Healing the wound of a forgotten child
Divorce is always hard on children. The separation not only causes an interruption to the family’s financial flow but also to the love connection once shared in a household now divided between weekend visits.
One way children seemingly cope with the separation of a divorce is with the compensation of gifts. Children have a tendency to continue feeling loved by the missing parent when they receive gifts; e.g., toys, special clothing, dining out in expensive restaurants, and fun destinations used as displays of love. These special moments are often confused by the child with feelings of being loved. At the same time, guilt is relieved for the parent. Continuing this destructive pattern creates a bigger problem. When the child is older, expectations become more expensive and harder to deliver financially. This is the perfect storm. The parent falls short, stops communication, and may eventually disappear. The child is abandoned a second time.
This story is about a little girl who experienced just that. Her only happy money memories were from the time she was four years old. She was an only child and remembers feeling financially abundant in her beautiful home, living as a family. One year later, her parents divorced and she went to live with her mom. When she visited her dad he bought her lots of clothes, shoes, and they ate at fancy restaurants. She felt spoiled and loved by her dad.
At home, mom was strict with money. They adhered to a budget at the grocery store and were careful with their overall spending. To live within a budget was quite a contrast to her dad’s over-indulgent lifestyle. She began to hate her mom because money felt restricted; she felt more loved by her dad, where money and things were abundant. She became unconsciously dependent on receiving gifts and money to feel good. (This is how she developed her overspending habits later as an adult.) She and her dad formed a compensatory relationship: money and gifts equate to love.
When her dad remarried and began a new family, her life went into a downward spiral. Everything started to change. The gifts and other financial support she depended on to feel loved (unconsciously) started to diminish, along with being emotionally pushed aside by the stepmother’s attitude toward her. The stepmother realized the cavalier spending by her husband trying to please his daughter had gotten out of hand and put an end to it. His daughter felt like the forgotten child: betrayed, unsupported, and unloved now by both parents.
This girl was hurt and filled with resentment and anger. Feeling victimized, she developed an unhealthy entitlement with money going forward.
As an adult, even though she’s always held a job to pay for her extras, her spending was extravagant just like her dad’s, and it plunged her into debt. She hung around rich kids growing up, which contributed to more spending so she could fit in. Over the years, her mom tried to teach her how to budget and be more practical, but she had no respect for her or interest in learning. She wanted the high life and her worst nightmare was being frugal like her mom.
Over time, feeling there was no way out of this cycle, she hit bottom and became seriously depressed. By her late twenties, her grandparents came to her rescue and paid for therapy for an extended period of time. She’s doing much better emotionally and is willing to look at her relationship with money in a new light.
We’re working on a spending plan that doesn’t remind her of her mom. She’s slowly realizing that her mom was good with money the whole time. Her mom was stable, consistent, and had patience: the Warrior archetype. It was her dad’s extravagant spending, flying by the seat of his pants, and getting caught up in the enthusiasm of the moment that led to financial hardships along the way. He displayed tendencies of the Fool archetype.
It takes an enormous amount of energy to live in a financial past that holds memories of sadness, loss, and betrayal. It’s like having an umbilical cord attached to negative energy – it needs to be cut. So together we’re working toward creating a new story – a story where love and forgiveness take the place of anger and holding grudges. I mentioned an old saying by writer and politician Malachy McCourt. “Not forgiving is like drinking poison and expecting the other to die.” My client needed to take time to understand and heal to let go of the past.
She’s brilliant in many areas and working on maximizing her earning potential with her college degree and through her evolved intuitive skills. She sees what is working in her beautiful life now and how she will utilize her highly sensitive nature – not as her biggest wound, but as a healing asset.
Learn more about your relationship with money: visit www.BuildingWealthFromWithin.com and take the complimentary “Money Type Quiz.” Only you see the results. Or contact me at donna@BuildingWealthFromWithin.com.
To learn more about your relationship with money, visit www.BuildingWealthFromWithin.com and take the complimentary “Money Type Quiz.” Only you will see the results. Or contact me at donna@BuildingWealthFromWithin.com.
Donna Colfer has worked in financial management since 1987. As a Financial Counselor and a Certified Money Coach, she blends her financial expertise with spiritual counseling in her private practice in Sonoma. A Valley resident since 1981, Donna and her husband, Randy, reside in Kenwood.
© 2020 Donna Colfer