I've been on here before, years ago when I first recognized

I've been on here before, years ago when I first recognized that I had a serious problem. I did better for awhile- I deleted all of my shopping apps, bookmarks, email subscriptions, etc. I started asking/telling my husband about all of my online purchases as to have some accountability because my main issue was hiding purchases from him.

Last night it just hit me like a ton of bricks that I have gotten way out of control again, probably even worse than before. Happy? Buy something. Sad? Buy something. Bored? Buy something. Can't find that one thing? Oh well, buy another one. Little by little it's crept back into my life & I'm absolutely terrified of what will happen if my husband finds out. I don't leave my phone laying anywhere in fear that he'll pick it up & see an email or text or notification of something I've bought. I'm constantly deleting emails, closing out my apps before I put my phone down. When I'm in the shower I take my phone with me to "listen to music" so he doesn't look through my stuff & find anything. It's pathetic! I feel like a cheater! He trusts me with our finances & has for the past 14 years. We've always had a joint account & I have always taken care of paying the bills using both our incomes. I feel so ashamed. I want to tell him but I absolutely can't. That is not an option. He has a very bad temper & he would either divorce me or cut me off completely from our finances & then I'd have to rely on him to pay our bills which is is incapable of doing himself (the last time he paid bills was going door to door to places he owed. He's never paid a bill online or through mail-ever). We also own a business that I am financially responsible for. If he loses trust in me with our finances it would be devastating & cause so many problems in everyday life & our marriage. That's why I want to fix this problem NOW. Before it gets worse. Before he finds out & the kaka hits the fan.

With that said, I have not gotten us into financial trouble(yet). I haven't racked up or hidden any debt. What I buy comes out of our joint account that we both contribute to. I am actually good at paying our bills & prioritizing. I never miss payments. I never buy things instead of paying bills. So I guess there is an upside to the story, that I haven't completely derailed our finances & there is still hope. It's our "extra" money that we SHOULD be saving or using to pay toward important things that I keep blowing on shopping. The things I buy are usually small, insignificant & can be easily hidden. Things such as clothes, costume jewelry, makeup, hair products & tools, household gadgets, phone accessories. The problem is that I don't need any of it. I have well over $3,000 in expensive makeup but I rarely even wear makeup. I spent over $200 on 26 bracelet sets yesterday YES you read that right TWENTY SIX beaded bracelet sets... & I hardly wear any jewelry either! So instead of saving or letting our extra money add up for an emergency or using it to pay off a loan early/put toward our mortgage I spend it on dumb junk that ends up being given away, sold for a fraction of what I paid or thrown away.

I don't get it. I'm educated. I have a career & a great job. I should know better. I don't know if it's the thrill of the 'hunt" or getting good "deals" or getting packages in the mail that is so addicting to me. All of the above I suppose.

No joke- a few years ago my husband started suspecting me of having an affair with the UPS driver that delivers to my office because the guy knew me by name & was very friendly with me when we saw each other in public settings. It's because I see him nearly every day for the packages he brings to my office instead of my house! Of course he's going to be friendly he sees me every dang day! I even opened up a private PO Box so that I could have stuff sent there instead of my home.

My dad was a drug addict. "Addicts disgust me! Just stop doing it! How hard could it possibly be to STOP! It's not a "disease", you're just selfish & have no self control!" That's what I've told myself for years... It hit me. I'm him. Except my "drug" of choice is spending money on unnecessary junk & hiding it from the one who loves me the most. A man who works his butt off 18+ hours most days to provide for our family. A man who asks me before making purchases out of respect. I feel like a failure as an adult & a horrible wife.

I know I'm all over the place here but I'm typing as it comes to me...

So how did it come to this? What is causing it?
As far as my shopping addiction goes, I'm assuming that it goes hand in hand with my main "issue". I have borderline personality disorder (BPD). My major symptoms are fairly under control as far as emotional regulation goes because I've been taking my medication every single day without missing a dose & really focusing on being rational. (Heck who knows it may seemingly better because I'm self medicating with shopping, smh) Regardless, I was diagnosed with BPD at 17 years old & have struggled with emotional regulation for years. Rage outbursts, no sense of self or identity, fear of abandonment, self harm, impulsivity, binge eating, starving, I'm textbook BPD. I have noticed that as I get older (currently 33) that I am doing better & better with some of the symptoms. When I was younger I was so constantly enraged it's a miracle I survived myself. Well the other day I ran across a video of a woman who has "adult adhd". She was describing her symptoms & they fit me as well. NO I'm not a hypochondriac lol. It scares me to think that I could potentially have even more problems than I thought. I don't want to take any more medications. It's all I can do to remember to take the one that I do now. Here are some of the things that she deals with that describe me: Hyper-fixation.... I get obsessed with certain things. Usually BUYING things. When I find something I like I go ALL IN & buy every single thing I can find in relation to it. For example my Cricut obsession. I spent over $1,000 on the machine itself & various tools/materials... I made a few things for about 2 months & then just stopped using it all together. I got bored with it. Now I have enough materials to have an in home business & don't even touch it. Makeup. I'll see a makeup review video or article & then feel the need to buy every thing that brand sells in every shade. I forget things almost instantaneously. I procrastinate like crazy. I put off doing things that NEED to be done. I'll literally do ANYTHING but what needs to be done until the last possible minute. I have unrestricted access to the internet at my office job & constantly shop online instead of doing my actual job. Then I get behind & panic. So not only am I betraying my husband I'm being a crappy employee on top of it. So who knows maybe I have both BPD and adhd. That sucks.

I just feel like a complete mess. I want so badly to be normal. I want so badly to have peace and contentment with everyday life. We have a nice home, vehicles & are very blessed people. But it's like I live in a constant state of being obsessed with & buying things that I don't even need.

I feel like therapy would help but what on earth would I tell my husband? He thinks everything is fine! Plus, between two jobs I can't take off of work regularly to go to therapy. Why can't I just STOP & snap out of it?

With all that said, I'm trying my best to quit TODAY. Cold turkey. I started a journal. I'm trying to be more self aware. I'm writing down every single thing I buy & exactly how much it costs to avoid unnecessary purchases & be aware of what I'm doing. I'm also writing down all the things I've had the urge to shop for but have resisted.

I need some suggestions & recommendations. What can I do when I am tempted to shop? Where/how can I direct my thoughts or distract myself? My go-to has always been food- but I've recently lost 21 lbs & am finally on the right track in that department. I don't want to screw up my recent success with finally living a healthier lifestyle.

Thanks for taking the time to read this far. I sincerely appreciate it. Any advice is welcomed.

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andine's picture
Jun 30

Yes, see a therapist. It is a good idea for everyone. Talk to a bookkeeper and or lawyer about the finances. You have to give up control of the money I believe. Incredibly Brave of you to come to this site, well done. Acknowledge your baby steps.

Jul 21

Its good to write a list of needs and wants, to decide if it's essential, like shampoo is a need if u do not have any, but if u have 5 bottles than it becomes a want. When u classify your needs vs wants, u can discern how to shop more efficiently. Also postponement, not giving in to impulse shopping which may be motivated by emotions (which will change). Sometimes I go online shopping, fill a cart, and then exit out of the page! It's actually more exciting than purchasing lol:)

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