Control was a theme revealed in a recent post about co-dependency and eating disorders. Feeling lack of control over other people can lead to someone using unhealthy food behaviors like overeating, restricting, or purging as a way of controlling food and their body.
Shopping also creates a temporary sense of control when we take home the thing(s) we’ve purchased. And just like unhealthy eating behaviors and substance abuse, shopping can have negative repercussions when the person doesn’t have sufficient funds to repay a credit card purchase or other forms of unsecured debt.
There are many overlapping issues between overspending, debt and food addiction. The desire for excess food can lead to higher grocery and restaurant bills. Constantly changing size with yo-yo-dieting or binge eating can create the need to buy more clothes.
Distorted body image can lead to the desire to compensate with expensive brands or fancy accessories that will draw attention away from whatever the person feels self-conscious about.
Sometimes when a person is taking steps to moderate and recover from one addiction, they act out their impulses another way. That can easily happen with shopping. Recovery can uncover some challenging truths that are difficult to face, and people look for self-soothing tools that aren’t always the healthiest options – even if they’re staying on track with their food plan.
This kind of “retail therapy” may seem harmless, but can lead to serious financial, emotional, and relationship issues when there isn’t enough money left for basic needs. As well, accumulating more and more stuff can lead to another problematic issue that we’ll cover in the next post.