Many people refuse to believe that one can be addicted to shopping or that shopping can be dangerous, but it can. Women especially fall victim to the enjoyment had by shopping. It feels good to buy things when you are down and do not feel good about yourself. Whether the good feeling comes from owning something new, taking advantage of a great price or just the enjoyment of strolling through the aisle and filling your cart with stuff; the feeling does not last long and is not a permanent fix to whatever ails you.
My mother had a severe shopping addiction. Everyday after work she would stop at several stores. She enjoyed going to places like Goodwill, Big Lots and Wal-Mart. It made her feel better about herself to be good at something, even if it was only bargain shopping. She got a high off getting a good deal. Everyday she would come home with a trunk full of purchases that were unneeded. As you can imagine, this left the house cluttered and messy as she tried to find a place for the things she bought.
After a year of therapy, she realized that the ability to find a good deal made her feel successful and useful. She had very low self-esteem and a very painful childhood. Her shopping affected many aspects of her life that she did not see. She was always upset that her house was messy, she would be frustrated by money problems, she had less time to spend with her family and she fought with her husband because he could not understand why a person would be compelled to buy all this stuff she did not need.
While she still enjoys shopping, she no longer uses it as a method to feel better about herself. Her trips are limited to once or twice a week to purchase things she needs. This has not changed overnight, it took years for her to realize her problem and control it.
There is a difference between liking to shop and having a shopping disorder.
1 Feeling the need to visit stores on a daily basis.
2 Buying items that are not needed or used.
3 When friends and family question your shopping obsession.
4 When your shopping interferes with personal relationships.
5 When shopping is negatively effecting your finances.
6 Violence or anger towards other customers.
7 When you feel the need to hide or lie about your purchases and shopping habits.
These signs can all point to a shopping disorder. While an addiction to shopping is not nearly as harmful as other addictions, it still signifies that there are aspects of your life that you are unhappy with. Fixing these issues can help you overcome your dependency on shopping to feel good about yourself.