RECOGNIZING AND CHANGING MONEY PATTERNS
by Joyanna Freeland
“Money Matters, it really does,” according to Joyanna Freeland, who learned its importance as she became codependent to her husband’s downward spiral and eventual bottoming-out as an underearner (a term applicable to the latest disease-addiction to craze our society). The underearning, debting, shopping, overspending, and gambling, to name a few money issues, are efforts to control or be accepted, as are other disease-addictions. And the recovery process evolves from regular attendance at Twelve Step meetings and working a twelve step program.
This book gives us solutions with steps to follow toward success in money issues, fulfilling relationships, and health as we overcome habits, patterns, and addictions. It takes us out of denial, and into the reality of the cause of our failures. Recognition of the symptoms and patterns of money disorders is the first step.
Joyanna’s husband, Ralph, had been a computer programmer/ analyst before falling victim to the downsize inflicted on the computer company where he worked. He then pursued his multi-level marketing business, in an effort to catch the carrot of becoming a millionaire, which dangles before MLM dreamers. Ill-suited to this people-oriented profession, he attempted to transform his non-social, non-communicative personality and lifestyle to becoming more outgoing and sociable.
Joyanna assisted her husband’s efforts to supplement their floundering finances by presenting the virtues and benefits of their MLM business and products to family and friends. She also wrote newsletters to their downline (distributors and customers who signed up in their business). However, this took her focus from her ministry-by-mail with freedomers (her name for inmates seeking inner freedom), and her writing of books and courses.
But the trauma from his sudden job layoff, and the eventual futility of his MLM endeavors, gradually reduced Ralph to a helpless child, because his wounded inner child had become traumatized. He refused professional help, and Joyanna could no longer endure the agony of seeing her once strong, knowledgeable husband floundering. Having facilitated a year-long program based on John Bradshaw’s Homecoming: Healing the Inner Child, Joyanna introduced Ralph to the technique of making contact with his inner child. She hoped this attempt to face his childhood money issues would give him tools to rebuild his life.
But instead, as Little Ralph surfaced, he progressed further into immobility, as a husband and provider, and then remained stuck in his belligerent teenage developmental stage. His passive-aggressive nature prevailed, and he made no attempt to provide an income. Joyanna too became hopelessly ensnared as her codependency paralleled her husband’s downward trend into seeming oblivion.
By this time Ralph, still traumatized by his job-layoff, had succumbed to hopelessness, and was unable to face the job market. Grabbing at the straws being offered to so many in similar situations, Ralph had used credit cards and their easily accessible loans to survive; a practice he had once looked upon with disdain. But in his silent desperation, it seemed the only hope until he could get back on his feet.
After incurring horrendous debt, confused at her husband’s change of character, and fearful they would become destitute, she insisted they consult a bankruptcy lawyer. For the first time in five years, they both felt some hope for their future, as the attorney explained the constitutional basis of the Fresh Start Law, (bankruptcy). Once the process had begun, Ralph admitted that he had been unprepared for his “early retirement,” (the term he gave his layoff), and that indeed, he had been traumatized.
Finally, at age 62, Ralph became eligible for Social Security Retirement, but the meager amount failed to meet their basic expenses. Desperate for help, Joyanna and Ralph attended Debtor’s Anonymous, and learned the symptoms of their disease; among them underearning loomed its ugly head. An important piece to the Money Matters puzzle finally fit into place as they learned the underlying causes of their addictive patterns. And they discovered more tools for releasing the addictive aspects of these patterns.
In addition, Joyanna’s codependency issues of control again surfaced as she attempted to resolve their financial dilemma. She’d been attending Codependence Anonymous (CoDa) meetings for over five years, but now felt she needed more intense support with her own codependency issues, so she made a commitment to an intensive Twelve Step Study program. Here she faced the deeper issues of her childhood patterns and discovered more tools for releasing their addictive hold.
Detachment and Recovery
As she began to detach from controlling Ralph’s recovery, she stopped attending his Debtors Anonymous meetings, and began to focus on her own life. Evolving from their downward spiral, she once again focused on her writing and ministry, and allowed Ralph’s healing process to take place.
Childhood Patterns and Money Issues
During their downward spiral and recovery process, Joyanna developed a keen awareness of the influence and effects of childhood patterns in money issues. She could clearly see the devastation wreaked in Ralph’s life, as well as her own. From these lifetime experiences, her support-type workshop, Money Matters, was given birth.
MESSAGE FROM JOYANNA
Identifying and changing your unproductive money patterns is a slow and ongoing process. It doesn’t happen by reading one book, or attending one workshop. Our patterns may not be the same as yours, but I share our stories in hopes you may find relief from the negative patterns that are hindering your full joy of life. Before reading our stories, I urge you to read Saying “No” to Habits, Patterns and Addictions. These steps evolved from our Money Matters Workshop, and you can apply them while going through your own recovery process.
It’s taken me a lifetime of living, and over ten years of writing, to finally complete this book. In the meantime, I wrote Knocking on Doors, about Ralph’s money matters; and A Codependent’s Downward Spiral and Recovery. The process of writing these books has moved me to another new level of recovery. And the best is yet to be.
My goal in writing this book has been to share our Money Stories so that others can identify and change their unwanted money patterns.
When I first started writing this book, my goal was to present Money Matters Workshops
during our travels. But after identifying and changing the patterns that have kept me from fulfilling this goal, I realized that I was no longer willing to make this commitment, and I became more excited about the possibilities of others presenting their own Money Matters Workshops.
In the meantime, the wonderful world of Internet evolved, and I knew that I could reach so many more people with my own website. The story of these self-realizations unfolds in the following chapters. I suggest that you daily journal your own Money Story, as I have done and shared here for you. And that you share your experiences with someone else. Or perhaps facilitate a Money Matters Workshop or a Money Matters Support Group by following the format suggested in the Addendum of the book. Of course, you are free to create your own format.