*and women, of course!
Do you ever find yourself whining over a wine with your girlfriends that all guys/girls are the same?
That they’re, as Bridget Jones (or should I say Helen Fielding) puts it, “alcoholics, workaholics, commitment phobics, people with girlfriends[/boyfriends] or wives[/husbands], misogynists, megalomanics, chauvists, emotional fuckwits or freeloaders [or] perverts”?
Nowadays we’re just inclined to call ‘em fuckboys/fuckgirls, right? But what if I were to tell you that there’s a reason we attract the same sort of person, over and over again? And, what if I were to tell you, that that very same reason could well be why you’re stuck in a rut with money?
If you’re constantly chasing dysfunctional dickheads who can’t or won’t commit, might it be the case that you’re forever chasing clients to sign this contract or pay that invoice too?
Or if you’re a bit of a bunny boiler in relationships, who clings on to something that isn’t (and never has been) there, maybe your purse strings are as tight as they come? Maybe you’re scared to spend money in case you don’t make more?
On the other hand, though, if YOU’RE the one that’s not ready for a relationship, preferring to spend your evenings swiping in search of the next suitor, preferring to serially date over committing to one particular person, might you be a bit of a big spender as well? Might you be someone who splashes the cash and spends money that they don’t have? Who gets into debt because they’re an impulsive person?
The reason I ask these questions, boss babe, is because I wonder whether our attachment styles affect our relationships with both men/women AND money, in more or less the same way.
Sooo, in order to find the answer to this question I’ve decided to Ask the Author. I’ve interviewed Persia Lawson (best-selling co-author of The Inner Fix, speaker and (wait for it) looove coach) to see whether she thinks that this is so, and – if it is – what we can do about it to get a handle on our money mindsets AND our love lives.
K, cool – you ready?
Because you’re in for a treat this Valentine’s day, let me TELL you.
“Persia, can you tell us a little bit about yourself. Our readers know you’re the co-author of The Inner Fix, but what is that book about exactly, and what is it you do now?”
“Firstly, you should probably know that I’m the least likely person to have ever become a love coach – considering that I was a DISASTER when it came to romance until I was in my mid-20s.
As I share in ‘The Inner Fix’, my parents were active drug addicts until I was about 16 and, whilst I was so grateful when they both got sober, I’d spent the majority of my life constantly surrounded by drama and chaos, so when that suddenly disappeared I went looking for it in my love life instead.
I was so terrified of being hurt like I had been growing up that I’d sabotage any chance of a happy relationship – either by cheating on the nice boyfriends I had, or going out with dysfunctional ‘bad boys’ so that I’d never have to risk real intimacy or commitment.
This pattern continued well in to my 20s – fuelled further by the rise of the ‘swipe’ culture of social media and online dating apps that made it easier and more tempting to ‘play away’, and harder and less desirable to try and maintain a steady, long-term relationship.
In 2010 I basically had a breakdown soon after being sexually assaulted in a strip club I was working in (and subsequently putting on 2 stone in 2 months during an acting job in China).
My dad took me to a yoga retreat in Thailand where he gave me some advice that changed my life.
“Focus on the insides, and the outsides will take care of themselves”.
From that moment on I spent all the energy I’d previously used behaving crazily with men in to learning to love and nurture myself from the inside-out.
I then set up a blog with a friend documenting this journey, we went on to train as life coaches and shortly after got a book deal for ‘The Inner Fix’ – and my dad’s brilliant advice was the message we shared in it.
The book has different chapters that give practical solutions and actionable steps to help you heal and improve all areas of your life from the inside out (in the last section of the book, there’s a chapter on work, a chapter on money and finally a chapter on LOOOOOOVE). I’d learned from my own experience that our love lives are not lived in isolation; they influence and are influenced by all areas of our lives – especially our relationship with work and money – which is one of the biggest stress points in any relationship as you grow older.
During the writing process I met the love of my life at a festival, and we’ve been together for over 3.5 years now.
Over the last few years, inspired by my own journey in love, I went on to create a (genuinely incredible) online program called ‘Get Your Soulmate’ that helps boss babes heal their own love lives, so that they can attract a healthy, soulful, lasting relationship that benefits and nurtures ALL areas of their lives (including their work lives!)
It’s been incredible to support and witness so many brilliant women in attracting the kind of partner they actually deserve!”
“They say our attachment styles affect our love lives. Would you say that that’s so?”
“Oh, without a shadow of a doubt! Our upbringing plays a massive factor in the kind of romantic partners we tend to be drawn to – and the way in which we relate to them (hence why I often found myself in relationships with drug addicts, drug dealers or guys who were as terrified of commitment as I was!).”
“Okay, so what are the attachment styles exactly with regards to relationships, then, and how do they come about?”
“As we explore in my Get Your Soulmate digital program, there are the following attachment styles, which are formed during our childhood years:
The lucky ones of us who grew up in happy, healthy, and stable homes where caregivers were emotionally available and responsive to their needs tend to have a secure attachment style.
These people don’t push partners away or cling too tightly. While they may have troubles in their relationships, an unhealthy attachment style isn’t the cause.
However, if we grew up in a home where our caregivers rejected us or were unresponsive to our needs for some reason, we may develop an insecure-avoidant or dismissive-avoidant attachment style in later years.
These people likely avoid close relationships or keep partners at an emotional distance. You may hide your feelings, push people away, keep secrets, and shut down when others show emotion. Yet, despite these behaviours and seeming disinterest in intimacy, insecure-avoidant people often strongly desire relationships, and feel alone (this one was me – hence why I cheated on every boyfriend and lied compulsively; whilst commitment terrified me, so did being on my own. If you’re never without some sort of romantic partner on the go, this is probably you, too).
The third type is a fearful-avoidant or disorganised-disoriented attachment style – and this is common in children who experience persistent neglect or abuse.
When the person who is supposed to love and care for you is also the person who hurts you, it makes sense that you could grow up to fear both intimacy AND being alone. Individuals with this attachment style have a hard time trusting people, close themselves off emotionally, are terrified of rejection, and may be uncomfortable showing affection (aka the ‘eternally single’ one who may never even have had a partner at all).
And finally, if our caretakers fluctuate between being responsive to our needs, and dismissive or neglectful of them, we may develop an insecure-ambivalent or anxious-preoccupied attachment style.
Adults with this attachment style are often called “clingy.” If this is your attachment style, you likely desire lots of intimacy and keep a close eye out for changes in your relationship, sometimes to the point of paranoia. You may feel like you’re more devoted to your partner than your partner is to you, have low self-esteem, and show a high level of mood swings (this would be your classic bunny boiler archetype, and often leaves men running for the hills).”
“What are your thoughts on the theory that your attachment style affects your money mindset as well? Would you agree that this is the case?”
“I absolutely would agree, because I’ve seen this play out in my own life – and that of the majority of my clients!
Any addictive behaviours – whether it’s around food, gambling, sex, overspending etc – are always a result of us trying to make ourselves feel better from the outside-in (never works, btw – not in the long-term, anyway).
Remember that we have a relationship with everything that we interact with, not just romantic partners. Money (and food) are such a big one because we need both to live – we can’t just cut them out like we can with drugs & alcohol.
I think money is an especially tricky subject for women when it comes to attachment because we really haven’t had control or power over our own money or assets for very long in the grand scheme of history (cheers, the patriarchy!). For example, only in 1973 were women granted admission to the London Stock Exchange (for the first time in the institution’s 200 year history) and until as late as 1980, women could be refused credit unless they had a male guarantor (wtaf?!).
So, it’s not just our attachment style due to our upbringing that impacts our relationship with money, but our position as women! Many of our great-grandmothers would have had zero control or say over how the household income was spent (never mind having the opportunity to earn it for themselves), so it really isn’t surprising a lot of us have baggage around our finances – we haven’t had all that long to work on them!”
“Could you perhaps give us examples of attachment styles in relation to money, as you did for men?”
As with relationships, I think this is primarily based on what was modelled to us as a child.
If we were told that ‘money doesn’t grow on trees’ and there’s ‘never enough’ to make ends meet, it’s likely that we’ll develop an attachment to it whereby we cling on to whatever money we have, out of fear of it running out.
Research has also shown that the compulsive need to make/get money may be linked to having an avoidant-attachment style, whereby money acts as a substitute for human bonding, which may be too painful if you grew up with a lot of disorder and chaos around you. These people tend to become massive workaholics in later life.
I’ve found in my own life that I developed an insecure relationship with money and tended to under-earn what I was actually worth for a long time. Because I’d grown up around active addiction, I majorly struggled with validation and self-esteem, so it wasn’t surprising that I didn’t feel deserving of a higher income.
“If you could give one piece of advice to BossBabes then about making over their money mindset, what would that be?”
Remember that my dad’s advice to ‘focus on the insides and the outsides will take care of themselves’ really does apply to EVERYTHING – including our relationship with money.
First, identify what you think your primary issue and attachment style around money may be – and why:
What did you see modelled in childhood by your parents?
Do you feel a compulsive need to work crazy hours and earn a massive income (at the expense of your sanity and healthy)?
Do you always earn less than you’re really worth (you can ask your close friends if they think that’s the case)!
Are you really tight with yourself and others when it comes to spending out of fear that your money will run out?
Once you’re clear on your main issues around money, write down some positive money affirmations to counteract the fear thoughts – for example:
I always have more than enough money.
The more I rest and practice self-care, the more money comes my way.
I practice abundance by spending money on myself and the people I love.
I am worthy of an ever-increasing income.
Wealth constantly flows in to my life.
(Feel free to create your own that speak to your specific situation!).
Then, read these out loud every morning and night until you actually start to BELIEVE them. This will help re-program the neural pathways in your brain and get you out of a poverty/ fear mindset around money and in to an abundant one.
Practicing affirmations like the above enabled me to get out of debt – as well as travel around the world with my boyfriend Joe for 6 months. It genuinely does work, but patience and consistency are the name of the game. ;)”