I was last born in a family of five. With an older sister, older brother, and my parents, I had four times as many chances to be valued and celebrated, but at times I had equally as many chances to be pushed away and marginalized.
The problem? Everyone, from a newborn baby to an adult, has certain core needs: warmth, closeness, and acceptance. Frankly, my 99-year-old dad has the same needs. If these emotions were ignored or complicated in childhood, it can affect your life, and financial, decisions today.
Not sure if your childhood experiences are impacting your financial life today? Consider these examples to gain some perspective on what might have been going on in your household as a child:
- When you were telling a story, did you feel like you were constantly getting interrupted by questions? Did you frequently feel as if no one was really listening in spite of their presence and your singular voice?
- Did you have the sense that your feelings were being discounted as you spoke with someone in the middle of a conflict? Or did people have a tendency to “suggest” that your decisions might not be in your best interest, in passive aggressive attempts to promote their own agenda?
- Maybe you grew up with the drama of the unhealthy child, a sibling always siphoning off the attention by holding your guilt-ridden parents hostage with her tantrums, acting out behaviors, and manipulations, while your parents made excuses for your sibling.
Fast forward to today. How do those early childhood behaviors by others impact how you feel about yourself currently?
Those feelings of being dismissed might show up today as:
- Experiencing shame about asking for help
- Feeling ashamed of your debt and feeling too vulnerable to share it with anyone
- Feeling hyper-sensitive to the way people respond to you, even if has nothing to do with you.
- Allowing people to treat you disrespectfully
- Being too intimidated to speak honestly
- Holding yourself back from being totally authentic
- Allowing others to steamroll over you.
- Feeling like you are drowning but nobody hears your cry for help
If any of these experiences sound familiar, it’s time to take action and reclaim your confidence and self-respect. Try these steps to overcome the feelings of unworthiness and shame that you may be experiencing.
- Call it like it is and put an accurate word to the feeling.
- Don’t fall into the “should haves.” How you feel is very separate from the behaviors you will choose moving forward.
- If you make yourself crazy by telling yourself you should be grateful for something when in fact you are angry, learn to separate those emotions. Both need to be addressed, but not necessarily at the expense of each other.
- Be willing to move out of the shadows, one baby step at a time, to shift away from needing to be heard by those who silenced you. Repeated attempts to gain their approval holds you back.
- Give yourself permission to stop trying to please others.
We all can have feelings of invisibility at times, but if you resolve to take these steps toward making sure that your thoughts and ideas are heard and valued, you can achieve the happiness you deserve.
Pegi Burdick was a serial entrepreneur, accomplished business woman, and is now an expert on helping women create empowering relationships with money. Listen to her radio interviews, and get more tips on managing your emotions and your money by subscribing to her newsletter at The Financial Whisperer. (When you sign up, you’ll receive a chapter of her book, It’s NEVER About the Money...Even When It Is, as a thank you.) Have fun and learn more about yourself with this money quiz. Follow Pegi on Twitter for more tips: @thefinwhisperer
Pegi Burdick is a member of the DailyWorth Connect program. Read more about the program here.