How to Overcome Your Love-Hate Relationship with Money

love-hate relationship with money

The concept of love and hate, not surprisingly, can be applied in our relationship with money. In this post, I would be looking at the particularly vexatious circumstance of having a love-hate relationship with money.

What’s a love-hate relationship?

A love-hate relationship can be described as a situation in which you experience alternating feelings of love and hate towards a love (or hate) interest. In a love-hate relationship, your emotions towards the object switches from love to hate and forth.  It mostly happens when emotions are intense.

Here’s an analogy, Jack has a crush on a Jane and his love for her drives him to do all he can to get her. However, Jack hates Jane at the same time for being with another guy and not giving attention to him. There goes Jack, in a typical love-hate relationship.

Love-Hate Relationship with Money

You love money and desire to have it in abundance. However, at the same time and for some reasons, you have conflicting hateful feelings towards money. You become unnecessarily nervous and anxious whenever it comes to dealing with money, and in some cases will prefer someone else to handle it for you.

Sounds familiar?

Unresolved issues with money not only makes sure you earn far below your potential, but it also makes you unhappy and affects your general wellbeing.

Let’s briefly look at some of the factors that can cause a love-hate relationship with money.

Causes of Love-Hate Relationship with Money

Your love-hate relationship with money can be caused by numerous social, psychological or religious factors. Here are three significant factors to consider.

1. Spirituality

Your religious beliefs are fundamental to grooming your perceptions about a lot of things and money is not an exception. It’s not uncommon for some religions or faith to teach that money is the root of all evil. They would probably back this assertion up with how the love of money is the leading cause of social vices and crime.

With this kind of belief system, you begin to perceive money as something that is relevant, and at the same time also a means evil. The end product is that you work all day because you know money is important and at the same time feel it’s spiritually wrong to want to have money.

You aspire to just earn enough to pay your bills, and when you struggle financially, your resentment towards money will only increase.

You enviously consider anyone amassing and enjoying wealth to be materialistic and therefore less spiritual or evil even.

2. Background

Your upbringing also plays a role in determining whether you have a love-hate relationship with money. If you’re born with a silver spoon or come into a large inheritance and is used to getting what you want without having to work for it, you might have a disdainful attitude towards handling money.

Somehow, you have been raised to believe that dealing with money and acquiring it is a less-than-noble pursuit. Things take a turn for the worse, and you are forced to work to make money and handle the ‘unpleasant’ aspects of financial responsibilities.

You might feel that working for money as well as asking for appropriate remuneration for your efforts is demeaning.

On the other hand, if you grew up in a household where money, or the lack of it, is a constant issue, you might grow into adulthood with the deep-seated belief that money is bad because you associate your family troubles with it. Your relationship with money may tend to be difficult.

Use money and love people. Don’t love money and use people – Joseph Prince

3. A Few Bad Experiences

This can make you lose it emotionally when it comes to money. Have you had investments that went sour or taken risks that turned out unproductive?

Losing all your money in a business venture can make you resentful.

You tend to blame your desire for wealth for the financial loss you incurred and the pain it caused. Moreover, this may reaffirm the belief that love of money is evil.

Now that we have highlighted a few causes let’s now consider how the love-hate relationship with money can affect our finances and overall well being.

love-hate relationship with money

Effects of a Love-Hate Relationship with Money

When you have a love-hate relationship with money, it affects every aspect of your life. You’re driven between extremes of believing that money will do a lot for you and at the same time feeling that money is tainted. Here are some of the effects of a love-hate relationship with money.

a. Your perception of money is that of great desire and extreme anxiety or fear

This is more like the most significant effect of a love-hate relationship with money. The desire you have to make money is great and is driven by societal necessity, and in fact, you believe that money will make you happy. On the other hand, the availability of money scares and upsets you. You’re scared of the outcome of spending money.

b. The thought of spending money scares you

Whenever you get money, for some reason, you believe you’ll never get it right when it comes to spending money. Your mindset is fluctuated to see money as something you don’t want to deal with, yet still, it is something you would love to have.

c. You get the urge to spend wastefully

Just because the thought of dealing with money upsets you after you’ve long worked for it, you literally throw it away. You become a hardworking money maker and a reckless money spender. You do just whatever it is that takes the task of dealing with money away.

The chances are that you’ll get to spend not just recklessly but with an intention to impress people or at least make them feel you have it all figured out when you actually don’t.

d. You make a big deal out of savings

You don’t want to pile money up somewhere because you see spending it as tasking, upsetting, scary and likely unproductive. Just anything that will save you from the trap of having to manage money at some point scares you away.

e. You become static in other aspects of your life

Beyond just your personal finance, a love-hate relationship with money will threaten your career, social and relationship life. Since money is pivotal to every other aspect, you view it as necessary, but you hate that it doesn’t work for you. Unfortunately, money cannot be displaced, so your relationship with money reflects in other ramifications of your life. It can seriously challenge your productivity and career.

What’s the Way Out?

Having understood the love-hate syndrome and how it affects your personal life, what can you do to have a healthier relationship with money? Here are some steps that may help:

  • Deal with a financial advisor: there are professional counselors in every field to help us in times of distress, a financial advisor is one of them. This is particularly important in severe cases. Since you love money as a means to an end but hate to deal with it. A financial advisor is a go-to for money management and understanding demands.
  • Try to spend purposefully: simply put, a purpose should be attached to every amount you earn. The truth is whatever you do diligently would eventually work for you. Most of the times, our fear of money is driven by wanting to do things above our reach. Set out realistic budgets and try to intentionally follow it through. Stay content because you compete with nobody but yourself. Reckless spending will only increase your negative perception of money.
  • Understand that value fuels money productivity: it’s not how you love or hate money that will make money work for you. No matter how making money seems difficult, once you increase your value and offer value to the society, money will come to you. Once you make money eventually, take away the love-hate mindset and try to handle money with optimal value consciousness. Rather than think ‘money is the root of all evil’ why not substitute that perception with ‘money valuably spent is the route of financial growth.
  • Overall financial planning: take diligent steps to plan every aspect of your finance and watch the love-hate syndrome fade away. Try to live conveniently within your means, avoid debt no matter how little or get out of debt as soon as you can, make contingency plans for emergencies, save every percentage of your earning, create a budget for yourself and understand your priorities. If you can follow through these overall processes, your emotional fluctuation when it comes to money will be erased.

In summary, for our own financial peace of mind, it is essential that we deal with money merely as a resource and take our emotions out of it. By honestly exploring your feelings about money and following the steps mentioned above, your relationship with money, and by extension, your personal finances will significantly improve.

BA in Accountancy, he entered the entrepreneurial world by starting his first online marketing business in 2004. Passionate about personal finance, the stock market and a digital marketing addict. I also love to read books on entrepreneurship and technology and always on the lookout for new opportunities. I'm an avid golfer and currently a 15 handicapper.

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