• Molly Richard

Healing from financial trauma

Karine Bell describes trauma as “experiences that were ‘too much, too soon, or too fast’ for us to process. This means any event that challenged the resources we have available to meet the threat we felt.”


The more I study financial psychology, the more I am drawn to information about trauma responses & trauma healing. About how traumatic experiences take place in our bodies, not in our conscious minds. About how they manifest themselves in our behaviors in unexpected and unexplainable ways. About how our analytical brain is not the tool that will help us to reach the depths of where these wounds reside to start healing.


While Americans consistently name money as their #1 source of stress & anxiety, there is surprisingly very little research or information out there about financial trauma. Why is that?


Even as I type this, part of me asks “does money really belong in this conversation? People have survived terrible abuses, witnessed horrific tragedies, and coped with unimaginable pain. Does something as superficial as money belong in that category?”


But WOW you guys, that’s exactly the minimizing language that compounds traumatic experiences by invalidating them.


Is money just THAT shameful of a topic that even the trauma researchers are hesitant to approach it? Maybe. And if that’s the case, it’s probably the area of our individual and collective lives that need the most healing.


If you are struggling with your money stuff, this is a loving reminder to be gentle with yourself. If you suddenly find yourself in an “event that is challenging the resources you have available to meet the threat you feel,” breathe. Be with yourself. Be in your body. You have permission to recognize this as a trauma and to seek healing for it. It’s okay (in fact, it actually makes a ton of scientific sense) if your analytical brain isn’t where your money stuff starts to work itself out. 🧩


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