Shopping for Acceptance

In previous posts, I explored “The Reasons We Shop Too Much” and “Why Continue to Shop?”  Those articles covered a lot of the reasons why compulsive shoppers continue to buy more and more, even when we don’t really need anything and may be in debt as a result of over-shopping.  Today’s post looks at another reason for shopping too much and one that I’ve determined is a primary driver of my shopaholic behavior.

“Normal” Shoppers vs. Shopaholics

When we visit the mall, a local boutique, or our favorite online store, we usually think we’re shopping for a new dress, pair of shoes, or fun accessory to add sparkle to our outfits.  For people who don’t have a compulsive shopping problem, the surface “need” is probably all that’s there.  They determine a gap in their wardrobes and shop to fill that gap.  Even if they happen to pick up an unplanned item on a shopping jaunt, there probably aren’t any underlying psychological reasons for the extra purchase.

Shopping for Acceptance

What if what you really need can’t be bought in any store?

Not so with shopaholics.  The reason we think we’re shopping is rarely the main driving force for our behavior. There is often a deep emotional need that we’re meeting through shopping, and since new clothes or shoes can never fulfill our internal needs, we continue to want – and buy – more and more things.

Until we can determine what we’re really shopping for and learn to meet that need in a constructive way, the desire to shop won’t decrease.  We’ll keep filling our closets when it’s really our souls that cry out to be nurtured.

There is Rarely Just One Reason for Over-Shopping

There is rarely just one reason for our over-shopping, which is why I continue to build upon this topic through a series of posts.  My first article on the reasons we shop too much briefly introduced some of the more common underlying issues.  Today I’d like to expand upon one of those topics through sharing more of my personal story.  While I don’t necessarily have the answers, at least not yet, it is my hope that perhaps some of you will feel less alone if you relate to what I share.

Compulsive shopping is often accompanied by a lot of shame and secrecy and many of the people in our lives aren’t even aware we struggle with this problem.  I’ve appreciated hearing from many of you that reading my words has helped you to feel less isolated and inspired to overcome your shopping issues.

Shyness, Insecurity, and Low Self-Esteem

For as long as I can remember, I’ve struggled with insecurity and low self-esteem.  I was a very shy child who had difficulty making friends and frequently felt as if I didn’t fit in at school.  I was also very bright and introspective and often lived more inside my head than among my peers.  My family’s frequent moves exacerbated my social issues, as I often had to leave my hard-won friendships behind when we relocated to a new city.  It was extremely difficult for me to talk to strangers (still is…) and the cruel environment of junior high and high school only made things worse in this regard.

As we all know, the issue of what to wear and how to dress is paramount to a high school girl.  However, my height (I reached my current height of 5’10” at age 14) and excess body weight, coupled with a small shopping allowance relative to many of my peers, made it hard for me to measure up in the clothing department.

Every day, I wrestled with the decision of what to wear to school, and my resulting outfits were never really up to par.  I always looked a bit ungainly and was not one of the “beautiful people.”  I was more of a “nerd” who got straight “A”s in school but didn’t have boyfriends or hang out with the popular crowd.

A History of Eating Disorders and Body Image Issues

As I mentioned in “History of a Shopaholic,” I developed an eating disorder at the age of thirteen which exploded into full-blown anorexia nervosa by age sixteen.  I was hospitalized six times in all and missed close to half my senior year of high school due to an extended hospitalization. My anorexia, and later bulimia, continued through my early thirties, but I was mostly out of grave physical danger by my early twenties.

Despite my continued struggles with weight loss and a long stretch of being seriously underweight, I was able to graduate from both college and graduate school and pursue a number of jobs and romantic relationships.  By the time I met my husband at age 32, my eating disorders had mostly subsided, but my body image issues continue to this day and partially fuel my compulsive shopping behavior.

The Parallel between Eating Disorders and Compulsive Shopping

I could write an entire book on my eating disorder history (and perhaps I will one day…), but my main reason for sharing that struggle here is to highlight the connection between my anorexia and my shopping issues.  Many of the same underlying emotional issues fueled both my eating disorders and compulsive shopping.   The primary driver behind both my weight loss and my over-shopping has been a desire for acceptance.  I always felt like I wasn’t good enough, so I dieted and shopped in order to become acceptable to others (and to myself).

The parallel between eating disorders and shopping issues is explored in an article titled “Eat, Shop and Be Merry” by April Benson, a therapist who treats compulsive shoppers.  Dr. Benson (author of “To Buy or Not to Buy”) writes that one third of her shopaholic patients either have a history of eating disorders or were concurrently struggling with both eating disorders and over-shopping.  If you currently suffer from both issues or have in the past, I highly recommend that you read Dr. Benson’s excellent article.

Never Good Enough…

At one point, I weighed approximately fifty pounds less than I do now (I never weigh myself now, so I don’t know the exact number) and I’ve spent close to $50,000 on clothing and accessories over the past ten years.  Despite all that dieting and shopping, I have pretty much never felt like I was good enough.

Sure, I got very thin, but I didn’t see myself clearly and continued to believe that parts of my body were too big and needed to be reduced further.  And even though I bought an inordinate amount of clothing, I continued to feel like I didn’t dress well enough.  There were always so many others around me who I felt looked better than I did.  So I dieted more and I shopped more, and it was still never good enough!

Ever Elusive Happiness and Self-Acceptance

I am self-aware enough to know now that my real problem wasn’t that I was too fat or that my wardrobe was sub-standard.  While I did need to lose some weight in the beginning and my wardrobe did need improvement (and still does), those things were not the reason for my unhappiness.

Consequently, no matter how much weight I lost or how many clothes I bought, happiness and self-acceptance continued to elude me.  Those things cannot be found in a number on the scale or at the mall.

Happiness and self-acceptance come from within, not from what we look like, how much we weigh, what we wear, or for that matter, what job we have and how much money we make (I threw those last two in because I’ve had a lot of insecurity there, too, and I’m sure others have as well).

Excess Weight & Unstylish Clothing Don’t Make Us Unacceptable

What’s true is that I was never unacceptable as a human being because I had excess body fat and didn’t look like a fashion plate.  I was never unacceptable as a human being… period!  I never really needed to lose weight or buy new clothes in order to be worthy of love and acceptance, but my beliefs told me these things were imperative.

Even though I now intellectually know I’m okay even with a few extra pounds on my frame or wearing last year’s fashions, something inside of me still doesn’t believe it. That’s why I continue to berate myself for my “fat thighs” and “big hips” and that’s why I continue to shop for acceptance.  I’m still insecure and I still feel like I’m not good enough, and I still foolishly believe that if I lose five pounds and buy better clothing, I will feel different about myself.

Caring Too Much About What Others Think

As I wrote earlier, I don’t have all of the answers. Simply realizing why I do what I do hasn’t been enough to get me to stop.  I still have a lot of desire to shop for more stylish and “acceptable” clothing.  Every time I post my outfit photos, I feel like others will criticize my appearance and my style. I thought it would get easier, but it really hasn’t.  I pushed myself to post the photos because I thought they would be a useful illustration of how one person navigates Project 333 and as a way of helping me to get over my worries about others’ opinions.

I know I shouldn’t care so much about what others think of me, but I do care.  I know it’s a losing battle because there isn’t one person on the planet who everyone thinks is attractive and well-dressed.  Style and beauty are such subjective things and they are only two (small) facets of who we are.  I could be the most beautiful and stylish person around and there will still be people who will criticize me.  The articles about actresses and models in the tabloids are certainly proof of that!  If they criticize the likes of Nicole Kidman, Julia Roberts, and Sandra Bullock, what hope do I have?

Acceptability Comes from Within, Not Without

For shopping to take the right place in my life, I need to gain my feelings of acceptability from within instead of from without.  I need to believe that I am worthy of being loved and valued even if I don’t have the best wardrobe around.

I need to stop chasing an always moving target (that I was never that good at reaching anyway…) and learn to value myself for who I am inside.  If I focus there, I have a much greater chance of feeling good, as I know I’m a kind, compassionate, intelligent, creative woman with a warm heart and a good sense of humor.  Those qualities cannot be bought in any store and render me quite acceptable indeed!

Can You Relate to My Story?

I hope my story has resonated with some of you.  Perhaps many of you can even relate to what I shared… Now that I’ve bared more of my soul, I’d love to hear from you.

  • Have feelings of insecurity and low self-esteem fueled your compulsive shopping behavior?
  • Have you been able to overcome your need to “shop for acceptability”?

If you have tips for me and the others who still struggle in this regard, please share them in the comments section below.  If you don’t feel comfortable sharing such personal information publicly, you may also connect with me directly.  However you choose to communicate, as always, I value your input! 


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Comments

  1. Cornelia says:

    My goodness, Debbie, you really bared it for all of us. As a shy person myself, I can understand and remember a lot of those feelings you described when growing up. It took me a long time to finally accept (and be happy) to be an introvert and not to pretend that I have a good time meeting strangers. I am now in my late fifties and finally given myself persmission not to attend parties anymore. It is still hard for me to turn down people because I don’t want to hurt feelings. By nature I am a friendly person, but I have very few people that I would consider a friend. I applaud your courage to photograph your outfits. I don’t think (no, I know!) that I would not have the guts to go through with that. I wish you the very best of luck in your journey, and will continue to follow your blog.

    • Debbie Roes says:

      Congrats on embracing who you are and acting accordingly, Cornelia! It’s okay to be an introvert. Many people don’t believe I am one because I can be quite talkative with those I know, but like you, I dread going to parties. Photographing my outfits has been a mixed blessing – nerve-wracking yes, but I also learned from it. More on that in my Project 333 recap post…

  2. FrugalFashionista says:

    Fantastic post Debbie! I have a different background but can still relate. In fact, when I did all this examining my background work I identified in my life two important transitional periods when I felt like a complete outsider. One was in my teens when I was teased and socially excluded for my looks (ironically because I was too thin – geeky too, and dressed differently from others). And then post-children, again abroad, an out of touch with my body, emotions, past selves and far away from friends and relatives… Although I have had very happy and fruitful periods in-between, during those periods of transition and change I’ve focused on my looks and tried to belong by changing them. As a teen, this worked extremely well: at 17, I had a total makeover, became a queen bee and found a great peer group (many of whom have turned out to be lifelong friends). As an adult, I just became a sad overshopper. So one of the underlying needs for me is definitely ‘to belong’ and ‘to be accepted’.

    I think I associate clothes with belonging also because clothes and fashion were an important shared ritual among women in my childhood family that included quite a few overshoppers and hoarders. Sharing clothes, talking about them and shopping together was what we all did. I learned to outlet shop as a toddler…

    The ironic thing is that as an adult, shopping does not serve the function of belonging particularly well. It’s always been a solitary activity for me: my husband dislikes my clutter and none of my friends really care about fashion and beauty . In fact, there is an inherent competitiveness in being trendy and fashionable that actually has seemed to alienate me from others. Realizing this disconnect (and its roots) has helped a lot.

    My life has been quite successful: I look and act self-confident. But like most people, I have my insecurities and old wounds – ‘not belonging’ is still something that I dread. In order to avoid that feeling, I have tried to avoid feeling any strong emotions. This has happened via focusing excessively on material things – but in the process I seem to have become hollow and cluttered up with false selves (facades built up to respond to both my own and other people’s expectations, but not necessarily aligned with my core self and core values).

    So right now I’m getting back in touch with my authentic self. Decluttering my wardrobe was not enough: I seem to have some sort of a midlife crisis where I’m decluttering my life and reevaluating many of its aspects. I’m now attending to some fairly basic needs I’ve been ignoring for a long time, and allowing myself to experience certain emotions that have seemed overwhelming or shameful. I’m also addressing the need to belong by making the effort to reconnect with old friends and to extend my social network. It’s early days still, but I feel I’ve already found many new ways to satisfy those underlying needs more directly. Hope you will too…

    • Debbie Roes says:

      Thanks for sharing more of your story, FrugalFashionista. I think the issue of belonging/acceptance is a common one among shopaholics, even though we have very diverse backgrounds. I’m glad that others could relate to my story even if they have very different histories. It sounds as if you’ve gotten in touch with many of the reasons why you shop too much and are healing past wounds.

      I’m very impressed with the rapid progress you’ve made through doing the exercises in “To Buy or Not to Buy.” Often awareness is a powerful first step toward change, but coming up with new ways to satisfy underlying needs really helps to solidify change. I still need to do that, but I know I will… I wish you continued great progress!

  3. Oh Debbie, what a powerful post! I can relate to a lot of it. Growing up I had to wear my sister’s hand me downs (she’s 6 years older than me and they were out of style when she had them) or my mother made me wear boys clothes because she thought they were more durable. I got picked on quite a bit and always felt different and like I didn’t fit in or measure up. Rather than an eating disorder, my problem was substance abuse. Thankfully I quit when I was young and have stayed away from that for over 20 years. However, I have continued to substitute other unhealthy behaviors such as over shopping rather than deal with the real problem. I know that my self esteem is much better than it was in my 20’s or even my 30’s, but I still have a lot of work to do. I loved how honest this post is and I think you are making great progress.

    • Debbie Roes says:

      I appreciate your sharing, Tonya. I think a lot of compulsive shoppers have other addictions either currently or in their history. In fact, many people with addictions often substitute one problem for another. I have been compulsive about a number of things, but eating disorders and shopping have been my main issues. I think that knowing that we are doing certain behaviors as a means of escaping other issues is a good step toward recovery. For a long time, I never even considered my shopping to be a problem. I just thought I was a “typical woman,” as in “don’t all women love to shop?” Wrong I was! Thanks for your praise. I think you’re doing well, too! We may have ups and downs on the way to recovery, but I think we are moving in the right direction!

  4. Thanks so much for this post. It was so helpful. I continue to struggle with shopping and often feel there is no hope to stop. I could really relate when you said you need to stop chasing a moving target. whenever I have free time I find myself in a store, I can’t seem to find another distraction. I often convince myself that the right piece of clothing will change my life, knowing that isn’ t the answer. I struggle with self esteem, but can’t seem to get out of the rut. Thanks for sharing so much of yourself.

    • Debbie Roes says:

      Thanks so much for your comment, Pam. I appreciate your sharing some of your story. I’m glad you could relate to what I wrote and that you found it helpful. There IS hope for us to stop shopping compulsively! I used to not believe I could stop, either, but the more I write about it and challenge myself, the more hope I have. We CAN get to a better place in which we don’t have to shop in order to feel good and we don’t have to feel bad about ourselves because we don’t measure up to an always shifting ideal!

  5. Good post Debbie. I have a different background but can still relate whoe heartedly. Project 333 was an excellent way to help me release the unnecessary items in my closet. BUT it was only a first step. I also needed to peel back the layers to understand some of the reasons that caused me to seek an over abundance of clothes that I didn’t match my lifestyle, so that I can make lasting changes and maintain a smaller functional wardrobe. And my desire to connect with others who were overcoming similar struggles led me to your blog. My over-shopping days began in earnest a few years ago after I published a book. Although I needed a few outfits to wear for book tours and speaking engagements, I didn’t need as many as I bought. Also I fell into the habit of rewarding myself with clothes when book sales either climbed or fell or when there was a good or bad review published. I was looking for acceptance and actually felt like I was in junior high school, trying to be popular and feeling bad about myself when my ratings were not as high as I wanted.
    After a while all I wanted was to be genuine, at any cost. I begin to crave all things simple, to own less and clearing out my closet, paring down to only the things I love and really do wear, is one of the best things I’ve ever done. I felt great relief in knowing what I already had was perfectly good, and that I didn’t have to keep shopping in order to fit in. Still, I have a great need to find those I can identify with, which I have found within your pages. And I have a high interest in clothes and in maintain a small wardrobe, and I have a desire to connect with others who feel the same.
    So, thank you everyone!

    • Debbie Roes says:

      I’m so glad you’ve found resonance and connection through this blog, Terra. What you shared is interesting because it shows that both good and bad feelings can lead to overshopping. Good book review – shop, bad book review – shop. Perhaps many of us are just uncomfortable with emotions period. In response to my last post, someone mentioned that perhaps I need ” a good cry” and I can’t remember when I last had one. I shop or do other things in order to not feel and I think that’s common among shopaholics.

      You’re right about Project 333 being helpful with a cluttered closet but that we also need to examine our motivations and emotions. One helpful thing about Project 333 is that it allows us to slow down a bit so we can understand some of what’s driving us. I have learned a lot from doing it and am considering doing it again, if not in July than perhaps in August. We shall see!

  6. Debbie – I think you have hit the nail on the head. So much of our struggle as women comes from our lack of self-acceptance. We are barraged from infancy with messages that we always have to look nice and act nice. The pressure only increases as we enter our teen years. We struggle with all the changes puberty brings about – how do you dress this new shape? And kids are horribly cruel in their comments and behaviors.

    I struggled from early on in life with body issues. I had a horrible reaction to my first immunization shot and was left with very damaged skin. I had buck teeth, wore corrective shoes, and had to wear glasses beginning when I was 10. I have felt “defective” more often than not.

    I struggled with various addictions into my late 30s when I went into counseling and learned a great deal about my family of origin and how I got so messed up. I also learned that the God of the universe loves me exactly the way I am – no strings attached. This has been the most important thing in my recovery.

    Now, I must also add that my life has not been all sweetness and light since then. I still struggle but now I know when I get in a bad way again that I have wandered off from the truth. What each of us wants desperately is to be loved for exactly who we are, warts and all. And I have found that no one on this planet (except my husband) loves me that like that. And sometimes I am not sure he’d love me if he knew everything! But I know God does.

    Lately, I’ve been back on a compulsive shopping jag – hoping to find the perfect wardrobe in the perfect colors so I can be perfect and thus be loved perfectly. Just writing this I see the folly. But before I started reading your blog, I was out there searching the web and stores for perfection. It isn’t in those things and it never will be. I believe in God’s eyes, I am already perfect. I often forget this so I thank you that your blog helped me remember.

    I hope this isn’t too preachy but this is how I have learned to love and accept myself. If God feels this way about me, how could I feel any less about myself?

    • Debbie Roes says:

      Thanks so much for your share, Anne! I didn’t find it preachy at all and could really relate to what you wrote. I think a spiritual connection, however it manifests for a person, can be extremely beneficial in many ways, including helping us to feel loved and accepted. I think we often forget that we don’t have to measure up to any societal-defined standards in order to be lovable. I’m glad that my blog has helped you to remember this. If we can realize that we are “enough,” maybe we won’t have to keep shopping for acceptance. That is what I wish for you, for me, and for all shopaholics!

  7. When you listed some of your qualities you forgot to mention your courage. It’s a rare and valuable quality. We all need acceptance from other people and it’s a constant balancing act between seeking acceptance by our appearance and behavior, and the need to be our own authentic personality. I don’t have any advice or tips for you, so I hope it helps for you to know you are appreciated and that we all struggle to some degree with these issues.

    • Debbie Roes says:

      Thank you, Katy. I felt tears in my eyes when I read your comment about my courage. I have never felt like a particularly brave person, but I guess writing this blog does take courage, especially since I am using my real name! Most people in my life don’t know about it yet, but it’s only a matter of time… I think I care more now about recovering and helping others to recover than in continuing to “save face” and seem fine, all the while dying inside. It’s liberating to be authentic on these pages and I’m very happy that my words are resonating with others.

  8. I have been thinking about this post since reading it yesterday and first want to say how I admire your willingness to lay out your struggles so openly. I’m sure it will help others. I have to admit I had wondered why you seem to choose clothing that rather hides your curves when you look like you have such a nice figure and are so pretty. Now I understand and I hope you find peace and joy in your life going forward. Have you read Stacey London’s book “The Truth About Style”? She talks openly about her body issues and illnesses and how she came to acceptance. She also gently works with women and presents case studies. A very loving and healing approach I thought. I read it to try to get a handle on how to happily dress as I age and as a petite woman but I was very impressed with it on other levels.

    • Debbie Roes says:

      Thank you for your continued support, Juhli. It means a lot to be told that someone admires me. I actually am enjoying finally being open after years and years of hiding. Regarding my clothes, I used to hide my body a lot more. It actually varies based on my weight and how I’m feeling about my body. I struggle with “body dysmorphia” in that I think I’m bigger than I am and obsess about the size of some parts of my body. It’s better when I’m a bit thinner, but it’s harder to keep my weight down as I age. I’m just not willing to deprive myself all the time and obsess about what I do or don’t eat.

      I have Stacy London’s book and have read part of it. I enjoyed reading her story and was surprised that there are so many similarities in our backgrounds. I will have to read the rest of the book, as I liked what I read and am reminded of that by your comment. I actually decided to become a stylist to help other women feel more confident and accepting of their bodies. I feel I HAVE helped a number of women in this regard, even as I’ve continued to struggle myself. Style and clothing have helped me a lot in terms of my body image, but I know that the clothing in which I feel comfortable and attractive is not particularly form-fitting or daring. I sometimes take steps in that direction, but I have to proceed in a way that is comfortable for me. Sometimes it’s three steps forward and two steps back…

      • Hi Debbie,

        I think your choice to wear clothes you feel comfortable in but not necessarily accentuating your curves is by no means moving any steps backwards. There’s a difference between wearing loose clothes for the purpose of hiding your body and feeling comfortable. Most of my clothes are loose and I love the way I look wearing them. I am thin like you and have some curves but hate the feeling of anything restrictive. My skinny jeans must feel like cotton leggings or else I will opt for boyfriend jeans. I look good in a bodycon dress and high heels but I simply do not physically feel comfortable. I will choose an A-line dress with flats any day. It’s not a self-consciousness or emotional issue, it is simply a physical one. Even if I looked like a 25 year old supermodel, I will still wear the same clothes as I do now. I think what you think looks great on you and most importantly, feel great in, is key, even if those items may not emphasize your best features. It does not automatically mean you are ashamed of your body and your primary purpose for certain clothing choices is to hide it.

        • Debbie Roes says:

          Thank you for this comment, Wendy. I identify with a lot of what you wrote. Much of the way I dress is about physical comfort, as well as being true to myself. I am a more modest and conservative person and am definitely not flashy in any way. I want to look nice but not at the expense of my physical comfort (which is why all of the shoes that hurt my feet will soon by OUT!). I do still have some body image issues which lead me to want to wear loose clothing on my bottom half, but I also have health issues (varicose veins and a nerve problem) which make it very uncomfortable for me to wear tight pants. If I can find skinny jeans that feel like cotton leggings (and are long enough for my “giraffe legs”), I would give them a try! I am not ashamed of my body, but I do still sometimes view myself as larger than I actually am. Still working on that, though!

          • It’s normal that we want to dress ourselves to flatter our bodies and it goes without saying that almost all women have certain parts of their body that they want to conceal or look thinner. I reject the advice of dressing to show your best assets as a norm because I think clothing choices should first and foremost be about true to yourself no matter what the conventional style rules are. This goes more with the topic of your post, which is about gaining acceptence. I guess I’ve seen lots of women in all shapes and sizes wear clothes that does not necessarily flatter them but they carry it off so well because they love what they are wearing. But I’ve certainly seen more women wear all the right clothes in terms of form and flatter but look totally self-conscious and insecure.

          • Debbie Roes says:

            Excellent points, Wendy! I have been one of those people who’s worn “the right clothes” and felt totally self-conscious. I did that for years, in fact. I’m now trying to find my way to a place of dressing in a way that’s true to myself. Part of the over-shopping has been about desperately trying to find what that is. I’m still unsure, but I’m getting there. I’m glad some people understand… Thanks!

  9. Mrs.M in MI says:

    I, too, found my shopping issues to stem from my desire for acceptance and belonging. I’m a first-born perfectionist through and through, and I spent most of my teenage years in secondhand clothes (and this was not when that was cool). When I started to have more spending money, I used it to chase my perfect look and perfect wardrobe. And then some.

    There came a point as a married adult when our household finances changed and there was hardly enough money to cover the bare basics, let alone new clothes all the time. I had to stop.

    Like Anne, I don’t want to come off as preachy, but it was about this same time that I found myself deeply involved in my Christian faith for the first time in my life. (Now I can see that this was God working to heal me.) I am the daughter of a minister, but as a child for me this meant that God was just a lot of busy work and looking and acting the part of a PK (preacher’s kid), and it was God’s fault my mom was too busy for us.

    I find my “new” faith to give my life a fulfillment and purpose I never got from chasing perfection. And as a kind of weird side effect, by truly engaging my church community (no small task, because I, too, am a total introvert) I found myself to have no time to shop anymore because my calendar was full of volunteer work and meet-ups with new friends.

    Anyway, thanks for the opportunity to share and find so many like-minded people! And when I find myself in need of a good cry I watch an animal movie. Homeward Bound, Benji, or Hatchi all start the waterworks!

    • Debbie Roes says:

      Thanks so much for sharing your story, Mrs. M. Like you, I am a perfectionist and first-born (are they correlated?). It’s hard to let go of this tendency, but I want to, as it can be quite draining. I’m so pleased that you rediscovered your faith and that it has given you fulfillment, purpose, and connection with others. I am still a “searcher” in the spirituality and religion realm, but I will keep searching until I find a path that resonates with me. I wholeheartedly agree about the animal movies and crying! I could never bring myself to watch “Marley and Me,” but I remember crying like a baby at movies like “Homeward Bound” and “Benji.” I definitely can cry at movies and TV, just not so much when talking about my own life. However, I was quite emotional during a phone call today. I think my emotions are coming more to the surface as I write this blog! I’m glad the blog has been helpful to you and I appreciate your sharing!

  10. Hi everyone I just wanted to say that this is a great post and all your comments bring tears to my eyes. I am a Londoner and came across your site Debbie out of sheer desperation searching for therapy to help me stop this compulsive shop purge shop addiction. Your posts and everyone’s comments have been the best form of therapy for me. I have been a subscriber since May and little by little I’m understanding myself and dealing with the reasons I shop too much. I am in deep debt due to this habit and now realise it isn’t down to one thing for me but a complex “onion” of reasons. I am starting to feel an emerging feeling of calm and release through your blog and everyone’s comments and have taken to coming to the site whenever I feel myself wanting to shop. As a teacher the real challenge for me will be when school re-opens on 2nd September – my desire to shop is linked to the constant need to feel comfortable, good enough, accepted and like I have enough, but also I am very sensitive to any comments about my appearance. So for example someone may comment that my shoes are a little plain or less glam than normal. I would then have to purge this item out of my wardrobe. Often I shop when I’m tired or to prolong the high of doing a job well. Sometimes if I feel great in an outfit I immediately start searching to replicate it. But with your help Debbie I feel I’m getting there long may you continue.

    • Debbie Roes says:

      Welcome, Ninnins, and thanks for your comment. I’m glad you found my blog and are getting a lot out of my posts and my readers’ comments. I learn a great deal from my readers as well and feel lucky to have all of you in my corner! You’re right that there is a complex “onion” of reasons for our overshopping. I keep uncovering more and more as I work on my issues and write my blog posts. I can relate to what you said about being sensitive to comments about your appearance. I am that way, too, and am working to listen to and trust my own inner voice more. I hope the same thing will happen for you! I plan to continue this blog for a long time, so I will be here 🙂 Feel free to comment again or contact me if you need any additional support. Best of luck to you in the new school year!

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