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Can anyone relate to me their experience of using shopping as dysfunctional coping mechanism? Ideas on how to handle more effectively?

#13
I relate to this so much. After I stopped binge drinking/using drugs excessively, I moved onto buying things to cope. The excitement when you order them, and when they arrive. It helped me. I actually didn't get over it until I lost my job this year bc of COVID and money was uncertain. What helped me is looking at what these purchases (sometimes books, too, I'm a writer!) did for me as a coping mechanism.

They gave me something to look forward to, something to "identify" myself, and something to treat myself. So I deconstructed that and said okay, how can I do these things without spending all this money (without spending money at all, was my goal), and in a healthier way? This lead to me making more art, constructing outfits out of what I have, and reading the books I have or researching them extensively before I buy. Lots of publishers also run deals on books, I've gotten tons of e-books for 99 cents to 2.99, or even free in some cases (I really like TOR).

So maybe deconstructing what these purchases do for you, and how you can replicate that without spending money? I wish you the best!
 
#14
As I am relatively early on in my trauma therapy, I find myself becoming triggered more and more frequently.
This might be good to discuss with the therapist. It's super common for therapy to stir things up for a time, and working with the therapist on the pacing of the work, and how to contain the work, or rather not have it drag out with as big of symptom spikes all week long might help with the root cause of the habit.
So maybe deconstructing what these purchases do for you, and how you can replicate that without spending money?
Book collecting seemed like maybe an escape... Shopping maybe a distraction or bringing a sense of control? Mindfulness might be another way to redirect focus on to something other than trauma. There are tons of great free resources online on how to grow mindfulness skills.
 
#15
I admit, I like the anticipation of having something I ordered online on it's way here, the research and reading that goes into deciding on and finding the next object in a collection, I like going on a craigslist run, I enjoy collectors markets and junk stores. Some of my hobbies involve acquiring things that can almost always be found for less if you just keep looking, and some of them have (or will) made me money when I trade or sell things. Some are just fun, like looking for certain christmas bulbs at second hand stores for 3-5 bucks a piece, others are more serious money but money spent well because they will be worth what they are worth for a long time.
I call it therapeutic spending.
A downfall of mine (ours) has been going to concerts. 600 bucks to see a band may seem like alot but why get a lesser ticket if you are going to stay three nights in motels and drive a thousand miles? If they had tickets worth 750 I would gladly buy them.
The joy is in the anticipation, in the actual event and the savoring of the memory. Having the cash just isn't as much fun as having those concert tickets at 600 bucks or finding that particular christmas ornament for 3. I am lucky that I have a stable and well paying profession. But even when I was eating top ramen and ketchup sandwiches, I would treat myself to something when I could, usually a fine meal or a good concert or maybe just a movie and the big popcorn.
I don't see anything wrong with it until someone that depends on you for support can't because you value the spending more than their support. If it doesn't lead to banko, spend away I say.
Nutshell: fight or flight wiring can be put on hold by indulging the hunter-gatherer circuit, temporarily, without harm-if managed.
 
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