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My Career’s a Success. My Finances, a Mess!

Years ago, I noticed a puzzling phenomenon. It’s far more prevalent today. I call it the Secret Shame of Successful Women.

Bright, sophisticated professionals, making ample incomes, who have little (if anything) in the bank to show for it. 

These women look like the epitome of success—whip smart, business savvy, high earners—yet suffer some degree of financial distress.

They’re either too ashamed to reach out for help (I should be able to do this) or stubbornly resist change when they do (I have no time).   

At first it didn’t make sense. You’d think they’d know better, right? 

If you can relate, let me reassure you.

First, you’re not alone. Second, there’s nothing to be ashamed of. Finally, this has nothing to do with intelligence…or even money.

Financial instability is symptomatic of something far deeper.

The real culprit is all the bottled-up emotions you’ve likely spent a lifetime avoiding. 

And what better way to avoid your suppressed pain or trauma (that your inner child still carries) than financial avoidance and the resulting turmoil.  

So rather than feel the pain, you create distraction. Unconsciously, of course.

But unless you deal with your repressed emotions, you’ll keep repeating the same dysfunctional behavior. Avoidance, which became your early survival mechanism, has been hard-wired in your brain from continuous repetition. 

Years ago, I had a client who, as soon as she paid off a huge debt, was suddenly flooded with scenes of early abuse. 

Financial tension had conveniently masked those terrible memories. 

I assured her those memories were coming up to be healed and urged her to find a therapist specializing in trauma recovery, which she did right away.

As my former client now admits: facing your pain leads to financial gain. Otherwise your deeply scarred inner child continues running your life, keeping the chaos intact

I’d love to hear from you if you can relate to this blog. 

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Comments & Feedback

  • Lissa Carter

    Barbara, this is exactly me! I’ve long suspected something like this. My business is well into six figures, finally, and yet I still have these old patterns that feel comfortable. And SAFE. It’s so frustrating. (How can debt feel safe??? But it does.) THANK you for this post.

    • barbara huson

      I’m so glad you could relate, Lissa. I really believe this is a widespread issue that no one is talking about. One of my goals is to create a safe space where women like yourself and talk openly about this…and change it for good. I so appreciate your comment.

  • Paula

    That’s the sound of myimd being blown!
    Now it make sense why I’m a chronic debtor!!!

    • barbara huson

      YES!! It’s crazy making, isn’t it Paula, when you’re successful and smart but can’t get out of debt. I hope you’ll reach out for help. I don’t believe this can be healed on your own! Thank you so much for writing.

  • Angela

    In the past year or so I’d paid off my credit cards and only had student loan debt from my daughters eductation left. Through a series of decisions, I find myself back in CC debt.
    I think I’m the lady who’s masking a childhood wound.. I want to heal myself.
    Where do I begin? Who do I talk to in order to release the shame and get on track?

    I’m so upset with myself.

    • Elena

      Maybe start with forgiving yourself? I feel your pain, and I can relate.

    • barbara huson

      I’d love to help you Angela. Or contact a therapist or counselor who specializes in childhood trauma! The thing is, once recognized and dealt with, you never have to live in financial chaos again. NEVER!!!!

  • Elena

    Resonates with me 100%. I earn good money, my living expenses are covered easily with half my income but I keep getting myself in debt. I long held the belief that I didn’t deserve it and maybe that belief is buried (in debt). I need to let this come to the surface and deal with it once and for all. Inner child, please no more.

    • barbara huson

      Elena, I urge you to reach out for help. You do not need to keep repeating the cycle of debt! It’s truly time to heal those inner wounds. I highly recommend Debtors Anonymous. 90 meetings in 90 days. Expect miracles. It worked for me. It’s worked for hundreds of my clients. DA will work for you, if you work it. Good luck

  • Colleen Slaughter Raue

    Thank you so much for this post, Barbara. Describes to a tee what is happening with me – currently in a very deep, dark place. Finally, I suspect, feeling those feelings which have bee suppressed for so very long. Ironically (or, luckily – depending on how we look at it), as an Executive coach and Facilitator of Leadership Transformation, by working through the grief inside me, I will also be setting myself up to be more credible in my field. Thank you for helping me better understand what is happening for me now – it’s half the journey!!

    • barbara huson

      You’re right. Awareness is a giant step toward healing. And yes,you will be a much more effective coach as you deal with your pain. It’s definitely made a difference for me in my practice!

  • Cassandra Coghill

    This blog article really hits home for me. I’m fully aware of all the extreme amounts of abuse and types of neglect I’ve faced throughout my lifetime. I was abandoned by my father before I was even born! Sexually abused as a child, sexually assaulted as an adult, the list goes on and on… abandoned by my mother at the age of 7, raised in foster care, etc. I’m working through all of these things and have been for many years and yet my finances are still a mess most of the time. It can be quite discouraging!!

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Meet Barbara Huson

When a devastating financial crisis rocked her world, Barbara Huson knew she had to get smart about money… and she did. Now, she wants to empower every women to take charge of their money and take charge of their lives! She’s doing just that with her best-selling books, life changing retreats and private financial coaching.

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