The Journey of a Thousand Miles – Part 2

the-journey-of-a-thousand-miles-part-2

My journey of a thousand miles continues…………

I felt like my whole world had crashed down in front of me, I felt a massive failure not only to myself but to my parents. They could not understand how I had managed to get stuck in a rut with my finances and blamed themselves for my mistakes as well as my anxiety.  It was not their fault at all, they had tried to stop me, but I thought I knew best and was trying to create the “perfect life” and it was far from that. Even though I have tried to make peace with myself and on the whole, I am almost there I think there will always be that tiny piece of me that wished I had stopped myself.

I had started a new relationship when I was in the thick of my financial struggle and my partner had lots of questions, so I had to have “that conversation”.  It was not easy as I knew it could be make or break time, but I answered honestly.  The relationship was long distance for the first six months which was challenging for both of us.  It was becoming increasing more difficult for me to afford travelling between Bristol to Sussex.  With my budget in place there was no leeway at all.

We then made the decision for me to move to Sussex and my partner said that he would take care of me and that I could move anytime.  He thought that the bankruptcy order had cleared all of my debt and I had a completely clean slate.  I explained I had a three-year loan repayment plan.  I said that I needed a job at is was important to me, not only in dealing with the bankruptcy but for me to pay my own my way and have my own independence. He said that I didn’t need to do that, but I stood my ground and found a job quite quickly which was a bonus!

We were only a month in when some issues started to arise. I made the decision for us to separate and with my parents help I moved into my own place.  I had to start afresh and get used to managing my money as it was just me.  A few months in and I was in a pattern of being able to put a little bit of money aside whilst still being in budget. Plus, I was looking after my physical health too.  Around this time my car started playing up and I found out that I needed to replace it. With no spare funds my parents loaned me the money for a car which I was truly grateful for.

Several months had passed and my ex got back in touch and we started seeing each other and a few months later I moved back using the money I had saved.

Over the next few years, my money management became more of an issue as much as I tried to manage it I was not doing a good job of it.  I was getting to the end of the month and having to ask my parents or my partner for help. As my budget was tight I could not afford to go out for dinner or have days out often but enjoyed them when I could. So, our entertainment was paid in the main by my partner.

I am very grateful for all that my partner and parents did for me.  Their wish was that they I would get better, but I had a few major blips along the way and I was not really learning the lesson.  In September 2017, my family had got to the point where they said enough is enough you need to get better and find a different strategy because we can’t keep bailing you out.   This felt scary, but I knew that it was very much needed for all of us.  So, I dug deep and gave it my all did things were on the up, to be honest my partner was still help me here and there.

In March 2018 everything came to a head within the relationship and my finances were once again put under the spotlight for causing problems.

It was not only my close relationships that were being affected by my financial difficulties but my friendships too.  I pushed people away through fear of them finding out about the situation as well as my anxiety.  I also didn’t want to keep saying I could not afford it. Again, I was very fortunate that I had some good friends in the area I had moved too.  I felt awful not being able to afford to socialize with them as much as I would have liked.  It is only really now that I have started opening up to them and talking about it. There was only one close friend who I spoke to as she had been through a similar experience, so it felt safe to talk without fear of judgement or embarrassment.

I knew I really had to step up and embrace the recovery process and come to terms with where I was and where I was going to be able to finally move forward.  I was very fortunate that I was still having CBT therapy around this time.  Again, I fully embraced the therapy sessions with additional reading and finding new tools to support my recovery. It was at this time that I truly started to peel back the layers and understand how I had gotten to this point.  It all started to fit into place like a jigsaw puzzle.  Over the years I had become a massive people pleaser and this was bought on through feelings and beliefs of not being good enough, wanting my life to be perfect, wanting to be liked, feeling needed and loved in my romantic relationships. I was always there for everyone and realized I used that to stay and place stay on the side lines.  I had never been true to myself by taking time to look and listen to myself.  I had disconnected from my inner-self and knew that this was where I needed to start. It felt scary and uncomfortable. Through therapy and help from some everything started to make sense, I could see how spending the money had been a release but in fact it fueled the anxiety which started a chain-reaction.

Before writing this post, I had a candid conversation with my mum and she opened up on how my financial difficulties had affected her. It was the first time, I was actually able to listen without too much emotion getting in the way and me changing the subject. My mum recalled that each time when visiting home how I always said that was in recovery.  When in fact I was in a false sense of recovery because of the support I was receiving from my family and I was masking the issues.

It wasn’t until my relationship had ended and I moved into my own flat that my recovery truly started.  My mum commented on how I had stepped up and was doing everything for myself and how proud she was of me and ended by saying you are walking the walk and not just talking the talk.

To be continued….

Join me for the final part where I will share where I am now and my future plans.

Much love,

Cheryl

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