Allen Berger, Ph.D.
Fighting about money
What can we do to stop fighting about money? Money is an important issue for couples to talk about for many different reasons. Money is symbolic of so many things, and it can be tied to so many different issues in a person’s life.
I was working with this one family, and, for her, when she was growing up; any discussion about money just generated an incredible amount of anxiety. Her mother was very, very irresponsible in how she spent money, and her parents would get in these terrible fights about it. So, whenever money came up, she had a tremendous amount of anxiety. And that stopped her and her partner from really talking about those things. You don’t want to let issues like that get privilege in your life.
Let me say it another way: that anxiety and fear are feelings that need to be respected but not to give privilege to. Now, what that means is that we have to keep a dialogue going. A lot of great research has been done on the need of families to talk about those issues. In every family, there are issues that need to be an ongoing discussion. They’re perpetual issues. Oftentimes, money may be one of those things where you guys have to talk about what it means to you, what’s important to you. Do you share your goals? All of those things are very important in terms of ways to stop fighting about money and keeping a good connection.
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