11 Money Disorders That Ruin Your Life

And what you can do about it

crumpled up money with man’s eyes looking out
Photo by Freddie Collins on Unsplash

We all have something we need to improve on when it comes to dealing with our money. Just like any other aspect of life, we have our strengths and our weaknesses. However, some habits are so dysfunctional that if you don’t work to change them, you’ll always be in a state of wanting for more. Much more. You may not even see what is the problem, but only that there is a problem.

It’s the time, especially now, to really look at our relationship with money and see where there may be a dysfunctional exchange that keeps our cash from staying put in your bank account. You’ll need that money to live and your ability to do that requires diligence and a stark look at the way you spend.

There are a handful of money disorders that I’ll list below, that create a self-destructive lifestyle for people. They habits are self-limiting and create a negative relationship for a person.

There are three categories of disorders, broken down further below. If you have any of these money disorders, I’ll show you how to rethink your relationship with your money.

dark gray patterned floor with a white arrow pointing left
Photo by Franck V. on Unsplash

Money Avoidance

This is the person who associates money with wealth, and they believe the sayings that money is “bad”, or the root of all evil. They tend to get rid of money or ignore it, keeping themselves in a state of poverty.

If you are inclined to ignore your bank account, do not manage your money with a budget and planning, or have an angst about having too much money that you don’t want to classify yourself as wealthy enough to sabotage your success, then you may be a money avoider. Some of these behaviors include:


You never want to spend money on yourself because it’ too extravagant. But you have no problem spending money on others.

Financial rejection

You feel guilt about having money. Or you equate money with a status of being evil, and that it’s only used for corruption.

Financial denial

You try not to think about money at all. It may become overwhelming or scary to look at your money, you’re afraid it’s going to give you bad news.

Risk aversion

You don’t want to let others handle or care for your money because you have no trust for others, that they will have your best interest at heart when it comes to your money.

Money avoiders can improve their relationship if they work hard at changing an ingrained belief that money is there to hurt them rather than help them. They have to develop trust with others in regards to money. Looking into finding a confidante they can trust and rely on to help them through changing the way they interact can be helpful. But they first must become open and aware of the problem that they need to let in the support needed to move on towards a healthier financial relationship.

hand reaching up towards a cloudy sky
Photo by Jeremy Perkins on Unsplash

Money Worshipping

The people who put money on a pedestal are the opposite of the avoiders. They work hard to accumulate money and want more. There is never enough money for them, no matter what they do. They have the mentality that accumulating a lot of “stuff” makes them a more desirable person. They also have a fear of being without money.


This person lives to work rather than the other way around. They find solace in making money and will likely choose work over family or friends. Being busy with work gives them worth.

Compulsive spending

Retail therapy, gambling, going into credit card debt are ways that people spend compulsively. This person is conditioned to temporarily decrease their anxiety through overspending. However, they are constantly consumed with their debt load and dig themselves in deep in an attempt to placate their worries.

Money hoarding

These people feel better if they have stockpiles of money. There is never enough money for them, and they typically have their unicorn monetary number of savings in their head that they will never achieve, because it’s so outrageous.

With money worshippers, it’s a matter of letting go of the notion that money defines them. This is a tough one, because when a person believes that money identifies who they are, they are only reinforced when they have more and more stuff. Only when they found that they are unhappy even when they have as much money as they need, will they start to think about getting support to change this belief.

male hand passing a cutout paper heart to a female hand
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Relational Money

This involves a person either using money as a way to control others, or a person who is dependent on others for their livelihood. There’s a great deal of shame with this type of money disorder.

Financial dependence

These people will ask for handouts without returning the borrowed money. They will rely on someone else, typically family and friends, to carry them through life. When they burn bridges, they start to turn towards others for help.

Financial enabling

Unable to say no, these people will lend money to others, even if they can’t afford it. If they say no, they believe they will not be loved.

Financial incest

This is a different form of money exchange for love than enabling. People will spend money as a way to show love, but also expect to be shown love in return for their generosity, or to follow their rules. It’s a form of control and is a way for that person to feel powerful and accepted.

Financial infidelity

The person who hides money from their spouse, or lies about how much they spent on something. They don’t let their partner see the credit card bill and they spend above and beyond an agreed upon amount or outside of the couple’s budget. They may take out loans or get into significant debt without their significant other knowing about it.

Relational money disorder is a dynamic that typically involves a someone who is emotionally close to the person and creates significant relationship problems.

person fanning out a stack of money
Photo by Alexander Mils on Unsplash

Do you see yourself or someone you love in one of these conflicts? If so, there are a couple things to look at and implement to gain a healthier relationship with money.

  1. Be honest with yourself and others. Like any kind of issue, you won’t be able to solve the problem until you recognize there is one in the first place. If others have mentioned this to you or it’s something you’ve chosen not to see, you will have to be open to your need for change. If you want some peace, this is the first start of getting there. Accept that you need to change, and start taking action, however that looks for you.
  2. You may need professional guidance. As hard as it is to have an angsty relationship with money, it will be even harder to change something that’s ingrained into your psyche. You may not see what others see. You may not even know how to start to change. This is where someone can come in to help change your perspective and belief system. Remember, this isn’t about others, it’s about you and improving your money relationship.
  3. Make an action plan. Start taking the steps to change. Even if they are small steps, you can get going in the right direction with positive action. Keep going and if it’s not working for you, change course. But stay with it. It takes a long time to change behavior and thought patterns. You can do it, if you stay strong and work towards where you want to be.

Written by

Advocate for Women / Editor of The Virago

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