• Nancy Mendelson

Money Shame is Real

“Would you rather have a wedding or the money?” My parents asked when I told them that my then boyfriend had proposed to me. “Oh, a wedding,” I gleefully responded. What a big ass lie that was!!! I wanted the money but felt too ashamed to tell the truth.

money shame

The fact that I got neither the wedding nor the money is beside the point, it was the “shame” in asking for what I really wanted that was and still is, to some extent, very much at the heart of any discussion about money, be it personal or professional!


That’s why this excerpt from a course description for "Heal Your Money Karma" on The Daily Om really resonated. “Money has remained in shadow for so long that when we consciously bring it into the light and simply acknowledge the darkness, shame, and fear we have around money, we begin to transform our old patterns. Being in denial, obsession, or resistance with any of our patterns, keeps them firmly in place. Many of us have been conditioned to believe, for example, that money is difficult.“


YES!!! Which is why I enrolled in the online course, and perhaps equally as important as what I learned about myself in the process, I realized I was not alone in my shame and fear surrounding money. Actually, upon reflection, I realized that the majority of people I knew found discussing money uncomfortable.


“The way we think and feel has a huge impact on our wallets, even though it's not always obvious,” writes Megan Liscomb, Personal Finance Editor for Buzzfeed, “But unfortunately, many of us experience a lot of negative emotions when it comes to our cash, like anxiety and shame.”

In her article, "I Talked To A Financial Therapist To Learn More About "Money Shame" — And How To Cope With It," Megan spoke with financial therapist Lindsay Bryan-Podvin who explained, "Our money shame comes from us, our families, communities, culture, and government policies. We don't cohesively learn about money, so it makes sense there'd be shame around money. Once you acknowledge your shame, it's time to start saying goodbye to it." She goes on to say, ”If your relationship with money involves shame, your first step to healing is taking a clear-eyed look at your feelings and where they come from. "Acknowledge the shame is there and that it's multifaceted."


Multifaceted indeed! It occurs to me as I write this, that the shame which has haunted my relationship with money, haunts my relationship with food, as well. Bear with me while I consult Dr. Google to see if this is a “thing.”


Look what I found:

And on and on…

It’s a damn shame that shame is so pervasive in our culture, so I’ll leave you with these words from the esteemed professor, lecturer, author, and podcast host, Brené Brown, to help put things into perspective:

“If you put shame in a petri dish, it needs three ingredients to grow exponentially: secrecy, silence, and judgment. If you put the same amount of shame in the petri dish and douse it with empathy, it can’t survive.”