Work and Money Issues

Money and work problems are the most commonly cited causes for relationship disagreements leading to divorce or separation. Additional conflicts about work arise when we recognize that there is no one definition to identify overworking, work addiction or compulsive work, nor one cohesive perspective with which to view work behavior. A research abstract in the Journal of Behavioral Addictions explored ten myths about work addiction. To the authors’ point, the balance between what is a healthy passion for work and work addiction is very delicate, because for most of us, work is a positive and necessary experience.

Whether a person identifies their work behavior as an addiction or compulsion may remain illusive. However, they can find help with a financial therapist for the associated personal and professional stressors associated with their behavior.

The balance between what is a healthy passion for work and work addiction is very delicate, because for most of us, work is a positive and necessary experience.

Early life experiences (both positive and negative) often become associated with money and work. These associations form an emotionally powerful connection that can lead to lasting negative compulsions and addictions into adulthood. We all struggle from time to time with money and work, but when your life becomes negatively impacted by obsessive thoughts and actions related to both, it is time to get help.

Money and work issues (including financial infidelity) are unhealthy beliefs and behaviors that negatively impact ones financial, emotional, spiritual and relational well-being. When money is used to control or exploit, this forms the basis for financial betrayal. A related but separate issue is financial abuse. Controlling or exploitive behavior patterns (for either the abuser or abused) are often the result of underlying emotional and/or family influences.

Financial Infidelity

Financial infidelity is the hidden or exploitive use of money and finances in a relationship and can be as destructive as sexual infidelity. These behaviors are often the result of learned beliefs, behaviors and attitudes that began in childhood. Keeping financial secrets is not always considered financial infidelity. However, according to a survey by the National Endowment for Financial Education cited in a CNBC article by Jessica Dickler published February 12, 2020, the lack of transparency can adversely affect the relationship for three out of four marriages.

Common behaviors that are associated with financial infidelity includes: Impulsive financial decisions, wealth obsession, money insecurity, revolving credit card debt, chronic overspending and under-earning, hiding purchases, secret bank accounts, and unresolved relationship conflicts due to money and work. (Watch Financial Disorders Videos)

Additional behaviors associated with financial infidelity include:

Sexual and Financial Infidelity

Sex, money and power are three elements that affect all relationships at one time or another; sometimes with devastating outcomes. Consider the successful executive with an ongoing extramarital affair or the spouse who travels for business and takes sexual advantage while working out-of-town.

Sexual betrayal often includes financial betrayal as a spouse may pay for their affair partner’s rent or lavish them with drinks and gifts. Regardless of gender involved, betrayal in this or similar ways creates real and lasting damage to primary relationships and family’s finances. Unfortunately, many clients get help only after the negative consequences of their financial and sexual betrayals are so severe they can no longer be ignored.

Financial Therapy

Financial therapy combines therapeutic and financial competencies by addressing financial goals and challenges. A financial therapist attunes to the emotional, cognitive, behavioral, and family-of-origin influences in order to promote financial health and success.

Traumatic childhood experiences can set in motion unhealthy attachments to sex, love, money and work. Adult life consequences result in an over and/or under-valuing of these and other compensations for a low self-worth. As a result of these unhealthy beliefs there is a strong potential for addictions, depression, anxiety, unresolved trauma, and attachment disorders in adult life related to:

  • Sex and money
  • Financial exploitation of significant other (Monetized Rage)
  • Perpetual search for more ______ (Wealth, Sex, Power, Control…)
  • Healthy relational communication about intimacy, sex and money
  • Financial control and manipulation in sexual and intimate relationships
  • Financial infidelity involving sex, money and work
  • Unresolved childhood trauma
  • Family patterns regarding money and work
  • Healthy coping skills

Getting Help

Although Debra is based in Arizona, her client base is international. Debra conducts personalized financial intensives and couples financial workshops to help individuals and couples heal their struggle with money and work. Just as sex can be used to self medicate stress, shame and pain; so, too, can money and work.

Debra will help you resolve the underlying life stressors and emotional wounds that have been “numbed” with obsessive, adrenaline-rush-inducing thoughts and behaviors—be it the high of a business negotiation, the excitement of a sexual conquest, or power and control with money or sex.

Contact Debra today to schedule your personalized intensive.