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Compulsive Shopping

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Compulsive Shopping

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red copper
I have a problem I have to manage and usually do a pretty good job of. Twice in the last 4 years I've realised I've let my shopping get out of control, no debt was incurred either time (I'm a pretty sensible person, which helps a lot) but both times I had difficultly paying for normal expenses due to having spent too much on my obsessional items. My preoccupation with whatever it is has an impact on my interactions with other humans, ignoring them whilst I scour online stores/Google etc looking for my 'rare' item of choice of the moment....


Most recently I let my shopping compulsion take over during a bout of depression. I work 4 days a week in a reasonably well paying job and don't have any large ongoing expenses so it wasn't having a negative impact, which allowed me let it run wilder and wilder. Then my partner, who is unwell, decided he wasn't able to keep working. I was happy to help him but by now the excessive shopping was habitual, I was so swept up in it I didn't realise I was whittling away my buffer money. Then the bills arrived and for the first time I had to pay for them completely by myself, all $500 of my remaining savings was gone and I only had a small amount of money left. Even then, worrying about whether I would have enough to buy food, I had a very hard time holding back from buying jewelry. As soon as I got paid again I went on another spree. It became plainly evident to me I was out of control. I don't even know how much I spent, or why I didn't instead hold back until I had built up more savings. I was left again with only just enough money to buy food.

What motivates this? I seem to be repeating the same action again and again, like a rat in a cage pressing a lever for food, seeking gratification I had once received from a similar action. The objects I buy are invested with subjective value and mean more to me when I am buying them then their monetary value, which means sometimes I get swept away buying this or that merely because I don't already own it or because I haven't seen anything like it before - with no thought for the real use it will have for me when it arrives in the mail. This has been less of a problem with my jewelry obsession than it was with my compulsion for buying Chinese brocade jackets on eBay auctions 4 years ago, which I still have in the back of my wardrobe today, unworn and beautiful. At least that experience has left me with the knowledge of how to bring my spending back under control today (now I have finally gained insight into my behaviour and have the desire to change). 

The secret? To become aware of what the item you compulsively buy means to you, how chasing that fantasy uninhibited prevents you from really attaining the things these items symbolise and how much you lose by letting your compulsions run free. I've also decided to focus more on quality than quantity  and make myself delay gratification by saving for special items (Luciferins, Anatometal opal eyelets etc). 

So my question to you is this: how many of you fit this description of oniomania (compulsive buying) on Wikipedia? en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oniomania
  • I also have a tendency to obsess over or hoard things, mostly plugs. I have a hard time making myself get rid of things (I just went through my books and was able to weed out 5 of over 300 ... ::sigh::) but plugs, maybe because they're small, or shiny, or because I'm in a comm devoted to how pretty they are and several comms devoted to selling them, they're my biggest weakness. one thing that has worked for me is to look at the plugs and ask myself if I'll ever wear them, instead of thinking about how pretty they are. I traded a pair of 6g solid satins for 8g IS rainbows and I'm really happy I did; despite how lovely and rare the satins were, I don't think I would have worn them much and I've already worn my rainbows a whole lot. same with a pair of IS water opal eyelets; they're beautiful and flash a multitude of colors ... but I just can't see myself wearing them so I'm going to sell/trade them. I'm trying to trade or sell things that I won't wear since it a. allows me to get things I will wear, and b. means that someone else can enjoy them. the lady I traded the satins to gave them to one of her friends as a holiday present; her friend has emerald satin eyelets and 6g conches and apparently has been wanting solid satins for a while. so they're busy being loved by someone, instead of sitting in my plug box and never seeing the light of day.
    • I gave away a lot of my 8g stuff I didn't like to a friend of mine who lives in the US. Despite her and her partner working in decent jobs they seem to struggle and she was always jealous of my collection. I'm a real perfectionist so in the beginning of amassing my collection I bought a lot of things that were perfectly fine but I didn't like because I hadn't worked out my style yet. She got a package of about 70 items and she was over the moon, it was much better then leaving them to sit in my plug box, so much fun to surprise her like that! :-D

      I'm gonna PM you about those IS eyelets by the way, I only recently found out what water opals are (the IS pics don't really show them properly) and I wouldn't mind seeing what yours look like.
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