Some women are so darn competent, yet never seem to come out into the limelight. They don’t push for raises or promotions and, if they get them, they find a way of sabotaging themselves. It’s almost as if they have a comfort zone they don’t want to get out of …
That, my friends, is a true money repeller. It’s someone who–because of some childhood perception or experience–wants to distance herself as far as she can from money. She’ll block it from coming in. And, if it somehow does get into her possession, she’ll get rid of it as fast as she can. And she probably doesn’t even know why.
Repelling Money is one of the twelve classic money behaviors. It’s the first of the three general categories these behaviors fall under (pushing money away, pulling it towards you, and using it to mess up relationships). Instead of passively ignoring the existence of money, as a Money Denier would, a Money Repeller proactively pushes it away. This behavior permeates a woman’s entire relationship with money.
Where Does This Money Repelling Come From?
Dealing with money by pushing it away is particularly common in our society as a reaction to the great value that is placed upon it. Money is glorified everywhere you look: on billboards, in magazines, online and on television. However, a conflict arises when we factor in any messaging that makes us feel guilty about having or wanting money.
The origins of repelling money relate mostly to the “money is bad” maxim. In short, there is a major confusion between what money is and what money can do.
As a result of this negative judgment of money, it’s as if the subconscious has taken the equivalent of “vows of poverty,” and the grown woman will find herself putting up roadblocks to building or holding any wealth.
She may have been raised in a family that honored the idea that there is great virtue in poverty and suffering. Imagine the guilt she will feel as an adult if she has money, even if accessed through marriage. She’ll find herself sabotaging her good fortune by burning through money, and her husband will never understand why.
In her childhood home, the “money is bad” idea may have been seen as meaning that people who have money are also bad. Her parents may have created an “us versus them” dynamic, either as a means of saving face or because they truly believed it. If she was told that life came too easy to those who had money, and that only those people who worked hard and struggled were good, that message would be carried into adulthood.
The conflict that would arise is obvious if she later found herself with money or, even worse, actually earning considerable money. To have money at all is bad enough. What if she had thoughts of making more than her parents? This is where you hear expressions like “don’t get too big for your britches.”
A different reason for deciding that money is bad is when it brings up painful associations, such as being linked to the loss of loved ones. If a child benefits financially from someone’s tragic death, she may feel guilty ever deriving any pleasure from that money. It will be tainted and she will feel guilty. She will make every effort to push it away, often watching as it flows through her fingers at record speed.
This behavior is not limited to childhood loss; family members of those who lost their lives in 9/11 were also known to suffer from it.
Women who come into instant money, such as lottery winners, athletes or people who receive insurance or legal settlements, may suddenly find themselves outside the element they were raised in. They do not see themselves as “someone who has money” and may carry judgments against those who do. They will soon find themselves behaving in ways that return them to their original status.
Another stumbling block is “deserving.” However a child takes on the perception of being undeserving, it will affect how she deals with money throughout her life unless it is addressed.
Being wealthy can bring on money repelling behavior for yet another reason. If a young girl grows up within an extremely wealthy, ostentatious family and feels shame and embarrassment over being different from her friends, she may blame money. And if her parents leave her with nannies because they’re too busy socializing or making even more money, she’ll relate money to her feeling of isolation–and money will be blamed.
Another form of parental behavior that can lead to money repelling is dishonesty. If a child is asked by a parent to participate in any way in behavior that is dishonest, whether lying to bill collectors knocking on the door or being part of a scam or theft, the child may develop in one of two directions.
Either she’ll pattern herself after the parent or she’ll reject money in her life. If she has no money, she figures, she can never be accused of having acquired it dishonestly. Regardless of her skills or potential, she’ll find a million ways to keep money out of her life.
Telltale Signs of a Money Repeller
Look at a woman who you know is talented and capable, but always seems to be flying under the radar, and it’s likely you’re looking at a money repeller. She may never propose herself for greater responsibilities, or will take them on without asking for compensation.
She could also keep her fees too low for the services she provides or give too much for what she charges. She might volunteer too freely or not follow up on moneys due her.
If she inherited or married into money, she’ll be the one spending in order to get rid of it as quickly as possible, or she’ll refuse the lifestyle she can easily afford.
Money repellers are often in the helping professions, such as social workers and teachers. Many come from humble beginnings and see the good they can do by helping, but they’d feel guilty leaving that same socio-economic group.
Where Repelling Money Leads
Think of the damage that’s been done to a woman’s relationship with money, all because of a misguided belief that money is bad–and that it in some way causes pain, shame or embarrassment. The roadblocks created by that distortion make it virtually impossible to accrue wealth. And any that is accrued is quickly squandered in one way or another. The result is a life not lived to its fullest.
Note: This is the second of a series of twelve articles, identifying each of the classic money behaviors that trip women up and keep them from controlling their money … and their life. If parts of this behavior feel familiar, be sure to stay connected with me on Facebook so you can continue on this exploration.
And let us know in the Comments section below if you saw yourself–or any of your friends–in this overview of Repelling Money.
Bio: Sharon O’Day fixes financial lives. She is a tell-it-like-it-is money expert with a successful career in global finance, plus an MBA from the Wharton School. Today she specializes in getting entrepreneurial women over 50 back on their game so they can have more money, less stress and more joy. With her “Over Fifty and Financially Free” strategies, they take actions that lead to their ultimate goal: financial peace of mind.