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TheCreative's avatar

How would you help someone with a dangerous spending habit?

Asked by TheCreative (1208 points ) July 31st, 2009

My younger friend came to me for help. His mother is a very kind mom but she likes to give too much. To the point where it affects the family financially. He tells me when he even mentions the problem she gets extremely angry and always tries to dance away from the problem. She usually replies with “You are always so negative! You are the same as your father!” His father by the way is working 24 hours a day trying to pay the bills while his mom is spending, spending, spending and I think it is because of the stress she is under. He came to me for help and I don’t know what to do. What should I say to him?

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12 Answers

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

how old’s your friend? 20–30?

if that’s the case usually what it is is a mother’s fear that her child doesn’t NEED her anymore, so she tries to “stay in their good graces” with gifts, surprises, etc.

how to help? I have absolutely no idea.

dpworkin's avatar

The underlying reason needs to be discovered and addressed. I would never consider diagnosing someone by long distance, but as a hypothetical example, sometimes people with Bi-polar Personality Disorder spend expansively during a manic phase. I suggest that if the husband begins with marital counseling, the therapist may be a gateway for proper treatment for the wife.

TheCreative's avatar

@ABoyNamedBoobs03 He is very young (14) but we are pretty close. He is a son of my mom’s old friend.

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

I really couldn’t tell you though, that was my only guess. and I was just punching in the dark regardless.

pd’s right, as with most question like this on fluther, if the situation is serious, find ways to get medical help.

TheCreative's avatar

There doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with her. I think she does that to get over all the stress she is under. She doesn’t know what a budget is and has allot of trouble managing money.

marinelife's avatar

Compulsive shopping, which is what your friend’s mother has, is a treatable symptom, but it does require professional intervention.

For your young friend, this is not a burden he or she can or should take on. It is not something someone else can “fix.” Two things: instead of remonstrating with Mom about her spending, your friend should tell her what how her habit affects him. Something like, “Mom, when I see the consequences of this behavior, I feel helpless and angry and frightened that our family may come apart.” The other thing your friend could so is attend a meeting of Alateen. It can be a helpful place to vent and to understand more about addictions, which this is.

As for getting Mom help, pdworkin is correct. Your friend could talk to his dad about that. Perhaps if Dad understands how this is affecting the rest of the family, he will be more willing to push Mom toward a solution.

There really is something wrong with Mom. The underlying cause could be trying to fill a hole inside with things or chronic anxiety or something else. Only therapy is likely to be effective.

mattbrowne's avatar

True happiness comes from interacting with other people not by increasing your net worth and your possessions. Perhaps a camping trip into the mountains without any luxuries and plenty of time to talk will show 14-year old kids that upon return they feel far more proud and content compared to a visit to a shopping mall.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

Recommend that they go to Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace together. It would be a great way for your friend to learn about finances and money management, and it may help his mother get a grip on her spending habits.

Judi's avatar

It’s between rhe woman and her husband. As much as he loves his parents, this is one area he just needs to back off and let them handle it.
He should be thankful he took after dad and not mom in this area too!
Has mom been screened for bi-polar?

Jeruba's avatar

Some OCD sufferers are compulsive acquirers, too.

TheCreative's avatar

Thank you guys for all your help! I’ll try and talk to him.

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