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Compulsive spending

Graceelsie

Graceelsie

Member
Joined
Oct 22, 2008
Messages
18
Location
Kent
Hi all. Have just joined here last night and posted in the welcome/tell your story bit. I am adoptive parent/carer to a young woman of 27, S, who is in fact a distant relative through my first marriage but my second husband and I have taken her into our home since May 2007 and relate with her as parents/daughter. She has mild learning difficulties and mental health problems loosely defined so far as Conversion Disorder, dissociative amnesia and PTSD.

Anyway, one of the problems I am having in caring for her is coping with her compulsive spending. She is on disability benefits. She has bouts where she just orders stuff irrespective of whether she actually has any money in the bank to pay for it. Once she ordered a thousand pounds worth of clothes on a clothing catalogue when she had already incurred £150 worth of bank fees due to being overdrawn so often that month. Thankfully the catalogue told her she had a limit of £200 credit and did not accept the rest of the order. That same week she bought two mobile phones at £80 each from eBay. She has a thing about mobile phones and has up to ten at a time. In the past she got into huge trouble signing umpteen contracts to get cool phones, and we paid off a lot of debts for her when she came to us.

When she runs out of money we have to bail her out buying her food, and she doesn't contribute anything for gas, electricity etc.

She doesn't want me to handle her money for her, because in the past carers have abused this (mostly her ex-husband and mother in law). And she doesn't want anyone to have LPA. Besides which neither she or we can afford to set it up.

As she shares our surname and lives at our address I live in fear of baillifs arriving and toting off our possessions as she can be very secretive or lie about what's going on with her debts.

I can point out to her the huge proportion of her benefits going on bank charges (up to a quarter of her monthly income sometimes) but she just sort of shrugs and promises to do better in future.

Some of the stuff she buys is just daft, dozens of party frocks this past fortnight when she hardly ever goes anywhere - once when she was in amnesia and thought she was 7 she wanted to buy loads of dolls - she spent £50 on fridge magnets one week and then had no food money.

Yesterday another mobile phone arrived, her umpteenth in current use.

Anyone had any similar experiences and can offer advice?
 
Last edited:
ms_P

ms_P

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Founding Member
Joined
Jul 21, 2008
Messages
3,067
Location
BeNeLux
Compulsive spending means to me that there's something lacking else-where. A need, or a hole to be filled. Things mean safety and security to many people.
Compulsions can be helped with medications sometimes.
I think tough love is in order here. She simply doesn't have the internal "brakes" that tell most of us when something is appropriate or not.
I know she is a grown woman and not a child, but she truly shouldn't have access to a credit card or the internet for that matter. There are internet security programs with excellent webfilters that can limit what's done online.
I really don't have all the answers. I just had to reply to your post. I really feel for you, Graceelsie. :hug::hug:
Maybe someone else here can offer a better idea. Good luck and be strong. :grouphug:
 
Graceelsie

Graceelsie

Member
Joined
Oct 22, 2008
Messages
18
Location
Kent
Compulsive spending means to me that there's something lacking else-where. A need, or a hole to be filled. Things mean safety and security to many people.
Compulsions can be helped with medications sometimes.
I think tough love is in order here. She simply doesn't have the internal "brakes" that tell most of us when something is appropriate or not.
I know she is a grown woman and not a child, but she truly shouldn't have access to a credit card or the internet for that matter. There are internet security programs with excellent webfilters that can limit what's done online.
I really don't have all the answers. I just had to reply to your post. I really feel for you, Graceelsie. :hug::hug:
Maybe someone else here can offer a better idea. Good luck and be strong. :grouphug:

Many thanks for your input. The hole is easy to diagnose - Social Services took her two little children from her in May 2007 mostly because she has learning difficulties and is therefore a vulnerable adult :cry: No matter how hard we try we cannot offer her enough love to fill that gap. You're right, I think, we have to try to get tough with her, although its not easy as she will protest she is being treated as a child. However she does live in our house therefore surely we have some rights to impose a rule or two. I have hesitated simply because social services/mental health already think we protect her from herself too much and should let her "face consequences". Trouble is, although her IQ would suggest she should be far less affected, she really is more like a 12 or 13 year old than a 27 year old in many respects. My husband works in IT so I will see what we can do to limit her Internet use, which is the cause of most of the spending as she can't get out much. I don't like to cut it off completely as she has friends online and has a hard time finding people her own age to socialise with otherwise. Many thanks, especially for the hugs!
 
ms_P

ms_P

Well-known member
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Joined
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Messages
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It's just an idea, but is she able to work part-time on a volunteer basis at a local day-care or kindergarten? It may fill that hole created by missing her own children.
It may prove to do the opposite as well. I don't know her, but it may be worth looking into.
:)
 
Graceelsie

Graceelsie

Member
Joined
Oct 22, 2008
Messages
18
Location
Kent
It's just an idea, but is she able to work part-time on a volunteer basis at a local day-care or kindergarten? It may fill that hole created by missing her own children.
It may prove to do the opposite as well. I don't know her, but it may be worth looking into.
:)
Thank you so much for your reply but sadly S cannot cope very well at all with being around children - just taking her to any place where there are lots of kids running around results in her dissolving into sobs or having a non-epileptic fit (stress fit). She doesn't know where her littlest boy who was adopted is, and everywhere she goes she looks for him and if she sees a little boy with fair curly hair about the same age she gets obsessed with the idea it could be him. It's really sad. She does go to a day centre at a farm, for people with learning difficulties, and there is a staff member there who brings her baby in. S found that really hard at first and nearly stopped going but now she is able to talk to and cuddle baby sometimes, unfortunately it often brings on problems afterwards. I am hoping she will soon get post-traumatic stress counselling but we have been waiting for a year and a half for help already and most of that was delays caused by a psychiatrist off sick who then decided to leave!!!!
 
ms_P

ms_P

Well-known member
Founding Member
Joined
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Messages
3,067
Location
BeNeLux
I went (and am going through) the same thing.
It used to be that every time I heard a little girl say "mama", I would practically break my neck looking around. But it was never for me. I still picture my daughters as two little toddlers. Those blonde heads staring up at me through the bluest eyes.
They're teenagers now and I don't know what they look like anymore.
I avoid children and places where there are many of them. Even ads on the tv showing families, moms and kids...I have to look away and put the tv on mute.
I better stop now...I understand what "S" is going through.
 
J

jamesdean

Guest
I haven tread any posts in this thread and i just seen compulsive spending and wanted to say i nearly spent a small fortune in the most expensive deparment store on friday I was so manic, lukily i just come out with a£100 of frgrance, I had all the sales assitants looking for all sizes and shapes and shdaes of colour jeans all saying have a good day politely which beats the negative views you normaly recieve from customer services etc.I'm not bi polar.
But honestly I then went on to eating chocolates sweets drinking coffee with loads of sugar( i'm diabetic)and found my self oin the day centre Eventually i come down whilst in the local supermarket, where I have decide if I want to be with:mad: peole thats the place to go. Mind I'm entered into a comp for an £800 handbag, which my mum would like and I had loads of samples which I then gave away to a woman I dont even know but she told me that she is very lucky!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Whot a day.
B
 
ms_P

ms_P

Well-known member
Founding Member
Joined
Jul 21, 2008
Messages
3,067
Location
BeNeLux
I haven tread any posts in this thread and i just seen compulsive spending and wanted to say i nearly spent a small fortune in the most expensive deparment store on friday I was so manic, lukily i just come out with a£100 of frgrance, I had all the sales assitants looking for all sizes and shapes and shdaes of colour jeans all saying have a good day politely which beats the negative views you normaly recieve from customer services etc.I'm not bi polar.
But honestly I then went on to eating chocolates sweets drinking coffee with loads of sugar( i'm diabetic)and found my self oin the day centre Eventually i come down whilst in the local supermarket, where I have decide if I want to be with:mad: peole thats the place to go. Mind I'm entered into a comp for an £800 handbag, which my mum would like and I had loads of samples which I then gave away to a woman I dont even know but she told me that she is very lucky!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Whot a day.
B
James :hug:

I've needed to give my pinpass to someone on several occasions a few years ago. I know how hard it is to stop a compulsion like that.
The only money I ever had was my share of the profit from selling the house I had with my ex-husband. It was €8,000. All I have to show for it is my bicycle (thank god), and a set of speakers that are too powerfull to use in the house.
I sorely wish now I'd had the presense of mind to put some aside.:(
 
J

jamesdean

Guest
And now I have just booked to see James Morrison at the royal albert hall and hotel in london HOW FANTASTIC all for £76.
 
Graceelsie

Graceelsie

Member
Joined
Oct 22, 2008
Messages
18
Location
Kent
I went (and am going through) the same thing.
It used to be that every time I heard a little girl say "mama", I would practically break my neck looking around. But it was never for me. I still picture my daughters as two little toddlers. Those blonde heads staring up at me through the bluest eyes.
They're teenagers now and I don't know what they look like anymore.
I avoid children and places where there are many of them. Even ads on the tv showing families, moms and kids...I have to look away and put the tv on mute.
I better stop now...I understand what "S" is going through.
If ever you want to talk about what happened, I am assuming there is a way to send a private message on here as there usually is on boards, so just ask me for my email addy. S has got it the worst as they were her kids but the younger one was like a grandchild to me and I too know what you mean (I never knew the older one well as he has lived with S's mother in law most of his little life because she was very ill the year after his birth). I was at a family gathering yesterday without S as she was at day centre and my new little great-nephew was there and it hit me hard as it reminded me so much...
 
J

jamesdean

Guest
I must just say sorry to the other people on this thread since all I seen in my mania was compulsive spending and jumped in , having just read some posts briefly I realise this is a much more heart felt thread. Naughty me:doh:
 
ms_P

ms_P

Well-known member
Founding Member
Joined
Jul 21, 2008
Messages
3,067
Location
BeNeLux
If ever you want to talk about what happened, I am assuming there is a way to send a private message on here as there usually is on boards, so just ask me for my email addy. S has got it the worst as they were her kids but the younger one was like a grandchild to me and I too know what you mean (I never knew the older one well as he has lived with S's mother in law most of his little life because she was very ill the year after his birth). I was at a family gathering yesterday without S as she was at day centre and my new little great-nephew was there and it hit me hard as it reminded me so much...
I've sent you a PM with my e-mail addy. :)
 
ms_P

ms_P

Well-known member
Founding Member
Joined
Jul 21, 2008
Messages
3,067
Location
BeNeLux
I must just say sorry to the other people on this thread since all I seen in my mania was compulsive spending and jumped in , having just read some posts briefly I realise this is a much more heart felt thread. Naughty me:doh:
:LOL: Don't sweat it, James. :D
 
J

jamesdean

Guest
No comprehend but I see you are laughing so I guess thats ok:confused:
 
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