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Money and Abuse

Abuse is shrouded in secrecy and shame. It’s usually not talked about and it has a way of twisting around everything good in your life to seem bad or wrong.

Money is the same way: shrouded in secrecy and shame; not talked about; and it can get all twisted up, too.

When I was growing up, every Monday my father left $5000 on the kitchen counter for my mother for the week. He wanted my mother and us to feel taken care of. But there were no words spoken between them about the money. It was part of their agreement that went unquestioned and unchallenged: my father worked so he could provide for us and my mother took care of us kids and the house.

My mother had a lot of unspoken resentments toward my father. His gift of money, while it came from such generosity, became twisted into something bad and wrong.

I took on my mom’s beliefs as a child, and those beliefs carried forward into my thoughts about money as an adult. For decades I believed I had to prostitute myself for money. Not literally, of course. But I thought I had to do things for others that I didn’t really want to do in order to get money. Just like my mother.

Is it any wonder that I struggled with money?

Many years later I began to see the link between my situation with money and the beliefs I inherited from my mother. Not only that – the abuse I experienced as a child (and into my 20’s) taught me that receiving was bad and dangerous. I built invisible walls around myself to try and protect myself from any future abuse.

But those same walls, designed to protect me, blocked me from receiving money.

The unconscious “money lessons” I learned from both my mother and my abusers had twisted everything up in a big way. I wasn’t able to experience true intimacy with anyone or anything, including money.

Once these unconscious lessons became conscious (from years of my own personal study and through getting support) I was able to release them. They no longer were the lenses through which I viewed money (and life).

This helped me see my father’s pure intention of generosity and care. I also became aware of the joy and pleasure that could be experienced when I fully received: money, pleasure, clients and contributions from all sources. Now I receive all the money I desire and am able to do so from a place of ease and fun.

What “money lessons” have you learned?

Let’s shed light on your relationship with money:

  • What did you learn about money from your parents, grandparents, siblings, teachers, abusers?
  • What are some of your earliest memories around money?
  • What did having money or no money mean to you?
  • How much are you willing to receive?
  • How much are you blocking yourself from receiving more?

We all learned money lessons from others, as children and as adults. Rather than judging yourself for those lessons, be willing to acknowledge them.

Being honest with yourself about the money lessons you carry is the first step toward an intimate relationship with money: a relationship where you open to receiving it as a gift into your life, rather than twisting it up as something bad or wrong or dangerous to receive.

So for example, let’s say you learned that money is hard to come by. Or you never have enough. Or you’re not able to survive on your own; you need to be in relationship to make it financially.

All of these are disempowering, limiting beliefs. When we see money through this lens, we are so committed to being “right” about our beliefs that we create our reality to be true to these beliefs.

That’s why, once you acknowledge the beliefs you carry about money, you can begin to see the lens – just like I did – through which you’ve been viewing money (and life). This is a very empowering step because once you see the lens (the filter you’ve got blocking you from receiving more money), you realize you can change it and choose something else.

Ask Yourself:

  • Would you be willing, right now, to acknowledge the money lessons you learned as a child (and an adult)?
  • Would you be willing, right now, to see the lens through which you’ve been viewing money?
  • Would you be willing, right now, to open to receiving more money into your life?


Be You. Beyond Anything. Create Magic.

You can find more information from Dr. Lisa Cooney on her site or find her on Facebook or Twitter @DrLisaCooney!

Money and Abuse

Dr. Lisa Cooney

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APA Reference
Cooney, D. (2019). Money and Abuse. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 20, 2020, from


Last updated: 28 Mar 2019
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