The last few weeks have been insane, made more so by anger and guilt emotions that have surfaced around money.
I went to South Africa for 3 weeks and toured the country to my heart’s content. I got back to South Korea on Saturday, and am now packing to leave for Sri Lanka to go get some tantric body work.
But somewhere in the midst of all this, something happened to me – anger!
I thought my anger would drown me, especially when I looked at my bank account and saw just how much I’d spent in the last month.
I felt like I’d wasted money on all these travels and could have used most of that to invest or do something substantial.
And then there was the intense guilt that this is my life and I just keep travelling and chasing every dream and passion and yet my mom lives alone. Even though she’s okay financially and I don't have to help fix the house or anything my guilt about her aloneness and my travels sometimes often stifles me.
And of course the fact that money makes all this possible causes tension in my relationship with money.
I had to sit with my guilt for the last 3 weeks and as I sat with it I saw how often I contract and make myself small just so I can stop feeling guilty.
Sitting with my own guilt was difficult because my natural state is to contract and reject all opportunities.
My rational mind plays tricks on me and convinces me that if I had less resources then I can settle and stay with my mom or move back to my apartment in Cape Town, which is only a flight from her.
Of course that’s the righteous part of my guilt.
There’s also the guilt-anger combo that makes me want to cut ties with my mother so I can stop feeling all this s*** and just live my life and pretend to be Buddha incarnated.
But, alas I’m not and in an effort to adult holistically I’ve decided to spend the month of February tackling the family and money issue in depth in the Wealthy Money Magicians Group because let’s face it - most of us have been tempted to cut family ties over money.
But what if the problem isn’t with the family members but with us and our issues with money?
Our relationship with our parents and families impacts our relationship with money
I have a good relationship with my dad. We’re close, and honestly, in all my years of coaching and therapy he’s been a non-issue for me (probably why he never features in my writing).
He barely comes up in the father work I do, because if I have an issue with him, I let him know then and there and we resolve it.
But my dad has impacted my relationship with money – he never spends money willingly on anything except education and travel.
He believes in saving and travelling widely and far (he sees travelling as education), so I get my nomadic genes from him. As a child I could sense this, so I learned to only ask him for money for my education.
I often had the sense that spending money (even on groceries) caused him physical pain.
And every now and then, I can see that trait within myself - spending money can sometimes cause me the worst physical pain in my tailbone and my womb.
I think my desire for my father’s approval led me to make a vow of loyalty to my father and to take on some of his financial traits.
I’ve finally released the need to have my father's approval, which has helped with my guilt and anxiety about spending money - because approval and loyalty tend to go hand in hand.
Our most intense family relationship holds the key to our financial blocks
My relationship with my mom is different - she actually comes up in all the work I do - in almost all my therapy and coaching sessions.
My relationship with my mom has always been a tumultuous one, since birth.
It’s been the most challenging and defining relationship of my life, especially around money and romance.
Added to that fact - I also grew up desperately longing for my mother's approval.
My mother was the first person to tell me that it was shameful not to have money and that not having money made a person a laughing stock.
And I believed it.
And because I wanted my mother's approval I put lots of pressure on myself to avoid this shame.
That's why shame was one of the key emotions that affected me when I was in debt - it invaded every cell of my body, constantly reminding me that by being in debt and unemployed I’d become the very thing my mother had warned me against.
In order to win my mother’s approval, I hid my financial situation from everyone and sank deeper into debt and spiraled into deeper shame until eventually all I could see was a failure whenever I looked in the mirror.
My need for approval was damaging my finances & every relationship I had
When I was little I watched my mother make lots of money and get respect from her friends, family and the community.
When I was 13 all that changed - my mom gave everything to her brother, my uncle; because she believed his education and global citizenship (and maybe his gender) made him a better money manager.
It didn't. My uncle had no money management skills and within a year my mom lost everything and was broke.
When she lost her money, she also lost everyone's respect and found herself alone. Her family abandoned her and she was no longer of any use to people.
I learned some key lessons from all this and it changed my view of money.
I turned money into an enemy and it took me years to forgive money. To me money was the lover that loved you and made other people love you and just when you agree to marry him, he ditches you at the altar, shames you, embarrasses you and leaves you to face the storm all alone.
How could I trust such a lover?
In my eyes my mom was the victim and money was the perpetrator.
And because I desperately wanted my mother’s approval, I made a vow to protect myself from this lover in the future whilst also remaining loyal to her by punishing money through rejecting money and refusing to deal with money in any way.
I was loyal to this vow to the point where dealing with money would cause me panic attacks and lead to acid reflux.
The only way for me to move forward was to forgive money and validate myself
I’ve spent years working on my approval seeking from my mom.
All that anger and rejection in my teens wasn’t just at money but at my mom too.
The adult me had to parent and guide my inner child to honour her decision and respect that she was doing what she knew to be best at that time.
Forgiving money helped me forgive my mother.
For the first time I started to see her as human – a soul on her own journey, with her own struggles.
Perhaps her decision stemmed from her inability to see herself as worthy of that success or maybe she truly believed my uncle could do better for the family than she could. I also suspect that she was exhausted from being the sole bread winner in her family and just wanted to pass the baton.
So why am I sharing all this?
Because we all need to understand the way our relationship with our parents is affecting our relationship with money.
I wanted my parents’ approval so badly that I chose to take on vows of loyalty to them by emulating their behaviour with money or rejecting money.
Some people do the opposite - they make the decision to be different to their parents when it comes to money and in doing so also make the vow to reject even the good aspects their parents embodied with money.
Until we acknowledge the memories that are causing these emotions and the emotions that are causing these behaviours (no matter how painful) it's really difficult to move forward financially.
This is why a huge part of the Creating Money Magic course (registration opens February 21st) is focused on meditations to release memories and emotions about money that are still in our bodies and holding us back.
The money meditations in the course helped me build a relationship with money and start having a conversation with money so I could talk to money often.
Through these meditations, I got to feel the pain I carried in my body, and I got to scream and shout at money and forgive money at a subconscious level.
As I built this relationship with money, I started to trust myself – so that even when it feels like money isn’t showing up the way I want it to, I know I’ll be fine and that I’m powerful enough to get the things I want and desire anyway.
How has your relationship with your parents or family impacted your relationship with money?