I'll be happy. I could go on but I think we're hitting the nail on the head.

One of the things that my AH said recently is, "Well, you're not getting any younger!" True, but I took that as an insult but also motivation for me to start taking care of myself. So, despite the shopping issue, I also have started running. 2 months ago I couldn't get in 1/4 of a mile and then I'd have to walk, and then try to jog huffing and puffing the whole way. Now, I am proud to say that I can run a mile and my time per mile is now at just under 12 minutes per mile. I jog and then I walk and then I sprint, etc after I have run about a full mile.

I also have started tracking all the food I eat and I have lost those 10 pounds. Keeping the weight off will take perseverance but I feel better about myself when I take care of ME! Unfortunately, I find myself saying, "Hey, you lost that weight(not the belly so much, LOL, that will always be there) so why not treat yourself to a new pair of shorts that actually fits?" Yep, justification at it's finest!
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Old 04-15-2014, 05:21 PM
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I haven't read the comments but I'm a total shopaholic and I use it to stuff my feelings big time. I'm going to go back and read the comments but I wanted to share that I've been using Project 333 for the month of April and Polyvore to keep me away from shopping. I "shopped" my closet in the beginning of April, created a collection of 33 items and it's all I've been wearing all month long and it's fun and works to keep my want of shopping at bay. Today I was forced to do something that is actually healthy when I started feeling anxious! So this is working for me.

Now I'll go read the comments, but know that you're not alone. I'm a MAJOR shopaholic.

…also, the reason I shop is for the thrill of getting a good deal. It's sort of like a mini little rush of excitement! "oooooohhh!!! I can't wait to wear that! Eeeeeekkk!!!" I can drop $500 at J.Crew on one trip easily, but ask me to spend $20 to get a pedicure and I feel guilty. Actually doing something good for myself I can recognize the cost but not the value. With shopping I see the monitory cost and think that I'm "treating" myself but I'm really just stuffing my feelings and needs further down on my list of things that need my attention. That brief thrill of spending doesn't solve any of my problems, it just stuffs my already over stuffed closets. I'm currently selling off a LOT of my purchases on e-bay…trying to right my wrongs. It's proving to be therapeutic.
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