Like my mom, you may have a shopping addiction. You may be past it or barreling through it. Or maybe you’re reveling in it with blissful ignorance until the final “What have I done?” hits you like a very real freight train.
You may have a shopping addiction. But we’re not here to talk about you.
We’re here to talk about who you hurt.
If you’ve been around for awhile, you’ll realize that shopping hasn’t really come up on my blog, unlike a lot of young women bloggers. Makeup, shoes, clothes, books, the whole shabang. That’s no coincidence.
Because what I haven’t told you guys is that my mom has put us 50 grand into credit card debt with her shopping addiction.
I cannot tell you, have you fully comprehend, the severe damage this has wrought on our lives unless you’re living it too. Everything is broken: my parents’ unloving marriage, my mom’s depression, my education and tuition, my brother’s prospects of college, and my mental stability trying to keep it all together by my frail human hands. Now that I’ve opened this door, I may do a post about the negative impact parental money disputes have on kids. This is a tough subject for me though, I won’t lie.
Not 15 minutes ago, I was in my car (parked) crying because of it. You see, her shopping addiction doesn’t just spiral her further down a depressed road–because she can’t see what she’s doing, I’m trying to pick up all the loose corners and it’s tearing me apart.
I honestly didn’t realize how scarred I was by this, not in the world of shopping at least.
This afternoon, after an English test (that’s two major assignments down for the week, I’ve got one paper left before Spring Break!) I decided to hit up Barnes and Noble. My EDU professor kindly brainstormed with me on how to tweak our lesson planning so that I could try a counseling lesson plan instead of teaching. (I know I know I know! I owe you guys a post, but I write–er, type–based on what God has put most pressing on my heart, so it’s coming–eventually haha!) Which meant I got to peruse B&N for some little kids mindfulness books 🙂
My first lesson plan is a Wreck-It-Ralph self-esteem lesson, and I was ridiculously excited planning it!! I won’t get to carry it out lol, but as a memento, I wanted to buy the Little Golden Book version of the movie! They didn’t have it… bummer. (If you know where I can find one, lemme know please!)
It was rainy and overcast today, you know, one of those perfect cuddle-with-a-good-book days, so of course I stayed in B&N a little longer than planned. (I’d rather spend hours in a book store than shopping for clothes, anyone else?) I meandered and wandered, until I came up with three books: a photography book for my brother, which I plan to give him for his birthday (he’s a butt, but I love him); a daily mindfulness book; and a “Let God fight your battles” Christian lifestyle book for me. They were all in the clearance bin, so they were $2, $7, and $5 respectively.
I wasn’t even out of the door before the voices hit.
“You don’t really need them.”
“$14.50? How can you spend that knowing you can barely afford gas as it is?”
“You’re not going to be working with little kids, why would you even buy that?”
I don’t get buyer’s remorse over important things, like tuition or vehicles or houses. I get buyer’s remorse over every single little thing.
That $50,000 my mom dug a hole with? All of it, every penny, was on useless trinkets that 90% of have been chucked already. I recently discussed her wastefulness with my dearest friend Maggie, and how it twists my insides every time. But I’m the child. I was raised with very strict parentage where you say “Yes ma’m. No ma’m.” and never dare to voice your thoughts. (Just for the record, I totally agree with instilling respectfulness in your children! But in my household, my brother and I cannot respectfully share our ideas–on anything, for fear of my father’s temper or my mother’s defensiveness.) So she continues to shop, and I continue to pick up the pieces.
Shopping addiction breeds buyer’s remorse. Just not where you’d think.
I didn’t make it outside before those voices picked back up again, and I barely made it home before the tears started pouring. When I’m shopping, I’m constantly in a mental haggle–like something out of a movie (picture a stereotypical accent, of course). Half of my brain is justifying the purchase and the other half is my shopping-accuser. I can’t tell whose voice is mine, my mother’s, my father’s, or even God’s.
And it scares me.
I’m so desparate not to be like my mom that I’ve begun fearing purchases, and I didn’t fully realize it until after buying those books. There was absolutely nothing wrong with getting those books, no selfish intent or obsessive motive, and yet I’ve been contemplating returning them since I got in line to purchase them. That’s not healthy. And I’m honestly not sure how to go about fixing this obviously, very broken part of me.
“But perfect love casts out fear.” 1 John 4:18
I’ve got a very big God who knows much, much better than I how to go about fixing all the broken parts of my life. I know that, and yet I still try bandaging it all up by myself. Sometimes it takes the things you can’t bandage to remind you that He’s been patching you up all along. I took a pretty big hit today to be reminded of that. I know I’ll need that reminder again and again.
But He’s okay with that. People like to think God is going to smite us for asking questions and making mistakes; on the contrary, I like to think He smiles when we ask Him, because if we didn’t ask we couldn’t grow.
If you do suffer from shopping addiction, I sincerely ask that you take the time today to evaluate what areas of your life are hurting because of the addiction. It is every bit as real and harmful as any other addiction and needs to be addressed, please. Thank you very much for reading, I know this one was kind of heavy today. You are beautiful and you are loved ❤︎